When Fairly Oddparents premiered as a series (it was a collection of shorts before that) in March of 2001, who would have guessed it would last for ten years. I can remember it premiering the same night Invader Zim premiered and while that show only reached cult status. Fairly Oddparents has managed to have staying power among long time fans and newcomers alike.
Like most long running shows, it has been fascinating to see how the show has evolved over the years. At first, the show was just about Timmy Turner being tortured by evil babysitter Vicky, and being granted fairy godparents to compensate for how terrible his life is. Yet, since the show has been on, they have introduced several major characters such as the alien Mark Chang, The Anti-Fairies, The Pixies, and the inept fairy hunting teacher Mr. Crocker. In 2008, the show introduced a character that would add allow for many new ideas to come to the creators of the show, in the form of fairy baby Poof. They have also been fascinated with bringing minor characters that were originally meant to be one-offs that fans like. Examples of this include: Juandissimo, Britney Britney, Doug Dimmadome, Dr. Rip Studwell and others.
I feel part of its ability to remain interesting is to not be content doing the same thing all the time. In addition to doing regularly doing two fifteen minute episodes and once in a while a full one half an hour episode, Fairly Oddparents has done eleven TV movies. What impresses me about these is their diversity. One movie Channel Chasers, is literally a string of parodies of other TV shows and classic cartoons wrapped around a loose plot line. With the epic Wishology, they tried their hand at emulating classic trilogy style. The show also enjoyed dabbling in musicals with School’s Out. In celebration of tenth anniversary, the show went in its most daring direction by producing a live-action/CGI movie based on the show.
Why I would guess people enjoy Fairly Oddparents is its sense of humor. It very hard to pin down how to describe their style of humor, but they manage to make the jokes appeal to adults as well. At best I could try to describe it as a mix of character quirks, references, and complete randomness. I have tried to add “Why won’t you flip?” to my lexicon but to no avail so far. A lot of the jokes center on character personalities such as Cosmo being stupid or Crocker being crazy. And in one episode, I heard Mark Cheng make a reference to The Aristocrats which is something that is for sure going to go over a child’s head. So their humor is all over the place.
In the end, there are probably many reasons why the Fairly Oddparents has lasted for over ten years. Many shows have lasted that long or even longer, but few maintain the level of quality that Fairly Oddparents has continued to have over the years. If they continue to maintain that level of quality, I would be completely fine with watching it for another ten years.
Looney Tunes are my favorite of the older sets of cartoon characters. The reason for this is the sheer randomness and wanton violence that shown through in nearly cartoon. However, unlike other cartoon characters like Tom & Jerry, it is all done with a certain wit about it. No better example of this then in a little known Looney Tunes gem: The Ducksters.
The Ducksters was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Mike Maltese. Among the many classic characters they created themselves, they were responsible for putting Daffy Duck and Porky Pig together in many classic cartoons like Robin Hood Daffy and Duck Dodgers in the 24 & 1/2th Century. The combination is brilliant because Daffy is such a big personality, while Porky is meeker, but Porky ultimately smarter then Daffy.
The first shot you see The Ducksters, is Porky tied up heading towards a buzz saw as he struggles to answer a trivia question. This is the tone the cartoon sets. We find out that Porky is on a game show hosted by Daffy. It quickly becomes clear that Daffy has no intention of letting Porky actually win the game show. What I mean is that Daffy will make the questions usually impossible to answer or will lose patience with Porky’s stutter and tell him that time is up. The result will mean that Porky will get blown up, smashed with something, (like the Rock of Gibraltar) or flooded by gallons of .
After getting beat up by a giant gorilla, Porky threatens to beat up Daffy. Daffy responds to this by giving Porky the 26 million dollar and 3 cent prize money for “…being such a good sport…” Porky then proceeds to phone the president of the radio company and asks how much he would like for the company and having the exact amount Porky has the exact amount. Now president of the company Porky starts asking Daffy questions and Porky proceeds to do the same things to Daffy that were done to him. The cartoon ends with Daffy heading towards the same buzz saw that Porky was on at the beginning of the cartoon.
This cartoon represents everything that is great about Looney Tunes in one single cartoon. You do not learn anything and are not a better person for having seen it. All there is things happening for no reason and a feeling violence towards ones fellow man. Yet, when it comes to Looney Tunes, I would not have it any other way. (The Ducksters can be found on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 1)
Over a month ago, I found myself in the San Francisco-based Whiskey Media office eager to prove that I was worth them taking me on as a future intern for the Fall of 2011. This was the final stop of a journey that had lasted over a year. Even though it did not work out for me, I am writing this to tell you guys about my story, discuss what a future internship applicant can expect, and help you learn from where I went wrong.
Like most people who follow Whiskey Media, my first introduction to idea that they were taking on interns was Matt Kessler. Sure anybody would be jealous of the position he got in, but imagined he got the gig through some agency or a random notice on a college bulletin board or something (it was only later that I learned that he had done a lot of community stuff). He was followed by Steve, and I thought, good for them, but I could not even come close to even being considered for something as they must be picked from some source that I did not know about.
It was only later on that Ethan put up this notice calling on the community to apply for internship at Whiskey Media. While I normally live in Berkeley (which if you do not know is about 30 minutes by subway from San Francisco), at the time he posted that I was studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia. Still, I submitted a resume and Ethan said it would be a good idea to contact him in the Spring (it was August 2010 at the time) for applying for a Summer 2011 internship. He also mentioned that living in the bay area was a plus.
This was where I probably made my first mistake, as him saying that made me think I had a good chance. I then started imagining if I got the internship what I contribute to the sites without being invasive. I was getting ahead of myself. When I returned to the Bay Area/United States, I let Ethan know that I had returned. But when I first contacted him I titled the PM “Update”, which I should have taken into account that Ethan would look at that title and delete it as it says nothing about you are writing about.
As the New Year began, Kessler and Steve had left, and for the longest time Whiskey Media was sans interns for several months. This made me concerned that Whiskey Media had canceled their internship program for good. All I could do was stay tuned to Whiskey’s programming and Ethan’s Blog on Giant Bomb for updates. Finally, what I considered to be Spring (April) had arrived and I submitted my resume again. This time Ethan wanted an interview in person. The problem this time was that I was at Southern Oregon University finishing up my final quarter of my undergraduate studies in Video Production. Another mistake I could have made was that I should have been better available. He told me to let him know when I had finished.
However, while waiting for the quarter to be finish, this post showing the Summer internship lineup appeared. While I was excited for those who got chosen, I franticly wrote Ethan, worried that I had missed my chance. He assured me that openings were still available for September-December. So now I was applying for Fall instead of Summer, which was fine with me because it would give sometime between graduating and the beginning of the internship to rest and gather myself. As the quarter and my college experience drew to a close, I contacted Ethan and we arranged to meet for an interview the Friday after I got back.
So here I was about to go into my first out of college interview. I believed I had two things going for me: I lived in the bay area and not only did I major in video production but I had directed live television programs for the college television station. I was standing at door of the building where Whiskey is housed (they share it with several other companies). I pressed the button and it just kept ringing. I felt awkward, like I was supposed to do something else to get in that I did not know about. Finally, someone from another company answered the door and asked why I was there. I told him I was interviewing with Ethan Lance at Whiskey Media, and he directed me to Whiskey’s door within the building.
Just like that I was that I was there. This is the place I had seen over and over again in videos. I was near people I idolized for years and all I could think was, “Don’t say or do anything stupid!” Finally, Ethan showed up and we exchanged greetings. With all due respect to Ethan, I get the sense that he not the best at time management. In addition to scheduling four interns to work for Whiskey Media at once, we had previously arranged for our interview to be at 2 pm but he asked me if we had scheduled our interview at 2 or 2:30.
After getting that settled, he showed me briefly around the place before we decided on the bar for a place to conduct the interview. In some ways the interview was difficult because I wanted to make myself appealing to what Ethan was looking for, but at the same time getting across what I hoped get out of an internship at Whiskey. If I was to get an internship, in my ideal world, I would have loved to learn more my about my field of video production from Ana, Joey, Drew, and Vinny. They do my favorite work that Whiskey puts out.
During my interview with Ethan, I could sense an intenseness as if he were testing me to see what I was made of. The same was not true when Ethan stepped out, and Daniel entered. My conversation with Daniel was more laid back. Ethan’s interview was more what I would want to be doing at Whiskey, whereas Daniel’s interview was more about what my interests were. Though it was laid back, he did have a few surprises I was not expecting. I knew vaguely what I wanted to say, but when he asked me what would be a good gift for premium members (like me) who are contributing another $50 in September as part of their yearly subscriptions. I had to think for a little bit. I do not remember what I said but it probably could have been more creative.
Half way through the Daniel section, a wild Kessler appeared. This was unexpected even for Daniel. Kessler briefly joined the conversation. He asked me if Giant Bomb was my favorite Whiskey site, on account of I was wearing a Metroid T-shirt. I told him that while Giant Bomb had gotten me into Whiskey Media, it has been fun getting to know the other sites as well. I also mentioned that I was really excited about Screened.
The three of us chatted for a while then Kessler and Daniel left and had to get back to work. Ethan then returned and said that while he had to get back to work, I was welcome to stay for the Happy Hour. However, he told me not to disturb the staff, and to only talk to the interns. I took him at his word and was super quiet so as to not bother anyone. I am still not sure if this was the right thing to do. On the one hand, they do have work to do and I would not want to cause problems, but on the other hand I recently called Radio Dave last week and he said that that is just a scare tactic that Ethan uses. So in playing it back maybe I should have been livelier. I mean I was sitting next to Kessler when Dave comes up to him and assists him with whatever he was doing, and I do not doing anything. I do not even introduce myself to him for fear that I did what Ethan told me not to do. I still have no idea.
Anyway, I got to see this Happy Hour live, which was a ton of fun especially since I got to partially see how it got done. Ethan had to leave early, but I asked him when I would be hearing from him and he said the following week. However, the following week came and went without a word. I should have seen that that was not a good sign, but in my mind I thought that maybe they were still talking it over. Until finally, on the next Tuesday I got the message that I was not right for them. I had suspected this was case, but at least now it was official.
So where did I go wrong? I probably will never know, but I have my guesses. I probably should have been more willing to go the extra mile and be there to interview when he originally asked. I probably should not have gone so heavy into the video production on my resume because they probably were not looking for video production people. But mostly I should not have planned so far ahead and gotten my hopes up. I did not think that while we only see the people who get the internship, there are probably hundreds of people who get to the interview stage who do not end up getting to be an intern.
Am I disappointed? Yes, for sure I am disappointed. I thought some of the ideas of what I would do there were pretty solid. For example, I had an idea of how to frame the intern videos differently. I would be a reporter who has gone undercover as an intern without Whiskey knowing and the videos would be the reports I file. I thought it was a pretty good idea.
However, mostly I am disappointed about the missed learning opportunity. While I can not speak as to why most people apply to be an intern at Whiskey, I assume it is because most people think it is a fun place to be. I was hoping to be an intern as Whiskey as a chance to learn more. Whether it be how websites work, or more about video production, I just wanted continue to learn despite college being over. Oh well, one can not win them all, and if nothing else it is a good learning experience for applying to other internships or jobs. And if nothing else by not getting the internship it means I do not have to play Farmville for my job. So score one for me.
For my money, Bugs Bunny is the greatest cartoon character of all time. With Bugs the Warner Bros. was able to mix everything that is amazing about classic Looney Tunes into one character. TV Guide shared my view by naming Bugs the #1 greatest cartoon character of all time, in 2002. One thing I never thought of until Chuck Jones brought it up was that, Bugs is a character that just wants to be left alone, but people keep bugging (no pun intended) him.
However, when I first saw the 1949 cartoon Bowery Bugs, I was not sure that that is entirely true. The cartoon showcases Bugs’ most sadistic streak that is not seen in many of his other canon. It was directed Arthur Davis, who aside from not being the biggest name of the Looney Tunes directors, made this the only the cartoon starring Bugs that he would direct. The result is one of the darkest cartoons starring Bugs I have ever seen.
Bowery Bugs tells the story of Steve Brodie, an actual figure from history and Bugs’ new special friend (as Animaniacs would put it). Brodie is a gambler who has had a run of bad luck and determines that he needs a rabbit’s foot to turn his luck around. However, Bugs convinces him that rabbit’s feet are not lucky, and that he should seek the advice of “Swami Rabbitima” who is also played by Bugs. The Swami first says to find a man wearing a carnation for that man will be Brodie’s good luck charm. The man with the carnation is also Bugs and does not help in turning Brodie’s luck around.
Then, the Swami says that maybe Brodie should approaching women as he maybe better in love then when it comes to winning money. The first woman that Brodie comes across is of course, Bugs in drag. This has not worked either. Upon threatening the Swami, he asks why Brodie wants to change his luck around. Brodie says that he wants to get, “his hands on some dough”. The Swami sends him to a specific building which turns out to be a bakery. Bugs, who is the baker gives Brodie “the dough”.
Laughing a Brodie’s misfortunes, unmasks himself as the baker, and Brodie realizes that the baker was the rabbit he first went for. Beginning to go back over the people he has recently met, he unmasks the carnation man, the woman and the Swami revealing them to all rabbits who answer back with, “What’s Up, Doc?” This causes Brodie to think that he is losing his mind, as everybody seems to be turning into rabbits. Looking in the mirror to hope to gain composure, he sees Bugs appear in the mirror. However, to show that he is just messing with Brodie, Bugs shows the audience that he was imitating Brody’s reflection, Harpo Marx style. Brodie is running through the streets like a madman yelling, “What’s Up, Doc” over and over again. In a last attempt to gain a grip on reality he goes to a cop who is revealed to be Bugs again. This causes Brodie to jump off the . Jumping off the bridge is what Brodie is famous for in real life, though in real life he survived, a fact that the cartoon does not mention at all.
Sure, Bugs was minding his own business in this cartoon, but Bugs takes his defense to a crazy extreme. It maybe is telling that Arthur Davis only directed Bugs in this cartoon, but I love the extremely dark take on the character. It is something slightly unexpected for Looney Tunes which have been come to be known as family friendly, even though it was not intended as such. (Bowery Bugs can be found on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3)
Scooby-Doo is easily the most notable franchise to come from Hanna-Barbara era of television animation. Sure, they have other famous properties like The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, and The Smurfs, but only Scooby-Doo has managed to stay relevant through the years. Yet, I do not fully understand why. How does the idea of a group of odd teenagers and their talking dog with a speech impendent, traveling in a 1960’s style van unmasking villains disguised as monsters still play in 2011? Despite kind of ridiculous idea when you really think about it, Scooby-Doo is just as popular as ever.
Over the years the people behind the series have tried to bring different twists on the existing concept. There were of course the live-action films (which I have yet to see), turning the whole thing into a parody with the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo series which was headed by Tom Ruegger who later created Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, and most recently having a Scooby show maintain continuity across multiple episodes. However, one of the more interesting tacks the franchise has taken has been to add real monsters into the mix. This began with The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, which shows Scooby and the Gang going around the world to recapture actual ghosts that Scooby and Shaggy let out, with the help of Vincent Price. This was followed by the TV movies Meets the Boo Brothers, The Reluctant Werewolf, and The Ghoul School. While these do appear to take a realistic take on Scooby-Doo, these attempts are mostly played for comedy.
It might surprise you to realize that following these attempts at a reboot of the franchise, Scooby-Doo was kept silent for many years. It was not until re-runs of older programs started appearing on Cartoon Network, that they took another crack at bringing real monsters to the series. The result was Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, the first in a series of Scooby-Doo Direct to Video films to have the gang confront real monsters all while taking its concept seriously. Other films in this series are The Witch’s Ghost, The Alien Invaders, and The Cyber Chase.
When on Zombie Island,begins the original gang has gone their separate ways. Daphne hosts a television program about the supernatural, but is bored by reporting about the fakes they encountered so often in their early days. Fred, who is Daphne’s producer/cameraman, convinces her to go to in search real monsters. However, before they leave they reunite with the original gang and then set off for the south. At first, it is business as usual as they encounter fake after fake in a montage set to one of the Best Horrible Songs I have ever heard.
As they are about to give up on their quest, a woman named Lena invites them to Moonscar Island where she claims the ghost of Morgan Moonscar has been haunting the area. Left with no other lead, they follow Lena to home of Simone Lenoir the owner of . Upon arrival, strange occurrences start happening around them. These involve the supposed ghost of Morgan Moonscar. At first, the gang is naturally skeptical as they encountered millions of occurrences like this and they all turned out to be fake. So they believe that Morgan Moonscar’s ghost must of course be fake as well.
As night falls zombies begin appearing. After knocking a single one of them unconscious, Fred begins to try to rip off the zombie’s head believing it to be a man in a mask. However, Fred finally rips off the zombie’s head only to realize that he has actually taken off the zombie’s actual head and not a mask. They are now fully convinced that everything that has happened on the island is real.
The following is under a spoiler tag to keep the full plot from being ruined if you are now interested in this movie:
This is the kind of film I can get behind. By taking a serious look at monsters and ghosts, the franchise has reinvented itself. After all how many people dressing up in monster costumes are there going to be before it becomes a joke and a cliché. Making the monster concept for a cartoon realistic is the way Scooby-Doo can remain a legitimate cartoon.