That’s Warner Brothers!/Unpopular Opinions: This Must Be Bizarro World

“The following am very important and worth everyone’s time.”

Htrea, aka Bizarro World, is an imperfect, messed-up funhouse mirror duplicate of Earth where everything is the opposite of our world: cats chase dogs, jokes make people cry, boy bands play instruments and Bizarro Joker is the only sane person on the planet.

These days I swear I must be living on Bizarro World, because there was a time if someone told me that Bugs Bunny Builders, an upcoming preschool show for Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito block, would be the show that interests me and that I’m curious to see an episode or two of…

And Tiny Toons Looniversity, a new adaptation of the wonderful 90’s series Tiny Toon Adventures, would be the show that I couldn’t give two squats about…

I’d have told them they were crazy.

But here we are.

I don’t get it either. I’ve tried, folks; I’ve legitimately tried to generate some interest in Tiny Toons Looniversity, but it just ain’t happening. I have zero interest in this show. I’m not even slightly curious about it.

The show I am interested in seeing is Bugs Bunny Builders, the Cartoonito show with squashed versions of Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Tweety as construction workers taking on all the jobs that Bob the Builder rejected.

“Can we build it? Eh, maybe.”

I know TTL is the show I should be psyched for; I was a big fan of Tiny Toons back in the day, but I’m just not. I think I know why, though: One reason is Reboot Fatigue: I’m legit getting tired of all of these studios strip-mining the nostalgia of Millennials. Another reason is one that I brought up in an earlier Talkin’ Nerdy: I simply don’t think we need another Tiny Toons show right now.

Don’t get wrong; as previously stated, I was a fan of the original Tiny Toons. It definitely filled a need: TT premiered in 1990; back then there was almost no Looney Tunes media aside from The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show on ABC and assorted VHS compilations (anybody remember VHS?), but those were all just collections of the old theatrical shorts, Warner Bros. wasn’t making any new stuff with the Looney Tunes (Space Jam wouldn’t happen for another six years, and this was even before shows like Bugs & Daffy or The ACME Hour — Cartoon Network wouldn’t launch until 1992), so Tiny Toons was as close as we could get to a new Looney Tunes show at the time. It also didn’t hurt that TT was one of the very few syndicated animated series which was all-comedy in an era when most cartoons were action-based or action-comedy hybrids. So I’m not knocking what Tiny Toons contributed to the cultural lexicon.

BUUUT that was then. Today we’re experiencing a kind of Looney Tunes Renaissance: we’ve since gotten no less than 3 new Looney Tunes shows…

Count ’em. Three.

We had a movie this past summer (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and we’ve got 2 new Looney Tunes shows waiting in the wings: the aforementioned Bugs Bunny Builders

…And Tweety Mysteries. Not to mention that Wile E. Coyote VS ACME movie which is supposedly still happening and will be out…sometime.

So with WB doing all this new stuff with the Looney Tunes, what do we need a new Tiny Toons show for? If you own a designer original, what do you need with a knockoff?

Again, I enjoyed Tiny Toons back in the day, but there’s nothing WB can do with Buster, Babs, Plucky, Hamton and Dizzy that they can’t already do with Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Taz, and when you strip Tiny Toons down to its’ bare bones, Tiny Toons was just a kiddification. I didn’t think we needed a new Animaniacs either (and still don’t), but at least in the case of A!, the characters, while created in the spirit of Looney Tunes, are still original characters with their own shticks. TT, by contrast, did some great shorts, but the characters will always just be junior versions of the Looney Tunes and consequently will always be in their collective shadow.

“You are wrong! The Tiny Toons are original characters! They’re teenagers, unlike the Looney Tunes! There’s all kinds of stuff they can do with them! You’re just a hater!”

Really, what can the producers do on a new Tiny Toons show? A show devoted to part-time jobs? They did that in the first series. Dating and the prom? They did that too. Cramming for exams? They did that. The big football game? Done that. Field trips? Seen that. The only thing they can’t do in this new series is constantly remind us again and again that it’s the 90’s.

Sure, the producers are doing the world a favor by dropping the odious Elmyra from the show, but that’s still not enough to make me interested in it.

By contrast, Bugs Bunny Builders offers things I haven’t seen before.

For one, the cast.

Rather than centering the show on all of the Tunes as a whole, BBB looks like it’ll just be focusing on a crew of 5: Bugs, Porky, Lola, Daffy and Tweety (Tweety being there without Sylvester is kind of weird, though). I’m sure other Looney Tunes characters will make appearances, but I like the minimalist approach the producers are taking with this show.

Second, it looks like we’ll be getting a version of Lola Bunny that’s actually funny. Dare I say, LOONY!

I’m definitely looking forward to that after the comparatively bland version we got in Space Jam: A New Legacy. It’s quite a leap from a “too cool for school” Lola who sounded like Zendaya to a bubbly, silly one who sounds like one of the Chipettes, but I’m not complaining.

But what really sold me on BBB is this:

If this image is any indication, then it looks like Daffy on this show will be his earlier “crazy, darn-fool” version, which again we didn’t get in New Legacy.

Plucky Duck from Tiny Toons was straight-up 1950’s Daffy, which is fine, but I prefer the nuttier 1940’s version overall.

It looks like we may finally be getting the long-awaited Bugs and Crazy Daffy team-up for the first time…on a preschool show! I tell you, we’re in Bizarro World!

To (finally) sum up, I guess I relate to what producer/writer Paul Rugg said when asked why wouldn’t be participating in the Animaniacs reboot:

“Here’s the thing: I did that. 20 years ago.”

That basically sums up my feelings about these reboots. Tiny Toons was great. Animaniacs was great. But both shows were products of the 90’s that I don’t need to see more of. It’s like Eek! The Cat.

I watched Eek! when it was on, I got a kick out of it, but I don’t need to see Eek! suddenly pop back into existence and find out what he’s been up to these past 20 years. I saw the originals, I’m good.

I haven’t seen 5 of the top tier Looney Tunes try to build stuff with kooky stylized vehicles and equipment, so I’m more inclined to check that out.
“That been very bad post! This will be very unpopular and earn you many, many dislikes!”

-Yeah, I know.

Unpopular Opinions: Blue Falcon & Dynomutt 2020

OK, so Scoob! happened.

Scoob!

As you know by now, we don’t review movies here at Twinsanity, so I won’t go into detail about the movie itself (there are already a ton of reviewers YouTube who have done that already), I’ll just say that my assessment of the film overall was…

Meh

It was OK. Not great, not groundbreaking, just OK. I don’t think it was low-grade dog food like many people on the internet apparently do, but I admit that its’ main draw was either for die hard Scooby-Doo fans or people in my age bracket (40-100 and up) who grew up with 1960’s through 1980’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and will therefore recognize and appreciate the many references, allusions and callbacks.

No, I didn’t think Scoob! was swill, but believe it or not, that’s not the Unpopular Opinion of this post. Today’s Unpopular Opinion is that, regardless of what I thought about the movie itself…

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

I liked the movie’s takes on Blue Falcon…

Dynomutt 2020

…and Dynomutt.

To understand why I feel this way (and to get the young’uns in the crowd up to speed), here’s a brief history lesson:

Dynomutt_blue_falcon

Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder made their debut on ABC’s Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976. The Blue Falcon (originally voiced by Gary Owens) was a Batman-esque superhero (his alias was that of millionaire playboy Radley Crown) and Dynomutt (originally voiced by Frank Welker) was his eager, brave but comedically inept sidekick, who just happened to be a talking robot dog. Dyno’s bumblings were so frequent that Blue Falcon (or “B.F”, as Dynomutt called him) would often refer to him as ‘Dog Blunder’.

The duo later turn up in–of all places–an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory entitled “Dyno-Might”.

DexterBlueFalcon

“Guest star powers-ACTIVATE!”

Fanboy and Chum Chum

“ZOMG! SHARED UNIVERSE!!!”

Dyno-Might 1

In it, the Falcon’s arch-foe, The Buzzard, ‘kills’ Dynomutt in battle and BF comes to Dexter for assistance. Dex rebuilds Dyno, but feels that the goofy ‘Dog Blunder’ isn’t a worthy sidekick to an awesome superhero like Blue Falcon, so he builds a replacement called Dynomutt X90, a more efficient but far more aggressive robot dog who’s so extreme that he sets a man on fire for littering and nearly laser blasts a little girl for picking a flower before he’s stopped by the re-activated original Dynomutt.

DynoMuttX9.JPG

“Jaywalking? Not on my watch, buster! Say your prayers, dirtbag!!”

At the end of the short, Blue Falcon says that he prefers having a comic relief sidekick because it makes him look cooler. Dexter, who’s saddled with Dee-Dee, agrees.

Fast-Forward to Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. BF and Dyno turn up in this series as well (by this time it’s been long established that the crime fighting duo know and are well-acquainted with the Scooby-Doo gang, as they’ve met and crossed over on numerous occasions and even appeared alongside one another on the Scooby Doobies team on ABC’s Laff-A-Lympics), albeit with a slightly revised backstory and some notable changes in characterization.

Blue_Falcon_(SDMI)

“I’m a falcon! Grrr!”

Here, rather than being a rich playboy, Radley Crown is a security guard at one of the laboratories of Quest Industries (as in Dr. Benton Quest, father of Jonny Quest–yes, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo and Blue Falcon exist in the same universe–it’s canon now) and Dyno is his faithful dog Reggie. One fateful night the two are attacked by a mutated monster created by Mad Science and Reggie is seriously injured in the attack. Desperate to save his friend, Crown enlists the aid of Dr. Benton Quest himself, who utilizes Quest technology to transform Reggie into a super canine cyborg. While Dyno here is his usual goofball self, B.F. is more gritty, angtsy and edgy, basically a spoof of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

And now we come to today. B.F. and Dyno turn up again in Scoob!. Here, Blue Falcon is a very famous and highly revered superhero, idol to millions and heavily trademarked, BUUUT (*Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, or actually care, which I doubt is many of you) this Blue Falcon is not Radley Crown, rather it’s his adult son Brian Crown, a somewhat goofy and slightly egotistical glory hog who seems more interested in promoting his brand than saving the world.

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

“Remember, kids: say you prayers, eat your vitamins, drink your milk, and buy my T-shirts!”

Dynomutt 2020

Dynomutt meanwhile has apparently been upgraded to a sleeker, cooler and far more competent version of himself; his tech is 100 times cooler, he’s more sarcastic and quick to chide his new partner and his goofy giggles have been replaced by a more annoyed wiseguy voice, provided by Ken Jeong.

And I enjoyed the heck out of these guys, particularly Dynomutt 2.0. Confession time: I’ve always thought Dynomutt was kind of cool. Despite his usual portrayal as a bumbling dufus who hindered Blue Falcon’s efforts as much as he helped them, I always though his tech was pretty cool. Back in the ’70’s, Dynomutt, along with the Robonic Stooges…

Robonic Stooges

That’s right, THESE guys…

Were what first attracted me to the idea of utilizing high-tech as a super power. These guys were the Robocops and Cyborgs of their day. So I was actually glad to see Dynomutt on screen and not being a joke. You’re free to disagree with me but I thought Blue Falcon and Dynomutt’s banter was funny and I love their new designs. The details on Brian’s costume looked awesome and this new Dynomutt is just cool-looking and badass.

Plus, I can’t be the only one who’d like to see an animated series starring these two. C’mon, a Booster Gold-esque Blue Falcon trying to make a name for himself while struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and his snarky but efficient robot dog companion? I’d watch the heck out of that show!

Even if you don’t agree with me on that, there’s something else I think we can all agree on:

Daphne Blake 2020

Kid Daphne in this movie was cute as a button!

 

Unpopular Opinions: Quack Pack Triplets

Today’s Unpopular Opinion is about Disney’s resident triplets, Huey, Dewey & Louie.

1180w-600h_101717_donald-nephews-anniversary_v3-780x440

 

-First, let me preface this by saying that I’m digging the current DuckTales series, and I have absolutely no problem with the way the triplets are characterized on the show. I had to get used to their voices (Danny Pudi as Huey, Ben Schwartz as Dewey and Bobby Moynihan as Louie, respectively), as they’re supposed to be 10-year-olds but they sound like 20-something dudes, but I’m fine with how they’re characterized here. (I kind of wish the writers wouldn’t favor Dewey so much, but that’s a different vent unto itself.)

Which brings us to today’s Unpopular Opinion: while I don’t mind the way the characters are portrayed in the 2017 DuckTales series (with Huey as the brainy, by-the-book boy scout, Dewey as the attention-starved middle child desperate to make a name for himself and Louie the lazy slacker who’s always looking for the right angle to get rick quick without doing a lick of work), I think Disney was a little too quick to abandon the personas they developed for the triplets in the previous Duck series, Quack Pack.

hueydeweylouie-quackpack

I didn’t think the Quack Pack versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie were that bad!

Whaaaat

No, really, I’m serious. Hear me out.

Before I speak my piece (to prove I’m not crazy), a little history:

Initially, Donald Duck’s nephews were uniform, like army ants, indistinguishable and indivisible.

Return_to_Plain_Awful_-_Huey_Dewey_and_Louie

Beginning with the 1987 DuckTales series, the Mouse House decided to designate a specific color to each triplet in order to distinguish between them. From that point on, Huey was always dressed in red, Dewey in blue and Louie in green.

Hueydeweylouie

Here’s a nifty way to remember: The brightest HUE of the three is red, the color of DEW is blue, and that LEAVES Louie, and leaves are green.

Cool, but the characters were still basically the same; that changed with Quack Pack.

titanic_sinking_by_esai8mellows-d4xbme8

AKA the Titanic of Disney Afternoon shows.

Now, when I say that the Quack Pack characterizations of the triplets weren’t that bad, I’m not defending the show. I know the nicest thing anyone can say about Quack Pack is that it was a train wreck, but given it’s tumultuous history, it had no choice to be: it was the victim of 2 warring producers, one of whom wanted the show to be continuation of DuckTales, set in Duckburg with Scrooge, Launchpad, Doofus et al, while the other producer absolutely hated the Carl Barks continuity and wanted the show to be more reminiscent of the old Donald Duck shorts, in which Don and the main ducks predominantly interacted with humans. So the show had no choice but to be a disaster area from the get-go.

Quack Pack Triplets Sneak

But the individual personalities the writers gave the triplets were not bad:

-Huey the vain clothes horse who considers himself to be God’s gift to the opposite sex…

Style: "red_dwarf2"

Think the Cat from Red Dwarf, only a kid, and a duckling.

Dewey the brainy one who was into all things geeky…

Simon

blue-ranger2

Geeky brainiacs sure seem to like the color blue, don’t they?

…And Louie the happy-go-lucky, somewhat thick slob who’s good at sports. Those were all decent characterizations, and in the hands of capable writers, they could’ve worked. The problem was that behind the scenes, things were a dumpster fire, plus the show’s producers tried way too hard to make the show “hip” and “cool” and “modern” (this ain’t your daddy’s Donald Duck!) and turn the triplets into “totally cool 90’s kids”, and it was LAME!

90's_kid

“DUUUUDE! The 90’s were Totally TUBULAR!”

So while I’m totally OK with the personas the triplets have currently, I don’t think the Quack Pack takes on the characters were bad either. They certainly weren’t the worst thing to come out of that show, not by a long shot.

-Of course, the 2017 show finally gave us the boys’ mom, Donald’s twin sister Della Duck, in the flesh..

Della Duck 2

And gave us a heartfelt reunion between Della and her boys (whom she wanted to name Jet, Turbo and Rebel)…

ducktales-season-2-episode-12-nothing-can-stop-della-duck

That’s an admittedly tough act to follow.

 

Unpopular Opinions: Muppet Babies 2018

Back in September, Twinsanity did a Peeks on Disney’s 2018 reboot of Muppet Babies.

MB Reboot Title Card 1

Here’s the intro. Kick it!

Now since I’m The Ancient One, I was around to have seen the original Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies series from 1984. Given this, you might be expecting me to be saying:

Little Lord Fauntleroy

“It’s different than what I remember. Childhood Ruined!”

…However, I’m going to risk ticking off a lot of 80’s kids by saying today’s Unpopular Opinion: having now seen both, I think the Muppet Babies reboot is better.

Believe it or not.

Allow me to elaborate on why I feel that this new Muppet Babies trumps the original:

Muppet_Babies_2018_playtable

For one thing, this show’s premise and setting make more sense. The 2018 series takes place in a day care center, as opposed to the title characters all living together in some strange house with no parents or master and never leaving. As I previously mentioned in our Retro Bin of Little Muppet Monsters, the 80’s Muppet Babies premise makes zero sense if you try to break it down logically.

In addition, on this show the characters actually go outside once in a while!

Muppet Babies 2018 Backyard 1

Seriously, I remember an episode of the 80’s show where the Babies were learning to swim, and they had a wading pool in the nursery! Were those kids agorophobes or what?

I like how they have these little tube slides that take them into the backyard set, and how said yard, in addition to having the standard stuff like a treehouse, a merry-go-round and a tire swing, there are specific props and areas for each character: a faux pond for Kermit, a stand-up stage for Fozzie, a cannon for Gonzo, a dressing room She-Shed for Piggy and an easel for Summer.

Camilla

Not to mention a chicken coop which houses a set of oddly round chickens, including this show’s take on Camilla.

Ed

“I like chickens, Eddy!”

BABY SUMMER

Speaking of Summer Penguin (heh-a penguin named Summer–good one), I’ll bet you’re expecting me to say “She’s an OC and she’s not Skeeter so I hate her!”, but no, I’ve got no beef with Summer. First, the writers didn’t simply put Skeeter’s brain into a new character’s body; Summer has an altogether different personality than Skeeter. Whereas Skeeter was athletic, Summer’s more of a creative artistic type. She carves her own swath, and fits in well.

Summer Asleep

Plus, she’s too freaking cute to dislike!

As for the inevitable “Why Summer and not Skeeter?” question, as Jason noted in Peeks, I think reducing the number of main characters was a smart decision; Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and Animal were always the dominant characters; Scooter, Skeeter and (especially) Rowlf, aside from the occasional stand-out moment, were for the most part just kind of there. While we’re on the subject, I’ll hit you with another Unpopular Opinion regarding Scooter and Skeeter:

Skeeter_Scooter_MB_2018

I like the idea of 2 of the characters being twins more than I liked those specific characters. Yeah, I did think it was kind of interesting how the girl was the bolder twin and the boy was the more reserved one, but I’ve seen better examples of that.

Kim and Kam

Kim and Kam from Cartoon Network’s Class of 3000, for example. Google it.

This show’s takes on some of the characters are also just plain better. One example of this is Animal.

Animal

When I first saw the original series in ’84, I thought Animal was an odd inclusion (He wasn’t one of the characters featured in the original Muppet Babies sequence from The Muppets Take Manhattan, after all), but at the same time I did see some potential in a kid version of his character, unfortunately, the ’84 series completely screwed him up. They tried to tack on this whole lame “He’s younger than the others” shtick as a way to explain his wild, feral behavior. This show doesn’t try any of that, as it’s simply not needed. We don’t need an explanation as to why Animal is wild, he just is. A feral kid is no stranger than anyone else on this show. If you don’t need an explanation for banjo-playing frogs, stand-up comedian bears and diva pigs, then you should be able to accept that one of the kids is a Wild Child.

Baby_Animal_drums_2018

I also like how this show remembers that Animal is a freaking drummer. This was barely mentioned in the first series (I remember Animal playing the drums once in the musical number of the episode “Dental Hyjinx”, but that was about it.) No, I’m not implying that Animal should carry his drum kit around with him wherever he goes, his hands should be drumsticks and his head should be a giant drum, but that is his character (Animal was partially inspired by the Rolling Stones’ drummer Keith Moon, who is likewise a wild man, even famous drummer Buddy Rich once said of Animal: “He’s the drummer; all drummers are animals”), so it only makes sense for Animal’s role on The Muppet Show to be incorporated into Muppet Babies like the others’ shticks.

Baby_Piggy_2018

I also greatly prefer this show’s take on Piggy. She’s still a full-tilt diva, but Miss Piggy’s always been a prima donna, that’s her character, I wouldn’t expect her not to be vain and a spotlight hog (sorry, couldn’t resist!), but here she manages to be a prima donna without crossing over into being obnoxious and overbearing about it. I also like the modifications to her daily outfit, like making the bow in her hair sparkly and dark pink and the stars on her dress, reflecting her ‘superstar’ nature. Nice touch.

Gonzo Upside Down GIF

And I’m really digging this show’s take on Gonzo. Kudos go to Disney for bringing the character back to his roots.

Gonzo Stunt

Gonzo here is an excitable adrenaline junkie and all-around oddball who lives for mind-blowing stunts (like with Animal, this show’s producers remembered that Gonzo does stunts) and high-concept stuff that only he understands, loves chickens and is not afraid to march to his own beat. THIS is the Gonzo that I admired, identified with and was one of my favorite Muppets as a kid; I like this show’s version of Gonzo MUCH more than that thing was walking around in his skin in the later seasons of the 80’s show. I’ll never forgive the original series for turning who was always one of the coolest Muppets into some wimpy, lovesick loser hopelessly pining away for Piggy (who in turn treated him like the scum you scrape off tomato soup) and whose sole motivation for doing anything was to get with her.

The 80’s show turned Gonzo into Wilshire Brentwood from Beverly Hills Teens, and I couldn’t stand it.

Wilshire Brentwood

For those who don’t know, Beverly Hills Teens was a cartoon produced by DIC in the mid-to-late 80’s. The character of Wilshire was a teen who was hopelessly smitten with the show’s resident mean girl, Bianca Dupree, to the point where he acted as her personal chauffeur/lackey/doormat, despite his being as rich as the other teens, just to be with her. Google that also.

That revised take on Gonzo infuriated me so much that I stopped watching the 80’s show after a while; I didn’t see the point in continuing to watch when one of my favorite characters was essentially gone. But there’s (thankfully) none of that here: on this show we get ‘classic’ Gonzo back, and I couldn’t be happier.

Gonzo

I also dig the new symbol Gonzo wears in his overalls, a blue lightning bolt with wings. Reminds me of a Cutie Mark.

I also prefer this show’s shorter stories and the revised story structure. The simpler, 11-minute plots are an improvement, as I felt that many of the 80’s show plots seemed padded out. There are still fantasy sequences, but they’re always brief, to-the-point and never overdone, and here the characters don’t toss around pop-culture references like dollar bills at a strip club; no doubt it was felt that a ton of pop-culture references would likely fly over the heads of the younger viewers, not to mention date the show ferociously, which kind of happened with the 80’s show. (There are also no TV show or movie clips inserted into the action, since Disney would have to pay for clips of any property they don’t own, which was also a hindrance the 80’s show suffered from. It’s because of the extensive use of licensed footage that the 80’s Muppet Babies never got a proper DVD release.)

So overall, I feel that this new Muppet Babies stands head-and-shoulders above the original. If I have one nitpick about this reboot, it’s this:

Muppet_Babies_2018

On this show, the characters are around 4 years old, so the title’s a misnomer, as they’re technically not babies, but I guess Muppet Pre-Schoolers didn’t have the same ring to it.

Unpopular Opinions: Franklin

For a moment, let’s talk about Franklin.

Franklin Show

No, not him…

Peanuts Franklin

Him.

Franklin (no last lame given) made his debut in Charles Schultz’s Peanuts comics strip on July 31st, 1968. His debut was heralded by some publications, siting that was good to see that Charlie Brown wasn’t colorblind. Indeed, Franklin was one of the first African-American characters in American comics that was an equal and wasn’t some tribal native or something similar, but there’s a trusim here and someone has to say it:

Franklin was a token!

Don’t boo me! It’s true! Listen, I respect that the addition of Franklin to the Peanuts cast was a noteworthy achievement for it’s time. America was just beginning to open it’s eyes to racial equality, and the addition of an ethnic cast member was definitely a step in the right direction. I have no real issues with Franklin personally, but the problem was (and still is) that Franklin has no personality. I challenge anyone to name one thing that they know about Franklin other than the fact that he’s black.

You can’t, because Franklin didn’t do anything. Among the Peanuts characters, he had no job whatsoever. What sort of person is Franklin? What does he like to do in his spare time? What are his likes? His dislikes? What are his relationships with the other kids?

Franklin’s biggest contribution to date was one direct-to-video special in which our boy raps at the start of a baseball game.

Wow, a black kid rapping. Never saw that before. Well, not before noon! Rap is an art form, to be sure, not denying that, but this was clearly given to Franklin solely because of his ethnicity. While it was good to see Franklin at last have something to do, at the same time, this moment was a tad jarring; it would have been like if a Latino kid suddenly jumped on to the screen, shouted “Andale!” and led the gang into doing a Mexican hat dance! To all of the budding young writers out there: when you have an idea for something that a person-of-color can or should do, if you can’t imagine a white character doing these same things, then maybe you need to re-evaluate your script.

Charles Schultz could’ve given him something to do in the strip.

He could have been obsessed with eating doughnuts…

Donuts

Dem doughnuts!

Wizard's Hat

…Or he could have fancied himself as being a suburban wizard, dabbled in the black arts and regularly went around wearing one of those stylin’ pointed hats!

I’m just pulling stuff out of thin air here, but any of those things or some similar could have worked. I would have preferred it if instead of just being a black kid, Franklin had been a fully rounded character who just happened to be black. As it was, Franklin was often overlooked, ignored or left out in subsequent years because he wasn’t an interesting character. However, he wasn’t interesting because his creator Charles Schultz didn’t make him interesting. You can’t blame that on anyone else.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a fictional character be a person-of-color, but it helps when said character actually has a character and possesses some distinguishing traits beyond the color of his/her skin. A character should be a character first and and ethnicity second. ¬†Unfortunately, beyond adding a “touch of color” to the place, Franklin’s actual contributions to the Peanuts franchise were minimal, at best.

Ironically, Franklin was more of a token black than the character who’s actually named Token Black.

Token Black

This kid is at least rich.

Oh, cruel irony!