What The Funny #2: Carnival Knowledge

It’s that time again!

First, I’d like to apologize for the delay. I didn’t intend to take this long to post here again. I’ve just been busy with work and so forth. Sometimes the wheels of creativity run in low gear. But I’m here now, so it’s time for another breakdown of one of my favorite Rocko’s Modern Life shorts:

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“G’day, mate!”

Carnival Knowledge

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So right off the bat, we get a title that’s a double entendre; “Carnival Knowledge” is a play on the term “carnal knowledge”, as in intercourse.

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“OH!”

Highlights:

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I love this one ride that’s called simply Broken Mirrors. Sounds like loads of fun!

Rocko and Heffer come across a carnival, which is owned and primarily operated by Slippy the Slug (who’s voiced by comedian Dom Irrera).

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“Ooh! Aah!”

Yeah, that guy.

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Slippy offers them food, rides, and games for thirty dollars. They think of which ride they should get on and choose The Mug-O-Whirl, only to find that it has already started.

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Here’s a fun ride; the Elevator to Hell. Note that the word “hell” is uncensored here. I’m surprised that Nickelodeon’s censors didn’t notice this, although they apparently wised up by the time of a later episode “To Heck and Back” where the word “Heck” is used as a substitute for hell.

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Next, Rocko tries Slippy’s Games-O-Chance, a crane game machine in which the crane claw takes Rocko’s watch, as well as Heffer’s underpants. The two then get on the Ferris wheel, where they are stopped at the top. Subsequently, the ride operator (Slippy the Slug again) brings them down and stops them halfway, leaving them dangling, which causes their money to fall out of their pockets.

Rocko plays the Frog Flip, in which the player has to use a mallet to slam onto the plank with the frog on the other end and make sure it lands onto their lily pad in the pool behind. Heffer goes first and accidentally smashes his frog into a puddle of green goo. During Rocko’s turn, a frog wearing a derby hat and smoking a cigar taunts him (Ooh, such a strong man! Mr. Tough-Guy-With-A-Mallet!” “Easy on the bladder, meat!”) and the wallaby slams on the end of the plank (with a wrecking ball), sending the frog flying high in the sky (all the while shouting”LOSER!!”). This scene is punctuated perfectly as two of them are watching the frog fly off into the stratosphere, Heffer says plainly and dryly “That…was one rude frog!”

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Incidentally, I wanted to show this scene in it’s entirety, but I couldn’t find any clips of it online.

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Thanks loads, YouTube!

The two then get on the Bumper Cars, where Rocko unwillingly gets on a gimp bumper car and is crashed by the other bumper car riders. Rocko has finally had it and decides that he and Heffer should leave. But not before Heffer convinces him to stay so that they could ride the Nose Bleed, a precarious roller coaster. Unfortunately, for Rocko, he isn’t tall enough, but Heffer augments his height and the two ride on the roller coaster, which sends them to outer space, and they later crash down the ground. Rocko decides to leave, but not before the crane machine takes his money. Suddenly, the frog that taunted Rocko earlier in the Frog Flip game lands perfectly on the lily pad in the pool, winning Rocko a Chinese finger puzzle.

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“Lucky shot!”

As they leave, Heffer says that he thought the rides were rigged and Rocko adds that not everyone is around to rip you off. After the episode ends (with Rocko breaking his Chinese finger puzzle off-screen), the frog attempts to open up the iris end, which closes on his head.

Thoughts:

Carnival Knowledge doesn’t offer much in the way of plot. It’s just a string of gags with a continuing theme, but the gags are hilarious. Slippy was an amusing one-off character and it’s too bad that he never appeared again (Well, techincally, Slippy was seen one more time in the season 3 short “Zanzibar”, but he only has one line and he’s not voiced by Dom Irrera here, so it’s debatable whether that’s actually Slippy or just a random character with Slippy’s recycled design).

My rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Next Time: Skid Marks (Here’s hoping that there won’t be as long a wait for the this one). Stay funny.

What The Funny #1: Rocko’s Happy Sack

Nickelodeon recently revealed that the studio is working on an original hour long TV special based on one of it’s popular animated series, Rocko’s Modern Life. Series creator Joe Murray is involved in it’s production.

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“That was a hoot!”

So to mark this occasion, I thought it might be fun to pay tribute to my favorite Nicktoon by covering some of my favorite Rocko shorts in a new mini series segment (inspired by Chris Stuckmann’s Hilariocity and Alison Pregler’s Baywatching) which I’m calling What The Funny. Here’s how it’ll work: Basically, I’m going to profile a short that I like, give a brief synopsis of said short and then break down the funniest moments from it.

Now, you’re probably asking me to yourself…

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Don’t you already have a segment like this? Isn’t this Cartoon Country?

Not exactly. Cartoon Country is a grab bag; the cartoon that’s  presented on CC is something different every time. What The Funny, by contrast, only focuses on a single cartoon, studio or franchise and has more than a single post devoted to it. Before we begin, let me explain the rules here:

  1. I’m not going to be covering the entire series! Rocko’s Modern Life ran for four seasons and doing every single episode would take up too much of my time. I don’t like every episode equally and if I were doing WTFs for the next couple of months, then it would start to feel like a job and I would hate it. I’m just doing this for fun.
  2. I’m going to cover each short individually, rather than covering them by half hour episodes. Also, I won’t be  covering them in any particular order.
  3. I’ll be doing this in addition to the other segments, not instead of them. I’ll still be writing Cartoon Country, The Cartoon Couch, The Retro Bin, Beyond the background, etc.
  4. I won’t be doing these all in a row. There are only going to be about 3, 4 or at the most 5 of these and I’d prefer to spread them out. Variety is the spice of life.
  5. When I say “the best” shorts, I’m not judging them in terms of popularity or critical acclaim; These are just my personal favorites. You may have some favorites that didn’t make my list…
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“…And that’s, OK.”

…but since this is my blog,  we’re only going to focus on my personal pics.

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Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here we go with What The Funny!:

Rocko’s Happy Sack

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PREMISE

In this episode Rocko and Spunky hurry to the local grocery store to take advantage of a big 99% off everything sale.

The short starts with Rocko and Spunky at home with absolutely zero food in the house. Even the bugs are holding up “Will work for food” signs. There’s also a mouse skeleton that looks suspiciously like that of Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately, Rocko has only three dollars until pay day. Rocko and Spunky’s hunger sustains and they mope in depression. When Rocko views a 99% off everything sale at the Heap-O-Food market in the newspaper, he and Spunky hurry up and drive to the market before twelve o’clock (the time when the big sale ends).

HIGHLIGHTS

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I love this display. It was great how Joe Murray and his team was able to slip stuff like under the radar.

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I don’t know if this guy is supposed to be an actual lava man or just a guy in a costume (whith this show, you can never be sure), but the first time that I saw him, I was instantly reminded of the oddball creatures from the movie “Yellow Submarine”.

Spunky follows a (living) piece of liver into the meat packing room, where he’s wrapped up in put on display, and then promptly picked up by another customer (voiced by Charles Adler). Upon discovering this, Rocko tries to dissuade the guy from purchasing his dog.

Rocko: Dog meat?? Eeeww! Sir, do you know that dog meat causes you to be…irregular?

Customer: I’ll take my chances.

Rocko: But dog meat contains trace amounts of PCPs, CBCs and BVDs!

Customer: I like PCPs.

And that’s funny because PCP is a drug, CBC is the initials of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and BVD is popular brand of men’s underwear.

Rocko then explains that when fishermen hunt for dog meat, how the sea mammals accidentally get caught in the fishermen’s nets, and then we get the following exchange:

Rocko finally goes to the checkout line. The cashier is Filburt (who at this point in the series hasn’t yet been made into Rocko’s friend. Here, they act as if they don’t know each other). The clock literally ticks down to the final second (after Filburt  requests a price check on Frog Butter – “Is Frog Butter dairy or hygiene?”). The price is checked at $1.50, but then a second later, it changes to $150.00. Then Rocko becomes enraged and goes into one of my all time favorite meltdowns:

Filburt: And your total is…
(The cash register shows “$1.50”)
Rocko: Phew!
(The total suddenly increases)
Filburt: One hundred and fifty dollars. Gee, looks like you just missed our big sale. Have a nice day.

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(Rocko grits his teeth and gets bombs in his eyes)
Rocko: YOU CHEAP LITTLE ROTTER!!!!!!! I have been run over by a car, made to drag around a gimp shopping cart, threatened by your Gestapo security guards, had me head set on fire, I was attacked by wild lobsters, beaten by a very LARGE woman, had me dog wrapped in plastic, nearly starved to death and I still made the twelve o’clock deadline! So if you don’t change that total back to a dollar fifty, I WILL DO SOMETHING NOT NICE!!!!!!!!!!!

Filburt: That’ll be one dollar and fifty cents please.

When Rocko loads the trunk of his car with the food he purchased, he tells Spunky that sometimes, marketing day can be a very dangerous day. After closing the trunk, he drives home and rides through a speed bump, the impact of which causes the food to fall out of the trunk as Rocko, oblivious to this, continues driving.

THOUGHTS

This is one of my all time favorite Rocko shorts. Rocko doesn’t lose it very often, so when he does, it usually hilarious. I can relate to Rocko’s situation and I was glad to see him force someone to follow his order for once.  I also love Heap-O-Food’s sale with everything being 99% of until noon. Cartoon logic is crazy, but great.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Next time: Carnival Knowledge. Stay funny.