What The Funny #6: Dance of Doom

Finn-the-Human

“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!

Freakazoid

Freak-a-me! Freak-a-you!

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.

Dance_of_doom-0

Starring Leonard Rhombus, Kipton Tang and Weena Mercator as the Hopping Woman.

Premise: Super villain Cave Guy, a ‘Primordial American’, a big hulking blue skinned caveman who’s actually very erudite and refined…

Cave_guy

“I subscribe to the New Yorker!”

…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.

Gag Credits:

Weird Guy: Emmitt Nervend

Find Emmitt Nervend: Six Times in this Episode

Tag: “Wake up your folks and tell ’em you’re hungry. Go!”

Highlights:

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:

DoD Gif 1

Cut to a montage of Dexter receiving one rejection after another. First, from hot chick Valerie (voiced by Tress MacNeille)…

DoD 1

“Sure, I’d love to go to the dance with you…if I were ugly and dead!”

Then nice girl Steff (voiced by Tracey Rowe)…

DoD 2

“Sorry Dexter, I think that night I’m, uh, washing my hair!”

And finally, from tough girl Jill (voiced by Cree Summer).

DoD 3

“Nah, can’t do it, Dex. I’m gettin’ something removed!”

Utterly defeated, Dexter is spending the evening typing out his retirement plans.

Dod Gif 2

When Dexter replies that computers are “his whole life”, Debbie responds with:

Dod Gif 3

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.

MEANWHILE…

f-jeepers-01

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.

DoD 4

“Steff, you fibbed to Dex about washing your hair. If this were an afterschool special, oh, you would pay a bitter price for your dishonesty, like getting big oily zits or eating from the same plate as David Lee Roth!!”

DoD 5

“OH!! It’s food on a plate! And HE’S been EATING off of it!! Don’t you see?!? DON’T YOU GET IT????? OOOH!OH!OOOOOH!”

DoD 7

POINGGG! “Hi, Mom!” And Jill, you said you were having something removed! Maybe that something was YOUR HEART!! Just kidding. It’s probably a mole or something! Pfffft!”

DoD 6

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!

Thoughts:

“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!

Emmitt

FIND EMMIT NERVIND ONCE IN THIS BLOG POST

Toons & Tunes: Panama Canal

I first heard this one on Kids’ WB!, on Animaniacs‘ famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) all musical episode. I wasn’t wild about a show featuring nothing but songs, as I’m generally not a fan of musicals and most of them didn’t gel with me, but I liked this particular one. I’m always up for a good nautical boat song, and anything that spotlights Yakko is always welcome. Here’s “Panama Canal”.

Unpopular Opinions: Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain Could’ve Worked!

By now, we all know the story: Kids’ WB! wanted their own prime-time animated hit a la The Simpsons, and for some bizarre reason they got the notion that Pinky & the Brain could be their Simpsons, so they gave the Animaniacs spinoff a less-than-spectacular run on prime time. When that didn’t hatch ratings gold, they began tooling with the show’s premise, to expand on P&B’s universe and show them doing other things besides just trying and failing to take over the world (in other words, try to make the show a clone of The Simpsons). Their brilliant idea was to stick the titular duo with one of THE most annoying characters in popular culture, Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures (whom my brother Jason once referred to as “the Tom Green of cartoon characters”). The result: The colossally unfunny Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain.

pinky20elmyra20amp20the20brain_zpsglssacdj

Oh, the stupidity!

Yes, I’ve see this show, and no, it wasn’t good. At all. But I’ll tell you something that you may not believe, especially coming from me: Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain actually could have worked!

Gary Coleman

“Whatchu talkin’ bout, Silverstar?”

Hear me out. While PE&B was evey bit as lackluster as you’ve heard, the idea of transplanting Pinky & Brain from Acme Labs to suburbia and having them adopted by a kid was not a bad one; it just could’ve used some tweaking and rethinking. PE&B was like CN Real in that respect, in that the idea of the block itself wasn’t bad, but the shows they put on the block were.

First and foremost, for this idea to work, you’d have to GET RID OF ELMYRA. I get that the character was popular for who-knows-what reason, I know that Elmyra was one of Spielberg’s favorite characters, but let’s be real here: Elmyra just doesn’t have a lead character’s aura. In the two Duff Family episodes of Tiny Toons, the character was surrounded by co-stars who were far more interesting than she was. The character of Elmyra only has 2 shticks:

  1. She loves animals to death, and
  2. She’s dumb as a post.
Wooden-fence-post

“Hey, that’s an insult to posts everywhere! At least we’re good for something!”

Elmyra simply isn’t deep, layered or appealing enough to carry an entire show, plus the Brain already had one dufus to contend with, Pinky; he didn’t need Stupid in Stereo. Had it been me, I would’ve gone with an entirely new kid character for the role, and while we’re at it, why not make this new kid non-white, just for diversity points?

HAPPY-EXECUTIVE

“As you know, we executives aren’t big on hard work, and creativity’s not our thing. If you just want a non-white girl character to be the kid on this show, we don’t have to create one, we’ve already got a character like that, from the same show, in fact…”

mary_melody_in_bikini_2_zpstgwydwbc

…MARY MELODY.

Sure, why not? Mary Melody was also a Tiny Toon, so there’s your name recognition, plus personality-wise she was basically a blank slate, so the producers could do whatever they wanted with her and not tick off any fans. Flesh the character out; give her some quirks, passions and goals to shoot for, give her a funny, quirky family and possibly some friends to play off of, add some wacky neighbors to populate Mary’s world and you’ve got your Simpsons knockoff right there.

What about Pinky and Brain themselves, you ask? They’d still be on the show of course, but they’d have more of a supporting role. Here’s another unpopular opinion: I never thought Pinky and the Brain deserved their own series in the first place. They were fine as a light segment among other light segments, but as soon as you place the duo in the limelight, the shortcomings of the characters and the basic premise become all too obvious. Like Elmyra, Pinky and the Brain just don’t have deep enough personalities to carry an entire series, and honestly, if we really had to get an A! spinoff, I’d have much rather gotten a Slappy Squirrel show.

Anyway, P&B would basically function like the Penguins from the Madagascar movies: they’d be seen in the background hatching their own schemes by Mary Melody and the other human character’s feet, occasionally getting their own subplots.

elmyra4

Of course, they could occasionally get roped into the main plots via shenanigans.

That’s how I’d personally handle the Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain premise. For anyone who thinks it’s kind of jerky to reduce Pinky and Brain to supporting roles in what’s supposed to be their own spinoff, I say…

PE&tB2

…It was more jerky to make Brain the meat in a stupid sandwich!

Talkin’ Nerdy: What the What, X-Men: Evolution?!?

Today Talkin’ Nerdy probes X-Men: Evolution.

X-Men Evolution

 

For the uninformed, X-Men: Evolution was a Canadian-American animated television series about the Marvel Comics superhero team X-Men, which originally ran on Kids’ WB! from November 4, 2000 to October 25, 2003. XME’s major selling point was that in this incarnation, many of the characters were teenagers rather than adults.

Original X-Men

That’s not so unusual, after all, the original X-Men were teenagers.

Also, the main X-Men attended Bayville High, where they interacted with ‘normal’ kids and teachers.

saved-by-the-bell-then-and-now

So it was basically X-Men Meets Saved by the Bell.

Since the principal characters were teenagers, the show quickly became a favorite among fangirl shippers.

Hyper Fangirl

“SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Magma should totally date Pyro! BEST SHOW EVER!!!!!!!!!”

My personal opinion of the show was…

Spongebob Meh

I thought the animation was pretty decent (Evolution was easily one of the best looking X-Men cartoons to date) and it was a refreshing change to see an X-Men cartoon in which Wolverine wasn’t chewing up all the scenery for once…

Wolverine

“Hey, Bub! It ain’t my fault that I got the skills that earn Marvel big bills!”

…But the high school setting just never gelled with me, largely because I’ve never been big on high school based stuff in general. As a kid I hated, Hated, HATED school, so the last thing I wanted to see when I turned on the tube was a show about kids attending school. Basically I agree with the Blockbuster Buster about X-Men: Evolution: it was an OK show, though you had to slog through a ton of high school BS.

Gilfoyle

“The show was badass…except when it wasn’t.”

However, even Evolution‘s biggest fans and most staunchest admirers have to admit that there’s a HUGE, GAPING HOLE in the show’s premise.

Black Hole

Namely, the main kids on the show attended Bayville High (a public school) in this series, yet they still lived at the Xavier Academy for Gifted Youngsters. Let me repeat that: they went to a public school while living at a private school. They attended one school while living at another.

chewbacca-defense

“That. Does Not. Make. Sense!”

Now usually when I bring this up, some fanboy (or girl) will pipe in with…

nerd

“Obviously they were learning regular school stuff at Bayville and mutant stuff at the Academy. Duh!”

Yeah, I got that. Great. Sure. OK.

Except…

On this show, the existence of mutants was kept tightly under wraps. The general public didn’t even know about mutants until they were publicly outed in season 3, so what did Joe and Jane Average think these kids were doing at the Academy while they were concurrently attending public school? These kids had non-mutant friends; didn’t any of them ever ask one of them, “Say, you go to school here and you live at that other school. So you’re in 2 schools? What’s up with that?” What did Xavier’s staff and backers tell the public about the Academy? That it was a day camp? Chess club? A campus for LARPing?

Cult

Or did everybody just think the X-Teens were in a cult?

I’m not saying fans of X-Men: Evolution can’t or shouldn’t enjoy the show. The ‘Mutant High’ premise wasn’t really my thing, but I know a lot of people who thought it was awesome. If the show tickles your fancy, fine, but you’ve got to admit…

BabsBunny

“It’s a plot hole big enough to drive a Mack Truck through!”

Beyond the Background: Clay, the Neglected Xiaolin Dragon

Today, Beyond the Background ventures into the realm of Kids’ WB!’s Xiaolin Showdown.

Xiaolin_Showdown

From 2003 to 2006, Xiaolin Showdown reigned on Kids’ WB!, with nothing afterward (Xiaolin Chronicles doesn’t exist; I don’t know what you’re talking about), accruing many loyal fans along the way. The 4 young Xiaolin Dragons traveled the globe in search of the legendary Sheng Gong Wu and facing off against such instantly recognizable, memorable and unforgettable foes as…

Pandabubba

Panda-Dude!

Katnappe

Cat-Chick!

Chase_Young_Dragon_Form

This Guy!

Mala_Mala_Jong

and Him! (Yup, totally memorable.)

3 of the 4 Xiaolin Dragons became popular and fan-favorites: Omi, the monk Dragon of Water, was the face of the franchise (literally, his head graced the title’s logo); Raimundo the Brazilian Dragon of Wind was the voice of SpongeBob and the Mayor of Townsville himself, Tom Kenny, and even got made into team leader by the series’ end; Kimiko the rich Japanese Dragon of Fire was distinctive for being the only female Dragon and of course for her many, many, many different hairstyles and outfits (which Jason has already covered in My Ever Changing Clothes), but for all of the hype and fan art the other Dragons enjoyed (heck, as far as fan artists were concerned, Rai and Kimi might as well have had ‘PLEASE SHIP US!” tattooed on their foreheads), one Dragon always seems to get left out of the fan-love, that Dragon being the subject of today’s Beyond the Background, Kung Fu Cowboy Clay Bailey.

"Howdy, pardners!"

“Howdy, pardners!”

Clay is the Cyborg from Teen Titans of Xiaolin Showdown; why does he receive so little love from fans? I’ve always thought Clay was cool. Let’s examine what makes this feller unique:

Clay Bailey was the Xiaolin Dragon of the Earth. He fought evil to collect the magical Shen Gong Wu with the other Xiaolin warriors. His Wudai Weapon was the Big Bang Meteorang and his Wudai power was Wudai Crater. He was able to use his elemental powers with the Fist of Tebigong and the Third-Arm Sash.

Clay was from Texas as a cowboy and worked on a ranch, being raised by his parents along side his sister, Jesse. He later traveled back for the Star Hanabi. He had not initially known that the Star Hanabi was his father’s lone star. After Dojo told them that it was the Star Hanabi, he needed to get it from him but he couldn’t go back with his friends to the temple or the Star Hanabi until he proved he was a man.

Clay was very mellow and patient, and did not get ruffled easily. He’s kind, heroic, friendly, chivalrous and gentlemanly. He has the biggest heart of all the monks and probably gets into the least fights. There are few things that will make Clay angry, some being taking or messing with his hat, or harming his friends. Clay was also very honorable, trustworthy and chivalrous, and was somewhat old-fashioned in his ways. Clay used Tai Chi, referred to as “Old Man Kung Fu” by Raimundo. In his very first Xiaolin Showdown, Kimiko, Raimundo, and Omi did not have any faith in Clay winning against their nemesis, Jack Spicer, because of his patient maner and characteristics of his element. But Clay proved the other Monks wrong by using sunflower seeds to attract the bird in the showdown instead of aggressively attacking and harming the bird.

Clay, naturally, was also the strongest of the Dragons in training. Clay could often think of creative solutions to problems, and his patience was valuable to the other Monks. He always had a way to find the light of every bad situation. He took on the “big brother” role of the team, always protecting and caring for the other Monks. He was also a big eater, his first loyalty being to any food he laid his eyes on, particularly pork chops.

-On top of all that, the dude’s a Kung Fu Cowboy. That alone is noteworthy. It’s a perfect meshing of awesome things from both the West and the East. That’s totally new and has never been done before.

-OK, it hasn’t been done that many times before, but it’s still pretty cool, and so is Clay in my book.

Clay-Bailey-from-Xiaolin-Showdown-Photo-e1323271412397

Ride on, Kung Fu Cowpoke, Ride On.