A while back on a friend’s journal I was asked about my taste in cartoons, and the fact of the matter is that I would just about rather watch cartoons more than anything else on television. Or most movies, if it came to that. This weekend I was one of 15 people at the seven pm show of Disney’s “Teacher’s Pet” ( well worth your money, by the way: insane color use, great voice work by Nathan Lane and Jerry Stiller among others, and as is usual in Disney product, an anxiety filled parental child relationship, with homoerotic subtext thrown in. I also found myself strangely attracted to one of the lead character’s incarnations.)
I like to see drawings move around.
Some of this is undoubtedly because I am part of the generation for whom the Saturday morning cartoon was sacred, and who bounded home to catch the 3 to five children’s tv slots after school, where it was possible to watch old Warner Brother’s, Popeye and Terrytoons’ cartoons. After a certain point Saturday was pretty much ruled by Hannah Barbera, and while I despised their cheapness at the time, some of them now have a deep fascination for me.
All of this means that I spend most of my time watching either Cartoon Network, Boomerang, or one of the varieties Nickelodeon. Enough time in fact, to be able to identify many of the voice talents without credits.
Here, in no real order are some of my fave shows these days:
The Simpsons – the best thing on television. Even during a slow season it has more laugh lines than any live action show. I love it so much I get outraged when the local Fox affiliate doesn’t run it three times a day like they are now.
Cowboy Bebop – Recently slagged by some nitwit in the Sunday Times Magazine, this is the anime show that I would pick if I could only have one: Beautiful music scoring, cool tech stuff that doesn’t overwhelm everything else, funny elliptical characters. But you have to watch it in order.
Daria – A spin off from Beavis and Butthead that is about being the smart kid in highschool hell. The animation is very limited, but the writing is very sharp.
Spongebob Squarepants – Imagine a world where R. Crumb characters were just as horny and yet didn’t know what sex was. Spongebob has a lot of Harpo Marx in him and Squidward is the rebirth of Paul Lynde: a bitter, snide queen with endless pretensions to culture who still manages to be sweet and long suffering. It also has my fave villain these days in Plankton – a single celled organism with a Napoleon complex. The backrounds are beautiful
Thundarr the Barbarian – Shows up on Boomerang’s “Boomeraction”. There is a genuine mournfulness about this show. Set in a post apocalyptic America that has reverted to savagery, Thundarr rides the land accompanied by a sorceress and a mutant cat/wookie thing called a Mok. Everything has fallen apart. Generally anyone who has any working tachnology has set themselves up as some sort of evil wizard and is preying on their fellow survivors. Crappy animation, clunky dialog but still it haunts me so.
Duckman – Another motor mouthed, id-driven, yellow character (see Homer Simpson and Spongebob). Mostly driven by pop culture parodies and endless sex jokes, many of which actually come off.
The Wild Thornberries – Clasky_Czupo made Duckman and were the original studio for the Simpsons. I think this is their most beautiful series, with subtle coloring and and great lines. One of the successes of their character designs is how hard it is to turn them into cuddly toys: WT merch has bombed in the toystores (collector alert!). Another story about the alienation of adolescence.
Okay, that’s more than enough for now. I haven’t even mentioned any of Sunday Night’s Adult Swim line up, which I pretty much live for, or Futurama, or Powerpuff Girls, or any of the dozens of shows I’ll watch Just cause they’re on or quirky gems like ReBoot or Frankenstein Junior or the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.
Since I’m a font of opinions, how about this: name a series and I’ll tell you what I think of it.