There are four half hour animated episodes to the series, and each of them is equally amusing and seems much longer than it is (at least, to me it’s that way). They are (in order):
A Grand Day Out (done in 1989)
The Wrong Trousers (done in 1993)
A Close Shave (done in 1995)
and A Matter of Loaf and Death (done in 2008)
I’ll review them in that order as well. A Grand Day Out: When you have run out of cheese, and cannot find a good place to go on a cheese vacation, what do you do? No, the answer is not run to the store. The answer is build yourself a rocket ship, because “everybody knows the moon is made out of cheese”. So Wallace and Gromit swiftly construct one together, paint it red, and load it with the things they shall need. At the last minute, Wallace realizes they have forgotten the crackers. The fuse is already lit, and he rushes to get the crackers, with Gromit in the ship, biting his nails (in this case it’s just a figure of speech, not something that was actually happening) as he waited for Wallace to get back. He managed it, and they set off for the moon. The trip was a peaceful one, Wallace ate crackers and read a magazine, and Gromit made a tower of cards. When they landed on the moon, they immediately set out for a nice picnic spot. On their way, they found what looked like a fridge on wheels with a slot for a quarter to go into. It doesn’t give them anything, and after a bit of frustration, they head off again. They can’t seem to decide what sort of cheese the moon is made of. “Wensleydale?” suggests Wallace, but Gromit doesn’t think so. After a couple more suggestions, they continue on to ANOTHER spot, and while this goes on, the fridge comes to life! From here on out, it’s the fridge chasing after them and “repairing” the moon with glue while they continue on their picnic. At the end, the fridge tries to come with them to Earth (it wants to go skiing), but it couldn’t hold on to the ship, seeing as two of the metal strips came away. But there is a good thing! The strips could be made into skiis! I felt absurdly happy when the fridge was able to skii over the surface of the moon.
The Wrong Trousers: In this fishy story, Wallace decides to rent out a room of their house because of some problems with money, and the person who rents it (if he can be called a person) is a penguin. Feathers McGraw “to be precise”. Gromit doesn’t like him, and slowly but surely, Feathers McGraw starts pushing Gromit away from his human master and friend. The day that the story starts also happens to be Gromit’s birthday, and Wallace made him a pair of robotic trousers. Feathers McGraw, waits until Gromit leaves (that scene was so sad) and then gets Wallace into the trousers and goes to measure a window at a museum. The next night, he goes and robs it of one of it’s diamonds. When he gets back, he is confronted by Gromit, but pulls a gun on the faithful dog and forces him to get into the closet he’s locked Wallace into. But by using rocking motions, they uproot it (thanks to the trousers) and chase after the slippery penguin. The next scene is a train chase, but not on a real train. Nope, it is on a toy train. After a few close shaves, they catch Feathers and take him in. And speaking of shaves…..
A Close Shave: Wallace and Gromit are running a window cleaning service, and they happen to be called by a lady who runs a yarn shop. Wallace then meets his first love, the lady who owns the yarn shop: Wendolene Ramsbottom. When they get home, they discovered lots of chewed up things, the trail leads them to a small sheep. Shaun the Sheep, one of my favorite characters from the Wallace and Gromit shows. ^_^ Another being Gromit, with his expressive face. 😛 Anyway, Wallace has made a machine for making yarn, and he tries it with Shaun, of course, the intention being to only give him a wash. It was accidentally flicked to the “close shave” setting. Preston, Wendolene’s dog, sees this and steals the blueprints. Gromit gets framed for the sheep rustling that’s been going on, and the sheep that they saved live with Wallace, and each day Wallace reads the newspaper (every time there is a new headline about Gromit), he says “Oh Gromit”, and the last time he says that, even the sheep cry. Later, Gromit receives a sheep puzzle (poor poor dog….) But when it’s completed, it isn’t just a simple puzzle, it’s a message that tells him to be ready that evening, and the time he completed it was around the time he was supposed to be ready. Shortly after that, Shaun appears and Gromit escapes through the window, not falling to his doom because there is a tower of sheep below him. The sheep tower makes it one of my favorite Wallace and Gromit scenes. 😛 Honestly, it was hilarious. They put all the sheep back into a field, and witness Wendolene and Preston stealing them, Preston started terrorizing Shaun, which finally provoked Wendolene to speak out against the whole scheme. She whacked Preston and told him to stop it, but Preston didn’t listen and put her in the truck with the sheep, even though he was supposed to protect her. And her talking reveals that Preston is going to turn them into dog meat! When I first watched this episode, I got seriously freaked, honestly, the idea that it wasn’t going to actually happen didn’t really occur to me at that time, I was busy hoping that Wallace and Gromit would save them. In the end, they did of course, and Preston was revealed to be a robot. At the end of the episode, Wendolene visits them and Wallace asks if she’d like to come inside, saying they were just about to have some cheese. Then he discovered that his love is alergic to cheese. Poor guy.
A Matter of Loaf and Death: This one was a little freaky, it starts with a guy just starting his bakery, and a shadow appears, he turns and he says “Oh it’s you!” looking happy, but then he starts looking scared…… he was killed with a rolling pin. So there are twelve bakers murdered in the past month, and the serial killer still hasn’t been found. In this episode, Wallace and Gromit are running a bakery of their own, and Gromit is worried that they’re going to be next. While on their way back from delivering bread, they meet the Bake-o-lite girl and her poodle, suddenly, she looses control of her bike and Wallace and Gromit save her just before she falls into the crocodile pit at the zoo. She thanks them and they go back to their house. Later, she appears at their house to thank them and share some food. She worms her way into their lives, and just as Gromit starts getting really worried, he discovers that they’re engaged. He goes over to her house to deliver her purse, which she forgot, and discovers that she’s the murderer, and she intends to make Wallace her thirteenth, and last, murder, so that she has her baker’s dozen. The poodle is good though, and helps him. When the lady throws out all of Gromit’s things, the poodle rescued them for him, and she became Gromit’s first love. It was really really cute. 🙂 In the end, she catches Gromit and locks him up with the poodle, who she is going to “deal with later”. She’s already delivered a “cake” to Wallace, and it turns out to be a bomb. They go to warn Wallace, using one of the bake-o-lite air balloons she kept, causing her to say “curse that prevailing sou’ westerly!” XD They barely make it, and after quite a fight, they beat her, and she flies away with the balloon. Wallace is concerned and says that she’s too heavy for it, to which she replies “nonsense! I’m as light as air, I’m the bake-o-lite girl!” before the balloon gently descends into the crocodile pit.
Even though “A Matter of Loaf and Death” was freaky, I still felt kinda sorry when she died. Not for her, definitely not, but for Wallace. Even though she’d tried to kill him, he still liked her. Oh, and did I mention that the poodle ends up staying with them? Everything came to a nice conclusion. You can see the progress with the animation in each episode, and if you’ve watched some of the “behind the scenes” work from the “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” you can appreciate just how much work it took to make each one.
I’m really glad that they did do the work though, because the results were very amusing….. and did I mention that those episodes saved the Wensleydale cheese? I found that very surprising when I found it out, but on reflection, it wasn’t as surprising. They’re popular, of course people are going to check out Wallace’s favorite cheese! They’re one of my favorite animated duos. 😛