Comments by eutychus

The Tuba Tooter

Maybe it's just my inordinate and, some would say, irrational love of polka music, but this is one of my favorite Tom and Jerry cartoons despite the fact that the plot is pretty much insubstantial. A small band of musicians is down because they've lost their tuba player, but then cheers up when they find that Schulz is back in town! And when Tom and Jerry hear him playing in their boarding house, they alert the entire town. The music just swings right through with mice, scantily clad women, and the entire town joining in the dance. I can't help but tap my toes along with it.

Parrotville Fire Department

"Parrotville Fire Department" might have been a cute enough short, but it pales in comparison to Disney's 1930 short "The Fire Fighters" which was also directed by Burt Gillett. It's as if he used up all his funnier ideas with that cartoon. And when you compare it with "Mickey's Fire Brigade" which came a year later, it's not even a question of which is the better cartoon. There just doesn't seem to be a point to a lot of the situations. The poker game at the beginning is pointless, and they set up a situation with an old, falling apart fire engine that's laughed at by the other fire fighters, but never capitalize on that set up. I gave it a 5 for effort. The animation is good, especially the anthropomorphic flames, but that's about as far as I can recommend it.

One Froggy Evening

One of the best, probably one of the most well-known and certainly one of the most entertaining cartoons ever made. The reason that it is so entertaining is because the cartoon works on two levels. On on level, the frog singing is entertaining (if not, in necessity to the plot, a little short) and you could almost make a whole cartoon just out of that. But on a secondary level, the plot of the cartoon is completely enthralling as well.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I am old enough to remember when this was first broadcast, Coca Cola commercials and all. Since then, there has not been a year gone by when it hasn't been a part of my Christmas celebration. The producers took a major gamble making this, not only with having Linus taking two minutes to tell the Christmas story straight out of the Bible, but in wondering if the beloved Peanuts characters could successfully make the transition from the comic pages to the TV screen. One of the ways they stayed true to the characters was to have actual children voice the characters instead of using adults trying to mimic the kids voices. (In some cases, the dialogue had to be recorded a few short phrases at a time and then edited together!)

Happily, it worked, and it opened the door to a whole series of prime-time Peanuts specials. But for my money, none of them worked as well as the first. It has become a perennial and almost universal Christmas classic, which still holds up as well as it did when I first saw it when I was ten years old.

Chilly Willy

This cartoon, of course, introduces us to Chilly Willy, a character who was to become a major name in the Lantz pantheon. It's a cute enough cartoon and has some nice sight gags. For instance, the gangway to the ship has a sign which says "Wipe your feet." You think this is going to just be a throwaway gag, but it turns out to play a part in the plot. The one thing I objected to was a forced gag where Chilly opens up a collapsible ski jump. There's just no reason for something like that to exist, or be on the boat, and is just there to force the gag.

A Princess, an Elf and a Demon Walk Into a Bar

I had high hopes for this little series. (At this point it's impossible to tell if it will be a little series or not as Netflix has only optioned 20 episodes.) I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't bowled over as well. If you're a Matt Groening fan, it's an enjoyable diversion, although it doesn't have the brilliance of The Simpsons golden years or the ground-breaking feel of Futurama. It's just a cute, fairly funny show. It will be interesting to see if they try to do any real character development as the series winds on, or if the characters will just stay without any depth. For instance, there is the issue with Bean's real mother which is just hinted at, why King Zøg married an apparent vampire, and who are the people who sent Luci the demon and why. And there seemed to be more of a relationship between Kissy and Elfo than was let on in this episode. There's obviously a backstory there. So there's a lot of room for character exploration. Hopefully, they'll follow that path instead of just letting it be a Groening sitcom set in medieval times.