What The Funny #11: Freakazoid is History!

Wall Clock

It’s that time!

I'm Chillin'

 

“Time to bust a rhyme?”

“Nah, B.”

“Time to suck a lime?”

“Nah, B!”

“Time for Gertrude Stein?”

“……”

No, it’s time for another What The Funny Freakazoid! episode breakdown!

 

-Before we start the fun, I’d like to get something off my chest: I know that productivity here has been seriously lacking lately, and I’m not happy about it. At all. There’s only 5 more days until February, and this is only our second blog post this month. That’s un-****ing acceptable. Forgive my gutter-mouth, but Twinsanity means a lot to me; it’s an outlet for me, a release, and I just plain enjoy making Twinsanity stuff. We have big plans for Twinsanity: our long term goal is to expand Twinsanity to a full blown website where we can post bigger and better things, more than just mere blog posts (I personally would like to do video material similar to the likes of Phelous, Movie Nights, Baywatching, Some Jerk with a Camera and Il Niege) and hopefully be able to do this–just having fun goofing on cartoons and other stuff we like–for a living one day. However, while I’m not the least bit pleased by how slow and infrequent the output here has been lately, it isn’t entirely our faults. Things have been really been crazy in real life as of late; the latter parts of 2017 have been Dumb Distractions A-Go-Go, and unfortunately some of those distractions managed to spill over into January, but things have finally begun to calm down at home and become more stable, so hopefully henceforth we can resume more regular production here in the upcoming weeks and months. My creative inbox is really full, and I plan to start getting stuff out now.

There. I feel better.

Also, some sad news: this is going to be the final entry of this particular What The Funny.

 

…But while this installment draws to a close, What The Funny itself will go on, just with a different show.

Our final Freakazoid! WTF focuses on a segment from episode 7, Freakazoid is History!

Freakazoid_is_history

Premise: While rescuing Air Force One, Freakazoid enters a vortex which takes him back to December 7, 1941. He prevents the attack on Pearl Harbor, and returns to the present to discover what Freak hath wrought.

Trivia Time: The plot of this short is borrowed from the 1980 Kirk Douglas film The Final Countdown, in which a naval carrier ship passes through a storm vortex and ends up back in time on the day before the Pearl Harbor attack, leaving the crew to debate whether or not to interfere with the course of history. Rod Serling’s pilot for The Twilight Zone, “The Time Element,” similarly features a man who ends up in Pearl Harbor the day of the attack and futilely tries to warn those around him.

Gag Credits:

Sexiest Man Alive: Emmitt Nervend

Find Emmitt Nervend: Three Times in This Episode

Tag: “That was a keeper.”

Highlights:

The short begins with Freakazoid on nightly patrol, while being distracted by a chatty gargoyle who keeps droning on about Lothgar the Ill-Postured —King of the People with No Name but Decent Footwear, in the Great Time of Leanness on the Plain of Vastness. This is another knock the show has made on Disney’s Gargoyles, one of the others being a one-and-done parody short entitled “Lawn Gnomes, Chapter 4: Fun in the Sun”.

Lawn_gnomes

“We…are LAWN GNOMES!”

tweety

Freakazoid finally gets him to shut up by offering him a Tweety Bird Pez dispenser.

But trouble’s a-brewin’: Air Force One (with then President Bill Clinton on board) is damaged and caught in the middle of a violent storm. Freak flies in to the rescue, assuring the Prez and his aides that everything will be all right, adding that he’s the only one who came with a jetpack.

Freak saves the plane, but gets caught in a vortex in the storm.

FiH 1

FiH 2

Freak lands in the middle of a tropical landscape, and decides to check things out.

Among the things he spots are:

Freakazoid Is History Feakazoid sees hula girls crop

HULA GIRLS!!

A fleet of battleships that look like something out of WW2, a Giant Kate Smith being dropped in to entertain the troops…

Freakazoid Is History Feakazoid sees hula girls crop

HULA GIRLS!!

FiH 3

And this sign. Hmm, could be a clue.

FiH 7

“I’ve landed in Pearl Harbor at the dawn of World War 2! It’s the 1940’s! All men wear hats!!” (In serious Jerry Lewis voice) What gives?”

Finally, a montage causes Freak to realize that he’s gone back in time, leading to this really funny spoof of the NBC sci-fi series 1989-1993 Quantum Leap entitled ‘Quantum Freak’.

quantumfreaklogo

“Yes, I get it. This is like that show where they travel through time…I won’t say its’ name because I don’t want to get sued…”

FiH 4

FiH 5

FiH 6

“Quantum Freak” includes spoofs of Davy Crockett, Ben-Hur and 2001: A Space Odyssey (both directed by Stanley Kubrick), Saturday Night Fever, North by Northwest, The Graduate, The Sound of Music (which was also spoofed in the Paul Rugg-penned Animaniacs shorts “Hello Nice Warners” and “The Sound of Warners”), Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, The Defiant Ones, and Hello Dolly! The series did a much more elaborate Hello Dolly! spoof in the second season premiere, “Dexter’s Date.” Freakazoid’s comically large strap-on nose is this segment’s second joke at the expense of Hello Dolly! star Barbra Streisand. As wild as this montage is, the show’s actual opening is even crazier.

Anyway, Freakazoid seizes the moment and prevents the Japanese from bombing Pearl Harbor (by erecting a toll bridge in the sky and causing the planes to go back since they didn’t bring any pocket change), then the vortex opens up again, and Freak is swept back to the present, where he sees what changes he’s made to the timeline:

  • Sharon Stone can act (!) and plays Lady Macbeth in a film adaptation of Macbeth
  • Rush Limbaugh has become a bleeding-heart liberal and collects alms for the poor on a street corner
  • Euro Disney is packed
  • Cold fusion works
  • No Chevy Chase movies!
Chevy Chase

Whaaaaaaat?

It seems that Freakazoid has actually made a better world…or has he? He spots the same storm engulfing Air Force One, but there’s a new President on board…

The Brain

YES!

And who’s flying the plane?

Pinky Pilot

Do you even need to ask?

Thoughts:

“Freakazoid is History” is like many of the better season 1 episodes, short and simple, but really funny. The gags come flying at you fast, and given that Pinky & the Brain was one of The WB’s biggest hits that the network was really banking on at the time, I should have seen the ending coming a mile away, but it still made me smile.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

HesHereToSaveTheNation

Well, that wraps up our Freakazoid! breakdown. Next time on What The Funny, Jason’s back at the wheel, where he’ll take a look at a cartoon which could be categorized as an Adequate Program or a Standard Series. You could even call it a…

regular show 2

Stay funny!

What The Funny #10: Toby Danger

I see London…

London

I see France…

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!

number-10

FrostyTheSnowman

“Happy Birthday!”

Today’s WTF looks at “Doomsday Bet”, the sole installment of Toby Danger.

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.

Gag Credits:

Our Mascot: Emmitt Nervend

Find Emmitt Nervend: Once in This Episode

Tag: “We’re very proud of that.”

Highlights:

Toby Danger 3

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.

Toby Danger Gif

The animators worked hard to make the short look cheap.

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:

Toby Danger Gif 2

Dash’s tactic of choice is to hurl barrels at things, shouting epithets such as, “Heads up, you heathen monkeys!”

Dash O Pepper

Heh. His name is Dash O’Pepper. Funny.

  • 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?

Whaaaat

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…

Wakko Warner 2

“And now, here’s my favorite show!”

…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…

Angry Beavers Title Card

Yes, the man who’d go on to create The Angry Beavers. That Mitch Shauer.

…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.

Mary Scheer

Most younger folks may know Mary Scheer from iCarly, but olds like me know her as being one of the original cast members of FOX’s sketch comedy series MAD TV.

Other highlights include a caricature of Barney Fife, the comical deputy played by the late comedian Don Knotts, in Vegas…

Barney Fife

“Gotta nip it in the bud, Andy!”

…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.

Ray_Charles_classic_piano_pose

“You got the right one, baby! Uh-huh!”

Thoughts:

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.

Venture Brothers

TP_Favorite

The world may never know.

Next up: we wrap up our Freakazoid! miniseries with, appropriately enough, “Freakazoid is History!” See ya there.

What The Funny #9: Next Time, Phone Ahead!

Freakazoid Freaking Out

NEW FREAKAZOID WHAT THE FUNNY! NEW FREAKAZOID WHAT THE FUNNY! NEW FREAKAZOID WHAT THE FUNNY!!

Cogsgrove Cut it Out

“Cut it out!”

Before we get into it, permit me to apologize for the ridiculously long delay. I had planned to get this (along with the ‘Six Favorite Sonic Zones’ Videots and the Toon Adjacent for The Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera) out in September, but September proved to be a really crappy month for blogging; it was just one dumb distraction after another. So yeah, this one is extremely late, but thankfully I’ve managed to squeeze this post in right at the end of October, so I’ll be coming into November with only 2 more Freakazoid! What The Funny installments before we can move to the next set of miniseries. Now, on with the insanity!

The short we’ll be spotlighting today is a segment of Season 1, Episode 11, Next Time, Phone Ahead!

Next_time_phone_ahead

Premise: Dexter Douglas/Freakazoid have a close encounter with a space alien who’s stranded on Earth.

This episode is a spoof of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

no-shit-sherlock

Gag Credits:

Network Censor: Emmitt Nervend

Find Emmitt Nervend: And Send Him Home

Tag:

Mo-Ron

“Deuuuhhhh….”

Highlights:

A flying saucer full of aliens makes a ‘pit stop’ on Earth…

Geico Girls 2

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So gross.”

…And leaves someone behind: a giant grotesque monster who hides in the trash cans outside of the Douglases’ house and devours Dexter. Fade Out and…

The End

We then cut to TV snow, and discover that this is a pre-screening/table read on the episode with Spielberg himself and various WB staff members…

NTPA Staff Meeting

And Emmitt Nervend as The Beaver.

..who are thinking that they should end the show early and show more Animaniacs reruns.

Warner Sibs 1

“We’re Animaniacs!/And they’re lazy to the max!”

Steven Spielberg does not particularly like this ending. At first, the writers and crew of Freakazoid! convince him to fall in line with their plan. However, Spielberg has other plans, and weaves an oddly familiar story…

It now turns out the the aliens left behind one of their own, namely, this guy:

Mo-Ron

Deuuhhhh, I am…

For the uninformed, this is Mo-Ron, an alien whose intelligence lives up to his name. (Although in this short, his name is mysteriously changed to Bo-Ron.)

Whaaaat

I don’t know why they changed it, either.

Anyway, Mo-Ron/Bo-Ron/Whatever is is one of the few people who is aware of Freakazoid’s secret identity, presumably not because Freakazoid trusts him, but moreso because Freakazoid assumes Bo-Ron is too stupid to remember or care. He is voiced by Stan Freberg. He was first seen in an earlier episode’s wraparounds; when Mo-Ron arrives on Earth, President Bill Clinton and Freakazoid cautiously but eagerly await humanity’s first contact with extraterrestrial life, hoping to learn the secrets of the universe. Instead, they are confronted with this overweight, belly-button-picking nitwit who repeatedly introduces himself and who thinks that 2 + 2 = 22. They then go to Plan B, blasting the heck out of the creature, but Mo-Ron survives. He continues to hang out with Freakazoid for awhile afterward, until he finally remembers his message: a giant comet is coming to Earth. His warning is too late, and the comet collides with the planet. Whoops!

Here, he’s spotted in the Douglases’ backyard by Dexter…

NTPA 4

Gasp!

…And also by Freakazoid, who’s hanging out in the Freakazone (not to be confused with the Freakalair), a private space inside Dexter’s mind where Freak ponders stuff like taking over Switzerland so he can have all the chocolate and chillaxes watching reruns of Rat Patrol.

NTPA 3

Interestingly, the Freakazone was never depicted again after this episode.

Dexter meets and befriends Mo-Ron, who gives him a ultra-tight bear hug causing Dex to switch to Freakazoid (who murmurs “Help Me!” a la The Fly). Mo-Ron reveals that he’s now going by the name Bo-Ron for some reason and that he hails from the planet Barone’s.

Barones

Barone’s is an Italian restaurant and longtime Southern California institution. Gotta love those inside jokes.

Taking the alien to the Freakalair via the Freakafall (also never referenced again after this episode)…

NTPA 2

Freak proceeds to teach Bo-Ron the ways of Earth.

NTPA 5

Steff_2

-Incidentally, the Freakafall is operated by Steff, who is wearing an outfit similar to the original character design by Bruce Timm, with short shorts and a peaked cap.

FREAKAZOID’S EARTH LESSONS

-Never run with scissors.

-The four basic food groups are ice cream, candy, cakes, and very large cakes.

-Always ask for a piece of the gross, not the net; the net is fantasy.

-Never try to catch a roadrunner; it’s impossible.

WHOA BE-GONE

Incidentally, the short the 2 of them are watching as Freak says this is “Who, Be Gone!” from 1958.

-Stay out of your father’s underwear drawer!

-Eating carrots gives you X-ray vision! (In the background, we see a horrified Steff running out of the room)

-Diane Sawyer seems sincere, but she’s actually faking it.

Dexter even tries to keep Bo-Ron, but hiding a giant bulbous green alien in his house proves difficult.

NTPA 6

When Dexter tries to pass Bo-Ron off as a ‘rare Peruvian spider monkey’, he says “Pretty Amy. Good monkey.” This is referencing Frank Marshall’s 1995 film Congo, which featured a gorilla named Amy who had been taught human communication. Ruegger, Rugg and McCann had gone to the theater to see Congo during production of the show, and found it amusingly terrible.

Finally, Dex’s parents tell him no, and Freak informs Bo-Ron that while he’d like for him to stay, “It’s gettin’ kinda funky” and he has to call his fellow beings to pick him up. Bo-Ron reveals that he’s never picked out a carrier or a phone plan…

Aerial Dogfight

…Leading to an aerial dogfight between phone companies!

Eventually, a winner is chosen…

NPTA Gif

This is a reference to actress Candace Bergen, who was then spokeswoman for Sprint.

And Bo-Ron phones home. (You knew it was coming.) At first, he gets the machine, which according to him is “always on. You’re there! I know you’re there! Pick up! PICK UP!”

NTPA 7

But eventually, his ship arrives. Bo-Ron bids farewell to his friend “Red Underwear Man” and leaves Dexter with something special: a whopping huge phone bill!

Warner Sibs 2

Ultimately, Spielberg and the crew agree that Animaniacs reruns are the better bet after all.

Thoughts:

Not much else to say about this one, except that it’s a fun romp. Nothing big or spectacular, just an E.T. parody featuring Mo-Ron/Bo-Ron, a ton of in-jokes and Freakazoid’s in it. What you see with this one is what you get.

My rating: 3 out of 5.

Next up is a glorious one-shot, Toby Danger. Stay tooned.

What The Funny #8: Office Visit

shouting-man-pointing-side-with-white-background-Stock-Photo-angry

“WHAT THE HECK IS THAT???!!!!???”

It’s the next installment of What The Funny featuring Freakazoid!

 

-First, apologies for the delay; I had meant to get this one out earlier this month, but I got sidetracked by a new project Jason and I are undertaking which may prove to be a big thing for us, creatively speaking, but I’ll hold off on going into detail about that until things become more concrete. Now, let the craziness commence.

Today we’ll be looking at one of my favorite shorts starring one of Freakazoid!‘s recurring added attractions, namely…this chap.

Lord Barvery 2

“Get on with it!”

For those who don’t know, this is Lord Bravery, voiced by Jeff Glen Bennett. Lord Bravery is a superhero from the United Kingdom. His real name is Nigel Skunkthorpe. He lives with his wife and mother-in-law, who refuse to move from the couch and hurl ficus at his head when they want something. While he prefers to search for crime using his shortwave radio, his aggravating wife and mother-in-law pressure him to actually venture outside the house and find people to save. His initial appearance, “Sewer Rescue”, gave us one of my all-time favorite insults:

Lord Bravery & Mother In Law

“Most women your age die. Why won’t you?!”

Easily agitated, short-tempered and pompous, Lord Bravery bears more than a little resemblance to comedian John Cleese.

The-Ministry-of-Silly-Walks-monty-python

Hail to the King, Baby!

Particularly, Cleese’s character from Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty.

Basil Fawlty

“Amazing deduction, Holmes. How do you do it??”

He hates sewers (and even more so people who get themselves stuck in sewers and won’t stop whining about it), and becomes very agitated when people compare him to Superman.

Captain Britain

Captain Britain this guy is not!

Lord Bravery’s shorts (all 2 of them) begin with a stylized intro, featuring Monty Python inspired Bobbies singing his praises in a Gilbert & Sullivan inspired ditty:

Mikej

“So very British!”

Lord Bravery Intro

He…..

Feels no pain, he can fly quite fast

In feats of strength, he is unsurpassed

His grip is sure, never quavery

Britannia’s super hero, he’s Lord Bravery.

Lord Bravery, Lord Bravery, Lord Braveeeeeery! (Then the pillars he’s standing under crumble and collapse on top of him)

*True story: when Freakazoid! was airing on Kids’ WB!, I thought they were calling him “Pretentious super hero”. Fitting, but that’s not what they were singing.

Thats Silly Get On With It

Anyway….

The short we’re spotlighting today is the second (and final) Lord Bravery short, “Office Visit”.

Office_visit

Premise: Lord Bravery learns to his dismay that he can no longer use his name due to copyright issues. He heads to Lord Bravery’s Bake Shoppe to try to sort out the problem, but things only become more confusing from there.

Gag Credits:

Smiley Man: Emmitt Nervend

Find Emmitt Nervend: Twice in This Episode

Tag:

“Just keep telling yourself: It’s only a TV show.”

Highlights:

The short begins with Lord Bravery visiting an office of bureaucracy (this’ll end well); after exiting the elevator with all of the other occupants laughing at him…

Lord_bravery

“I…hate..them all.”

He sits down to speak with the rep from the Office of Trademarks & Copyrights, Mr. Snarzetti, who informs him that he can’t continue going by the name Lord Bravery because it’s already being used by another business, specifically Lord Bravery’s Bake Shoppe. (How a bakery ended up choosing the name Lord Bravery is probably an interesting story in and of itself.) Mr. Snarzetti says that even though he’s a person and not a business, it’d be too confusing: “Someone could run up to (him) in the street asking for a muffin or a scone, or someone could run into the bake shoppe demanding to be saved.”

Lord_bravery

“I can hurt you, you know. I’m really quite strong!”

Snarzetti tries to reassure Bravery that his name doesn’t matter:

OF2

Mr. Snarzetti: I’m sure the children will love you no matter what you call yourself.

Lord Bravery: Children??

Mr. Snarzetti: You’re a party clown, aren’t you?

Lord Bravery: ‘A party clown’?! No, I’m NOT a party clown! I’m a super hero!!

Mr. Snarzetti: Well, I just assumed by your little hat…

Garfield

“We’re off to a rollicking start so far, folks!”

OF2

Undaunted, Snarzetti begins searching through a database of failed businesses to give Lord Bravery an alternate name. His first choice: SMOKED MEATS AND FISHES!

OF3

Lord Bravery: What sort of superhero would rush into danger shouting “Fear not, Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes has arrived?!”

Mr. Snarzetti: One wishing to use the element of surprise. (He winks.)

Lord Bravery: Oh, you’re a loon! Where did you escape from? I’ll take you back!

-This goes on for a little while, with Snarzetti suggesting names like “Taste of Tempura” and “Plastics Advisory Board”, with Bravery getting increasingly annoyed, until finally landing on “Dreamworks!”

Lord Bravery: “DREAMWORKS??!!??” (Stops to ponder it for a moment) “Dreamworks??”

(Snarzetti’s computer beeps)

Snarzetti: Oops, no, it just got taken. (Another beep is heard.) Oh, and again. There’ll be a lawsuit there! Heh-heh!

This is a reference to executive producer Steven Spielberg’s then-new company, and a minor legal kerfuffle regarding the name. Time enough, I think, for a piece of wood.

The Larch

THE LARCH.

OF3

Finally, an exasperated Lord Bravery has had enough. “How…do I keep…my old name?!?”

Snarzetti: (peeking out from under his desk) You have to get the bake shoppe to change theirs!

So Nigel goes off to Lord Bravery’s Bake Shoppe to meet with the owner and proprietor, a woman named Helen, who confides that she never wanted to use the name Lord Bravery, as she finds the moniker “stupid, dumb and idiotic”. (I know, Rule of Funny, but again, this begs the question of why she choose that name in the first place.) Helen says that she wanted to name the place after herself, but there was already a Helen’s Butcher Shop. So the 2 of them go to the butcher shop to find out that its’ owner, Rudy, wanted to name his shop after himself but there was already a Rudy’s Hardware and Twine. Then they find out that Rudy’s owner, Hank, wanted to name his store after himself, but there’s already a Hank’s Tires…

Mikej

“Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…”

Patrick Star

“Duh, OK. I’m confused.”

It seems that the entire town’s business owners have encountered this same issue with names. Finally, Lord Bravery, accompanied by nearly every proprietor in the area, confronts the owner of a paint store.

Lord_bravery

Lord Bravery: What part of this don’t you understand??

Paint Store Owner: Any of it!

Lord Bravery: Look, it’s very simple. I take Lord Bravery. Lord Bravery’s Bake Shoppe becomes Helen’s Bake Shoppe, changing Helen’s Butcher Shop to Rudy’s Butcher Shop. Rudy’s Hardware and Twine becomes Hank’s Hardware and Twine, causing Hank’s Tires to change to Terry’s Tires, then Terry’s Intimate Apparel changes to Wendy’s Intimate Apparel…changing Wendy’s to Frank’s, Frank’s to Shirley’s, Shirley’s becomes Enrique’s and Enrique’s becomes Bill’s. Which means….that all YOU have to do, is change your name from Bill’s World of Paints to something else!

Paint Store Owner: But I don’t want to.

Lord Bravery: WHY?????!!!????

Paint Store Owner: Because my name’s Bill.

(The crowd disperses.)

Lord Bravery: No, wait! We’ll make him change it! We outnumber him!

Flash-forward to some time later. Lord Bravery flies in to save a schoolboy stuck in a tree, announcing “Fear not! Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes has arrived!” (Guess mob rule didn’t prevail this time.) The kid’s mum doesn’t want her son to be saved by someone with such a goofy name, and proceeds to beat him with her purse.

Lord Bravery: Look, it’s alright! It’s alright! My real name is Lord Bravery!

A city gent approaches him.

Terry Jones City Gent

“Here, who’s Lord Bravery?”

Lord_bravery

“I am!”

Terry Jones City Gent

“Could I have a muffin or a scone?”

This goes over as well as you’d expect it.

Raph_ch_pu2

“Aw, I’m gonna KILL you now!”

Thoughts:

Both Lord Bravery shorts are funny, but “Office Visit” particularly resonates with me, since I can identify with Lord Bravery’s frustration over the situation; when my brother and I first started blogging, it seemed like every name we wanted for this blog was already being used by someone else; we could wallpaper a room with all the names we considered and/or had to reluctantly drop. heck, the name has changed a couple of times during the 7 years we’ve been working on it since!

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

freakzoid2-07

Incidentally, Lord Bravery only makes one more appearance on the show. In season 2 episode 7, after Freakazoid chases down Cave Guy at the Anaheim Comic Convention (where he undergoes a less-than-ego-building Q&A panel with hardcore Superman fans–Superman: The Animated Series was Kids’ WB!’s newest show at the time), he is confronted by Lord Bravery, who along with The Huntsman, Fan Boy and Mo-Ron (or Bo-Ron, whatever) demand to know why they’ve been kicked off the show (the added attractions were abandoned in season 2 in favor of half-hour stories) and what their new roles will be in the new season.

B-Listers Washing the Freakmobile

It turns out their new job is washing the Freakmobile.

Freakazoid

“At least they’re still on the payroll!”

Next up: Freakazoid returns for “Next Time, Phone Ahead!” Stay funny!

What The Funny #7: Mission: Freakazoid

Anubis Markets

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Anubis Market, a division of Osiris Foods. Food so good, you can eat it!

As you may have already deduced by now, it’s time for another installment of What The Funny, spotlighting Freakazoid!

Freakazoid_and_Friends

Where the insanity never ends!

Today we’ll be looking at episode 16, the third episode of season 2, Mission Freakazoid.

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…

Philip_J__Fry

“I get it!”

…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.”

Highlights:

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:

douglas-douglas

“Someday, Dexter will leave the nest and become a man.”

Debbie_Douglas

“But not Duncan. (to Duncan) You’ll be a big, strong man-child, still lifting weights in your room when you’re 40!”

Duncan

“Cool! Then I can really buff up, and save some money!”

Freakazoid

“Now I remember, they’re a bunch of loons!”

Yeah, I don’t think anybody blames you for ditching that trip, Freak.

 

To make matters worse, Freakazoid’s mute butler Ingmar…

Ingmar

He’s mute, you know!

…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…

Prof Jones 3

THIS GUY.

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.

dr smith

Yeah, that’s the one.

Like Smith, Professor Jones 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?”

Prof Jones 2

“Silence, you impertinent whelp!”

MF1

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”.

The_Mime

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 (!)…

MF2

…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!”

Freakazoid Shiny Teeth

“That’s because we make lots of things bigger and better than everybody else!”

And the day is saved. After the mission, the gang kicks back at a diner, and make an on-air commercial for Anubis Market.

Freakazoid

“Hey, it got me a second season!”

Thoughts:

-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.