So no one guessed which toon I was talking about today, so no shout outs. But I’ll keep this an ongoing thing. I’ll leave a hint at the end of each post, and if you can guess first, I’ll give you the credit.
So, I think this show might be a little obscure, but I enjoyed this show as a kid, even though it was meant for adults. Featuring Jason Alexander and Dweezil Zappa, and about $5 million in celebrity appearances — though I’m sure they worked for less — Duckman was probably one of the funniest cartoons of all time.
The story revolves around Eric Duckman — though they just call him Duckman 99.99999999999% of the time — having adventures, and being the most lecherous duck I’ve ever seen. He also runs his own detective buisness, and is a single father to Ajax, his slightly dazed and confused son, and Charles and Mambo, his conjoint twin sons that are super geniuses, when he can fit it in.
I watched maybe half the series, though not in order, on Teletoon when I was maybe twelve or thirteen and older, and many years later downloaded some of the series, mostly epidosed I had already seen. There’s since been a DVD release of the entire series, and I look forward to picking that up someday.
So what sets this show apart from other adult animated shows? The mature content factor is through the roof, without being South Park levels of crazy, and there are many satirical parts to the show. The animation quality some might say is poor, but I feel that it adds to the show. The animation was produced by Klasky Csupo, who, you may remember is the Rugrats’ production company. The show, even though I was waaaaay to young to watch it, made a lot of sense to me, and made me laugh hysterically. I think it was around that point that I realized that I was a 20-year old trapped in a 13-year old body.
If you haven’t seen this show, all I can do to convince you is tell you that this is Jason Alexander at his best, Dweezil Zappa puts in a memorable performance, and Tim Curry shows up a lot.
As usual, if you had an experience with this show, please feel free to leave a comment sharing it with us.
Look forward to my next post, about a show that’s about four friends. can you guess what it is?
You can look forward to a post tomorrow sometime. It’ll be about a toon I was waaaay too young to watch!
If you can guess what it is, I’ll give you a shout out and a plug for your website!
Peter and Britt, you’re definitely excluded from this.
So leave your guess in the comments, and the first person to guess correctly wins!
There was a block of cartoons on Teletoon I watched fairly regularly. They were The Oblongs, Undergrads, and Mission Hill.
While I’m sure I’ll write about all three of them, today I want to talk about Mission Hill.
Mission Hill was set in the eponymous, fictional neighbourhood of Cosmopolis. The main cast all shared a loft, and shared that same late 90s slacker attitude. Of all three shows I named, this one was probably my favorite. The voice acting was better than Undergrads, and the writing, in my opinion, was way way better than the Oblongs. The theme song by Cake didn’t hurt either.
The animation style was fairly simple, but worked for the premise of the show. My favorite part of their style of animation was the added extras, like actual daggers flying out Andy’s eyes, or a sight line showing where he was staring.
The voices however, we’re very keen. Staring what I would say are minor celebrities, the cast had a lot of chemistry. Andy French was played by Wallace Langham, who has a very impressive resume. Andy’s brother Kevin was played by Scott Menville aka Teen Titan’s Robin. Another notable cast regular was Tom Kenny, voice of none other than SpongeBob SquarePants. He voices Wally, the Old Gay man who lives upstairs with his partner Gus.
The story revolved around Andy, who was a struggling cartoonist, trying to kind of make his way in the world, between ska shows and malt liquor benders. He works at a waterbed store, and lives with his brother Kevin, and roommates Jim and Posey.
The biggest problem with this show, that led to it’s cancellation, was the fact that it aired when it did and where it did. In the US, the show aired on the WB, in 1999, with very poor ratings. If this show were to air today, I think it would go over like gangbusters. I’ve always said if I won like 50 million dollars, one of the things I would do is get this show back on the air. I guess the timing was wrong for this type of show. It was cancelled after 13 episodes.
On the DVD, the special features include animatics, and behind the scenes looks at the show, so I recommend picking it up. If you don’t I’ve got one word for you.
It’s time to talk Clone High. This short-lived series ran just under a year (November 02 – April 03) with an episode count of 13. The show focused on the lives of 5 clones of historical figures: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Ghandi, Joan of Arc and Cleopatra.
The show was essentially a play on the teenage drama, and was set at Clone High. So if you’ve never seen it before,
you’re a terrible person imagine Degrassi with clones.
This series sticks in my mind because the humor in it was so self-referential, usually involving jokes about the clones’ past. Abe, whose historical counterpart was possibly one of the greatest leaders of all time, is a normal wishy-washy teenager, trying to score with the cheerleader and lacking any leadership that would have been endowed by his genetics.
But the true comedic genius came from a slew of guest stars, including Tom Green, Jack Black and my personal favorite, John Stamos.
So why should you watch this show? It’s got sweet animation, a funny voice cast and the story is solid throughout 13 solid episodes.
If you can find it on DVD, I recommend you buy it. Hell, buy two and give one to me.
Did you watch Clone High? Let me know about your experiences in the comments section, or on Twitter, @imprintex.
Stay tooned, on Wednesday we talk French.
I’d like to start off today’s post by thanking Peter N. Trinh for my awesome branding identity and layout help. His webcomic Maddy McGee, P.I. is really good and you should give it a read! And keep an eye out for his new comic Perfume & Primer Caps.
Now onto business!
If you haven’t guessed by the title of the post, I’m going to be talking about everyone’s favorite school bus, The Magic School Bus! This show was the bomb when I was a kid, teaching me about digestion, space and many other things. The Magic School Bus would take Ms. Frizzle (voiced by Lily Tomlin) and her class of very multicultural students to various place one couldn’t go on a normal field trip — with the Frizz? No way!
The series was based on a series of books written by Joanna Cole, and ran from 1994 to 1998. Ms. Frizzle’s class included:
Arnold, the scaredy-cat; Carlos, the pun master; Dorothy Ann, the class know-it-all; Keesha, the somewhat regular student; Phoebe, the new kid in class; Ralphie, the Jock/second class clown; Tim, the artist; and Wanda, the Tomboy. Everyone had their favorite, and mine was definitely Ralphie. I found everyone else to be really contrived. Ralphie seemed fairly genuine. But, hey, the past is always rose coloured.
Now while the Magic School Bus’ content was fairly accurate, there was always some inaccuracies. None that I could recall at this very moment, but I always remember thinking that’s not quite how it goes. Usually if there was some discrepancy due to time (speeding up digestion to a half hour for instance) that’s usually when the producer got a call. I found these segments to be the best, usually because Malcolm Jamal-Warner was voicing the producer. But I digress. The show had a slew of celebrity voices, including Dom DeLuise, Dan Marino, Tony Randall and many others. My favorite was probably Dan Marino, since I was obsessed with Ace Ventura, Pet Detective as a kid.
So does the show hold up? Well, not really. I mean it’s still great for kids, but it’s not really something you can watch as an adult and enjoy. The Characters a little silly and the catchphrases get a little repetitive. If I had kids, though, I would probably sit and watch a few episodes with them before switching it to something else. So there you have it. The Magic School Bus, awesome as a child, but a little painful when you grow up. Unless it’s the Dan Marino episode. That guy rocks!
So I recently rediscovered an old, forgotten favorite, Jim Henson’s “Dog City”.
For those of you who don’t remember this howling good masterpiece, it follows the life of Eliot Shag, the Muppet who kind of looks like a German Shepherd, and is the animator for The Adventures of Ace Hart. Or whatever it was called. The neat part about this show was that it introduced kids to breaking the fourth wall very early. Ace Hart, the cartoon protagonist, would often stop the cartoon, and make demands to Eliot, the Muppet protagonist. Also, perhaps not as fourth wall shattering, Eliot based the designs of his cartoon Characters on the residents in his what seemed very cramped, and very unlocked apartment building. The chief of police was based on his love interest, the paper boy based on the young pup that was always in his apartment. And so on…
The Cartoon was definitely Canadian based and featured many Canadian voice talents. Ron White, Stuart Stone (who you may recognize as Ralphie from the Magic School Bus), John Stocker and a slew of others (Including Twilight Sparkle and Rarity.) As for the Muppet performers (I want to say Muppeteers, but I’m not sure if that’s correct,) Kevin Clash plays the protagonist Eliot. You might recognize him from his other work.
The show’s original 3-season, 31-episode run started in 1992 and ran until 1994 on FOX in the US and Global in Canada. It also ran on Canada’s Teletoon until 2000. It won a Gemini Best Children’s Television programming for 1993-1994, with nominations in that category for 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, and a nomination for best writing in the 1994-1995 awards.
All in all, a pretty good show, I think. I enjoyed watching it, and having recently seen the pilot episode again, I feel it stands the test of time. I recommend you check out this show if you can.