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Comments by PopKorn Kat
There were several Oswald cartoons in 1930 which were pretty dark (HELLS HEELS, MY PAL PAUL, NOT SO QUIET, DETECTIVE), but those entries all but vanished by 1931. This, the last of the bare-chested Oswald era (at least until he got a dye job in 1935), returns to those unnerving themes, though with a giddier disposition than even HELLS HEELS. Even the music is unnerving, and this isn't the case even in HELLS HEELS (though it gets cheerier in the latter half). This is one strange cartoon, even by strange Oswald cartoon standards. Being hit with a pie is apparently equal to being shot or stabbed, the mobsters acquire chicken eggs and elephants out of nowhere, there's a scene with birds pecking at a tree (???), and there's a Big Lipped Alligator Moment involving Oswald convincing one of the mobsters to dance to "Spring Song." This was a good (albeit weird) film for Oswald's "bare-chested" career to end on. Give it a try if you find it!
Up until I examined this cartoon more closely, Angel Puss was my least favorite Looney Tune of the "beloved" era. While this cartoon does tackle the leaders of the Axis, it more often than not just attacks the people of Japan just because the country supports the Axis. While one could argue that the remaining WWII cartoons (Snafu, et al) were racist (and some of them genuinely were), at least they had the audacity to confront the leaders and not just an entire nation which may not have even supported the abhorrent actions. Furthermore, the jokes, more often than not, simply aren't funny, generally resorting to bad puns.
The Sweet Spot
In case you're wondering how I managed to rate this, it was a free download on iTunes where I live. A very cartoony, funny short that recalls Wile E. Coyote cartoons. I might start watching this cartoon!
Most of the
shorts in the first 26 episodes of this show are adaptations of stories from John Stanley’s run on the Dell comic books (1945-1959). This is an exception. I’ve read every Stanley-authored comic and cannot find one with this exact plot. (There is a Stanley-authored story from 1951 [#31] that has the same title, but the plot is entirely different—it revolves around Lulu trying to find ways to entertain herself when she’s confined to her room.) My theory is that this story is adapted from a later, non-Stanley issue, but it could also be an original Cinar creation.
I enjoyed this episode and found it funny. There was less of the gross-out stuff that I felt was dragging down the shorts. However, I didn't really think Mickey feeling that the cruise is "killing them with fun" is really in-character, no matter how barbaric the "fun" is. I feel that Donald Duck would be more likely to react in such a matter, along with Daisy (though the two ARE grouchier in comparison to Mickey and Minnie).
Strangely, the design for the Bogeyman is based off the "Bogyman" in the unpublished Little Lulu comic book story "The Bogyman".
Naked Beach Frenzy
As uncomfortable as this episode already is (especially with Ren’s sexual harassment), it’s all the more disturbing once you know about not only how one of the animators felt while working on this show (to put it shortly: she was absolutely repulsed), but also of John’s sexually abusive attitude toward underage girls and women as a whole. (Oh, and there's a woman who just flips around ala
. It just looks cheap in this context.)
This short is well-animated, but it does highlight a huge issue I have with the recent shorts: Mickey is stricken with such bad luck that
seems luckier in comparison. Now I’m fine with Mickey getting the short end of the stick, but it’s preposterous when that’s
that happens. I believe Donald is better suited to head this cartoon, but I suppose the reason why Donald isn’t front and center in these shorts is because with two shows he’s heading (
The Legend of the Three Caballeros
), Disney didn’t want him to overshadow the Mouse
much. Another good candidate would be Oswald, if only for that touch of irony.
Fire Dogs 2 (Part 1)
This episode takes the worst aspects of “Adult Party Cartoon” and commits them to celluloid. The pacing of this episode is glacial, and both parts of the episode could have fit in half the time. Even then, it still wouldn’t have been much better, writing-wise—the episode is one big animation in-joke. Apparently we’re supposed to assume that anything having to do with John’s former employer is hilarity in and of itself. (It’s not.) Overall, I feel this episode and "Part 2" are some of the worst episodes of the entire
Ren & Stimpy
body of work, period.
I don't know what to think of this short. The animation and expressions were wacky and unrestrained, and it's great to see Mickey, Donald and Goofy working together as a team again. However, Mickey in this short seemed
too angry to the point where it was out-of-character to me, everyman personality aside.
Cans Without Labels
John Kricfalusi and his post-
Ren & Stimpy
output have been...divisive, to say the least. The reviled
Adult Party Cartoon
forced him out of mainstream animation, and his Kickstarter-funded cartoon "Cans Without Labels" proved to be one of the many, many things that ended his career. He scheduled a 2013 release date, which came and went. All the while, he continued to get tidbits of work elsewhere, while claiming that his cartoon was partially or completely done. In 2018, numerous accusations of sexual harassment and abuse against him ensured he would never work again. And yet, against all odds, he finally released the short in May 2019. To absolutely no one's surprise, this is one can that should have been thrown out.
The plot is simple: George Liquor tries to force his nephews, Slab and Ernie, to eat a face out of a can. That's it. Unfortunately, the short falls flat in every single fathomable way. From the animation to the jokes, there's nothing to enjoy.
One glaringly obvious problem appears within the first scene: the combination of 2D and CGI is painfully amateur. I've seen PlayStation and GameCube games that utilize sprites and models better! Why the cans and furniture are CGI is never explained, nor does there appear to be a reason why.
The other obvious problem that is the short's undoing:
every single character
is flat and uninteresting--even George Liquor does little beyond threatening his nephews to eat a face out of a can. He worked well alongside Ren and Stimpy in "Man's Best Friend" worked because the personalities of the three characters played off of each other. That's not the case here. Slab and Ernie do not conflict with George's attitudes, nor do they play off of them in unexpected ways. They're simply there to get antagonized by George, and that's it. George Liquor's mood swings are a rehash of Ren Hoek's mental breakdowns, but without any of the character depth that made those moments work. As a result, there's nobody to root for or hiss at.
Then there's the animation. The cartoon never slows down. Even Bob Clampett's wildest work took breaks once in a while! On the other hand, there's moments of unacceptably lackluster animation as well--one example being a scene where a belt-grasping George slides across the floor, with no other body movement in sight. Quite an accomplishment.
The only redeeming factor about this short is that it illustrates how not to make a cartoon: from the production to the execution and behavior of its producer. I think
put it best: "When all's said and done, they should show "Cans Without Labels" and "Last Days of Coney Island" in animation schools as a warning in regards to what can happen to creators who take their success for granted and abuse their fans and co-workers. Cautionary tale indeed."
Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling
Now this is how you do a revival! The original
is my favorite Nicktoon. Every season and episode has held up, even to this day. It's smart, funny, well-written, and subversive. How would the titular wallaby and his pals adjust to the hectic 21st century? Well...let's just say Heffer and Filburt adapt easier than Rocko and Ed.
Rocko, Heffer and Filburt have been floating around in space since the events of "Future Shlock" occurred over twenty years ago. When they crash-land back in O-Town, they find that it's the 21st century and everything has changed. Conglom-O has lost a lot of money, dooming O-Town. Distraught that
is no longer on TV, Rocko has an idea: bring it back, and get the original creator behind it!
The special's basically an episode of the original show that's four times as long, but it never feels like it overstays its welcome. If anything, it may be too short--I felt the ending was abrupt, even though all the plot threads were resolved.
The show's message--"accept change"--is important for everyone to understand. You can't avoid it--the "whinds" of change won't let you. One important plot point hammers this moral home--the creator of Rocko's favorite show is revealed to be a trans woman named Rachel. While Rocko, Heffer, Filburt and Bev have no problem with this, Ed takes a while to adjust. The character of Rachel was handled very respectfully, with no offensive stereotypes in play and no derogatory jokes about her character or appearance. The message goes both ways. When Rocko is upset about the Fatheads' new child in Rachel's
revival, he realizes his logic is just as flawed as Ed's once was. (He very quickly changes his tune, fortunately.)
Should you watch this special?
If you're a newbie to the Rocko show, maybe take some time to watch the original episodes to understand what's going on. (I'd personally start off with the Rachel Bighead episodes and "Future-Schlock," the series finale.) If you've been a Rocko fan for a while, you will not be disappointed.
Honesty is the Best Policy
I can see why this cartoon never caught on. While the art and animation are decent, the cartoon isn't funny enough. Even Screen Gems had funnier shorts.
Raggedy Ann & Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper
I think this is one of the weakest Chuck Jones productions ever. Characters talk and talk, and the ending is just plain saccharine.
The Three Bears
The Woolworth's of animation could churn out some off-kilter and bonkers cartoons even during their tenure under the conservative Paul Terry. This is one of several pre-Jim Tyer examples of such ridiculousness. Stereotypically Italian bears? A sudden musical number? The beautifully imperfect animation? It's all here, and frankly I love it.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure
A half-hearted attempt to milk the
franchise until it melts. I've already gotten very sick of
long before, and this special doesn't help the franchise's case. The makings for even a decent holiday special were halfway there, but they just didn't fit, resulting in nothing more than a mediocre time stopper surely to annoy anyone who isn't a fan of
. The story: Elsa and Anna throw a party for the people of Ardendale. However, after the bell is rung, they all leave to celebrate their own holiday traditions, so Olaf finds it his duty to seek out some traditions on his own. He loads them into a sleigh, but on the way back, it catches fire (thanks to a mishap with some coal) and falls off a cliff. Olaf ventures into the woods with nothing but a fruitcake and is chased by wolves. He makes it out...only to have the fruitcake snatched by a hawk. Olaf gives up and stays in the woods. Elsa and Anna stage a search for him and find him. Then they explain that the tradition was Olaf all along and then they celebrate Christmas...even though the events leading up to the whole thing were holiday-agnostic. Whee. The entire plot is based on an issue that could have been easily avoided, as my dad pointed out to me. Why couldn't Elsa and Anna invite them back in by offering free food? Or by serving the food
ringing the bell? I didn't find the special particularly heartwarming, either, especially since there was little to no moviation. Also, I found the songs absolutely grating, and I usually love songs in Disney movies and TV shows! There were some things I liked about the special. The animation, as always, was nice, though there wasn't anything that impressed me. There were these cute kittens during the part where Olaf went from door to door gathering traditions. There were some amusing physical gags, such as one where Olaf goes to a sauna and melts. The scenes where Olaf got physically injured were by far the best parts of the whole special. Apparently, this "short" was originally slated to air on ABC, and I feel it should have stayed there instead of being a lead-in to Pixar's
. Overall, this short had some good things in it, but it needed a bit more fine-tuning before being committed to film. 5/10.
A Leela of Her Own
I personally felt this to be a rather weak episode. The jokes fell flat for me.
I'm With Cupid, Stupid
Combine a tired old 1940s movie/cartoon cliché (Woody doesn't want to commit to marrying Winnie? Hilarious) with hideously poor animation and you get this. I am not the target audience for these new cartoons, but even I would know better than to target something like this for kids. 1/10.
A Swiss Miss
One thing these "Mighty Mouse" cartoons have going for them is loose, rubbery animation (certainly by Jim Tyer). This entry is saved by loose, rubbery animation and a St. Bernard who is more concerned with reciting his motto than actually saving Pearl Pureheart! And when he finally does stop reciting his motto, he gives some booze to the wrong person--Oil Can Harry! (Also, on the print I watched, there seems to be an abrupt cut between the part where Oil Can Harry severs the rope Pearl Pureheart is dangling from and the Swiss cheese-manufacturing plant stopping just in time for lunch hour.)
Like all of Columbia's Krazy Kat cartoons, Soda Poppa has solid animation and music. The first gag has Krazy cracking open an egg only for the old bird inside to close it back up. We get to hear "The Kat's Meow", the title music for the Krazy Kat cartoons; here, it has different lyrics than the ones featured in the copyright synopsis for The Kat's Meow. Then the rival arrives and drives Kitty Kat to his car, using a table as a steering wheel! Unfortunately, by this time the plot devolves into "girl gets kidnapped by rival; boy must save girl" in the middle, as if the staff couldn't figure out where to go with the soda fountain setting and used that plot as a failsafe. For what it's worth, I found the guard constantly blocking Krazy from entering the suite even after the Kat distracts him humorous. Overall, a lack of surreal, creative humor and a trite, exhausted plot make this one of the weaker entries in Columbia's output.
See Ya Later Gladiator
So...what are my thoughts on what is commonly considered the worst Warner Bros. cartoon of all time? It's pretty bad. I'm not a fan of the "Daffy & Speedy" cartoons at all. They occasionally have humorous ideas, and the voice acting is still good, but their flaws far outweigh the positive factors. Daffy Duck's anger from the 1950s shorts is turned up to eleven, with him hating Speedy's mere
. The plot had potential: while trying to get rid of Speedy Gonzales by sending him back in time to 65 AD-era Rome, Daffy Duck accidentally sends
back in time as well. Daffy calls a driving gladiator a "fathead" and he and the mouse are tossed in the Colosseum to be toys for the lions. Unfortunately, what could have been funny 10 or even 20 years ago is now drained of any last drop of joy, thus leaving a lifeless corpse which staggers across the screen. The execution of any gags, even ones that could have been funny on paper, is exceptionally lackluster, even for these shorts. I didn't laugh once. The only time I genuinely cracked a smile was at the beginning, when Daffy bats the chain on the time machine despite being told not to. Not recommended unless you're a
Bokays and Brickbatz
One thing's for certain, in the comic strip, Krazy Kat antagonizing a mouse (especially Ignatz) would be completely out of character.
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