Thursday, September 11, 2008

Funniest Cartoon. Ever.

I'm a sucker for cartoons. I love 'em. Always have. Of course I grew up sitting in front of the "glass teat" (as Harlan Ellison so perfectly said it) since I was a wee bairn. And it was cartoons and dinosaurs and famous monsters that shaped me into the critter I yam today.

I like lots of cartoons. Some directors were better than others. Avery, Clampett, McKimson. Very funny guys who knew how to make an entertaining toon. And there are some cartoons today that I quite enjoy. The first couple of seasons of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS were loads of fun and I unashamedly watch them often.

But the funniest cartoon I ever watched in my entire life was an episode of REN & STIMPY called "Space Madness". I'm not big on dissecting stuff. I'm a blunt instrument kind of guy. If you ask me why BLADE RUNNER is my favorite movie, I will probably say something like, "It was perfectly logical." If you ask me why I don't like (you name the movie), I will say something like "It sucked monkey turds!"

I just don't like to investigate stuff too thoroughly. It ain't in my nature.

I've watched SPACE MADNESS a number of times trying to figure out why it makes me laugh. And when push comes to shove, I have to say something very simple:

It's the illustrations.

Well, that makes sense, because it's a cartoon. Just about the most visual medium there is or ever was. It has to have great illustrations to be funny. But this cartoon just goes over every freaking ledge. It punches every button and closes every circuit. Yeah, the voices are great, and the delivery is excellent, and the script kicked ass, but it's those images that smack the funny bone, big time. When I first saw the script for it, I was floored by its simplicity. Not much dialogue at all, which surprised me because every time I'd seen the cartoon with friends I was generally laughing too hard to examine the spoken lines.

I see that SPACE MADNESS is available for free all over the Internet. Sometimes sites are taken quickly down, but, virus-like, they pop up somewhere else. But go ahead and buy the DVDs and get it over with. There's never been a cartoon show quite like the original run of REN & STIMPY, and there was never a better episode than SPACE MADNESS.

As if the comic book industry wasn't already stupid enough.

Here's something that has bothered me for a long time. The great Daffy Duck cartoons of the World War II years were fantastic. They are funny and amazing and totally entertaining. And Daffy is just that: daffy.

Fast forward to the late 50s and early 60s, and suddenly Daffy is no longer daffy, but has become a schmuck. Some of those are still great cartoons, but he's pretty much a loser in the later cartoons, rather than the crazed critter who got away with everything. At any rate, it's something that has always bothered me, and I've wondered why the change in the character was made.

Daffy Duck as a daffy duck:

Daffy Duck as a schmucky duck:

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