HAPPY 2018, EVERYBODY!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The short begins with Slappy and her nephew Skippy watching a broadcast of Hiskel & Eggbert as they review a Laser Disc…
…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!”
Among the cartoons highlighted are:
What’s Opera, Doc?…
…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”.
One bit I like is how whenever the critics insult Slappy on screen, Slappy herself takes a hit, literally.
“She’s just not funny!”
“She never made a funny cartoon in her life!”
“Let’s face it: Slappy Squirrel is the UN-FUNNIEST cartoon character of all time!”
After recovering from that ego-bruising, Slappy and Skippy regroup to make their response. Slappy offers these words of advice:
“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.
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.
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:
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(!)…
…And showing the critics to their seats…located inside a huge rocket…
Slappy finally lets a fuming Hiskel and Eggbert into the theater to see Spielberg’s new movie…
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.
-“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.
It’s that time again: our final blog post of the year, where we offer up a brief summation of the site’s activities and our plans for Twinsanity’s future.
As 2017 winds to a close, if I were to try and sum things up in a single term, it would probably be:
To say that 2017 had its’ fair share of ups and downs is an understatement. 2017 seemed to be the year of Delays and Distractions, as a lot of this year’s planned blog posts had to be pushed back or rescheduled for various reasons. If there’s one thing we’d both like to see happen in 2018, we hope that production will pick up here; we’d really like to get back to a pattern where we’re producing new material here on a fairly regular basis once more. Here’s hoping.
This time there aren’t a lot of new things to report for next year; as of this writing we don’t currently have any new segments planned (aside from the ones which will be made as videos*), rather we simply plan to make more and better entries of the current roster of segments. At the moment we have 4 Cartoon Countries in the works, a couple of Toon Adjacents, a Videots and a Retro Bin. I’d like to do another Cartoon Couch and Jason says he’d like to do another TV Special Showdown, but in order to do either would first require a subject.
We would’ve liked to have done something holiday themed this year, but it just never happened, partially because so many other blog posts had to be pushed back. I had considered doing a Toon Adjacent for Beetlejuice’s Rock-n-Roll Graveyard Revue, but I didn’t get the idea to do it until after Halloween, and by then the entries I had planned for September got pushed back to October. Similarly, Jason had considered doing a mini Cartoon Country of the MAD sketch “Fantastic Four Christmases”, but he was also so busy working on the posts which were delayed from September and October that Christmas came and went before he got to do it. Maybe we’ll get to do those next year.
Top priority right now is to get out the final entries of the current Pop Dream and What The Funny miniseries, so that we can embark on the next series of each, which will most likely be around February or March. In each case, we know what the next installments of each will be focusing on, but we don’t want to reveal them just yet. You’ll have to wait until the current miniseries are finished before we make the official announcements.
We’re still on extended vacation from superhero themed posts, and expect that to continue in the upcoming months. While there may be the occasional cape post turning up once in a while (like the Toon Adjacent “X-Men Infinity??” or the Nerdvana “The Tech Factor”, which was mostly about superheroes), Twinsanity’s primary animation focus will still be comedy cartoons and toyetic cartoons over the action-oriented titles. We prefer comedy over action, that’s just how we roll.
*Regarding some of those aforementioned video segments, among them will be a new incarnation of 2 Funny. It’s still the same basic idea: comedy sketches, only this time the skits will be written and performed by us instead of us just embedding someone else’s works. Another video segment we’re considering is called The Couch; in it, we sit on a couch, watch something on TV and make fun of it. There are other video segment ideas we’re kicking around, but there will still be the familiar animation-themed segments you’ve come to enjoy, such as Cartoon Country, The Retro Bin/Cartoon Couch etc., only in video form. The basic theme of the Twinsanity video series will be cartoons, fun stuff, funny stuff, stupid stuff and geek stuff”.
So as always, we’d like to give all of you who’ve been following Twinsanity, liking us, commenting on our nonsense and all a big thank you for sticking around, and we wish you all a Happy Holidays and we look forward to entertaining you with more animation and geek culture themed things in 2018. In the meantime, relax, kick back and pop open the bubbly, ’cause we already have.
See ya next year.
Are you still there? Good, because it’s time for the next Pop Dream!
Looks like we’ve made it, folks. Here we are at THE BIG TEN!!
Before we start, I’d like to once again apologize for delay. We’re not happy about it either. I planned to do this Pop Dream last month, but it was delayed due to distractions. November and December are notoriously bad months for blogging, since you have major holidays constantly vying for your attention. Nonetheless, better late than never. On with the fun and frivolity.
As previously stated, this is Pop Dream #10, and it’s very appropriate that we’ll be spotlighting a pair of twins on the first two digit Pop Dream. Our look at characters from Nickelodeon’s The Loud House continues with a look at the house’s set of twins. One of them is a princess while the other one is a mud bug. Today’s Pop Dream looks at Lola & Lana Loud!
By now, it’s no secret that we love our twins on this site. When I first learned about The Loud House, my interest was immediately peaked when I learned that two of Lincoln’s sisters were twins, and this series didn’t disappoint. As you already know, I’ve chosen to spotlight each of Lincoln’s sisters in pairs in order to save time, but even if I hadn’t done that, I’d still be focusing on these characters collectively regardless because they’re a duo. Opposite sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Lana & Lola are like the Odd Couple of The Loud House.
At 6 years old, Lola is the third-youngest child of the Loud family, and the middle child of Lincoln’s five younger sisters. She is also Lana’s younger twin sister, with whom she attends the 1st grade at Royal Woods Elementary School. Yes, that’s right. Lola is the younger twin. Initially, I assumed that she was the older twin due to her having more of an alpha personality, but no, Lola is the younger twin by a couple of minutes.
Lana: Yeah, that’s right, Lola. Sometimes I forget that you’re younger than me.
Lola: I’m only two minutes younger!!
Lana: Then maybe in two minutes, you’ll understand!
Meanwhile, At 6 years old, Lana is the fourth-youngest child of the Loud family, and the second-oldest of Lincoln’s five younger sisters. She is also Lola’s older twin sister, with whom she attends the 1st grade at Royal Woods Elementary School.
Lola’s appearance is fancy, frilly and very, very, very pink. She wears a princess dress and a tiara daily.
Lana’s look, on the other hand, can best be described as grunge. She prefers overalls to dresses, sneakers to Mary Jane shoes and is rarely seen without her backwards worn red baseball cap.
Lola is spoiled, arrogant, conceited, bratty, sassy, smart-mouthed and dresses like a princess. Lola’s interests include anything girly – this includes fashion shows, makeup, and posing for photo shoots. She is constantly claiming how beautiful she is, and can’t look away from a mirror for more than five seconds, which gets on everybody’s nerves. Some fans may indeed find Lola annoying, and I can understand why. Yeah, she can be obnoxious at times, but nonetheless, I can’t bring myself to dislike Lola. Partially because during a time where female characters are branching out and many modern women and girls are flatly rejecting pink, it’s a nice change of pace to see a female character who is proudly and unapologetically girly. One can be feminine and still be feminist. People tend to forget that.
Meanwhile, Lana is a tomboy, contrasting with her twin’s more girly personality. She loves to play in mud, and enjoys getting her hands dirty. Her pleasures are found in filth of all kinds, and anything unhygienic, from frogs to digging in the trash for chewing gum to doing business outdoors. Despite her tomboyishness, and gross habits, she is a decent enough person, and is loving towards her family. Lana’s interests include mud, dirt, working on cars and generally being gross. She’s also a major animal lover.
Especially one animal in particular, her pet frog Hops.
There’s one Lana moment that sticks with me; a scene from the short “Toads and Tiaras”. In it, Lola gets injured and is unable to compete in a beauty pageant, so Lincoln recruits Lana (who’s identical to Lola) to take her place. Despite Lincoln’s coaching, Lana still proves to be in no way beauty pageant material. Disappointed, she says this:
Speaking as a weirdo who spent much of his childhood not giving a crap about the things that most boys my age were supposed to be interested in, I identify with that.
Speaking of which, I like little moments like this scene from “Left In the Dark”,
and this scene from “Baby Steps”. I like moments like these in which the twins act like the 6-year-olds that they are. This being a comedy, there will of course be exaggerations for comedic effect, which is great, but it’s good that The Loud House’s writers never forget that these characters are children and remember to keep their attitudes and their brains very childlike. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lola and Lana speaking a secret language at some point.
Someone once said that “twins are like a family within the family”, and Lola and Lana are no exception. Ironically, Lola, the younger twin, is the louder and more aggressive sister, despite being pink and “sweet”, whereas Lana, though she’s the grubby tomboy, is the quieter and more compassionate twin.
By the by, peep out this image of the twins brushing their teeth together.
I don’t have a joke for this, I just think it’s super-cute.
Lola and Lana are like most twins (and siblings in general); getting on each other’s nerves one minute, having each other’s backs the next. Speaking of moments, I nearly lost it when I first saw the short “Patching Things Up”. In it, Lana and Lola are trying to become Bluebelles, but neither one wants to join without the other.
“Left In the Dark”: We first see the twins marching out of their bedroom to watch TV in the living room, all the while chanting “Cartoons! Cartoons! Cartoons!” That was pretty much the highlight of my day as a kid.
“Picture Perfect”: Lincoln, attempting to take the perfect family portrait, makes Lana and Lola wear marshmallows in their mouths in order to fill in the gaps for their missing front teeth.
“Undie Pressure”. Lincoln makes a bet with his sisters that they can’t go through an afternoon without doing their favorite things. Lana has to go without playing in the mud. I love this shot of her forlornly looking out of the window.
“Get The Message”. Lana and Lola are appointed hall monitors in school and use this “power” to hassle Lincoln in the Loud House hallway. This doesn’t seem like something that either of them would be interested in. I guess they just like telling people what to do.
“Vantastic Voyage”. The family’s minivan (nicknamed “Vanzilla”) breaks down (again!).
All of the kids are begrudgingly pushing the van home…
…except for Lola, who stands on the top waving as though she were riding a parade float!
“Tricked”. Lana & Lola go Trick Or Treating dressed as salt and pepper shakers.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive when I learned that Lola and Lana would have opposite personalities, as I feared that the two of them would have anti-chemistry. Thankfully, Lana and Lola don’t hate each other like The Cramp Twins, and I do understand that if they were both exactly alike, there’d be little to no play among them, so some distinction is necessary. In little time, the twins joined the ranks of my favorite characters on the show. It’s a treat for me whenever either of them is on screen, especially when they’re seen doing twin stuff. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up this twin tribute than this:
Lana: Well, that was just gweechy! Wouldn’t you say?
Lola: Oh, yeah! It was absolutely ice box!
It’s a twin thing. You wouldn’t understand.
Next Time: It’s Lisa and Lily. Keep Pop Dreaming.
I see London…
I see France…
I see the latest What The Funny Freakazoid! breakdown!
This one is momentous for not only being the first blog post of December (though it was originally scheduled for November…dang these holidays cause delays!), but it’s also the landmark 10th installment of What The Funny!
Today’s WTF looks at “Doomsday Bet”, the sole installment of Toby Danger.
“Toby Danger” aired on Freakazoid!‘s second episode. It was written by Tom Minton and storyboarded by Brian B. Chin and Butch Lukic. Eric Radomski directed, but went uncredited.
Premise: (such as it is) At the Danger Semiconductor Testing Lab in Nevada, the World’s Largest Semiconductor is stolen by archvillain Dr. Sin, who uses it to wreak havoc across nearby Las Vegas. Dr. Vernon Danger arrives to stop it, along with his son Toby Danger, adopted daughter Sandra Danger, and his bodyguard/co-adventurer, the gregarious “Dash” O’Pepper.
Our Mascot: Emmitt Nervend
Find Emmitt Nervend: Once in This Episode
Tag: “We’re very proud of that.”
In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, this short was a full-on parody of Hanna-Barbera’s 1960’s era cartoon Jonny Quest, complete with the jazzy scored soundtrack, off-screens cries of “AIIEEE!” whenever a plane crashes and intentionally static-looking animation. The combination of detailed drawings and limited movements (with questionable physics) is slavishly imitated. In the original, this was the result of a limited budget; here, it is a labor of love to recreate that style.
Our intrepid crew consists of:
- Toby Danger himself is a wide-eyed, enthusiastic, naive kid, just along for the ride. His crowning moment is when he tries to sneak into the casino dressed as Mr. Peanut in order to meet a Keno girl.
- Dr. Vernon Danger is Toby’s dad. He’s a cheerfully sociopathic lunatic, embittered by the fact that he can never realize the full potential of his skills due to Earth’s limited resources. He seems unfazed by the destruction his experiments cause; no one else seems particularly bothered, either. He and his family travel via a floating island which he invented (complete with detachable sidewalk slabs), a byproduct of the experiment which destroyed an entire village. He owns a semiconductor lab, amongst other ventures.
- Sandra Danger is the Dangers’ adopted daughter, replacing the racially insensitive character of Hadji. He took her in after one of his experiments destroyed her town and her family; in fact, the floating sidewalk slabs the family travel on were a by-product of that disastrous experiment. She seems to be OK with her situation (“I may have lost a town, but I gained a family!”), though she lets out a horrified scream when Dr. Danger suggests she may become a scientist like him.
- Dash O’ Pepper is the Dangers’ bodyguard and the kids’ protector. He’s the muscle of the team, hardly the brains. Viz, when Dr. Danger reveals the villain behind the theft of the super-conductor:
Dash’s tactic of choice is to hurl barrels at things, shouting epithets such as, “Heads up, you heathen monkeys!”
- Dr.Sin is the Danger’s arch-nemesis, a supervillain with a vaguely-defined motivation.
- Jules the Cat: Yup, his name is Jules, and he’s a cat.
“Toby Danger” seems to be one of the most remembered shorts from Freakazoid!, though some younger viewers may not have been aware of what was being spoofed, or even that this was a spoof. But did you know that “Toby Danger” wasn’t originally intended for Freakazoid! at all?
T’is true. The short was the only Freakazoid! episode written by Tom Minton. Minton was a story editor and writer on Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures, and this short was in fact originally written for Animaniacs, however it seemed too out-of-place on that show. The producers considered various options to get the short on the show, including at one point opening with Wakko sitting in front of a TV and saying to the audience…
…But ultimately it was decided that the short was just too far removed from the world of Animaniacs. The short sat on the shelf for a while, not resurfacing until Freakazoid! became a comedy. Freakazoid! producer Mitch Schauer…
…shared Minton’s passion for creating a Jonny Quest parody, and the short was made by the Freakazoid! team. Minton claims that the short was only made because a Freakazoid! episode was running short. A caricature of Minton appears in the “laser” shot in the Toby Danger Intro; he’s the small angry-looking man on the left. (Sorry folks, I couldn’t find a ton of images for this entry; you’ll just have to use your imaginations.)
Most of the voice cast in this short were also the voices of the Jonny Quest characters for Hanna-Barbera. Don Messick, the original voice of Dr. Benton Quest, plays his Freakazoid! counterpart Dr. Vernon Danger. Messick is best known to Warner Bros. Animation fans as the original voice of Scooby-Doo and as Hamton J. Pig on Tiny Toon Adventures. Sadly, “Toby Danger” was the last thing Messick did before tragically dying from a stroke. Granville van Dusen, the voice of “Dash” O’Pepper, was at the time the official voice of “Race” Bannon at Hanna-Barbera. (Dash’s “Heads up, you heathen monkeys!” was actually spoken by Race Bannon in an episode of Jonny Quest.) Likewise, Scott Menville, who voices Toby, had previously voiced Jonny Quest in the 1986-87 reboot series.
Sandra Danger was voiced by Mary Scheer.
Other highlights include a caricature of Barney Fife, the comical deputy played by the late comedian Don Knotts, in Vegas…
…And a Ray Charles-esque singer, who, unable to see the destruction going on around him, continues to croon even after all the lights have gone out! A tad wicked, but still funny.
If you remember Jonny Quest, you’ll find this short daffy but entertaining. If you don’t, you’ll likely be scratching your head wondering what the heck is going on.
My rating: 3 out of 5.
ADDENDUM: John P. McCann wrote an unmade pilot script for an ongoing Toby Danger TV series in 1997. The script, “Danger on Ice,” involved Dr. Danger battling crabs who had mutated to giant size (due to cruise ship fuel and jettisoned low-salt meals in the water) in Alaska. The script has many jokes about Danger lecturing Toby about the importance of preserving the balance of nature, while simultaneously mirthfully destroying the environment with his gadgets and plans.
Makes you wonder what would have happened if a Toby Danger series had been greenlit, and it hadn’t had it’s glory stolen by another series which lampooned Jonny Quest.
Next up: we wrap up our Freakazoid! miniseries with, appropriately enough, “Freakazoid is History!” See ya there.
Back in August 2016, Nerdvana looked at Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Show.
Specifically, we celebrated the Animal Factor, one of the specific factors that each SHS member (aka the “Squaddies”) employed to make an ideal team. Today’s Nerdvana looks at another one of said factors, The Technology Factor, aka The Tech Factor.
For the uninformed, Tech Factor characters are in possession of amazing, futuristic high-tech, able to create everything from the latest advanced weaponry to the Egg Scrambler of Tomorrow and employing the most far-out gear, gadgets, gizmos and gigabytes into their daily lives.
Hmm, four Gs. That sounds familiar somehow.
So without further ado, here are some of my favorite Tech Factor characters.
Everybody’s favorite half-organic, half-cybernetic Teen Titan turned founding Justice League member. Though he actually made his TV debut on ABC’s Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, his most famous incarnation was in Glen Murakami’s Teen Titans: The Animated Series.
He was cool there, but he was basically just the strong man on that show, with some tech-savvy on the side. Later on, he was retconned to his current version, where he is capable of flight and the ability to literally plug into electronic devices and interface with machines and computers. Cyborg’s adaptability enables him a vast array of robo-powers.
Yes, I know that there were actually 2 Mr. Terrifics in the DC Universe, but I’ll only be covering the 2nd Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt, as he’s the Mr. Terrific of “my” generation and the only one I really know about besides the name. Mr. Terrific’s super power by his own admission is learning. He’s one of THE smartest people in the DCU, as a kid he was mastering quantum physics while the other kids were struggling with Sesame Street. He’s also the inventor of the T-Spheres…
…Which can do a plethora of things:
-form a laser grid between the spheres
-link to computers/data
-be used as a weapon by flying into things
Forget Siri, I gotta get me some of these!
TONY STARK/IRON MAN
Perhaps the most famous Tech Factor hero of all, Mr. Stark has a suit or armor and a high-tech device for seemingly any occasion. Uni-Beam, Repulsor Blasts, Smart Bombs, Rocket Boots, a computerized A.I., you name it.
Static Shock’s sidekick, er, um, partner, received latent exposure to the Big Bang gas, accelerating his intellect tenfold. At least he didn’t just get a rash or something.
In addition to possessing rocket shoes and the ability to project holograms, Gear is the inventor of Backpack, a high-tech assistant that Richie wears on his back (duh!) which constantly feeds him data that only a super-genius brain can keep up with. It also makes Julian Fries.
A numerical savant accountant inside a suit of robo-armor invented by nutty chicken inventor Gyro Gearloose. In addition to possessing cool techno-powers and getting to zoom around on a single radial tire, I like how in the Disney Duck-Verse Gizmoduck has Superman status, being one of Duckburg and St. Canard’s most beloved heroes.
Also, in the new DuckTales series, the duck inside the armor will be voiced by Lin Manuel Miranda, and at the actor’s request, will also be Latino.
I gushed over Tecna before, and I’m doing it again here. She’s a fairy whose magical powers is technology, my kind of fairy. She’s a genius (obviously), she’s decked out in purple, one of my favorite colors…
…And she hails from a technologically advanced planet called Zenith. (It was called Techno Fairyland in the 4Kids dub, ’cause they didn’t want to get sued. Too late!)
Plus, one of her signature moves is the Digital Traingle. What’s so great about triangles? Just ask Pythagoras.
Is Dexter a superhero? No, but he is a Boy Genius, having registered the term.
This kid has his own insanely vast science laboratory hidden within the bowels of his ordinary suburban home, where he’s constantly tinkering away, creating all manner of Mad Science.
Finally, we’ll wrap this up by providing something for the benefit of those who may opt to create their own robots: A brief run-through of Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its’ own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.