Cartoon Country: Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!

So last year, I posted my initial reaction and my impressions of Warner Brothers’ latest animated Flintstones series Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.

YDD4

It was originally going to be a segment of Peeks, but I switched it to Brain Candy when I learned that WB decided to cancel the series after one season instead of the two seasons that were originally planned.

Steve Urkel - Did I Do That

I did this because I figured that WB was just going to bury this show in a landfill somewhere with all of the unsold Atari E.T. game cartridges and act like it never existed. However, as of this writing, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is currently airing on Boomerang in the United Kingdom and in Africa, and it’s supposed to come to Boomerang’s streaming service some time thereafter. So because of this and also because I’ve since seen some additional material since viewing the initial pilot for the show, I can now do a proper Cartoon Country for it.

 

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

So off we go again!

I’ve already explained the premise of YDD last February in my post Yabba Dabba Done, but in case you don’t feel like referring to that, here it is one mo’ time:

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! Warner Bros. Animation takes you beyond Bedrock to The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it.

Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are two best friends, growing up in the prehistoric time when dinosaurs and giant beasts still walked the earth. But as exciting as that sounds, they live in peaceful, quiet old Bedrock, a modern domestic civilization similar to our own (but with stone cars that run on leg-power). That’s why whenever they get the chance, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino head to the open wilderness, helping new friends, fighting new enemies, and learning about life through their endless crazy adventures. Back in Bedrock, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty still enjoy all the familiar quirks and trappings of life as a modern Stone Age family not knowing all the trouble (and fun!) their kids are getting themselves into.

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Mark Marek (producer, MAD, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (executive producer, Right Now Kapow) serve as producer with Sam Register as executive producer.

Now, here are my thoughts:

WHAT’S GOOD

This is an original idea and a fresh take on the Flintstones franchise. I think that there being a Jurassic Park like savage area inhabited by wild dinosaurs located adjacent to Bedrock is a cool idea, and it’s something that’s never been attempted before in the franchise. It’s also a nice change of pace to have a Flintstones show that takes the primary focus away from Fred and Barney for a change (Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty are still very much a part of the show, of course, but here they’re more supporting characters). Yeah, I know that we’ve previously had The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm show in the 1970s…

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show

…but let’s be real: that show just Archie with the Flintstones branding (teen Pebbles was pretty hot, though).

There was also that short lived Cartoon Network show in 1996 starring P&BB titled Cave Kids, but that only lasted for eight episodes and it came and went so quickly that I never saw it.

Cave Kids title card

Cave Kids Book Cover

Speaking of which, did you know that there was a series of children’s books featuring Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm that was also titled Cave Kids published by Gold Key in the 1960s? Because I didn’t!

Another good thing about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is that it’s a rarely seen take on P&BB as pre-teens! Except for a couple of prime-time specials, we never saw that before. Here, P&BB aren’t babies nor teenagers, but rather they’re a happy medium between the two. They appear to be between 8 and 11 age-wise.

Plus, kudos to this show’s producers for remembering that Bamm-Bamm is super strong!

Pebbles-and-Bamm-Bamm-Wallpaper-the-flintstones-3740381-1024-768

Even as kids, my twin Damon and I would watch The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show and wonder “What happened to Bamm-Bamm’s super strength?” Sure, as a teenager he was shown as being kind of a jock, but come on! As a toddler, Bamm-Bamm could lift an entire couch with one hand! As a teenager, he should’ve been able to lift the entire Bronto Bunch, motorcycles and all, and juggle them over his head! This show at least remembers that little detail. As a bonus, just so that Pebbles has something to contribute to the show, here she’s depicted as having above average intelligence, as opposed to before, where she merely inherited her father’s love of hatching hair-brained schemes.

YDD5

And you’re free to disagree with me on this, but I saw the pilot and I thought that it was pretty funny. I genuinely laughed at the Wikipedia joke, as I did with the running gag of Dino taking off for the hills in terror and Pebbles asking “Why did we bring you?” Yeah, I thought that was funny! Fight me!

I read that Capatain Caveman will be making an appearance on the show at some point. Damon has theorized a way to include Cavey on this series where his inclusion would actually make sense! He’s the one who laid this all out, so I’ll just re-print his words. Take it away!:

Going back to the Captain Caveman thing for a sec, ever since 1983, Hanna-Barbera has been trying to integrate Captain Caveman into the Flintstones universe. First they tried making him a straight-up Superman parody and that didn’t work since he was still covered in hair and couldn’t speak a sentence without saying “Unga-munga” first, so you’d have to be blind, deaf or just have a Degree in Dumb not to see that Chester the Copy Boy and Captain Caveman were one and the same. They next tried making Cavey a fictional character on a TV show on Flintstone Kids, and that didn’t work either because the show-within-the-show that Cavey starred in was also set in Bedrock, so he still stuck out like a sore thumb. Only after the WB takeover someone finally got the idea that if you put an actual savage land in this prehistoric setting (which itself should be a no-brainer), you could put the hairy wild man in there and he’d actually fit in! Just make him the Crags’ Tarzan. You wouldn’t have to explain why Cavey is the way he is; he spent his entire life in the Crags, so naturally he wouldn’t be civilized like the citizens of Bedrock.
There’s an ancient saying which I think applies here. What is it? Oh yeah…DUH.

Also, this intro is pretty cool:

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Of course with any update/revival/fresh take of a long established franchise (and you can’t get much longer established than The Flintstones!), you’ll hear the inevitable comments like these:

hauntleroy-groovie-goolies-8.3

I haven’t seen this, but they’re doing something new and different from what I’m used to, so I know that it’s bad!”

yabba-dabba-dinosaurs-matching-pairs

…but out of all the negative comments and criticisms about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, most of them have been about the art and the character designs, and I have to say…yeah, I can see where they’re coming from. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate these designs, but the whole thing looks kind of…rough, for lack of a better word. This looks more like an early draft than the finished product. I mean, why is Pebbles so skinny? How is she even able to support herself with those little stick legs? And those brown jeans on Bamm-Bamm. No, just no.

Apparently, Warner Brothers commissioned several artists and animators to come with their own designs for the characters, and they ended up going with Mark Marek’s designs. For those who don’t know, Mark Marek drew the Henry & June host segments for Nickelodeon’s Kablam!.

YYD6

Kind of makes you wonder what the character art of the people who didn’t get the job looked like.

Personally, I would probably have gone with Chris Battle’s designs:

chris-battle-p-bb-ig-alt-v2

chris-battle-pebbles-bammbamm-babies-color

chris-battle-p-bb-doubletrouble-setup-colorThe kids’ heads are kind of big and their feet are oddly flat, but they’re still recognizable as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, and at least Bamm-Bamm isn’t wearing brown jeans!

Granted, I would have preferred a more traditional look for the characters and the show, again, viz:

…but I’m willing to overlook that if the show is consistently good and the episodes are well written, overall. And I do like the ponytail on Pebbles.

Another not so good thing is that Boomerang UK isn’t promoting this very well. Case in point, this promo:

That wasn’t terrible, but I felt that Boom UK could’ve placed more emphasis on The Crags and it’s inhabitants. Also, personally I would have drawn the Crags dinosaurs in a different art style. Make them more stylized and dangerous looking as a way to differentiate them from the tame, domestic dinos that willingly (or some cases, not so willingly) serve the humans in the more civilized Bedrock. A more cinematic look and feel, with detailed backgrounds, light and shadow effects, etc., would have been nice also, but you take what you can get.

I don’t know how well Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is going to be received by the general public, but personally I think that it’s a pretty cool idea, and since this is the first new Flintstones series in years that’s not some crossover DTV with WWE wrestlers, I’m willing to give it a shot. At least WB remembers that The Flintstones exists and is trying to do something new with them. Yeah, there’s also that upcoming adult animated reboot of The Flintstones produced by Elizabeth Banks that supposedly in development, but I can’t get excited about that. I wanted to talk about YDD! because that’s an interesting idea and a different take on the franchise (Heck, the idea could work even if it didn’t take place in the Flintstones universe!), but this reboot just sounds like more of the usual strum and drang and I don’t think that Family Guy style jokes is the shot in the arm that this franchise needs. So sorry, folks, but I don’t plan on watching nor writing about that one.

Myself, I remain cautiously optimistic about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!. It’s a decent concept that could work in the right hands. And who knows? If the show goes over well, WB might to decide to renew it for a second season after all. Unfortunately for us here in the good ol’ US of A, we’ll have to settle for clips floating around online for now, but wherever you can see it, check it out!

Tyrannosaurus Rex

“Yeah, kids! Come on over and visit The Crags! I LOVE finger food!”

Cartoon Country: 101 Dalmatian Street

Back in March, Jason did a Peeks for Disney’s new British/Canadian animated series, 101 Dalmatian Street.

 

101 Dalmatian Street

Well, now that we’ve since seen some episodes via clips on the internet (since we still have no frelling idea when this show is coming to the U.S. !), we’re able to cover it on Cartoon Country!

Dave Madden_zpstuy17pah

Huzzah.

If you read Jason’s Peeks (or are lucky enough to live in one of the countries that’s actually started airing the show), you know the premise: set some 50 or 60 or so years after the 101 Dalmatians book/movie, this series focuses on a new Dalmatian family: A London dog named Delilah (who’s a descendant of Pongo and Perdita from the original 101 Dalmatians) who marries an American dog named Doug. Each of them have a litter of pups from their previous marriages (don’t ask how dog marital issues work), making a total of…wait for it…101 Dalmatians in total, all of whom live together in a rowdy house in swingin’ Camden town. However, the lead characters of the show are not the parents, but rather the 2 eldest pups, teen Dalmatians uptight, pedantic Dylan (Delilah’s biological son) and free-spirited, fun-loving, mischievous Dolly (Doug’s biological daughter) who look after the house and their 97 younger siblings while their folks are at work during the day (Doug works as a fire dog while Delilah works as a nurse, respectively).

Doug & Delilah

“Puppies, we’re hoooome!”

Now, you’re probably wondering:

Question_Block_Art_-_New_Super_Mario_Bros

Um, so dogs have day jobs in this world??

Well, yes, but don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t some alternate reality where animals are just stand-ins for humans.

Zootopia

Zootopia this ain’t!

The animals still live alongside humans on the show, and the domestic ones are still pets. You see, the Dalmatians’ owner is an eccentric billionaire named Dodie (after the original book’s author, Dodie Smith) who left the house to the family after retiring to live on an island. The house is technologically advanced and full of gadgets and gizmos designed to give these dogs whatever they need (given how the animals’ speech only sounds like animal noises to people on this show, I imagine the Dalmatians ordering takeout on the phone must be an interesting experience). As you can imagine, a house full of rowdy dogs with no live-in master is a mailman’s nightmare.

One touch that I like is how all of the Dalmatians in the family have ‘D’ names, and that’s not just because that’s the first letter of my name. Not only that, but Disney managed to come up with a ‘D’ name for each and every member of the family. All 101 of them.

Loretta.PNG

“Oh no they di-in’t!”

Oh yes they di-id! Here’s a little ditty someone came up with listing all of their names, so I don’t have to. (Warning: this song is an earworm. It’ll be stuck in your head for days.)

Wow, just wow. Now that’s dedication. I doubt Peyo Culliford ever sat down and said “I’m going to come up with a name for all 100 Smurfs.” Disney can be quite meticulous when they want to be. I marvel at the fact they still chose to go with 101 dalmatians when they didn’t have to. They could’ve easily taken the lazy route and said: “101 refers to the street number on the show, not the number of dogs.” Heck, that’s what I would’ve done, but I’ve been declared legally lazy by a doctor.

101 Dalmatian Street

They gave themselves an out, and still chose not to use it! That’s bold.

Another cool thing about this show is its’ aesthetics, especially when it comes to the Dalmatians themselves. Instead of all the dogs being uniform, like androids, each of the main characters have physical distinctions which makes them stand out design-wise and gives you a little insight to their personalities. I’ll give a brief (?) run-through of all of the named Dalmatians who are actual characters on the show; I can imagine what sort of characters some of the background puppies have, going by some of the names, but I’ll leave that to the inevitable string of fan fiction writers.

DYLAN

Dylan_Sitting_PoseDL

Likable nerd Dylan is voiced by Josh Brener, whom you may know as Nelson “Big Head” Bighetti on HBO’s Silicon Valley. Dylan loves astronomy and aspires to be the first Dalmatian in space, as evidenced by the star tag on his collar and how the spots on his left ear are in the shape of the constellation Canis Major, aka the Dog Star.

mortimer-snerd

“Duh, I did not notice that! But um, what’s a major canis?

DOLLY

Dolly_Sitting_PoseDL

Dolly is voiced Michaela Dietz, perhaps best known to cartoon fans as the voice of Amethyst from Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. She loves to skateboard (among other things), as noted by her Sk8er style ring-shaped collars and sock-like marking on her front paws. She also really wants to make “Bow-Whocka-Wow!” into a catchphrase.

DOUG

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As previously stated, dad Doug is a fire dog, note how his tag resembles a fireman’s uniform shield. Personality-wise, Doug is a big, loving, sensitive teddy bear of a guy…

John_Candy

Think John Candy as a Dalmatian.

DELILAH

Delilah_Ref_ImageDL

 

Delilah the organized, orderly mom of the family (or should I say ‘mum’, since she’s British and the show is set in London?) shares Dylan’s black left ear and white right ear. As previously stated, she works as a nurse, note how her tag resembles a nurse’s badge.

DANTE

Dante

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

Dante (named after the title character in Dante’s Inferno) is the life of the party, if said party were being held inside a Doomsday bunker. His constantly on-edge personality is further illustrated by his spiked collar. I like how he’s a reverse Dalmatian (black with white spots instead of the usual opposite, save for the blue spots on his right ear), however, his voice and personality aren’t exactly what I was expecting. Dante’s very paranoid and gloomy (surprise, surprise!), which is to be expected, but I thought he’d be calmer and more aloof…

Jade_Catkin_ID_S1E11

…Like a male, canine version of Jade Catkin from Littlest Pet Shop…

Steven Wright

And speak in a Steven Wright-esque deadpan.

DEEDEE & DIZZY

Dee-Dee_&_Dizzy_Looking_At_Each_OtherDL

Deedee & Dizzy are hyper, excitable twin pups (FTR, Dizzy is the one with the bandit mask style marking around her eyes, while Deedee wears a Dolly-esque set of ring-like collars and black sock-like marking on the toe tips of her paws). They are irremediably cute and desperate to please, though they hinder things as often as they help. So they’re like actual younger siblings.

DAWKINS

Dawkins

Dawkins is the brains of the house (named after English ethologist Richard Dawkins), able to operate most of the house’s tech as well as inventing some of his own. You can tell he’s really smart because he owns a laptop and by the atom design on his collar. Dawkins must be one of Delilah’s pups since he refers to Doug by his first name rather than “Dad” for reasons unknown. I guess as an intellectual, he doesn’t have time for such sentiments.

DIESEL

Diesel

Not the sharpest pencil in the box, Diesel has a mania for dirt and digging, as is evident by the chunks or dirt which adorn his body. He’s also distinguishable by his monobrow and blank expression, which I’ve only ever seen on one other character.

ed

“I’m hungry!”

DESTINY, DALLAS & DEJA VU aka TRIPLE D

Triple D

These hyper-adorable, high-end, full-on diva triplets have “Future Plush Toys” stamped all over them. They’re the only family members aside from the parents who have jobs: they work as models for magazines and in commercials. This makes them a little vain and high-maintenance, but they’re bringing home some bacon, so if they have a bit of attitude (which they do) it’s understandable. Their dialogue typically consists of the 3 of them saying a single line which each of them sharing in the sentence; one will start, another will say the middle and the third will finish it up. The Disney Wiki claims that each of them has a distinct personality–with Destiny being the “woke” member of the trio, avidly aware of trendy celebrity causes and the like, Dallas being the fashionista who loves dressing up and being pampered, the full-tilt diva with a heart of gold and Deja Vu being the quirky ditz, as evidenced by such episodes as “It’s My Party” and the micro-short Diva Pups. FTR, you can tell which is which by their jewel-encrusted collars: Destiny’s is decorated with hearts, Dallas’ with diamonds and Deja Vu with circles.

DEEPAK

Deepak 2

Deepak is named after author and existential philosopher Deepak Chopra. Note how the markings on his head and his collar make the shape of a Yin-Yang symbol. He’s very New Agey but a bit of a Nervous Norvus, often slipping into panic mode when things go awry and having to meditate hard to calm himself down, or tending to try and embrace his inner cat, despite his being a dog.

Deepak

“This is my existence. The dichotomy of order and chaos. The fierce, raging Yang locked in eternal struggle with the gentle, sobering Yin.”

two_face

“Brah, I can soooo relate!”

Shirley the Loon

Jason says he would’ve made Deepak female and more like Shirley the Loon, and I could definitely see that.

 

D.J.

DJ's_Picture

Yup, his name is D.J., and he’s an aspiring DJ. They don’t all have to be complicated.

DELGADO

Delgado

Your eyes don’t deceive you; Delgado’s got no hind legs, he rolls around in a makeshift wheelchair (’cause progressiveness and representation are kewl!). If he has any grievances about his condition, he has yet to be shown voicing them; rather he seems to enjoy his situation as it allows him to zip around at high speeds, his passion. He tries to impress Dolly with his speed prowess; his idolization of her is further represented by him having the same black sock markings on his front legs as her.

DA VINCI

Davinchi1

Despite the name, DaVinci is a girl. No prizes for guessing, she’s an artist, as evidenced by the spots on her pelt in other colors besides just black. According to Dylan, her colored spots are the results of paint blobs permanently drying on her fur, not because she’s a mutant who’s half clown.

DOROTHY

Dorothy

Dorothy is the youngest pup, as such, she appears to behave in a very toddler-like manner. She has not yet learned how to communicate verbally but is able to understand what others are saying, usually giving non-verbal responses if they ask her something.  Dorothy enjoys gnawing on things (most likely because she is still teething), and her basket is surrounded by chewed-up toys and sticks. Appearance-wise, she has no spots and a pink collar with a bone tag on it. She’s also the only character in the main cast whom I’m not really crazy about. She’s basically a baby, great. But unfortunately, she embodies all the reasons why I usually don’t like baby characters on shows. Mainly because they’re not funny! The original incarnations of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm weren’t funny. Baby Smurf wasn’t funny. Jack-Jack from The Incredibles isn’t funny (no, being ridiculously over-powered and annoying does not equal comedy) and sorry, but Dorothy is not funny! There are of course some notable exceptions, such as Stewie Griffin or Lily Loud, but for the most part, baby characters are not funny.

Now I know some of you are going to say to me: “Come on, Damon. How can you be so down on Dorothy? She’s so cute!”

-Yeah, but she’s not funny.

“She has such a cute little laugh!”

-She’s not funny.

“She’s so precious and adorable!”

-She. Isn’t. Funny.

Look, I have nothing against cute characters or little characters, but they have to be more than just cloyingly cute. An example of a ‘youngest kid’ character done correctly is Chelsea from Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse.

chelsea_2

Yes, a lot of Chelsea’s shtick revolves around her being the youngest and aggressively cutesy, but the difference is that Chelsea has a personality and does things. She’s not just there to make the audience go “Aaaaawww” and send the other characters into a blind panic when she goes missing. I challenge anyone to describe Dorothy using an adjective besides ‘cute’, ‘adorable’ or ‘precious’; you can’t, because she doesn’t do anything.

One viewer thought that Dorothy was supposed to be Oddball from the movie 102 Dalmatians because she has no spots (though–spoilers!–she gets spots at the end). I actually think that would’ve been a better idea for a character; they could’ve exploited her oddness beyond just having no spots to an all-around eccentricity, like female version of Gonzo from the Muppets. Now that would’ve been a character I could get behind.

There are also a set of wacky neighbors, including a snooty neighbor dog named Clarissa who looks down on the ‘ruff-raff’ for not having an owner, even though they do, she just doesn’t live with them, a police officer horse, a fox, a squirrel and a rat who live life on the streets and a husky whom Dolly has a crush on (though he might be more interested in Dylan–yeah it looks like they’re going there!). And we get treated to scenes like this:

Aack! Cute puppy overload!

-Now, it’s time to address the elephant in the room.

elephant-vector-clip-art-3279552

“S’up, y’all!”

The question many fans are asking (though not me personally, for reason I’ll get into)…

Cuella De Vil

Where is Cruella DeVil??

Well, keep in mind that this show takes place about 50 years after the movie, so Cruella would have to be pushing 100 by the time of this series…but the producers haven’t forgotten about the DeVil legacy; for the 2-part season finale, we get an appearance by a descendant of Cruella’s, one Hunter DeVil, who is, well, a hunter. Fair enough, it is the brand and that’s what the audience will/would be expecting, but (and I know this is an unpopular opinion) I personally like that there is no real villain on the show. One of the things I like about 101 Dalmatian Street is how it’s not an adventure show, just a pure comedy; no villain-dodging, just wacky shenanigans. I figured we’d get a DeVil, but I hope this character is just someone they encounter every so often and not a regular foe to defeat. There are other things I’d like to see the writers do on this show first…

Dorothy

…Like giving Dorothy a personality, for one.

 

 

 

Cartoon Country: Funny Face

What’s this? A new Twinsanity blog post? Imagine that!

Just to keep you guys up to speed: we’re still planning to start implementing original videos onto the site, and those are still in the works. In the meantime, we still have a few more text posts on the back burner, so we’ll be dedicating the upcoming weeks and months to getting those out before we go full throttle on transforming Twinsanity to a predominantly video format. Now that that’s out of the way, on with the fun!

Today’s Cartoon Country takes another look inside the weird, weird world of Uncle Grandpa and friends.

Uncle Grandpa 3

Hang with the Gang!

Specifically, we’ll be looking at the short “Funny Face”, season 1, episode 4.

Funny Face 1

The short begins  with Uncle Grandpa, Pizza Steve, Belly Bag, and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger having a “funny face party”, which involves them taking turns as they make silly faces at each other. Mr. Gus comes over and questions what they are doing. They all explain to Mr. Gus that they were having a funny face party and did not invite him because he is too serious and rarely laughs.

Really? This joy jockey almost never laughs??

Mr Gus

You Don't Say

 

Mr. Gus warns them to be careful with their funny face party before leaving them to do…things off-camera.

Pufnstuf1

You know…stuff and stuff.

After Mr. Gus leaves, Uncle Grandpa takes his turn by making the ultimate funny face. He makes the rest of the gang laugh into tears. Uncle Grandpa detaches the funny face from his body to see how funny it truly is. He ends up laughing as hard as the rest of the gang. After laughing for a while, they decide to end their funny face party and go about their day. Little do they know, the Funny Face Head follows them as they do.

Let the wackiness ensue.

 

Trivia Time: The Funny Face Head is actually that of the series’ creator, Peter Browngardt.

Agnes 2

“It’s so FUNNY!!!”

After exploding to get away from the Funny Face Head (as you do), Uncle Grandpa and Belly Bag end up hiding in a closet, where they find Pizza Steve and Tiger hiding as well. They all mutually agree that the funny face is making them laugh too much. The Funny Face Head ends up being in the closet with them, so they run out of the closet laughing. The Funny Face Head chases them all over the RV.

Fozzie2

“That guy’s always one step a-HEAD! Waka-waka-waka!”

Mr. Gus sees these shenanigans and thinks they are just simply having a good time without him.

Sadness

“That gets me right in the feels.”

Uncle Grandpa tells the others that they must destroy the Funny Face Head, so they put on some army gear ready to attack the Funny Face Head. Unfortunately for them, they can’t stay serious enough to destroy the Funny Face Head, and they decide to recruit Mr. Gus to help them because of his serious demeanor.

They make their way to Mr. Gus’s room, locking the door behind them so the Funny Face Head can’t come in. Uncle Grandpa knocks on Mr. Gus’s bedroom door. Mr. Gus opens it before Uncle Grandpa begins to explain everything that happened and why they need his help. Mr. Gus refuses to help due to the fact he was excluded from their party. Mr. Gus shuts the door on the rest of the gang, leaving them all very upset.

Sadness

“Ooh, those feels again!”

As they are discussing how bad they feel, the Funny Face Head begins to knock on the door. Tiger and Pizza Steve try to hold the door to the best of their ability as Uncle Grandpa creates an invitation for Mr. Gus to join their “Destroy the Funny Face” party.

Funny Face 2

“Um, I know we dissed you earlier, but could you, like, do us a solid?”

Uncle Grandpa knocks on the door again and gives Mr. Gus the invitation. Mr. Gus again refuses him, stating that they are no longer friends.

Sub-Zero

“Dat’s cold, bro!”

 

Funny Face 3

Every wrinkle etched in misery…

Uncle Grandpa and everyone else get very distraught by this news. They all begin to cry over the loss of their friendship as the Funny Face breaks in and tries to make them all laugh. Unfortunately for the Funny Face Head, they were all so upset that they were beyond being cheered up by a silly face. This made the Funny Face pop like a balloon and fly right out of the RV.

Funny Face 4

Though they destroyed the Funny Face, they were still very upset that they lost their friendship. Mr. Gus comes out of his room to inform them all that he’s actually still their friend and he said what he said because he knew that would help them become serious enough to destroy the Funny Face. The gang is happy to hear this, so Uncle Grandpa announces a “Cuddle with Mr. Gus” party as they all give Mr. Gus a big, warm group hug.

Uncle_Grandpa_and_Mr._Gus_in_UG_Christmas_Special_pt_II_04

Sweet, in a bizarre, twisted way.

And that was “Funny Face”. As Jason noted before, Uncle Grandpa isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. The biggest complaint I’ve heard about this show is that it’s too silly, to which I say, well, so effing what? Is that really a bad thing? Not every cartoon has to be Grave of the Fireflies. Sometimes, a little silly and surreal can be just what the doctor ordered. Some cartoons have to bring the zany, and that’s just what Uncle G and company do. My favorite animated shows have always been the ones which embrace the big, dopey silliness of the medium and just run with it.

Gonzo

“Weird. Is. Good!”

Cartoon Country: Out Of Fuel

For today’s Cartoon Country, we’ll be venturing into the twisted, demented world of Cartoon Network’s original series, Uncle Grandpa.

Uncle Grandpa

“Good morning!”

The story I’ll be covering today is titled “Out of Fuel”, which is actually a short that aired with the season 2 episode “Uncle Grandpa Retires”, in which Uncle G fills in for the spare tire of his own RV and likes it so much that he wants to keep the job permanently.

WTF

Yeah, you have to have seen the show for that to make sense. Anyway, on with the short. The iconic uncle and grandfather of everyone in the world is on the road with his running crew (Belly Bag, Pizza Steve, Mr. Gus, Giant Realistic Flying Tiger, Tiny Miracle and Frankenstein) playing an epic game of Twister when things go awry.

That’s right; Uncle Grandpa’s RV runs on weirdness rather than gas, so the gang sets out to find some spare weirdness in The Big City.

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So to recap, these guys…

Uncle Grandpa & Friends…THESE GUYS…

…don’t know where they can find a source of weirdness to fuel the RV, so they search The Big City trying to find some. After a few minutes of shtick, they eventually come to the conclusion…

Glinda the Good Witch

“They had the weirdness with them all along!”

With this new found revelation, UG extracts some weirdness from his buddies

UG - Out of Fuel

 

which results in them nearly getting sucked into a vortex. However, Uncle G does manage to snag a small piece of the weird aura and uses it to finally fuel the RV. It’s here where he delivers the coup de grace: He says:

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“With a piece of weirdness this small, the RV can only run for another 10,000 years. Maybe 20,000 if we rotate the wipers regularly.”

WTF

And that was “Out of Fuel”. Now, the surreal nuttiness of Uncle Grandpa is an acquired taste. You’re either going to enjoy it or you just won’t. One of the biggest complaints that I’ve heard regarding UG is that the series lacks depth and heart, in response to this, I would ask these people “Why are you expecting depth and heart on a cartoon called Uncle Grandpa? The show is precisely what it is. Either accept it for what it is or don’t deal with it at all. It’s not complex. I’ve always enjoyed kooky, wacky humor and for some reason, I like the idea of a vehicle that runs solely on weirdness. Why are we wasting are time burning gasoline when we should just start traveling with a weirdo or two?

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“PREACH, BROTHA, PREACH!!!”

Cartoon Country: Critical Condition

HAPPY 2018, EVERYBODY!

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Slappysquirrel

“Eh, put a sock in it!”

A new year means new Twinsanity craziness. Let’s kick off 2018 with a Cartoon Country focusing on one of my favorite Silver Age Warner Bros. characters, Animaniacs‘ old-school (really old) toon great Slappy Squirrel.

Slappy Squirrel Title Card

“Thaaaat’s Slappyyyy!”

First, a little back story: I originally planned to showcase 2 of my favorite Slappy Squirrel shorts as part of a What The Funny miniseries I was going to do for New Looney Tunes last year (why insert Slappy into New Looney Tunes? I’ll get to that), but I was unable to go ahead with that for various reasons, not the least of which being that Cartoon Network and Boomerang for whatever reason opted not to air New Looney Tunes on either of their channels in the States, so I decided to just break down the 2 Slappy shorts individually as Cartoon Countries instead.

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Waste not, want not.

However, I still hold on to the hope that I can one day do a New Looney Tunes What The Funny somewhere down the line. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, on with the fun!

The Slappy short we’ll be looking at today is Critical Condition.

CriticalCondition

Premise: Slappy gets roasted by famous critics Lean Hiskel and Codger Eggbert (no prizes for guessing who these guys are based on), and sets out to make a counterpoint in her own inimitable fashion.

Critical Condition 3

The short begins with Slappy and her nephew Skippy watching a broadcast of Hiskel & Eggbert as they review a Laser Disc…

Memba This

‘Memba Those?

…entitled The Best of Looney Tunes, which features famous WB shorts that the show can run clips of since they’re all owned by the same parent company. This compilation also includes some of Slappy’s old shorts.

“There I am. Look at my head!”

Critical Condition 8

I always liked how in-universe Slappy Squirrel is a Looney Tune alongside Bugs, Daffy, Porky et al. Warner probably has no interest in doing this, but I think it would be cool if for the new Animaniacs series set to air on Hulu in 2020, they would produce some specially made ‘vintage’ Slappy shorts, similar to the “He’s Bonkers!” shorts that Disney made for Raw Toonage, just so we could see what kind of cartoons Slappy starred in within this revisionist history.

 

Among the cartoons highlighted are:

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What’s Opera, Doc?

Duck_Amuck

Duck Amuck

PorkyMeetsDodo

…And Porky in Wackyland.

-The critics are yukking it up at these clips. While Skippy is just happy that they’re happy, Slappy wants to know when they’re going to get to her cartoons. They do, but unfortunately, Lean and Codger consider Slappy to be “the only Looney Tunes star [they] actually hate”, labeling her “tremendously unfunny”.

Critical Condition 12

“WHAT???!!!???”

One bit I like is how whenever the critics insult Slappy on screen, Slappy herself takes a hit, literally.

“She’s just not funny!”

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“She never made a funny cartoon in her life!”

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“Let’s face it: Slappy Squirrel is the UN-FUNNIEST cartoon character of all time!”

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Critical Condition 4

After recovering from that ego-bruising, Slappy and Skippy regroup to make their response. Slappy offers these words of advice:

Critical Condition 11

“If you wanna go on TV and shred someone’s career to pieces, you have the right to do that, but if you’re gonna do that, don’t go leaving your names and addresses in the phone book!” Before proceeding to destroy the critics’ home with a giant missle.

Critical Condition 7

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), the critics were away getting their legs waxed and weren’t home for the explosion, but they will be attending the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s new movie. So the squirrels decide to take in a flick.

Shirley-AnimaniacsCameo

TINY TOONS CAMEO! Shirley the Loon is attending the premiering with her namesake, Shirley MacLaine.

Slappy and Skippy infiltrate the theater and proceed to give the critics the works. First by impersonating ushers who refuse to let them in, with Skippy even laying them out with karate. They finally get past him with a HUGE bribe. Then we get this exchange:

Critical Condition 6

Slappy: Congratulations, Skippy. You just paid for your college education.

Skippy: College, nothin’. I’m goin’ to Vegas!

Slappy: (without missing a beat) Get me Sigfried and Roy’s autograph, will ya?

After further chicanery, including Slappy at the concession stand treating Eggbert to a (literal) tub of popcorn (“Here ya go, Shamu!”) and buttering it with lard from Eggbert’s gut(!)…

Critical Condition 2

…And showing the critics to their seats…located inside a huge rocket…

Critical Condition 5

Slappy finally lets a fuming Hiskel and Eggbert into the theater to see Spielberg’s new movie…

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…Which was totally NOT Jurassic Park, Spielberg’s latest film at the time…

Only for the squirrels to trap them inside the film (I love cartoons!) where they’re chased by a predatory T-Rex, but no worries, the other giant missle fired by Slappy gets to them first.

Afterward, on their next show, Hiskel and Eggbert (in bandages and casts) officially retract their original critique of Slappy, completely changing their tune (or at least too traumatized to want to make any more waves), and proclaim her “the funniest cartoon character of all time”, right before Skippy blasts them with TNT into a hole, just to keep things from getting too treacly.

Slappy_on_Halloween

“Now that’s comedy!”

-“Critical Condition” isn’t deep or layered in any way; it’s plot is simple: some critics rip on Slappy, and Slappy retaliates…hard…but the gags and wisecracks in this short are top-notch, which is why this has always been on of my all-time favorite Slappy Squirrel shorts.

Critical Condition 10

We give it 2 toes up!