The Dangers of Social Media and Major Franchises According to “Hamster and Gretel”

The latest episode of Hamster & Gretel shows us the dangers of social media, as well as artists being overshadowed by major media franchises.

For Whom The Belle Trolls

A Villain is attacking the city with their divorced cakes—- the whole city must now experience a messy divorce…cake. After the villain is vanquished, Gretel is approached by two children who DON’T Want her autograph and instead want to know why she hates toddlers so much.

Bailey runs up to Gretel the next day at school and explains. Turns out, this is the work of a social media influencer, Belle, who is defaming Hamster and Gretel to gain followers. Shortly after, when Gretel helps an elderly woman across the street after tripping and falling and spilling her groceries, Belle was conveniently located nearby to capture the footage, reverse it, and post it online to appear as though Gretel were throwing the groceries on the ground. The story made the local news, where we find out that Belle went viral overnight because of her posts.

Bailey doesn’t stand for any malarkey besmirching the good name of Hamster and Gretel, so she recruits Fred who is good great with computers to help her out and take down Belle themselves.

After a musical number about building clout through followers, which is so scarily accurate it doesn’t even read as humorous, we see another montage of videos edited by Belle to make Gretel look bad.

Kevin does what he can to keep Gretel’s spirits up, but to no avail. Despite Bailey’s best efforts, police show up and attempt to arrest Hamster and Gretel for their new life of crime that they’ve seen on social media, along with Kevin for aiding and abetting. Even though Gretel was going to give herself up, she saves Kevin and flees the scene with him.

After a lot of effort, Fred and Bailey are able to get into Belle’s systems, but each of the thousands of files are encrypted with a unique password, so unless they have thousands of people who would volunteer their time to help, it looks like all effort to clear Gretel’s name might be lost. Fortunately, Bailey is the president of the Hamster and Gretel fan club, and it has thousands of loyal members!

Kevin has arranged for an appearance on a talk show to help Gretel maintain her hero image, but Belle is there too. After lies and manipulation and twisting Gretel’s words, Belle finally shows unedited footage, this time of her fleeing the scene of a crime with Kevin. She goes outside and is about to be arrested by the police who were waiting, when Bailey shows up with Fred and an army of Hamster and Gretel fans. They show the unedited footage for all to see on the Times Square-esque screen outside, and prove Belle is a fraud just for the followers. Belle is then arrested, but for completely unrelated charges – practicing unlicensed cosmetology.

An Arthouse Divided

We open on a clearly villainous type pretending to be a seat inspector installing restraint mechanisms at a local theater before we find out that Kevin himself is going to a special advanced screening of “Larry The Magic Boy” thanks to tickets he got from Fred. Sadly, Bailey and Gretel are forced upon Kevin to join by their mom, so any hopes of Kevin turning this into a date with Hiromi have now flown out the window.

Fred is taking tickets when the same dastardly type from earlier is sneaking in, pretending to be the projectionist for the exact screening of “Larry the Magic Boy” that everyone is currently in line to attend.

Hiromi and Kevin are getting snacks while the younger kids go get the seats, and we see our villain setting up a special projector and get his backstory too – turns out, when he was in film school, he debuted his project to an empty theater because a new trailer for “Larry the Magic Boy” dropped and everyone went to watch it on their phones.

Kevin still can’t figure out if this is a date with Hiromi or not, and that serves as the premise for this episode’s musical number, and there are three children – well, two children and a hamster, in between them. Kevin is handed the popcorn, which is covered in a concerning amount of butter, causing him to spill it and he heads to the snack bar for more. Gretel goes with him, wanting more drinks. As we already have seen the seat restraints installed, I feel like we already know where this is going.

The villain is in the projection room, ready to debut his new film for his captive audience and sure enough, he activates the restraints and everyone is strapped in for a four hour experimental short film. Everyone, save for Kevin, Gretel, and theater usher Fred that is.

In the theater, the crowd is going crazy as the film has no narrative structure or cohesive storyline and the film is pure, torturous, agony.

Fred knows exactly what's up, with Gretel suiting up and destroying the door to get into the projection room….even though Fred has the keys. Hamster isn’t present though, because he is actually enjoying the film shown on screen. The villain, Arthouse, splits himself into an optical illusion so Gretel can’t figure out which one the real version of him is, until she quickly sees the only one casting a shadow. Game over.

As she goes to apprehend, she steps on a booby trip that wraps her and Kevin in celluloid which is 2% stronger than Gretel’s powers. Now, nothing can stop Arthouse from his huge plans of…making everyone watch his movie so he can now talk incessantly about the thing he made.

Out of options, Kevin remembers his shirt is covered in solidified theater popcorn butter. Gretel uses her heat vision to warm up the substance which liquifies into a convenient lubricant and allows them to escape and free the audience. Kevin goes after Arthouse and Gretel takes the projector, which is now in a destruct sequence mode, out of the building.

Kevin tackles Arthouse and he warns everyone to stand back, he has the theaters only copy of Larry the Magic Boy and he’ll smash it if anyone makes a move.

Fortunately, Hamster is small enough and strong enough to capture Arthouse, though it is a bit awkward for him considering how much he loved the movie.

In the end, Hirimo ended up having a great night too, but if only Kevin knew how she felt about him too…

This episode of Hamster & Gretel is now available on Disney Channel and the DisneyNOW app. You can catch up with earlier episodes of the series, now streaming on Disney+.

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Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.