Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Questions... Questions... Questions!

Tonight's article is more of a question... two actually. What are your favorite cartoons and what do you like about them? Wow, that was short. Maybe we should throw in a third to pad things? Which cartoon character is most like Obama reading the State of the Union?


Tennessee Jed said...

I guess whichever toon comes closest to income inequality. Off the top of my head gyro gearloose, perhaps?

AndrewPrice said...

Huh, I don't know that one? I tend to see Obama more as Gargamel from the Smurfs.

Backthrow said...

I see Obama as a cross between Dishonest John from Beany & Cecil and Captain Peter "Wrongway" Peachfuzz from The Bullwinkle Show... with some epic fail Zoltar/Galactor from Battle of the Planets/G-Force mixed-in.

Kit said...

"Which cartoon character is most like Obama reading the State of the Union?"

Captain Planet? Preachy, full of himself, and annoying as heck.

PikeBishop said...

Why Foghorn Leghorn (minus the Dixie accent) of course. Ah say, Ah say, boy,now focus on jobs, now boy, ah say say, now let me be perfectly clear, ah say, now stop repeatin' ah say, stop repeatin' ah say stop saying the same thing over and over again, ah say focus on jobs, recovery summer, let me be perfectly clear."

KRS said...

PB nails it. Bravo!

My favorite cartoon is Phineas and Ferb. It's highly imaginative, all the characters like each other and the juxtaposition of the products of boys antics against the secret agent missions of their pet platypus defeating the evil mastermind trying to take over the entire tri-state area resulting in the removal of exotic machinery before their older sister can get their mom to see it and bust them - well, you really have to see it.

That said, I'd love to see them take any one of Obama's SOTU scripts and have Dr. Doofensmirtz recite it as a backstory to justify one of his "inators" - be funnier than hell.

Anthony said...

I haven't watched The Simpsons in many years. It has descended into sitcom hell and every time I see it mentioned (which isn't often) people are talking about the special guests and not the episode. All that being said, The Simpsons was amazing in its day. It was filled with great characters who it clearly sympathized with (characters were characters, not just set-ups for jokes) and it told great stories about those characters.

To go really obscure I am going to mention an old tv series named Gargoyles. Like The Simpsons, it lived longer than it should have (like all right thinking people, I pretend the 3rd season doesn't exist) but the first two seasons were exceptional.

To borrow a term from Andrew, the law of unintended consequences often comes into effect. For example, a female gargoyle and a male human conspire to bring about the murder of all of the humans who look down on the gargoyles. Their plans go awry and most of the gargoyles wind up murdered.

The gargoyle who plotted the murders of the humans is one of the few survivors and she winds up tremendously bitter and cruel, recognizing at some level her responsibility for the near annihilation of her clan but unwilling to face it. And that is just one story arc. The series was filled with such arcs (many of which played out over several episodes).

As for Obama comparisons, I agree with Kit's choice of Captain Planet, which I enjoy watching because it is so wonderfully awful, routinely giving kids messages like 'Humans are viruses' and 'Americans are louts'.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Captain Peachfuzz! Good call. That describes his leadership abilities perfectly.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Perfect! :D

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, I am having visions of Obama now speaking with the Foghorn Leghorn voice. I would probably watch the SOTU if he did that.

Kit said...

By the way, we in East Alabama are being paid a visit by Queen Elsa herself in the form of a winter storm. Likely freeze, possible snow.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, Sadly, I have not seen Phineas and Ferb. It sounds like I've been missing something!

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I agree 100% about the Simpsons. At one point, it was a brilliant cartoon that cared about its characters and which came up with very inventive storylines packed with unexpected jokes. These days, it's about cool guest stars who do little more than show up, say their name, have Homer fawn over them, and then leave. I stopped watching.

I have no seen Gargoyles. I remember it, but never watched it at the time. Perhaps watching the first two seasons is a good idea?

I like the Captain Planet comparison.

PikeBishop said...

I think it was James Burrows or someone else associated with the stong "Cheers/Frasier" pedigree who described a successful sitcom thusly: If you are very lucky, you get a year to two years for the actors to find their characters, for the writers and directors to get a grasp for the situations, establishing strong plot threads for those characters. Then and only then you get about 4-6 years of top quality shows. After that it's a decline, sometimes shallow, (Cheers, MASH), sometimes quickly (Married with Children, All in the Family after writing out Edith). That's the best you can hope for.

It may have been the same source who said, "We decided to end Cheers when we sat around the writer's table and every idea was met "Did that" or "already done."

The Simpsons reached that point a long time ago. For instance, how many episodes have dealt with someone trying to befriend Nelson Muntz: Lisa, Bart and Marge have all taken a shot at a plot line that should have been retired in 1997

KRS said...

Andrew - I have a soft spot for the show and, amazingly, the entire family likes it (including the teenagers and my wife!). It satisfies your rules for cartoons, such as character invincibility. When the evil Dr. Doofensmirtz is outwitted by Perry the Platypus and cuffed to his own exploding rocket at his daughter's birthday party, she is unconcerned.

"Is that your Dad on that rocket?"

"It's okay, he blows up all the time."

He does and he's okay.

Another nice feature is that the boys older sister is always trying to rat them out to their mother, but the boys are totally fine with it - that's just her thing. She always fails to bust them because whatever "inator" that Doofenshmirtz is making winds up accidentally taking out Phineas and Ferb's creation just before Mom shows up. The boys have no idea what is causing their inventions to disappear, but they're okay with that, too.

Even Perry and the evil Dr. Doofensmirtz seem to like each other.

There are songs too. Clever ones. And a rock group called, "Love Handle." What more could you want?

The first few seasons stream on Netflix.

Kit said...

re Captain Planet, at least Obama won't throw up a bunch of terrible puns. I mean, GOD, were the writers even trying?

One website listed them:
—(After tying up a group of bad guys with a rope) "Looks like you guys are all tied up!"
—(After burying a group of bad guys in an avalanche) "Guess these guys needed to cool off for a while!"
—(After throwing a group of bad guys into the ocean) "Looks like those guys are all washed up!"
—(After electrocuting a group of bad guys with lightning) "Shocking, isn't it!?"
—(After covering a group of bad guys in tar) "Stick around for a while!"
—(Before tossing a group of bad guys into a pile of garbage) "Time to take out the trash!"

Here is the link: "8 Reasons Captain Planet is the Lamest Superhero Ever"

Jason said...

What are my favorite cartoons? These would have to be at the top of my list:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): The number one favorite from my childhood. Loved the turtles, loved the ninja action, loved the Technodrome, loved the BG music, loved the bad guys (RIP James Avery – this series’ voice of Shredder).

Ducktales: The animated adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his nephews was a close second to the green team when I was a kid.

The Real Ghostbusters: More so for its first season, this was a brilliant adaptation of the movie into cartoon form, well preserving the characters’ personalities from the film and giving us some really cool and scary-looking monsters.

Dragonball Z: One of my first anime shows and my intro into the “shonen” action genre. I had no idea animation could render martial arts battles this good, and especially when the characters can fly and shoot beams of power that can blow up mountains!

Gargoyles: The storytelling in this series is great, with layers upon layers that mixes sorcery and magic with sci-fi techno action. And of course, Keith David as Goliath! Instant manliness!

Avatar: The Last Airbender: With Gargoyles, I asked “Disney really made this?” With Avatar, I asked, “Nickelodeon really made this?” More so in its second or third seasons, this show blew my expectations for what I’d see in a Nickelodeon cartoon.

Puelli Magi Madoka Magica: Okay, this title will be completely unknown outside of anime fandom, but I count as a mind-blowing title. Initially, it starts out as a typical teenage-girl-fights-evil-monsters-with-magic-powers series, and really, really deconstructs the premise into something dark and somewhat tragic – but not too much. The ending is actually very uplifting.

Obama actually reminds me of Cobra Commander if CC’s voice was slightly lowered. The smugness of Captain Planet is also definitely there.

Backthrow said...

My favorite (made-for-tv) cartoons:

The Simpsons (first 8 seasons only) Basically for what has already been said.

Rocky & His Friends/The Bullwinkle Show Still a funny, funny show. Great cast, great charaters, great writing, funny drawings (though done on the cheap, in Mexico, with lots of errors... but it all still works).

Roger Ramjet Hilarious, with ultra-minimal animation and very simplified drawings. Great, mostly because of the superior voice cast, headed by Gary Owens, who all seemed to be ad-libbing a lot of the funny dialogue.

Jonny Quest (the original 1964-65 version only) Oh, how I love this show... it is pulpy high-adventure distilled to its very essence, a veritable catalog of cool stuff: super-science, enemy agents, secret bases, mad scientists, monsters, jet-packs, primitive tribes, lost treasure, flying platforms, frequent gunplay, smoking, bad guys dying, etc. Due to the era, completely unhampered by modern P.C. concerns. Killer theme music and opening/closing credits, too. Excellent artwork, and the limited animation is designed to work to its best effect, unlike a lot of similar material that followed (which tried to do too much with too little, like the later versions of JQ).

Beany & Cecil Originally a popular puppet show on early TV, created by the unrivaled madman of Looney Tunes, Bob Clampett. It became a cartoon series in the early 1960s, with better-than-average animation and crazy humor, especially outrageous puns and with some mildly risque bits snuck in from time to time, as well as a lot of humor sending-up the pop culture of the time. A worthy competitor to Bullwinkle.

Ren & Stimpy Brought slick, classical-style funny cartooning back to TV (after the rougher-looking Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, by much of the same crew, had tested the waters a few years earlier), where it had become extinct since the mid-1960s. Totally insane. The only drawbacks were some of the random weirdness for its own sake, and some over-reliance on gross humor (seems like they had some leeway with that, so used it as a substitute for a lot of the cartoon violence of old). Well-drawn, and the characters were funny and interacted well. I liked the music used, as well.


Backthrow said...

Lupin the Third A lot of the elements that I love about James Bond, Mission Impossible and The Pink Panther movies are cobbled-together into this very popular 1970s/1980s anime series, that ran for a little while on Toonami. One of the many feature film versions, CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO, is still one of the best anime films, ever.

Urusei Yatsura A popular, long-running 1980s anime series; a wacky sci-fi teenage romantic comedy, basically setting the comic template for a lot of subsequent series, like Tenchi Muyo. The best way I could describe it is if you crossed Archie comics, Barbarella and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Never run on conventional U.S. TV or cable, but thrived on bootlegged video and later via licensed VHS/DVD releases.

Speed Racer (the original) A very early childhood favorite. Exciting, fast-paced, cool and campy/unintentionally-funny. Too bad I didn't like the live-action movie version very much.

Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast Surreal, off-the-wall, basically satirizing David Letterman, well after that show was no longer worth watching. Sometimes a little to weird and random for its own good, but still my favorite Adult Swim/Williams Street show (I didn't care for most of the others).

George of the Jungle (the original version; also with Tom Slick and Super Chicken) More fun from Jay Ward... writing's not quite as sharp as on Bullwinkle (a lot of those writers had moved on to bigger things), but is still pretty funny. Lots of great, cartoony drawing, and the usual excellent voice cast.

The New Adventures of Flash Gordon A bold move for the time: a Saturday Matinee-style serialized adventure for Saturday mornings (until the ditched the idea in the 2nd season, and added a stupid, cutesy dragon character that became the focus of the show). Almost up to Jonny Quest standards, this was pretty cool and well-designed... although with a lot of padding and repeated sequences, since it was re-purposed (and toned down a little) from an excellent animated made-for-TV movie that was produced in 1978, but not aired until after the Saturday morning version, in 1982.

PikeBishop said...

You think Captain Planet was bad. Just Google "Sport Billy" which actually replaced Bullwinkle and Rocky reruns on one of my local Pittsburgh stations back in the day.

Just Google it.......................you have been warned.....be afraid....be very afraid....

AndrewPrice said...

So an alien of questionable sexuality comes to Europe with his purse to play soccer and save us from gnomes. Sorry I missed it.


AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Most sitcoms last too long. I think they run out of ideas, but love the paycheck and so they just fall into a formula they repeat over and over.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, "He blows up all the time." LOL! Classic cartoon! I'll have to check this out. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Wow. Those aren't even low hanging fruit. Those are rotten fruit you pick up off the ground.

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, Cobra Commander! Good call. I loved Duck Tales... great show.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Bullwinkle and Jonny Quest are two of my favorites. Great shows!

Kit said...

Duck Tales! Woohoo!

"Those aren't even low hanging fruit. Those are rotten fruit you pick up off the ground."
Yup. And even worse? His delivery sucked!

Anonymous said...

A lot of the ones I liked have been mentioned already. Duck Tales, Gargoyles (note for the Star Trek fans, a fair number of TNG actors did voice work for the show), and Ninja Turtles were some of my favorites as a kid. I also got to see episodes of Rocky and Bullwinkle and the old Jonny Quest on Cartoon Network and enjoyed them. All that said I guess the biggest cartoons I can contribute are:

Batman: The Animated Series - This show was just superb all around. Its opening alone let you know you were going to be in for an intense, fun ride. The voice work was excellent as well, particularly Kevin Conroy's Batman and Mark Hamill's Joker. They gave villains like Two-Face, Clayface, and Mr. Freeze quite a bit of depth, too. This show established Two-Face as my favorite Batman villain.

Darkwing Duck - This show was another big part of my childhood. I enjoyed watching all the silliness Darkwing, Launchpad, and the others got up to, and they always had fun villains to go up against as well. I remember being pleasantly surprised that they gave antagonist Bushroot's origin story a somewhat dark tone as well. The show never failed to entertain me back then, though!

- Daniel

Mycroft said...

27 Comments and no one has mentioned Batman: The Animated Series? Are you kidding me?
Batman Beyond was pretty good, too.
Looney Tunes with Bugs, Daffy, Pepe, and Marvin.
And Rugrats was a favorite to watch with my kids.
Obama couldn't be Foghorn Leghorn, he doesn't have the charisma. Besides, he has more in common with Angelica.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, Inspector Gadget was my poison, along with the various Super Mario Bros. cartoons. Every time Nintendo released a new Mario game, there would inevitably be a new cartoon. The one most people probably remember today is The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! which featured live-action wrap-around segments with Captain Lou Albano as Mario and character actor Danny Wells as Luigi. I'm sure I'd cringe if I watched it today... good times! :-)

As for Gadget, I mentioned this recently: it wasn't written very well. The exposition suffered from that 70s/80s "I found the bad guy's hideout and now I must stop him!" dialogue. But some of the gags were pretty good.

And Looney Tunes, which used to air on Nickelodeon. And, yes, Batman: The Animated Series, which I need to see again one day from the beginning.

Rustbelt said...

Ducktales, Batman TAS, Looney Tunes, Darkwing Duck, TMNT...most of my choices have already been taken.

Interestingly, my first cartoon obsession was 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.' (Admitted toy junky here.) Looking back on it, the cartoon is a bit of a letdown. However, He-Man was revamped in 2003 on Cartoon Network (and judging by the style, it appears the guys behind Batman TAS were behind it). I thought this was a great update, but ratings were low and it was cancelled all too soon.

I'll also have to add Transformers (Generation 1, Beast Wars never did and never will count), Inspector Gadget, and Pinky and the Brain.

"So, fellow Commentaramans, what are we going to do tonight?"
"Same thing we do every night..."
Everybody: ...

Rustbelt said...

As for Obama, well, Andrew, I came across an episode of the 'Real Ghostbusters' (one of the best cartoons of all time, hands down, IMO), and found it to contain some interesting political observations.


Please note:

3:22- some good advice for the GOP's 2016 race
6:54- what most voters would really like to say to Obama (and most of Washington, for that matter)
14:52- ah! Nancy Pelosi cameo!
19:04- the best advice anyone could give Obama

Outlaw13 said...

Favorite cartoons:
Jonny Quest: The original, just all kind of awesome for a pre-teen boy. Fighter jets, jet packs, invisible monsters...it was just cool.

South Park: Not well animated at first, but so well written and funny it trumps everything else. Defiantly not for the faint of heart, but when the writers are "on" it is really great.

Archer: Just the word-play and pop culture references are worth it for me. The animation just gets better and better as well. This one isn't for the kids either.

Almost any Looney Tunes cartoon: The animation, music and writing pretty much can't be beaten.

Obama at the State of the Union sounds to me like Charlie Brown's teacher.

AndrewPrice said...

I see a lot of love for Batman and I have to say that I was really impressed with that show when I caught it on the Cartoon Network a couple years ago. It was really well written with great actions, solid stories and very interesting characters.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Good call... Charlie Brown's teachers! LOL! :D

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