February 19, 2005

Release the Robotic Richard Simmons!

bios_townspeople_burns.gif More misunderstood than evil, Mr. Burns may possess unparalleled power in Springfield, but he can barely lift a baseball bat.

Ladies and gentlecommenters, your winner of the Simspons Secondary Character Award, C. Montgomery "Monty" Burns. He edged Willie the Groundskeeper out by a mere ten votes to earn this award. When asked for a statement regarding his victory over Willie, Burns said, of course, excellent.

Perhaps Monty's best known episode is the two part Who Shot Mr. Burns?, but it's certainly not his best.

Who could forget Homer the Smithers, in which Homer replaces Burns's manservant?
I'll have my lunch now. A single pillow of Shredded Wheat, some steamed toast, and a dodo egg.

Or this exchange from A Star is Burns?

Burns: Get me Steven Spielberg!
Smithers: He's unavailable.
Burns: Then get me his non-union Mexican equivalent!
Burns: Listen, Senor Spielbergo, I want you to do for me what Spielberg did for Oskar Schindler.
Spielbergo: Er, Schindler es bueno, Senor Burns es el diablo.
Burns: Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod. We're both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, dammit! Now go out there and win me that festival!

Or this episode, which any Burns fan will know just from the picture:

Here's a lenghty biography of Mr. Burns.
The lyrics to See My Vest (my favorite Burns episode)
And a Burns trivia quiz.

I'm almost sorry this is over. Any ideas for other contests featuring beloved cartoon characters? Maybe I'll conjure up something with Bugs Bunny in honor of this.

Congratulations, Mr. Burns!

June 15, 2004

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part IV: Quiz Time

I'm running very late today (a brand new mattress will always be cause for not wanting to get out of bed when you're supposed to) so the usual morning ramble will be late. However, I had this on hold since yesterday, so you can have fun (or not) with this in the meantime. Just something to tide you over and entertain you between cartoon debating. Yes, it's a quiz. It's a lot of old stuff, a good mix of Saturday morning cartoon characters plus some others - if we can get them all that would be great because this quiz did not come with answers! Have at it. I'll start you off with the answer to #58, as I've written about him before.

Continue reading "The Great Cartoon Debate, Part IV: Quiz Time" »

June 14, 2004

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part III: Potent Quotables

Ok, so you know I'm doing this Great Cartoon Debate. It's going to drag on a long time, I'll tell you that. I've already done initial research on more categories than there are shades of grey. By now, you've probably realized that my own personal end result will give the greatest kudos to the WB cartoons, from Bugs right up to Wacko, Yakko and Dot. What I need from you now is quotes. Trust me, there's a reason for this. I'll get to it later. Favorite quotes from favorite episodes of your favorite cartoon characters, be they older than dirt, new kids on the block, WB, Disney or any of the channels/creators in between. Just spit 'em out and I'll round 'em up. (Feel free to source your material, i.e., episode, context, etc., though you don't have to.)

Continue reading "The Great Cartoon Debate, Part III: Potent Quotables" »

June 13, 2004

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part II: Open Discussion on Nick Toons

I first started watching Nickelodeon in its infancy, when I spent a lot of time babysitting for my cousin. She was enthralled with Pinwheel, which was a precursor to Nick Jr. Pinwheel was a block of cartoon programming aimed at the pre-school set. It included the Japanese cartoon Maya the Bee, David the Gnome and The Littl' Bits and The Noozles (upon searching, I'm suprised to find that not only does Maya still air in places, but she's got her own video games). I hated these cartoons. Crappy animation and morality tales did little to hold my interest. The voicing on Maya was flat and the story lines seemed to repeat themselves. Everytime the theme song came on (i>Maya. Maya the Bee. Maya.. Maya the Bee), I would try to get teach Krys to sing the Monty Python song Eric the Half a Bee instead (Half a bee, philosophically, must, ipso facto, half not be). Never worked. David at least ad the voice of Tom Bosley going for it, but there were just too many lessons crammed into one half hour show. I wanted fun and mayhem in my cartoons, not morals! Unfortunately, my cousin couldn't take her eyes off of Maya or David, so I was stuck, as television was the only thing that kept her from bugging the crap out of me with her incessant why questions. Eventually Krys went to school and I stopped watching Pinwheel. Well, no. That's not entirely true as I was pretty taken in by Eureka's Castle and still wish that Nick would rerun those shows. But that was not a cartoon, so it's not important now. Later on, Nickelodeon would produce many fine cartoons, none of which approached the sugar coated fantasy land that Maya and David lived in. Which is a good thing. I mention these Nick cartoons because I opened the discussion up to other cartoons and I think it we would be sadly remiss to not include the following: Ren and Stimpy Rocko's Modern Life Angry Beavers Invader Zim Fairly Odd Parents SpongeBob SquarePants There are plenty of other Nick Toons to be talked about, especially the Klasky-Csupo shows (Frankly, the only K/C toon I liked was Rugrats). Just do not get me started on CatDog. That show freaked me out. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control (read as: family dropping by unexpectedly) preclude me from waxing nostalgic or fawning over these stellar shows or beating up on the shoddy ones. I leave the discussion of the merits/demerits of Nickelodeon cartoons - old and new - up to you. I'll include some of your comments in my final analysis when I eventually wind this discussion up sometime in the distant future.

June 12, 2004

The Great Cartoon Debate, Part I: Disney, Ducks and goofiness

Perhaps this is the wrong way to go about things, but it's my blog and my chosen topic at hand, so I'll make up the rules.

In the great debate over the best cartoons - which started out as a WB/Disney debate but now includes all the HB stuff as well as some other viewer chosen cartoons - here is how I decide which reigns supreme: How have said cartoons impacted my life in terms of pop culture references?

Silly? Yes. But we are talking cartoons here.

When I say references, I take into account the following:
* Have I ever dressed up as one of the characters for Halloween?
* Did I ever have any household accessories (bed sheets, etc.) with their likeness?
* How many times have I quoted any of the characters?
* If any of the characters break out into song, can I recite those songs from heart?
* How many of the theme songs can I sing?
* How many times in my life have I referenced the cartoons when talking about a completely different subject or used any of the cartoons to make a point in a discussion?
* How much of their "stuff" do I own?
* How many childhood-young adulthood memories involve any of the characters?
* How many episodes of a show can I recite nearly word for word?

There's more, but that should suffice for now.

After careful review of the criteria, it seems that Disney cartoons (remember kids, we are talking about television cartoons and not the Disney movies) had very little impact upon my career as a pop culture referencer. Yes, that's a word and a career. Just made it up, but that does not make it any less real.

It wasn't until the later Disney stuff, after I had children of my own, that had any kind of impact on my daily living and that's only because I now like to walk around saying Let's Get Dangerous! at random times. Darkwing also had a slew of opening lines he used when he appeared in a puff of smoke to save the day, such as I am the surprise in your cereal box! I like to use these sayings at times, though not as randomly, as there is a place and time for each of these quotes.

The terror that flaps in the night singlehandedly saved Disney from being relegated to "not culturally important enough" status in this debate. We had Darkwing cereal bowls, beach towels and t-shirts. We even got his autograph when we went to Disney World.

Darkwing was part of the Disney Afternoon block of cartoons that started airing in 1990. The original incarnation of this series included animated Gummi Bears, which struck me as inane. Talking cats and ducks? Fine. Talking candy? No. There was also Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Talespin, Goof Troop and Bonkers. Other shows were added later, but at that point my kids had switched from The Disney Channel to Nickelodeon (save for Gargoyles, which was a pretty neat show) and we missed out on such grand fare as Shnookums and Meat.

I hated Ducktales, mainly because I hate Donald Duck and every single Disney Duck except for the aforementioned Darkwing was really just Donald in a different outfit. Well, at least Scrooge McDuck wore coattails to cover up his genitals. Actually, it's pretty odd the way they handed out clothing to these ducks. Some of them wore pants, shirts, shoes, the whole bit, while others still went around with shirts and no pants. I'm sure there is some biting social commentary to be had here, but I do not want to digress more than I already have.

Enough of you favorite 90's Disney fare, you are saying. What about the stuff from your childhood, or do you just live vicariously through your children all the time?

Well, the two do meet ,you know. Aside from Darkwing Duck, the only other Disney Afternoon show I liked was Goof Troop. This stems from my unhealthy fascination with Goofy that goes back to my childhood. Goofy was the only Disney character I really liked. Perhaps I related to his awkwardness or his ability to turn every attempt at doing something good into a farce.

One of my favorite Goofy roles was in Lonesome Ghosts, pre-cursor to Ghostbusters.. Do you know how I watched that episode? Not on tv. Nope, I watched it with my handy dandy Fisher Price cartoon viewer. Wow! I actually found a photo of the cartridge. Excuse me while I go into memory shock overload. I can literally hear the clicking noise the viewer made as you cranked the handle. [Hold on....someone has it for sale on eBay! Which means I have to get the other computer hooked up today as I don't have my eBay password on the laptop and there's already twenty bids!]

Back to Goofy. While he may not have been quotable or even sourceable, he certainly was loveable and that's a good "able" to be. I believe Goofy was my first introduction to real physical humor, but I always worried about the guy, wondered how he could get into so many mishaps yet always remain happy, healthy and, well, goofy.

So it came to be that I would watch Goof Troop with my kids and eventually, every time, I would find myself alone in the living room laughing at the antics and the strained father-son relationship between Goofy and Max as my kids headed for another tv where they could watch Power Rangers or whatever else was on at the time. I think they even preferred Barney to Goofy. There's no accounting for taste.

What are we left with here? Goofy, Darkwing Duck and some memories that are going to cost me a pretty penny at eBay. I suppose if the thought of Lonesome Ghosts could send me running for my wallet, Disney cartoons must have had some impact on me.

End of Part 1. Feel free to use the criteria above to come to your own conclusions.

June 11, 2004

one lump or two?

[I put this post from earlier today on top because I'm sorry I even gave those moonbats attention. The state funeral for Reagan was a beautiful, moving service and I'd like to just leave it at that. I don't want to delete the protester post because of all the commenting going on, but I don't want it up top, either.] I'm expanding on the WB/Disney thing, as way too many people are chiming in on both the comments and in email to make the case for their favorite cartoons which fall into neither stated category. So here's your chance to plug your favorites and get them included in what is going to turn out to be a very lengthy post on the subject. Meanwhile, I should say that I am not firmly entrenched in any cartoon camp. They all have their moments. While I prefer WB over Disney today, there were plenty of Disney cartoons back in my childhood that I absolutely loved. Below, two of my favorite cartoon moments, one from Disney, one from WB:

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June 10, 2004

Disney v. WB: state your case

Well, that opened up a can of email worms. I'm working on something tentatively titled Warner Brother Cartoons v. Disney Cartoons. [Note, we are talking about cartoon characters, not movies and their characters] Now is the time to state your case, mention your favorite characters from either side, favorite television shows featuring those characters, best episodes that clearly show why your choice is superior, testaments, oaths, devotions, etc. We will put this fight to rest once and for all. Update: Case in point: This witch would kick this witch's butt.

Happy Birthday Donald Duck, You Dirty Old Man

Yesterday marked Donald Duck's 70th birthday. How did I ever miss this incredible cultural milestone? How did I let the day go by without commemorating this stupendous event?

Oh, that's right. I hate Donald Duck.

I look at Donald in the same way some people look at Crispin Glover. There's just a wrongness about him that makes my skin crawl. I suppose, to be fair, I shouldn't blame it entirely on Donald himself. I feel the same way about any animated animal that doesn't wear pants.

Why bother wearing a shirt if you aren't going to put a decent pair of trousers on? Even shorts or a bathing suit would be better than letting your genital-less nether regions hang out like that. It's just wrong, I tell you. The fact that Daisy refuses to wear a skirt or pants either just makes it all the more horrible to look at.

Do you let your kids watch Donald Duck cartoons? You shouldn't. No one should have to stand for Disney's veiled attempt to pass partial cartoon nudity onto our children. Where are the warnings? Where is the PG rating?

It's not just the no pants thing that bothers me. Donald's whole personality, in a word, sucks. He's selfish, obnoxious and a really bad role model for his nephews. He's got a worse temper than Tommy Lasorda. I wonder just what goes on that we don't see with those nephews. Ten to one he's hit them more than once. Probably with a belt buckle or a shoe. He's also a miser, as seen here and here. This stuff is documented, people. I am not making it up.

He is continually jealous of Mickey's good looks and luck with women. But no, nothing is ever Donald's fault. He just sits around and bitches about Mickey and Goofy and how easy they have it. Not once does he try to better himself or his life. Instead, he chooses to complain about how life isn't fair. The dude has a chip on his shoulder larger than, well, Chip. And that Daisy, she's just an enabler who continues to try to soothe Donald's frail ego every time he does something wrong. Hmm..I wonder what goes on with them behind closed doors? I'm willing to be the sex includes a lot of "I said turn over, bitch!" and such. She takes whatever he gives her, and what he doesn't give her, which is respect and proper attention. Dumb bitch. Eh, what can you expect from a chick that doesn't even have the decency to wear at least a thong in public? No wonder the girls today dress like they do! They've been raised watching pantless animals!

And what's wrong with Disney, expecting us to be entertained by Donald's long line of failures and defeat? I may not like the duck, but I would certainly back him up if he were to go to Eisner and claim exploitation.

It is my contention that Donald Duck is in serious need of some medication. Perhaps Zoloft or Prozac, something to help those mood swings and control his passive aggressiveness.

But what Donald really needs is a pair of pants. I keep looking for his duck dong; not because I want to see it but because it's pretty damn obvious that if Donald is wearing no pants, his thing is going to be swaying around. I suppose this is one for that scary group of folks known as furries to answer for me. Too bad I won't let myself get within ten feet of one of those folk. Do the folks at Disney think we're that stupid, that we are supposed to believe that ducks have no dicks? Then again, maybe that's why Donald is so angry all the time.

Well, happy birthday anyhow, Donald. You're 70 now. Calm the hell down, put on a pair of slacks and give Daisy some lovin'.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday Donald Duck, You Dirty Old Man" »