Monday, 31 October 2011

Go Team De Longpre!

I just finished watching Fox's new Sunday animated attempt Allen Gregory and while it had it's funny moments (post-Katrina anyone), I couldn't help feel that I recognized half the cast...

Oh yeah, that's because it's the Venture Bros.

I mean sure, hydrocephalic man-boy Billy Quizboy might be a bit older than Allen Gregory but they sound almost identical and it's like looking into the future.

Even more so, Allen Gregory's father, Richard De Longpre is practically the same person as Rusty Venture, just without the goatee and speed suit.

And in a creepy move, Richard's maybe straight life partner, Justin, looks oddly like Rusty's father Jonas Venture only a worse dresser.

The point of this exercise? Nothing really, I just feel the need to point out Fox's plagiarism whenever I can.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Great Bear Affair

ThunderCats finally returns this Friday after a brief hiatus in an episode called "Berbils." Despite being teased in the pilot episode, I cringed when I found out that the Berbils would show their cold, lifeless faces in this new series.

Then the other paw dropped this morning when TV Guide released the first image of Ro-Bear Berbil this morning.

This got me thinking of other ridiculously annoying bear cartoon characters. Don't get me wrong, I love bears. I fantasize about bear/shark/velociraptor death matches almost daily. But the use of bears as cutesy hats off to a child's love for his or her teddy bear in order to sell whatever show producers are peddling is an old and disgusting practice. Case in point? These assholes.

Truth be told, regardless of my love of the vintage ThunderCats, it was one hot mess. Third Earth was populated by any number of weird creatures and the Berbils might have taken the cake.

Robotic (yet fuzzy) bears with synthetic voices and the usefulness of a tit, they were constantly bullied by the other denizens of Third Earth. Time and again, it was the ThunderCats who had to leap to their rescue and then listen in to their pedantic squabbles.

All in all, any episode of ThunderCats that involve Berbils is one to avoid. Here's hoping Friday's reminagined Berbils buck that trend.

When Teddy Ruxpin stormed on the scene, everyone wanted him. Everyone. He was one of the first toys to capitalize on the state-of-the art technology known as "cassette tapes" (those were iPods in the Eighties, kids). Essentially, you'd plug a tape in Teddy's back and his mouth would move along with whatever the tape was playing.

It was awesome, trust me.

But what's a hot-as-shit toy without a corresponding commercial? Wait, I mean television show. Same diff back then. What came out was The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, an odd mix of caring, sharing, and other vomit-inducing drivel. Oddly enough, Teddy's nemesis was the Monsters and Villains Organization (MAVO) who were legit scary as fuck. It was an odd juxtaposition that just made the show all the more confusing.

In short? Go to hell, Teddy Ruxpin.

I know I'll get flack for this but the Care Bears were a marketing behemoth that should never have been.

Originally conceived of as stuffed animals and greeting cards from Hallmark, their popularity warranted their own series of television shows and movies.

Once again, the concept on its own was kinda cute and highly collectible. But hiring writers to try and come up with some kind of serialized plot each week was just painful.

Even though they were hellbent on hugging it out, each Care Bear was also armed with a "Care Bear Stare." Basically, their stomach symbols shot concussive laser blasts that would make you care whether you liked it or not, dammit!

Mixed messages much?

Another cult favorite that people will hate me for dogging are Disney's Gummi Bears. I can't quite decide what is it specifically that annoyed me. Perhaps I was just such a diehard Tailspin and Darkwing Duck fan that I didn't have room in my heart for the Gummi Bears. It could be that they had names like Zummi, Grammi, Tummi, and Cubbi. Maybe I just thought that Sunni was a huge slut.

In any case, if their catchy theme song came on TV, I couldn't run to change the channel fast enough.

The biggest perpetrator of bear marketing machines run amok is none other than Return of the Jedi's Ewoks. Yes, those cowled little furballs who somehow toppled the military machine of the Empire with little more than rocks and sticks were glaring examples of how we were all just here to make George Lucas a rich bitch.

Aside from selling action figures, stuffed toys, collector glasses, and anything else an Ewok could be slapped on, they also spawned their own spinoff cartoon series and two movies of their own! They were a money-making monsters and if you have one, you're part of the problem.

Cute? Cuddly? Have the potential to be bought for exorbitant amounts of money and taken to bed with you? You betcha. And if you love 'em, well you've been had my friend.

So just bend over, put your money on the dresser, grin, and bear it!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Gumboogle!

It would be nigh impossible not to hop on Google each day but today was an extra pleasant surprise, not seen since Pac-Man's playable game.

To commemorate what would have been his 90th birthday, Art Clokey's most famous creation, Gumby, has taken center stage as today's Google Doodle.

If you click on Gumby, Pokey, Prickle, Goo, or their mortal nemeses, the Blockheads, they'll jump around in a hellfire of Play-Doh!

I gotta admit, I'm having a hard time actually looking for anything online since I'm too busy watching Pokey's legs stretch.

In any case, happy birthday Art Clokey!