Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cartoon Week: Some Crazy Damn Stuff

Wrapping up this week of animated chicanery is the whole reason I wanted to talk about cartoons in the first place (other than the need to get content up every week).

During the mid-90's, Fox must have been really proud of "The Tick." Here it had an absurdist take on superheroes that was hilarious and well-received. So why wouldn't they try to adapt another indie humor comic? Why NOT try to make "Sam and Max: Freelance Police" into a cartoon?

It would be so easy! McGruff the Crime Dog and his rabbit sidekick solving wacky crimes - fun for all ages!

And fun it was. It was also absolutely batshit insane.

"Sam and Max" was a Tex Avery cartoon jacked up on cocaine and acid. Sam (the dog) and Max (the "rabbity thing") are at once unflappable and over-enthusiastic about everything that comes their way - mole men, moon men, sea monsters, their stalker - but they might also be borderline sociopaths. I could try to explain further, but I think I'll just let this line of dialogue sum it up:

(Sam and Max are on the moon, without any kind of space suits.)
Sam: So let me get this straight - we can breath here, then?
Max: I guess those prissy, paranoid astronauts never had enough spine to try it.

There you go. These are characters perfectly okay with calling astronauts pussies. Also, they made many mentions of not wearing underwear.

The show's recently been released on DVD, and the 11-minute episodes vary from okay to "Holy crap, how much violence can they gleefully advocate on a kids show, anyway?" awesome.

A taste is free:

Sam: Gee, I don't know anyone who would harm helpless kittens.
Max: Here, let me.

Max: Cooperate, and you will be slapped around without incident.

Sam: It's sort of fitting that Lorne would make his home down in the bowels of that funhouse.
Max: Huh. That's the first time I've ever heard the word "bowels" and "funhouse" in the same sentence.
Sam: Get used to it!

Sam: The path of violence can never lead to harmony.
Max: Now you're just being ridiculous.

And if that didn't sell you, well here. Have some episode.


Next week: We've got NEW TV! "The Office!" "Doctor Who!" "Hell's Kitchen!" Not at all likely to be in that order.

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