The Wrestling Episode is our cleverly-named feature wherein we watch non-wrestling shows with wrestling episodes and try to figure out what the hell’s going on in them. You’d be surprised how many there are. You can watch the episode on DailyMotion here. If you have any suggestions on shows that need to be featured in The Wrestling Episode, let us know in our comments section below.
I’ve Never Heard Of Alvin And The Chipmunks. What Is It?
Back in the 1950s, songwriter Ross Bagdasarian Sr. — famous for playing small roles in films like Rear Window and being in the cast of his cousin’s Broadway show — sped up a tape recorder so the chorus of his song ‘Witch Doctor’ sounded like it was being sung by chipmunks. He then turned that passing observation into a popular culture juggernaut responsible for three television shows, three direct-to-DVD movies, FIVE theatrically released movies and almost 60 albums that won six Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, and three Kids Choice Awards. Thank God dude bought a tape recorder with variable speeds, huh?
Which One Of Those Things Is This?
For this week’s column we’ll be talking about Alvin and the Chipmunks, the second animated series. It ran on NBC from 1983 until 1990, so if you grew up in the ’80s, this is the one you remember. It brought you action, and satisfaction.
The plot is about how a struggling songwriter (Dave Seville) living in an enormous mansion in the suburbs discovered three abandoned chipmunks on his doorstep. Instead of like, calling animal control, Dave decided to raise the animals as human children, dress them in shirts without pants, and train them to sing so he wouldn’t have to do any work. They become wildly successful child stars, so Dave keeps them cranking out the hits while lording himself over them so he can take their free will and money.
Sounds … Dark?
He’s the worst. This is the most goth show ever made.
And There’s A Wrestling Episode?
Watch. Out. ‘Cause here it comes.
So Dave Seville’s walking through the mall with a giant stack of boxes, announcing that they’re “about halfway done with their shopping.” Simon looks longingly through a store window at a microscope, Theodore looks longingly at a food processor, and Alvin wants to buy a “jet skateboard” (!) but jangles around spare change in his hand all sad. Dave won’t buy them ANYTHING because they didn’t “earn money on their own” and screams at them for wanting enough of a raise in their allowance to buy a $30 food processor. He then gets up and LEAVES THE MALL COMPLETELY, saying he’ll “meet you boys back at the house.” Dave slave-drives these performing animal monsters, doesn’t buy them pants, and won’t even give them a ride home.
Left to fend for themselves, the Chipmunks see what appears to be Luigi Mario at his day job putting up a sign for a wrestling event. If anyone can get in the ring with “Ivan The Terrible” for one round (of pro wrestling) and survive, they can win $50. In 1983 I guess that was enough to buy everything on their list, so they decide that Ivan looks like a wimp, and even Theodore could take him.
What they don’t realize is that the guy putting up the sign is only halfway done. The wrestling announcement doesn’t have anything to do with the picture … that guy is “Iggy Stiggy,” who I assume is the Chipmunk cinematic universe’s David Bowie, in a super hero costume.
So Who’s The Real Ivan? Is He Terrible?
He is! They only find out about it after they’ve signed Theodore up. Sadly it’s not Ivan Koloff, because an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks where Ivan and Nikita Koloff Russian sickle a bunch of poor 8-year olds wouldn’t get play on Saturday mornings.
Ivan The Terrible IS Russian, though, and the boys stumble upon him at the gym when they’re signing up for the … rounds of pro wrestling. Theodore thinks this guy working out in the ring is big and tough, so he goes to him for advice on how to beat up that “wimp” Ivan. Ivan announces that IVAN is Ivan, and hatefully whips a practice dummy at this kid so hard it knocks him into an exercise machine and breaks it.
Yes, Theodore Seville wrestles YOSHIHIKO in this episode.
Terrified that, you know, he’s going to get beaten to death by an adult over a food processor, Theodore tries to back out. But he’s already signed up, and you can’t break a word-is-bond situation like signing up to wrestle a dude for a “round” at a local wrestling show, so Simon and Alvin come up with a plan: they’re going to use Simon’s technical wizardry to create what basically amounts of Speed Racer’s Mach 5 car as a super hero suit.
Do What Now?
Yep, they make him a super suit with a utility belt that does all sorts of things. We’ll get to that in a minute. They also plan to get him in shape with a workout montage set to the original Chipmunks banger ‘Pump It Up,’ not to be confused with the numerous Dave Sevillians on YouTube adjusting the pitch on Joe Budden records.
Oh, and while we’re talking about the montage, Alvin attempts to undermine the entire thing by painting foam rubber black and convincing Theodore he’s getting great at weight lifting, proving that he of the three chipped munks is truly Dave’s Godless animal son. At one point he ties a sub on a fishing line to make Theodore run, and I consider writing a 35-year late letter to the animators about the impossibility of that sandwich staying together. Look at that thing. I can’t pick up a sandwich in my hands at a restaurant without half of it falling on the plate.
We Don’t Care About Your Sandwiches, Get To The Wrestling Part
It’s a packed crowd at “WRESTING ARENA” for one one-round match featuring Ivan the Terrible. Dave ends up throwing a wrench into the boys’ plans when he announces he “read about the match in the paper” — the one very short match — and wanted to check it out. The boys run away, claiming they want popcorn. Gotta get Dave into the building somehow, I guess.
Ivan hops into the ring and challenges anyone in the building to face him in an “anything goes” extreme rules match. NOBODY DOES. Not a single person other than Theodore the 8-year old pop star chipmunk has signed up to face him, and they still sold out the house. Ivan’s got some real star power. Eventually Theo shows up in his mech suit as “Mr. Fabulous.” I would’ve called him “ROBO RODENT,” but I’m not booking.
The match begins, and we learn the various gadgets built into the super suit, including:
- an oil slick/ink splatter, which misses the ring entirely and splashes onto what looks like the cast of Guess Who? in the crowd
- a grappling hook that just wraps around Theodore’s own legs, like the world’s most pathetic and self-destructive AT-AT Walker
- an “eject” button that shoots Theodore out of the suit and like 50 feet into the air
- a parachute to keep him from dying from that
When Theodore lands, Dave’s finally like, “wait a minute, that’s my SON IN THERE.” You know, as if there are more than three anthropomorphic male chipmunks living in his town, going to this wrestling show. Alvin and Simon save Theodore from being pinned by stretching the bottom rope into the center of the ring and hooking it on his toe, so when Dave decides to do a run-in, Ivan looses it and slingshots Dave back into the crowd. Take a second to look at that dude Dave lands on. Either the animators drew the guy way too big and didn’t give enough of a shit to go back and fix it, or the force of Ivan’s blow shrunk Dave in mid-air.
Also there are suddenly a lot of empty seats, so I’m guessing half of Los Angeles is currently at the ticket booth demanding a refund.
This Is The Part Where Ivan Piledrives Theodore And Dave Makes The Kid Pay His Own Medical Bills, Right?
Not quite. The finish sees Theodore running from Ivan and trying to escape by jumping on the middle rope. As Ivan gets close, Simon and Alvin pull the canvas out from under him to trip him up, because wrestling rings are covered in rugs I guess. Ivan takes a bump, and Theodore — and I feel like I have to type this in boldface — hits a springboard splash and wins.
Theodore defeats Ivan, wins the $50, and now they have the money for the Chop-o-matic, the microscope, and the skateboard.
It’s Happily Ever After, Then?
Before they’ve even left the ring, Dave confronts them with his hands on his hips and in front of everybody shades them for “making money on the side” — the thing he told them to do — and then guilts them into giving the prize money to the people whose clothes they ruined with the ink splatter. Alvin, Simon and Theodore end up with ONE DOLLAR EACH. Unbelievable. YOU’RE GARBAGE, DAVE.
So What Have We Learned?
- cheat to win
- if your stage dad is stealing all your money, don’t let him catch you trying to earn fifty bucks, he’s just gonna take it away from you and use your recording and touring riches to buy himself a bunch of shit at the mall while you watch
- if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, try speeding up a tape recorder