OK, I know we’re both currently taking a break from superhero themed posts, but I recently came across something which I found kind of interesting. Namely, this:
What appears to be a set of X-Men figurines a la Disney Infinity.
I don’t know what these were actually made for; it’s doubtful these are/were specifically made for Disney Infinity, seeing as how at present the media rights for X-Men are still being held by 20th Century Fox and as such Disney’s Marvel division isn’t trying to do anything with the mutants since Fox would reap the rewards, but these are still pretty cool looking. Just thought I’d share some of my rambling thoughts and observations on these:
- The makers went with the 90’s team, wearing the outfits they wore in the 90’s FOX animated series. Cool. I, like a lot of folks I reckon, had my first major exposure to the X-Men via that show (my uncle had a couple of issues of the original 60’s X-Men comics and I glanced at them, but I was a kid then and then I was even less into capes than I am now; if it wasn’t a wacky comedy or a cartoon, I wasn’t interested), so I like these outfits the best. I know a lot of people rag on the all-black movie costumes, and while I didn’t hate those overall, I didn’t feel they were a good look for the X-Men; for one thing, at that time every other superhero was wearing black spandex, and for another, uniform costumes work with, say, the Fantastic Four, since they’re a family with basically the same origins and there’s only 4 of them, the X-Men, by contrast, are an organization with disparate members from all across the globe, so their costumes should be more varied and diverse, IMHO.
- I’m glad they gave Cyclops the 90’s costume with no headgear (aside from his visor) rather than the thing he wore in previous decades with the cowl thing over his head. It made him look like he was wearing a SCUBA diving outfit. Sidebar: One of the many things the Bryan Singer movies got wrong was making it seem like Scott’s inability to control his optic blasts was a natural part of his mutation, which it isn’t: it’s only because his parents pushed him out of a crashing plane when he was a child and he landed on his head; were it not for the head trauma he suffered, he’d be able to control his eye beams. So if they can cure Rogue of her curse of sucking people’s energy and strength whenever she touches someone (which they did, it turns out her absorption power was just in its’ nascent stage and was being blocked from growing psychologically), then someone should be able to fix Cyclops’ condition. But then, the Marvel universe is crawling with gods, aliens, magicians and tech super-geniuses and none of them can cure the Hulk or the Thing, so…
- They went with the yellow, black and blue costume for Wolverine, which I’ve always liked more than the orange-and-brown costume he wore previously. A lot of fans want to see this costume in live-action, and while I’m all for authenticity, I don’t know how imposing and badass Wolvie would look as a live-actor in yellow and black jammies; I feel he’d come off looking more like a bee than a wolverine.
- They included Beast. Freaking Beast.
Beast is so frequently left out of X-Men merch and publicity, it’s great to see my favorite mutant included for once. I hope one day we can get an X-Men movie that gets Beast right in my lifetime.
- Another rare inclusion: Jean Grey. When I was collecting action figures, it irked me that I could never find a Jean Grey figure; there were a couple of Phoenix action figures made, but not Jean as just Jean. I always found the whole Phoenix thing to be a double-edged sword; I get that it was needed to give the character a little spice, but on the other hand, I’ve always liked Jean more as just the telekinetic telepath rather than the ultra-cosmic destroyer of galaxies. There are other ways to improve Jean as a character than just having her get possessed by a fiery space bird and drastically altering her personality. If Jean Grey is/was boring, it’s because the writers chose to make her boring; you can’t blame that on someone else. Also, I like that Jean’s bodysuit is orange here, rather than flesh colored like it was in the FOX cartoon; admittedly before it looked like Jean was naked.
- These are all great, but there’s no Jubilee…
Well, I hope you enjoyed that little detour. Now….
…Back to vacation!
…to check the latest Pop Dream!
Our look at the siblings from Nickelodeon’s animated series The Loud House continues with the two eldest Loud sisters…Lori and Leni Loud.
Lori: That’s right, we’re awesome! Deal with it!
Leni: “Deal”? I didn’t bring any cards.
At 17 years old, Lori is the oldest child of the Loud family, and the oldest of Lincoln’s five older sisters. This is a fact she uses to assert authority and absolute dominance over her siblings.
She’s also the sister with the biggest “Hubba-hubba!” factor.
Meanwhile, at 16 years old, Leni is the second-oldest child of the Loud family, and the second-oldest of Lincoln’s five older sisters. Unlike Lori, she is very naive and quite ditzy, but she makes up for it in beauty and kindness.
Lori is the tallest sibling of all, and like Leni, she has breasts. She has large blonde hair (a genetic trait she shares with her mother, even though her hair is longer). Her original design depicted her with pink eye shadow, a white tank top, navy blue shorts, and black shoes. Later it was changed with a light blue tank top, brown cargo shorts, blue slip-on shoes, and blue eye shadow. She also wears pearl earrings.
Yes, we’ve covered that.
Leni has long, pale-blonde hair, with side-swept bangs, and three pairs of eyelashes. She is almost as tall as Lori.
Her main outfit is a seafoam green dress with white frills and triangular sleeves. With this, she wears red hoop earrings, white sandals topped with light green bows, and a pair of white sunglasses on top of her head.
Lori is bossy, condescending, and has the second nastiest temper after Lola, but aside from that she is also cute, friendly, and protective. As the oldest sibling, she is supposed to act responsibly and mature, but sometimes she doesn’t act like it, and instead she behaves like her youngest sisters, like in “Left in the Dark”, where she’s afraid to go down into the dark basement.
Her most annoying habit is using her phone and texting to Bobby all of the time.
She also has the somewhat annoying habit of inserting the word ‘literally’ into every other sentence, whether it’s apropos or not, kind of like how Smurfs use the word ‘smurf’.
As for Leni, there are two things that you need to know about Leni:
- She’s seriously into fashion.
And 2, she’s as sharp as an orange.
Trivia Time: Did you know that Leni is named after the character of Lenny Small, a lumbering, slow witted giant with a heart of gold in George Stienbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men? Well, now you do.
“No Guts, No Glori”. Lori is left in charge while the parents are out for Date Night, where she proceeds to enforce strict rules on all of her younger siblings.
“Sounds of Silence”. Need a footstool but don’t have one? That’s what little brothers are for!
You know what’s coming next, so here it is…
“Lock ‘n’ Loud”. The Loud Family’s neighbor, Mr. Grouse, claims to have been robbed.
Mr. Grouse: They cleaned me out! My phonograph, my black and white TV, my encyclopedias! Everything gone!
Lori: I literally don’t know what any of those things are!
“Driving Miss Hazy” . Despite her being of age, Leni still needs to get a ride to the mall because she’s failed her driver’s test thirteen times (to date). 13? Wow! I had to take my driver’s test thrice before I passed, and I felt like a loser! Lincoln attempts to teach Leni to drive by having her play his driver’s video game.
“House Music”. Luna encourages her siblings to form a band for a county fair. She appoints Leni to sing back up.
Leni: (singing) Backup, backup, backup…
Luna: No, Leni. You don’t actually sing “backup”. You sing what’s on the page.
Leni: OK, got it!
Leni: (singing) What’s on the page, what’s on the page…
Originally, when I first saw the initial promos for the Loud House, I was convinced that I would hate Lori, but surprisingly, I don’t dislike her at all. Yeah, she can be obnoxious at times, but that just comes with the territory of being the oldest. Having a younger sibling myself, I’m sure he can attest to that. Lori has a sensitive side as well as a protective side, which keeps her human rather than being a monster. As for Leni, dim-witted characters can be very entertaining, if handled properly. As we know, it takes smart people to effectively write dumb. So, here’s to eldest siblings everywhere. Live it up!
Next Time: Luna and Luan. Keep Pop Dreaming.
As you may have already deduced by now, it’s time for another installment of What The Funny, spotlighting Freakazoid!
Today we’ll be looking at episode 16, the third episode of season 2, Mission Freakazoid.
Premise: While on vacation in Vukanova, Freakazoid/Dexter’s family, the Douglases (mom Debbie, dad Douglas–yes, his name is Douglas Douglas–and Dex’s jerky brother Duncan) are captured by the tyrannical Vukanovan minister of state security, Janos Ivenovowels…
…to trade to the U.S. for captured Vukanovan spies. Freakazoid’s mentor Roddy MacStew and the Announcer task Freakazoid with the mission of saving his family, and he assembles the crack team of Cosgrove, Steff, and his new butler, Professor Jones.
Gag Credit: Who has a biscuit for me? Who does? Huh? Sound off, if you have a biscuit for me, ’cause I really want one now. No one, huh? I’ll remember this.
No prizes for guessing, this episode parodies the 1966-73 TV series Mission: Impossible (which, only four months before this episode aired, had been revived as a Tom Cruise film which alienated the fan base of the series by turning the show’s protagonist Jim Phelps into a mass-murdering double agent). The intro (with the burning fuse and clips from the upcoming episode) is taken directly from that show.
While most of the “Mission: Freakazoid!” intro is composed of clips from the episode, several shots are unique to the intro. Some of these are likely outtakes/deleted scenes from the main body of the episode, or more likely they were just thrown in for laughs. The unique shots are: the Douglases in their cell looking frightened; Freakazoid drawing a mustache on his face while in the Vukanovan base; Roddy fighting the “master chip” (which stands upright like a giant monster); live action footage of an Anubis employee peering into a vast hot dog oven; Freakazoid being electrocuted (this is footage from the subsequent episode “Heroboy”); black and white animated footage of a fuel-leaking rocket falling off a launchpad and exploding; a shot of Emmitt Nervend; a still caricature of Henry Kissinger; live action footage of a man fighting a bear (from Grizzly Adams; last seen in “The Chip, Part II”); an extreme close-up on Freakazoid’s eyes watching the fuse on the screen; and live action black and white footage of a nuclear explosion (the same footage used in “Dexter’s Date” when Freakazoid and Lobe crash into the wall while riding dessert carts). As in “Dance of Doom”, “Hot Rods from Heck!” and “The Cloud” from season, 1, The Mission: Freakazoid! opening credits list “Weena Mercator as The Hopping Woman.”
Upon first receiving word that the Douglases have been captured, Freak laments because as Dexter, he opted to bail on his family’s vacation plans (“Why didn’t I go on vacation with my family?!? WHY???”) Then, via flashback, he remembers why:
Yeah, I don’t think anybody blames you for ditching that trip, Freak.
To make matters worse, Freakazoid’s mute butler Ingmar…
…chooses this moment to quit in order to pursue his dream of being a rodeo clown! Fortunately (or not so fortunately) someone conveniently steps in to take Ingmar’s place…
This episode introduces the character of Professor Jones, Freakazoid’s new butler and manservant. I have to call him that in order to remind myself what his job actually is, since we almost never see him doing any butlering.
For those who don’t know, Professor Jones is a full-on homage/parody of Doctor Smith, the character made famous by the late comic actor Jonathan Harris from the old science fiction series Lost in Space, who also provides Jonesy’s voice.
Like Smith, Professor Jones is is prissy, insecure, easily frightened, and constantly scheming. He is at first horrified when he learns the details of the job: he expects to be supervising a large staff, and (when Freakazoid mentions that Ingmar built the entire Freakalair by hand) refuses to personally construct anything more complicated than a jelly sandwich. However, Freakazoid’s offer to double his pay persuades him. He repeatedly complains that his back is too delicate to do even the most undemanding tasks, such as placing a videotape into a VCR. Despite being mostly useless, since he was recommended by Ingmar, Freakazoid gladly accepts him. Jones’ relationship with Cosgrove isn’t quite as rosy; when Jonesy prepares a dish for the crew which includes croutons with melted brie and bottle Pelliguano water from the island of Bim, and muffins made entirely of dill weed, this is Cosgrove’s reaction:
One running gag I like from this episode is how when everyone first meets Prof. Jones, they ask him “Weren’t you on a TV show with a robot?”
The crack team assembled for this rescue mission (Freakazoid, Cosgrove, Jonesy and Steff for some reason) travel to Vukanova via plane, where we’re treated to the following exchange:
Freakazoid: (relaying the mission) We’ll sneak in and rescue the…uh, Pontoon family. Any questions?
Cosgrove: Hey Freakazoid, we’re gonna rescue your family, right? I mean, it’s not like anyone here doesn’t know you’re Dexter Douglas.
Freakazoid: COSGROVE!! That’s my secret identity and you just blurted it out!
Cosgrove: Sorry kid, I thought Steff knew. She is your girlfriend and all.
Steff: You’re Dexter Douglas? Dexter ‘Creepy’ Douglas is Freakazoid?? I gotta go tell Val and Jill! (*Give yourself a gold Geek Star if you remember these 2 from “Dance of Doom”)
Freakazoid: No! You can’t tell anybody!
Steff: Then how does Cosgrove know?
Freakazoid: He wasn’t supposed to tell anybody!!
(Prof. Jones enters, carrying a tray of food.)
Professor Jones: So you’re Dexter Douglas. Interesting.
-When the gang is discovered by Vukanovan prison guards, they sing a suspenseful “Bum! Bum! Bum!”, just like in the previous episode, “The Freakazoid”.
Surprise cameo: The Douglases’ cellmate is the hapless Mime from Animaniacs, who was imprisoned after the bad guys “couldn’t make him talk”.
Debbie: There’s a mime in here making happy gestures!
Duncan: And he’s really stupid looking!
Thankfully, Freakazoid and company come to the rescue, with Freak himself bursting from a tank (!)…
…Jonesy getting electrocuted by pressure-sensitive mines and earning the team’s respect (except for Cosgrove, who once again makes his request for a can of hash and some coffee), the Douglases getting sprung (they forget to scoop up the Mime, but thankfully, he does manage to escape), and Freakazoid taking on Janos himself, with Janos telling Freak “Only America could produce an imbecile of your caliber!”
And the day is saved. After the mission, the gang kicks back at a diner, and make an on-air commercial for Anubis Market.
-Generally speaking, I found Freakazoid!‘s second season to be a mixed bag, since the producers decided to ditch the free-for-all shorts format in favor of single 22-minute episodes. While there were still some gems and it was still funny overall, I generally didn’t think Freakazoid! really lent itself to 20-minute stories; it was just too fast-paced and frenetic for that. “Mission: Freakazoid”, however, worked. There were enough jokes and absurdity to keep things moving at a brisk pace (though admittedly you have to be a fan/follower of 60’s kitsch television to get a lot of the references, but that’s true of the show in general) and Professor Jones, whether you liked the character or not, was used well here.
My rating: 3 out of 5.
Next up is a short from of F!’s added attractions: Lord Bravery in “Office Visit”. Stay tooned.
As you know, we’re fans of 1963’s The Funny Company.
While the show only ran for a single season, it was nonetheless popular enough to release some pretty sweet merchandise. Today Toon Adjacent showcases some cool Funny Company SWAG.
First, this storybook entitled Super Chief in the Big City. In it, the gang goes out for a fun day on the town, where Super Chief’s unique speech patterns lead to shenanigans ahoy.
No Jasper, the entire Funny Company is not here. One member curiously absent from this book is club treasurer Merry Twitter. She’s the only member of the central cast to be be passed over in this manner. What happened? Was the author not a Merry Twitter fan? Or was there a one day sale at the Burger Barn and she had to take advantage of it?
Next, another book, Shy Shrinkin’ Violette, with resident creep Belly Laguna creepily lurking in the background.
Keep an eye out for the sequel, Baron Bad-Touch and his Stolen Ice Cream Truck of Wonders.
Next, a Funny Company Attache case.
Show up at your next Weekend Warriors paint ball retreat with this bad boy. I dare ya.
Next, a Funny Company jack-in-the box.
Oh look, the Jack is Super Chief. Does it emit a loud train whistle sound that causes your ears to bleed? If not, total waste of money.
Finally, a Shrinkin’ Violette doll.
Clearly, the show’s producers considered Violette to be the media darling of the show; given also that the later episodes depicted the gang venturing to Hollywood for the purpose of making Shrinkin’ Violette a movie star. (Violette was cute and all , but I thought Jasper N. Park, Merry Twitter and Terry Dactyl were more interesting characters, just sayin’. Where’s the Terry Dactyl plushie?)
The Powers That Be made missed a huge opportunity here. They could’ve come out with a big Funny Company clubhouse play set…
…Complete with little plastic figurines you could play with a la the Amiibos…
Or Disney Infinity.
-Now if someone were to make a Disney Infinity style Funny Company toy box game, then I’d be happy.
Today’s 2 Funny is one of my personal favorite Cartoon Network Shorties (the ones for Atom Ant and Droopy being the others). I’ve said this before, but I’d really like to see Turner make more of these (maybe they could be uploaded to Boomerang Online, since CN isn’t in the classic business anymore and no one really knows what Boomerang is supposed to be anymore). Here’s “Alligator Liberation”.
Some of my favorite bits:
- Wally’s line “I’m thinking cable’s out of the question” gets me every time.
- I like how the “savage” gators talk like erudite gentlemen with Thurston Howell III accents.
- I think the female hippie animal activist is kind of cute.