“WHAT TIME IS IT? WHAT TIME IS IT? WHAT TIME IS IT?!?”
It’s time for another installment of What The Funny!
-No, I’m not the usual guy for this. Jason did the first set of What The Funnies, which I enjoyed. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I decided to take a stab at a WTF miniseries myself. (This is my first time, so bear with me.) The show we’ll be spotlighting in this WTF is….Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!
For those who don’t know, here’s how WTF typically goes: I’ll be showcasing an assortment of my personal favorite episodes of Freakazoid!, listing my favorite moments from them, and rating them accordingly. I won’t be going through every single scene and line blow by blow, I’ll just be listing my favorite and funniest moments from each story. I won’t be covering entire episodes, just shorts and segments from various episodes. Also, I won’t be going through every single episode (as that would take a while) and these won’t be in any particular order. Feel free to disagree or have your own personal pics, but these are my personal favorites, and since I’m the one doing the segment, there ya go.
Now, on with the Funny!
The first Freakazoid! episode we’ll be looking at is in fact the first episode, Dance of Doom.
Premise: Super villain Cave Guy, a ‘Primordial American’, a big hulking blue skinned caveman who’s actually very erudite and refined…
…is fresh from a crime spree and is unable to hide out at his usual digs in the Hamptons, so instead he holds Harry Connick Jr. High School hostage during a dance celebrating Daylight Saving Time. Nerdy Dexter Douglas is home, having been unable to obtain a date; however, upon learning of the hostage situation, he turns into Freakazoid and saves the day.
It’s worth mentioning that Paul Rugg auditioned for the role of Freakazoid by recording this entire segment. Tom Ruegger encouraged him to improvise extensively around McCann’s written lines. Most of Rugg’s dialogue in this short was improvised entirely in one take.
Weird Guy: Emmitt Nervend
Find Emmitt Nervend: Six Times in this Episode
Tag: “Wake up your folks and tell ’em you’re hungry. Go!”
We first see Freak’s alter ego Dexter Douglas at home, toiling away on his computer. Dex’s mom Debbie looks in and asks him why he’s not at the Daylight Savings Time Dance. We are then treated to the following exchange:
Cut to a montage of Dexter receiving one rejection after another. First, from hot chick Valerie (voiced by Tress MacNeille)…
Then nice girl Steff (voiced by Tracey Rowe)…
And finally, from tough girl Jill (voiced by Cree Summer).
Utterly defeated, Dexter is spending the evening typing out his retirement plans.
When Dexter replies that computers are “his whole life”, Debbie responds with:
Line of the episode, right there. (Well, one of them anyway.) Tress MacNeille’s reading of the line knocks it right out of the park.
We briefly follow a man named Jeepers, a creepy, giggling little weirdo who owns a magic watch that can turn beavers into gold and was kicked out of California for being too strange, which should tell you something. Only to realize that Jeepers has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Shortly thereafter, we get our first glimpse of announcer Joe Leahy, here depicted as a marionette being operated by Freakazoid himself (!), who then says:
This line, incidentally, is a quote from Bela Lugosi in the Ed Wood directed “classic” Glen or Glenda?. Before writing this segment, the Freakazoid! writers had just seen the Tim Burton-directed biopic Ed Wood, which recounts the making of this scene. Rugg is playing Freak impersonating Martin Landau impersonating Lugosi.
In due time, Freakazoid arrives at the school gymnasium, where Cave Guy is holding the students hostage and leaps into battle…but first he does this:
Then it’s time for a little retribution.
However, Freak can’t bring himself to dress down Val, because, you know, teh hotness. (Incidentally, in this short the writers seemed to be setting up a sort of Betty and Veronica dynamic with good girl Steff and bad girl Valerie, but apparently those plans were scrapped since neither Val nor Jill appeared again after this episode, though Steff refers to them in “Mission: Freakazoid” and Val regularly appeared in the opening titles, during the part of theme where the singers sing “He’s here to save the nation/so stay tuned to this station”.)
After some more cyber-babble with Cave Guy (Freakazoid: “I love you.” Cave Guy: “Oh, my.” Freakazoid: “Not just ’cause you’re Cave Guy, no, but because you’re part of the whole cosmic mankind-whale-tree thing!”), plus a basketball net to the head, Freak wins the day, but even as things wrap up, the jokes just keep on coming.
Freak finally tries to get some love as Dexter, only to be immediately get rejected by Val, who wants “the guy with the lightning in his hair.” Freak changes back into superhero mode and lands a kiss.
Freakazoid: That was shallow and based solely on hormones. Works for me!
“Dance of Doom” doesn’t offer much in the way of plot, but the jokes and gags are fast and furious in this short. Initially the show was going to be more or less a straight superhero show with some comedic overtones, and one can see traces of that here. Personally, I’m glad the producers went the wacky-zany-nutty route.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Next up is “Mission: Freakazoid”. Don’t forget to Freak out!