Originally posted at the original TV Tome. Updated slightly to delete outdated info:
Okay, before I begin, I'd like to give a special thanks to Dave/sweatyhorse78 in Canada. He taped this episode off of the CBC and sent it to me and otherwise, I most likely would have had to have waited quite a bit longer to see this. If you also like the Arthur show, then be sure to check out his website at http://www.angelfire.com/ma2/ecdc
You might want to check it out even if you don't like the show or have never seen it because it has some really neat stuff. Some that are reading this might already be familiar with this.
For those that don't know, this episode, "Just the Two of Us / Cowboy Max" was originally scheduled to air as part of Dragon Tales in October of 2002. But for some reason, Sesame Workshop pulled the episode from the United States schedule, although they allowed the episode to air in foreign markets such as Guam and Canada. Sesame Workshop has been going through some hard times lately and Dragon Tales recently lost one of its executive producers, Nina Elias Bamberger. So if you have a chance, look for Sesame Workshop products and continue to support their great efforts.
In 2005, this episode was released as part of the show's third season, although it was supposed to be part of the second season. "Cowboy Max" was also made available on DVD. Fans were pleased at finally being able to see this episode.
Now, here we go:
"Just the Two of Us"
This episode begins in the playroom, as you would expect. Max and Emmy are drawing pictures of unicorns. They seem to be having a good time. Then, however, they get a call from the dragons and that takes precedence, so they grab the dragon scale and go. When they arrive, they find Cassie and Ord. Cassie has an umbrella and Emmy, once again naturally, asks if it's going to rain. Cassie informs her that it's going to more than that - snow, hai all sorts of wacky weather! Emmy asks if something is wrong with Pollynimbus and her weather machine and is rightly concerned, given what happened in "Under the Weather." Cassie tells her that's not it. It's just that spring is coming and Pollynimbus is testing out her weather machine to make sure everything is in tip-top condition. As long as that's happening, the weather's going to be sort of strange. Emmy wonders what they're going to and Cassie says that's the problem - it's hard to know what to do when the weather keeps changing all the time. Meanwhile, Zak and Wheezie are in their knuckerhole. They're talking with their parents and I believe this may be the first time their parents have ever been shown on screen. Like normal dragon parents, you can't see anything beyond about the top half of their body. Zak's Dad sounds to me somewhat like the Poor Man's Rodney Dangerfield ticket-taker from "Roller Coaster Dragon." However, Ian James Corlett isn't listed for this episode, it apparently isn't the same voice. In any case, Zak and Wheezie's parents are giving them their old Dragonlinks building kit, which is some sort of Dragon Land Legos. They had fun with it when they were kids, but, of course, they're too old for it now. Zak and Wheezie think this is great. Wheezie wants to create a sculpture, whereas Zak wants to make a fort. Wheezie is thinking of asking the gang to come and play with them. Zak, however, says that he doesn't want anyone to see his fort until it's finished. Max, Emmy, Ord and Cassie come and are curious about the Dragon Links blocks. So Zak and Wheezie devise a plan, meeting them at the entrance to the knuckerhole and saying that they should go swimming. After all, why be cooped inside on a nice day like today? (Clever!) So they head off, but when they try to go swimming, it starts snowing. Zak and Wheezie say that it's getting cold and they have to go home. They claim they can hear their Mom and Dad calling. (Not so clever!) Emmy wonders what they're making and Cassie can't help but wonder too and also wonder why it's so secret. Max and Ord decide that they can have fun without Zak and Wheezie. Some rainbows just appeared and Max wants to slide down them into the snow! (The wacky weather creates some neat situations.) Back at the knuckerhole, Zak is still having problems with his fort. He decides that he needs Ord's strength to aid in the construction. Zak and Wheezie go and get Ord. Emmy slickly comments on their returning so soon. They whisper into Ord's ear and then leave with Ord. This only gets everyone else more curious. Zak and Wheezie must be building something pretty big if they need Ord's help. Back at the knuckerhole, Ord helps with the creation. They decide that with some work, it could be a robot. Not long after that, they decide to change it to a rocket ship. Zak makes a hilarious reference here to The Honeymooners here and even though I've never actually seen The Honeymooners, the particular expression he's referencing has sort of become part of pop culture, so it's quite recognizable. The viewers can start to see a theme developing: Zak and Wheezie agree that building is more fun with Ord helping them. They run into another situation: in order to adjust something on the rocket ship, they need to reach through a hole. But all of their hands are too big. So they go and get Max. Max helps them with their problem and they end up moving the construction outside in order to do more work on it. Cassie and Emmy arrive and consider the creation. Emmy looks at Cassie and asks if they're both thinking the same thing. The two think that on its side, the rocket ship could be a boat. Then, Lorca shows up. He asks about the sculpture. He thinks it's neat what they've done before, but what if Zak and Wheezie made it into an "all-weather adventure wagon." Zak and Wheezie correct him, it wouldn't be just them that did it, it'd be everyone, since it's now everyone's project. Everyone agrees that the adventure wagon is a great idea, but they'd need something that could both slide and roll. Ord thinks that they could get the needed parts at the dragon dump. He goes to see Arlo, although we don't get to see him do it, which seems sort of a cheat to me, but I'll allow it. With the new parts, the wagon is completed. It's a nifty contraption. It has wheels to roll along the grass, but when they encounter a snowy patch, they can make the wheels go up and out come skis to let it slide. Everyone has a great time riding it and Zak and Wheezie think it was great working with all their friends. Emmy and Max return to the playroom, where Max seems to have taken the story's lesson to heart - and is using it to his own advantage! He asks Emmy if she wants to do something with him. It'd be more fun if they did it together. Emmy agress, at which point he reveals that she's going to be helping him clean up a mess. Emmy gives her trademark "Oh, Max" line.
This episode is good writing and very traditional feeling Dragon Tales story in my opinion. The wacky weather makes for some wacky and funny situations. There's some nice humor with Emmy's clever comments as well as Zak's great line. And the theme of everyone working together on the project works really well. I could just be in a good mood just for being able to see the episode, but I give it:
Dragon Scales: 10/10
Max and Emmy are in the playroom, where Max is completely decked out in a cowboy uniform. He gathers some of Emmy's dolls and tells her that he's a "charro rounding up his cows." (When this episode does air in the U.S., if you have close-captioniong, take a look. It seems whenever one of the characters uses a Spanish word or phrase, it's italicized on the close-captioning.) Emmy tells him that's it okay, just as long as he puts her dolls back once he's done. After all, they wouldn't want the playroom to be messy. (Since it hardly ever seems to be that messy - ever notice that?) Once again, the dragons call them to Dragon Land. When they arrive in Dragon Land, Ord starts talking about how the ponies have come. But he cuts himself off when he notices Max's outfit. He asks what the deal with it is and Max explains about the "charro" thing. Max's explanation creates interest in everyone. They all start pretending to be charros, except Zak and Wheezie. Wheezie's not even sure at first what a charro is and Zak, being Zak, thinks that just watching everyone pretend to be a charro makes him tired. They mention the ponies again and Ord says that's what he was trying to say. So they all go to ride the ponies. Max and the gang meet up with "Gamboli," who's in charge of the merry-go-round with the ponies today. He's sort of old looking, I guess wise. Max mentions Whinny from the first season and Gamboli calls him a good friend. Max picks out a pony named Bronco, which Gamboli thinks is an excellent choice. He tells Max that if you ride the ponies long enough, they'll come to life. He starts up the ride and everyone has fun at first. But then, Max falls off of Bronco. Everyone checks to see if he's okay. He seems to be mostly all right, just a scrape, but they take him to Dr. Booboogone just to be safe. Dr. Booboogone agrees that Max is okay and gives some doctorly advice that maybe Max should try a gentler pony. Max claims that he still wants to ride Bronco. When they arrive back at the carousel, Max breaks down. He says he wants to ride Bronco, but he's scared to get back on. He's afraid he's going to fall off again. Zak and Wheezie talk about when Zak first started to ride his bike. He fell at first and was scared, but eventually he got over his fear. Max says that he doesn't know how to get over being afraid. Everyone decides to help him out. Zak and Wheezie decide to ride Brono themselves. At this point, I get the feeling that they're going to end up falling off themselves and end up making things worse. This doesn't happen though. Instead, they simply don't help any. Max isn't any less scared because he knows that Zak and Wheezie are too big to fall off. Cassie thinks she can help - she's just the right size. She rides Bronco without any trouble. Max gets back on and the ride starts back up, but he quickly calls for it to stop again. Seems Cassie's riding didn't help either. He's still scared. Ord comes up with a funny idea. He'll be Max's pony. So Max gets up on Ord's back and Ord pretends to be a pony. It doesn't really help, though because Max knows that Ord would never let him fall off. Emmy tries to help by saying that if Max doesn't want to ride Bronco, he doesn't have to. Max still says that he does though, he's just scared. Zak and Wheezie come up with a newer, better idea. They get two acorns and make them into elbow and kneepads for Max. He still needs a helmet, though, so they make him one out of a mushroom. He has to take off his cowboy hat, though, which is kind of a shame. All of this is a big help and Max gets back on, but he asks Emmy to ride with him. They ride together for a while, until Max calls for a stop again. This time, he's okay. He just wants to ride alone now. After the ride continues for a while, Bronco comes to life. He takes and starts flying and the other ponies quickly follow. Everyone thinks this is great - now they know what it's really like to be charros. They go through Dandelion Forest. Luckily for Ord, he's able to hold back a sneeze. They finally arrive back at the carousel. We see that Gamboli has been holding on to Max's cowboy hat and he hands it back to him. He calls everyone's riding, some of the best he's ever seen. Emmy and Max return to the playroom, where Max still wants to wear his outfit - to dinner, to bed and to school the next day.
Max makes a cool cowboy. Once again, we see elements here that have been dealt with on the show before, but it works well. References to past stories as well as Gamboli's character add a nice element to the episode. As expected, Max's situation is resolved, although it takes a fair amount of time before he's finally convinced to give riding another thought. Once again, I'll give this:
Dragon Scales: 10/10
Sesame Workshop is to be thanked for finally releasing this to U.S. viewers. This episode is by the Jim Fisher / Jim Staahl writing team, which have also worked on shows such as Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Danger Theater. Everything seems to be written well and everyone acts in character. Per my rating for both of the epsiodes, I give this:
Overall Dragon Scales: 10/10