DC Apparently Stands for "Don’t Chuckle"

Ever wondered why Man of Steel and the Dark Knight trilogy were so grim and joyless? Well, it would seem that, according to Drew McWeeny of Hit Fix, that that Warner Bros. has applied an interesting policy when it comes to their upcoming slate of DC comic book movies. This policy can be summed up in just 2 words:

NO JOKES!
 
If this is to believed, then it would seem that the culprit to this current mode of thinking lies with the cinematic bomb that was the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds, which was filled with cheesy one-liners and Reynolds’ non-stop quips, and this is also a way for DC to distinguish its’ movie franchise from arch-rival Marvel, who has made it a point to stuff as many jokes as they can in their films. However, as Drew points out, humor can be a great way to alleviate the tension of a scene as well as allowing for the suspension of disbelief, which is usually required to some degree in a comic book movie.
How do we feel about this alleged “No Jokes” policy, if true? Glad we pretended that you asked.
Damon (Silverstar):

If this is true, then it in a nutshell explains why I’m generally not that into a lot of action properties: so many of them just take themselves way too seriously. I guess DC is really trying to distinguish themselves from Marvel’s movies, but going all grim and serious really isn’t the way to go. They’ve forgotten a very basic premise: that when people go to the movies, particularly action movies, they want to go out together with their friends and family and have FUN. Just pure, escapist fun. Yeah, it’s great when the characters are badass and the story is deep and compelling and all that good stuff, but all that means nothing if the films are boring or a bummer to watch. That has little to no replay value. People are more apt to come back to a movie they had fun watching. People like to laugh, what’s wrong with laughing occasionally between explosions?

The idea that superhero stories have to be all grim and grown-up, I just can’t take that pretentious crap seriously. When your stories involve crazy do-good freaks in funky tights beating up bad guys armed with a Weather Dominator, how dark and serious is it supposed to be? The genre is already kind of silly to start with, so I don’t see the harm in having a little levity thrown in. I actually think Squirrel Girl said it best: “Things were better when the comic book world was a place you wanted to escape to, not from.”

Jason (Goldstar):

Everybody likes to laugh. What’s wrong with laughter? Man of Steel was desperately lacking in fun.

Seriously, though. I wouldn’t take a statement like that too seriously. It’s most likely just DC trying to differentiate their movie universe from Marvel’s. I mean, how can you make a movie about SHAZAM!, a story about a 12-year-old boy who is turned into a muscle bound Adonis by a wizard and who’s rogues’ gallery includes an intelligent ape and not have any jokes in it? I think that a dark, serious take on SHAZAM! would end up being more hilarious than it ever would be as a light hearted comedy.

This mentality has seemed to have seeped its’ way into the comics continuity as well;check out the murky and generally joyless New 52 titles, which are chock full of this “Look at how dark and grim and graphic and not funny and totally not for kids we are!!” attitude. It would seem that the DCAU/Brave and the Bold way of thinking is, for now, a thing of the past. The current mode of thinking at DC seems to be, “Can’t make these movies fun, lest we end up like Marvel”. And we think………

blue-beetle-and-booster-gold-100437

….That’s a laugh.

Bad Show, Jolly Bad Show!

Well, folks. It looks like we at Twinsanity have been dealt another blow.  The latest news is that at the San Diego Comic Con, the Aquabats revealed that The Hub has cancelled The Aquabats! Super Show!.

What do we think of this?

In my opinion, this news royally sucks, as The Aquabats Super Show was one of the few shows that we watched regularly on The Hub. The Aquabats was an acquired taste, I’ll give you that, but at the same time I have to question the logic of The Hub pushing the series so far back into the early afternoon hours of Saturdays. Anytime after 11:30 AM is generally considered to be a loser time slot for a SatAM show, as kids are usually forced to relinquish control of the TV sets to the adults in the house around 11:30 or noon. The Hub had The Aquabats! airing as late as 2 PM at one point. They push the channel back to a time slot when many kids have left the TV and gone outside to play because they want the early hours for 3 more airings of MLP and then they wonder why the show is getting low ratings. Did that come off as snarky? Well, maybe a little.
First Dan VS bites the dust, then Kaijuo: Rise of the Duel Masters is kaput, then Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot gets canceled and now this. It’s getting so that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Littlest Pet Shop and Transformers Rescue Bots are pretty much the only things airing on The Hub during the day now, while the channel’s night time hours are still being devoted solely to nostalgic sitcoms from the past. The Hub just doesn’t seem to care about airing any other type of programming. They honestly seem to believe that Kid President has what it takes to save the channel, despite the fact that last weekend, KP brought in less than 10,000 viewers. For those who don’t feel like doing the math, that’s not good.
I’ve always thought that moving Dan VS to Saturday afternoons was a bad idea. Dan VS was an Adult Swim-lite type of show that belonged on Prime Time. here should have been an entire block of this type of programming airing at night and shows such as Dan and The Aquabats could have headlined this block. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I still don’t understand why (aside from money, of course) why The Hub doesn’t have a weekend evening premiere block. The Hub needs a T.G.I.F. They need a SNICK. They need a Cartoon-Cartoon Fridays.
My chief concern is that the cancellations of The Aquabats Super Show! and Dan VS will lead the heads of the network to believe that shows about ponies, pets and transforming robots and nostalgic sitcoms are the only types of shows that can succeed on the channel, and so that’s all that the network will be giving it’s viewers from now on. I’m going to be brutally frank here; the only chance that I see of The Hub surviving another 4 years is if they learn to go outside of their comfort zone and start allowing some different types of programming (and no, I don’t mean TV MA rated adult humor or trashy reality TV), and they truly need to stop using Friendship is Magic and Littlest Pet Shop as a crutch to lean on. The more dependent that The Hub is on these shows, the weaker their schedule gets. Hasbro isn’t doing much to dissuade the belief that The Hub is basically the My Little Pony channel. In fact, they seem to be going out of their to promote this misconception. These shows are fine. I’m glad that they’re gaining attention and that the’re getting high ratings, but if The Hub is to succeed in today’s market, it can’t live solely on Ponies, Pets and nostalgia.
mrt

“I pity this channel! I don’t hate the channel, but i pity it!”

ADDENDUM: I was mistaken. The Aquabats Super Show! was not canceled due to low ratings. In fact, it was doing well with both kids and parents and it actually helped the band find a new audience and also helped the Aquabats celebrate it’s 20th anniversary as a band. Rather, the show was terminated due to the network’s downsizing and abandoning it’s kid-friendly schedule in favor of more cost effective programming. The future of the series is unknown as of this point. Christian Jacobs (the band’s leader and The MC Bat Commander) is optimistic for the show’s future, but it still sucks that we won’t be seeing the series again until ????.

Looney Goons

Today I was searching the internwebz looking for more info on the upcoming Warner Bros. Animation series Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, set to debut on Cartoon Network in 2015. A poster on a message board I’m on linked to an article about the show on Animation Scoop. I was curious to read what my fellow animation enthusiasts were saying about Wabbit, so I checked the comments page, and to my surprise I discovered that nearly all of the comments were people hating on The Looney Tunes Show. Seriously? To these people I just have 3 words:

Come on, people. It’s been around 6 months since TLTS’s cancellation was announced, and people are STILL passing out Haterade about that show? Was TLTS really that bad? Enough already. I agree TLTS wasn’t great, but it’s done now. Time to move on. We’ve got a new Looney Tunes series on the way, which is set to NOT be a copy of TLTS. Let me count the ways:
  • The show will contain 4 shorts per episode. So it’s NOT going to be another sitcom.
  • Bugs will be going up against Barbarians, Ninjas, and Terminators. See? Bugs will be outwitting foes again. NOT like TLTS.
  • Taz will be featured, but he will now be known as Theadore Tasmanian. He will work in the accounting department and is repressing his true wild and crazy self. OK, this sounds kind of LTS-esque, but it could possibly work. He won’t, however, be a pet like on TLTS.
  • Wile E. Coyote is going to be an annoying, know-it-all neighbor. Again, unlike on TLTS. I’m also looking forward to this since Wile E.’s “super-genius” persona has largely been buried in favor of his mute form while chasing the Road Runner.
  • Erik Kuska will be producing the show (he was an animator on Looney Tunes: Back in Action). Not Spike Brandt or Tony Cervone.
  • The show is staying away from cliches (aka no anvils). Fine with me, as long as there are still some toon style gags and old fashioned cartoon chaos.
So how’s about we give cautious optimism a chance and hope that Wabbit will be worth the wait? WB and CN have moved on, how about we do the same? For all those still butt-hurt about The Looney Tunes Show
“I suggest you get over it!”

 

Let the 1990s Go, Already!

Hey, remember the 1990’s?

Duuuuude! The 90’s were AWESOME! Cartoons like X-Men, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy and the Disney Afternoon were TOTALLY RADICAL TO THE MAX!!!
 
Yeah, that was a pretty great decade for cartoons, wasn’t it? But let me clue you in on a little secret about the 1990’s. SPOILERS…..
……..They’re over now.
Today, Twinsanity would like to speak to all of the 90’s Kids out there. Those folks who, when asked how channels like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel can improve themselves, inevitably pipe in with “They should just cancel all of that new crap and bring back the 90’s shows!” and make ranting YouTube videos shouting “I want my Nickelodeon back!” or “We want old Cartoon Network back!” To these individuals, we offer this little piece of advice. Five simple words which we feel will be beneficial to you yourselves, but to everyone around you and the TV networks you love as well:
LET THE 1990’S GO ALREADY!

We’re continually amazed when we hear or read teens and young adults saying that kids’ channels (most notably Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network) should abandon all of their current programming and only air the shows from their 1990’s schedules.

“Seriously? An’ people say I’M goofy! A-hyuk!”
 
These fans don’t seem to realize just how wacky that idea sounds. The very idea that a 24/7 cable channel could survive in today’s market by staying locked in a single era for all eternity is laughably absurd. How are Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon supposed to evolve and succeed if you waste their time slots and waste space with shows that have been run countless times, literally everyone knows about, everyone has seen at least a zillion times, everyone can buy on DVD or Blu-ray and everyone can watch on a different channel or online? The television/entertainment medium is a fast moving industry that slows down for no-one. What these people don’t seem to realize is that networks like Nickelodeon, CN, Disney Channel and The Hub are tailored for kids, not adult nostalgia buffs. What they also fail to realize is that in order to move forward ad keep success going, new and original content is necessary. Statements such as “I want my old (fill-in-the-blank channel) back!” or “Only air the 90s shows!” annoy me, because doing so would be ratings suicide because today’s kids are more interested in their shows, which is not to suggest that some kids wouldn’t watch them, but the kids’ demos have always been stronger for the current shows over the canceled reruns. Network executives know that a current airing of Phineas & Ferb will put more butts into seats than a 30 year old rerun of Gummi Bears would.
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And what sort of egotistical, delusional butt head would say something like this un-ironically?
“The only reason why kids prefer their shows is because they haven’t seen the good ones. If kids saw the older cartoons, they’d like them more.”
 
if-my-calculations-are-correct-youre-an-idiot
 
 
Do you have a source for this claim? I mean, besides the ass that you pulled it out of? Using this logic, then the shows from your parents’ time are automatically better than they shows that you grew up with. Honestly, the “old shows = good, new shows = bad” argument doesn’t make sense to me at all, because every era has/had good shows and bad shows. A TV show isn’t automatically bad because it’s new, nor was every TV show from the past automatically a classic. Some TV shows were either forgettable or were garbage even when they were first run, and said shows haven’t improved any 2 or 3 decades later. Waynehead wasn’t a good show when it debuted on Kids’ WB back in 1996, and even now, the worst episode of Regular Show is still better than the best episode of Waynehead.
Another thing people who make statements like the above fail to take into account is that today’s kids actually like today’s cartoons. Imagine if the 90’s Kids got their wish and the Big Four kids’ cable networks did remove all of their current shows and only ran the 90’s stuff all day:
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Kid: Hey, what happened to Sanjay and Craig?
Parents: Oh, we went out to Nickelodeon Studios with picket signs and sent them angry emails and boycotted their network until they promised to get rid of all of those new shows. Now Nick only carries Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Clarissa Explains it All and Hey, Dude all day. Enjoy!
Kid: But I liked Sanjay and Craig! That was my favorite show!
Parents: Kill that noise! Sanjay and Craig is a terrible show! It wasn’t on when we were kids, so it obviously sucks! Now you’ll watch the 8-hour Doug marathon and like it!!
 ****************************************************
Are you seriously so narcissistic that you honestly believe that kids would instantly glom onto the 20+ year old shows that you grew up with and think that they’re better than the shows that they enjoy watching now? To be fair, some might like them almost as much, or just as much, but most of them would still want the Breadwinners, Clarence, Finn and Jake, Mordecai and Rigby, Uncle Grandpa, Blythe Baxter, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Phineas and Ferb and the gang from Gravity Falls back. While some kids do indeed have some appreciation for older shows, by and large kids generally prefer the current stuff of their generation to the stuff of previous generations.
**************************************************
There’s another little detail that these nostalgiatards seem to be overlooking: that 20 years ago, there were people who were saying the exact same things about their generation of cartoons that they’re saying about the current one. Back in the 90’s, there were folks nerd-raging about how Cartoon Network needed to get rid of the Craptoon-Craptoons like that gawdawful Johnny Bravo, that ghastly Cow & Chicken, those repulsive Eds, those stupid Powerpuff Girls and that immoral, hedonistic Toonami trash and go back to the “good ole days” of being the Hanna-Barbera Reruns channel and just showing Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, Bugs and Daffy all day like God and nature intended. This is precisely why I don’t take stock in nostalgic fan-wanking: most nostalgia boils down to: “(This current show) is so stupid! It’s nowhere near as good as (this other older show which was just as stupid but I love it because it was a part of my childhood)!”
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Then there’s this statement that I read regarding Warner Brothers animation:
“Maybe Steven Spielberg should come back”
 ********************************************************
Nice thought, but it’s both short-sighted and unrealistic. First, there were many talented people responsible for Warner Brothers’ Silver Age: Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, Paul Rugg, Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver, Bruce Timm, James Tucker, the late Dwayne MacDuffie, to name only a few, so it’s illogical to credit only one person as being responsible for an entire era of programming. Second, love your optimism, but you’re not going to invite Steven Spielberg to work with WB again and suddenly everything is going to magically return to the way that it was in 1991. I enjoyed the Silver Age WB shows also, but that era is over, and nothing can resurrect it. The above notion is just as realistic as suggesting that Quincy Jones return to Motown so that studio can go back to the way it was in the 1960s. One can’t make another Silver Age any more than one could make another Woodstock* (by which I mean the 3 day music festival of 1969, not Snoopy’s bird pal).
*And before anyone points this out, I’m aware that a Woodstock II was tried a couple of decades ago, but while the original Woodstock was the bringing together of an entire generation, Woodstock II was nothing more than a pathetic cash grab that came and went with barely a thought and you’ll also notice that to date there hasn’t been a Woodstock III.
You can’t artificially re-create a Golden or Silver Age. They just happen, and lightning rarely strikes twice. You can’t just go to Liverpool, round up 4 guys, give them mop-top hairdos, teach them how to sing and play instruments, ship them over to America and declare them the new Beatles. There will never be another Beatles. There may be other successful British bands, some may even possess huge talent, but they still won’t be the Beatles. Only the Beatles will ever be the Beatles. Hollywood tried to create New Monkees once, and we all saw how that turned out:
 **********************************************
Young Cutup on the Street: I think the New Monkees should be a heavy metal Monkee, a New Wave Monkee, a dentist Monkee and a Rabbi Monkee. Yuk-yuk!
MTV Reporter: Look, if you’re not going to take this seriously, I’m out. (Tosses aside his mike and walks away)
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Another tired practice which needs to cease is the nonstop whining to bring all of the 90’s shows back with new episodes. “Bring back Johnny Bravo!” “Bring back Powerpuff Girls!” “Bring back Hey, Arnold!!” “Bring back Jimmy Neutron!” Guess what? Rob Paulsen is working again: he’s currently the voice of Donatello on Nick’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. And guess what else? Warner Bros. is working on a new animated series starring Bugs Bunny titled Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production. You’d think the 90’s kids would be happy about these things, but nooooooo! All we hear in response is “NO! WB should be reviving Animaniacs and Rob should be voicing Yakko and Pinky again! I don’t care about Wabbit unless Buster and Babs and Taz’s family from Taz-Mania are going to be in it! Where’s our new Animaniacs revival? Where are our new Tiny Toons episodes? Where’s that mega-Animaniacs/Tiny Toons crossover show that WB never actually said they’d make, but we’ve all concocted in our heads and have declared on the internet that they must make??!?” Do you honestly think that WB can just say, “Dude, we’re getting the band back together!” and round up all of those same voice actors, writers, producers, directors and animators from all of the separate lives and projects that they’re working on now and just resume the show and it’ll be exactly as it was before? I think a more feasible solution would be to take just some of those characters, like just the Warners or just Slappy Squirrel or just Rita and Runt and spin them off into separate individual series.

But let’s play devil’s advocate here for a second and assume that WB did decide to make a new Animaniacs. I can guarantee that all of the same people who were crying to get the show back would within weeks, days, be ranting on the internet about how much the new A! sucks, how it’s not the same as before and how WB ruined their childhoods. Do you know how I know this would be the case? Because it’s the same thing that happened when CN revived Dexter’s Lab with different art and animation, no Genndy Tartakovsky, Candi Milo replacing Christine Cavanaugh (who retired from voice acting) as Dexter and a bunch of Mandark, Mom and Dad cartoons. It’s the same thing that happened when Xiaolin Showdown was brought back as Xiaolin Chronicles, with nearly all of the characters having different voices and the addition of the character Ping-Pong, aka the Cousin Oliver of the Xiaolin Showdown franchise. It’s the same thing that happened when Teen Titans was brought back as Teen Titans GO!, with the same voice actors as the original but completely different in tone and visual style. It’s the same thing that happened when CN gave you those 2 post-cancellation Powerpuff Girls specials (the 2nd one of which was minus creator Craig McCracken) that everybody complained were too fast-paced and looked and sounded too different from the original show. Well, guess what? YOU wanted all of those shows back and they gave them to you. Like the old Toyota commercials used to say: You asked for it, you got it. Now choke on it!

 “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. Now go eh-way or I shall taunt yew a second time!”
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And then there are requests like the following:

“I think that Warner Brothers and DC Animation should make another season of Teen Titans. Just one more season, to wrap things up.”

C'mon Man!

Haven’t you had enough? Teen Titans was supposed to end after 4 seasons, but due to fans’ requests, you got 5 seasons and a made for TV movie! And I don’t want to hear some WB executive say “Well, we were going to make a new Superman animated series, as well as a Super Best Friends Forever animated series, but titanfan 4 eva11!!! wanted a 6th season of Teen Titans, so the aforementioned DC animated projects have been pushed back to late 2016.” If you just want to see TT’s loose ends tied up (whatever those “loose ends” might happen to be), then a Teen Titans: TAS comic book series, prime-time special or a DTV would be a better idea, I think.

To sum up: were the ‘toons of the 90’s awesome? Yes, of course they were. No doubt. But does that mean that we should try to ram the 90’s cartoons down the throats of today’s youth and scream to them that our cartoons were better and theirs aren’t worth jack? No, dude, just no. It’s a simple equation, folks: we should just let this generation enjoy what they enjoy, while we enjoy what we enjoy. Is that so unreasonable?

Are You CN This?!

You know what I miss?

Tuning in to Cartoon Network and seeing things like this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or even this:

There was a time when watching CN was an immersive experience, a visual treat for the senses. Good times, man, good times.

 

“You’re the one who’s always criticizing people for being nostalgia-tards and being stuck in the past, unable to embrace the present, and now you’re making a nostalgia thread! You’re a hypocrite! A big fat hypocrite! Mr. Hypocrite Pants!!”
 
No, I assure you that what I’m saying is not simply laced in nostalgia. It’s not necessarily the shows and blocks themselves that I miss, but the fun and the passion that went into them, as well as the uniqueness and diversity of said shows and blocks. You just don’t see that on CN now. This is a trend that I’ve been noticing happening on CN for a while now. Somehow, it seems that the life, the vibrancy, the dazzle, the care and the passion that used to go into Cartoon Network’s bumps, their shows, their blocks, their overall presentation has dissipated over the years. Something happened along the way, and I think I know what that something is….
Now by now it’s common knowledge that I’m not a huge Adult Swim booster and I’m usually among the first to cast stones at it (no, that’s not a rock in my pocket, I promise!), but I think that there’s precedent here. As much as it pains me to say this….
Kanye_West_at_the_2009_Tribeca_Film_Festival
“Turner Broadcasting doesn’t care about Cartoon Network!”
I know that sounds like a really spammy, trollish thing to say, but think about it. Now that Adult Swim has proven itself to be the most successful thing running on CN right now, all of its’ parent company’s praise and attention is now going into AS; CN right now is little more than an extended lead-in to Adult Swim. It would certainly explain why AS keeps getting more air space and why Cartoon Network’s current spectrum is so narrow. All of the current prime CN shows are, from my perspective, just ‘feeder’ shows for boys who will eventually transition into AS one day. I really feel like CN is no longer interested in being a general audience/ children’s network contender or competing with the likes of Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and The Hub anymore on the overall K2-11 spectrum, and are more content finding a very specific demo (boys 6-11/9-14) to target and then lure into AS – their big money maker. That’s basically all Turner talks about regarding CN in press releases. As a general animation/entertainment channel, Turner has basically given up on Cartoon Network. The only reason they don’t just make the entire channel AS is because they can’t air TV-MA shows during the day. Now things may change when new management comes in, but as it is now, Cartoon Network is little more than training ground for the junior dude-bros who will one day become Adult Swim’s audience.
On that note, I leave you with something equally disturbing: