THE ADVENTURES OF TEDDY RUXPIN, Episode 1 "The Treasure of Grundo" (4 out of 10) – Directed by Chris Schouten; Written by Marry Crawford and Derek Diorio; Starring Phil Baron, Will Ryan, and John Stocker. Originally aired September 14, 1987.
Like many children of my generation, I was in possession of a Teddy Ruxpin animatronic teddy bear. The bear had a moving mouth and eyes and would tell you stories via a tape deck built into his back. As I recall the jaw fell off of mine, providing nightmare fuel for years to come. I also seem to remember it running off of the same pair of batteries for several years, convincing a young and impressionable Neverbot that Teddy Ruxpin was a force for evil, bent on grinding the bones of my tiny fingers in its geared mandibles.
The face of pure evil.
Which is probably why it has taken me almost 25 years to re-visit the cartoon it spawned (a move probably discouraged by my imaginary therapist). Several attempts were made to capitalize on the success of this toy, beginning with a live action show in 1986 titled “The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin.”
The live action endeavor proved too costly and was scrapped in favor of an animated series of the same name.
A total of 39 book/cassette stories were created to work specifically inside the bowels of the furry beast, these stories were adapted and expanded upon for animation resulting in 65 half hour episodes, one of which we’ll watch today. Unlike most cartoons of the time, the episodes rarely stand alone and instead were serialized into a long overarching story. As such, there is no real resolution at the end of today’s episode; it instead sets up the events of the episode to follow and so on.
Overall the story follows the title character, Teddy Ruxpin, as he travels with his best friend Grubby, an Octopede. The pair meet up with Newton Gimmick, a bumbling human inventor who joins them on their travels following an ancient map on a search for treasure. The map ultimately leads them to an ancient treasure and an evil organization called MAVO (Monsters and Villains Organization).
The show itself feels like a combination of “Winnie the Pooh,” “Gummie Bears,” and some combination of hallucination inducing substances. It perfectly captures the awkward feelings experienced at the hands of a nefarious robotic stuffed animal from my childhood. In that way it is successful in capturing the nostalgia… horrible, dark, nostalgia.