Numbers Game (Captain Planet)
"Numbers Game" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Captain Planet, and the ninety-eighth episode of the show overall.
After the Planeteers' vacation to Coney Island is delayed due to their assistance required in reducing the impacts of a landslide on a developing community, they decide to celebrate Wheeler's birthday by visiting a nearby eco-themed amusement park. On one of the rides, Wheeler slips into a coma, where he sees an illusory, dystopian Hope Island ravaged by overconsumption.
Why It Sucks
- The main problem with this episode is that it attempts to tackle the issue of overpopulation and overconsumption, while the way in which it's described to the audience makes it clear that the writers had no knowledge of the topic, and were just using random predictions and speculation despite there being little knowledge of the topics at the time.
- Making this worse is that an earlier episode of the show, "Population Bomb", already addressed the issue of overpopulation, and that episode at least tried to retain a basic sense of logic in its conveyance of the issue to the audience, unlike "Numbers Game".
- The Planeteers are less likable than usual in this episode, Wheeler especially.
- Numerous plot holes and oversights:
- How is there a fully operational amusement park in a developing community that was just hit by a major landslide?
- None of the Planeteers attempt to make the connection as to why impoverished families have more children than financially stable families, and the fact that the episode aired before there was extensive knowledge on overpopulation does not excuse this oversight.
- The episode explicitly states that individuals in developed areas consume up to thirty times more resources than individuals in developing areas, despite never addressing the possibility that the former group could have produced the surplus of resources to begin with.
- Why does Gaia, a goddess, show signs of aging in the illusion world?
- Wheeler and Linka's children in the illusion world are greedy and arrogant characters who constantly ask for commodities they clearly don't need. For example, one child is jealous that Kwame's family has a television screen that is forty feet in width while the former is stuck with a ten-foot screen, despite the fact that forty-foot screens rarely fit inside residential homes and are more commonly used in cinema theaters.
- The illusions of Kwame, Ma-Ti, and Gi are also unlikable. "Illusion" Kwame states that he consumes less resources than "illusion" Wheeler just because the former only has two children, which just shows a lack of logical reasoning.
- Wheeler's line near the end of the episode, in which he suggests that he and Linka should probably limit their number of future children to two, at least strays from the episode's usual lack of logic.
- The animation and voice acting are still decent.