votw ii.21: D’oh! Kenny Propaned Shiny Metal Ass! Giggity!

Why didn’t you guys ever tell me there was an alternate video for Savoy’s “Whalebone”? What, afraid that I might go all stabby on you? Listen, I may be tiffed that you called me out on my ignorance, but my loathing will only last for a week (or seven). Another scenario (the kind that does not make light of your cowardice): “Whalebone” was the last video I featured right before the previous Cold As Stone version (*sniff*) went under, so some of you might have attempted to call it to my attention right before we were left floating without my blog our a-ha fix. Anyway, I’ve done right by Paul and Lauren here and now, so watch away up there. ▲▲▲ So what’s Hawaii, Oslo aboot, anywhich?

Speaking of Helen of Troy (that wench!), I saw The Incredible Hulk over the weekend, and, yeah, it’s leaps/bounds better than the previous version. Hulk smash, but not box office records, no. Just think of this Marvel push-up bra this way: it’s nice to look at, sure, but there’s no real substance. Ahem, it’s better than the two Fantastic 4 movies, X-Men 3, and perhaps even Spider-Man 3 since there was very little to look forward to this time around (whereas Spidey Tres had the hype of doomsday behind him — the same hype The Dark Knight is clouting this year, actually). However, Iron Man this movie ain’t.

By the by, The Cure concert was orgiastic. Over three hours long and four encores for a total of 37 similar? songs. Thanks for asking. :)

Last night, I rewatched the Futurama movie, Bender’s Big Score, in anticipation for the new straight-to-DVD flick (second of four), The Beast With A Million Backs, which hits domestic retail next week. Wimmy wam wam wozzle!

I suppose I’ll take this opportunity to preach on about everyone’s favorite slew of primetime (i.e., adult-leaning) animated television shows, and what better way to start than with Family Guy? Well, booger, I’ll tell you a better way to start: The Simpsons. See, that’s a better way to start, if only for chronology’s sake.* Mmmm. Booger.

*Not true: if I wanted to get technical — and I don’t — I would have started with The Flintstones, but then I would have been forced to deal with promiscuous teenage Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm’s hormones (’70s hedonistic, AIDs-free freelove?), Flinstones vitamins, and the paradox created in The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones. Hanna-Barbara, the fools!

So as far as we are concerned, the modern stoneage adult cartoon license to print wingwangs bonanza kicked off in 1989 with “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” which introduced the world to Peter Homer, Lois Marge, Chris Bart, Meg Lisa, Stewie Maggie, and Brian Santa’s Little Helper. (OK, perhaps the last two comparisons are a stretch since Stewie is a megalomaniacal homoerotic baby and Brian is an elitist drinker, whereas Maggie and the Simpsons’ dog are one-dimensional cardboard stand-ins.)

I once had a shirt of this image. Yes, had.

Needless to say, with 420 episodes to memorize and 420 T-shirts to wear, The Simpsons is the most over-saturated franchise to emerge in the past two decades, easily becoming the most recognizable group of characters in modern popular culture. These yellow-hued prima donnas are worldwide — you may know them as Homero, Boe Szyslak, or Schulrektor Skinner, or perhaps our “D’oh!” has been changed to your “Nein!” (But if this is the case, then what are you doing even reading this? Ich liebe dich, dawg!) The Simpsons exists in all things (videogames, lunch boxes, pornography, major motion pictures, contraceptives), so just turn your TV on. Doesn’t watching Mr. Burns get shot just make you all wuzzy inside?

In 1997, around the time of “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show,” animated aficionados got two new drastically different animated coups that owed their existence to Sideshow Bob. The first one came in the form of true-to-life King of the Hill, the second longest-running show I’ll mention here, even if it’s probably the least liked. There is nothing fantastical about it. You won’t see Hank Hill skateboarding over Arlen Gorge — he’s just going to threaten hippies and peddle propane. Stubby Bobby isn’t going to have his enemy’s parents killed and then fed to said enemy — nay, he’s going to be confused about his father’s parenting and will just say something mildly off-kilter, maybe. Peggy Hill is not a one-eyed mutant with a penchant for ass-kicking — she’s just a simple wife who says, in what she believes is Spanish, that she is “muy embarasada” (that’s “pregnant” in lieu of “embarrassed”).

The colorful cast is comprised of Texans living their mundane lives, but there’s a lot more genius here from the guy who brought you Beavis & Butthead than most care to admit. It’s daringly grounded in an era when all anyone wants to be is loud and Steve Carrell. Most episodes involve Hank clashing with someone who doesn’t do things his way, and that’s pretty funny. His perverse affection for propane and propane accessories is funny. His WWII veteran father is funny. So is Luanne, the clueless niece. Dale, Boomhauer, and Bill are the best alley friends ever — just picture yourself chumming with someone with Dale’s paranoia (and blindness, given his wife’s eternal infidelity with the town Native American…and the son the two had bearing Dale’s surname), Boomhauer’s accent, or Bill’s…well, Bill’s lackluster lacklustery. Well, I’ll be danged.

The other series from ’97 is South Park, the only show from this blog sprung from the loins of the evil good people at FOX. Matt Stone and Trey Parker still have the edgiest, topic-heavy TV show out there. Any given week, you’ll have Michael Jackson getting intimate with Cartman (the world’s most loathe-worthy character), Tom Cruise going apenuts (and coming out of the closet), Osama being hunted a la Bugs Bunny, Britney Spears’ meltdown, Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ kookiness (which Cartman mistook for the Final Solution o_o), or Saddam popping up from a hole mere days after it happened in our sad, little world. South Park satirizes with a vengeance, but it’s OK because the stars are just fourth-graders living in a really funkered-up place.

That’s J-Lo with Cartman. Yes.

Beyond the headlines (no other show has consistently accumulated this much controversy over the years), there lies a spectacularly funny animated romp about, oh, who the hell knows. Remember the episode where Satan visits God for advice about how to deal with his boyfriend, Saddam Hussein? Or that time Cartman got revenge on Scott Tenorman by having his parents killed and made into a bowl of chili? And as Tenorman wept over having eaten his parents, his favorite band, Radiohead, shows up and calls Tenorman a baby? And how Cartman licked Tenorman’s tears, calling them “yummy and sweet”? Ooh, and that time Butters got a shuriken (ninja star) stuck in his eye? Oh! And that time when Jennifer Lopez possessed Cartman’s hand? And Jennifer Lopez (after composing the world-awesome single, “Taco Taco Burrito Burrito”) made love to Ben Affleck? (Use your imagination.) For the freak of it, the United States declared war on the Great White North! I still blame Canada! Imagination Land, here we come! We’ll meet you there, gay dog, marijuana’d towel, and Christmas poo! (Oh my God, I just managed to describe South Park without killing Kenny. You bastard!)

In the 9teen90nines, we got our last batch of truly significant primetime animation (I spit on the 2OOOs), with Family Guy premiering mere weeks before Futurama. If you look around, Family Guy has become the cartoon du jour for the Generation Y set. This show is the hallmark of our generation, just as The Simpsons broke ground with Gen-X’ers. To be fair, the Y-Gen grew up with The Simpsons on syndication — we go giddy for Family Guy that much more. Why? Because it’s been off the air for as long as it has been on the air. FOX canceled it once, we got it back. FOX canceled it again, we got it back. This tug-of-war has been going on for as long as the quarrel between Peter Griffin and the Giant Chicken has been devastating the architectural integrity of Quahog. Giggity-goo, we shan’t die!

Family Guy, as portrayed on South Park.

The long-standing Simpsons/Family Guy rivalry.

Without a doubt, this show is the most irreverent of the bunch; manatee gags are to blame. (You may find yourself asking, “What are manatee gags?” In the South Park two-parter, “Cartoon Wars,” Eric Cartman sets out to destroy Family Guy — no love loss between the two camps –, and after enlisting a punk kid curiously similar to Bart Simpson, Cartman learns that Family Guy‘s throway gags are devised by having manatees randomly play with balls with stuff written on them. The “George Bush” ball might end up in the “Mexico” category. Ta-da! 15 seconds of Family Guy gold! Good, snide stuff.) Sometimes you may be witness to Stewie inciting O.J. Simpson to get stabby, or KISS saving Christmas, or God picking up women at a bar, or Chris Griffin playing the role of Bunty Bailey in a-ha’s “Take On Me.” Yes, a-hacolytes, we have much to be thankful for. [Creator Seth MacFarlane also made American Dad!, the politics-skewering toon with less laughs and less likable characters. Epic mediocrity.]

My final breath will touch upon 1999’s Futurama, perhaps my one true belovèd from this bunch. Futurama takes the kinship of The Simpsons and the huh?-ness of Family Guy and blasts it into the year 3OOO. As Matt Groening’s second brainchild, this was supposed to be The Simpsons‘ heir apparent, the show that would carry on the torch lit by Evergreen Terrace. Alas, it was not meant to be. With more schedule conflicts than you can shake a Bluth at, Futurama delivered its last interstellar package in 2003, forever leaving sci-fi/humor geeks in woe…that is, until sci-fi/humor geeks managed to resurrect it, Family Guy-style, with a feature-length adventure last November. (DVD sales and [adult swim], FTW.) The bastards at FOX bit the proverbial shiny, metal ass.

Futurama boasts an irrepressible cast of characters — from dimwitted Fry, the he’s-his-own-grandpa everyman destined to save the Universe time and again, to spunky Leela, the lovelorn, one-eyed mutant she-Han Solo; from Dr. Zoidberg, the broke and smelly alien-crab-Jew, to Professor Farnsworth, the 167-year-old senile mad scientist; from the evil Santa Bot to the whiny Robot Devil, all the way down to Bender Bending Rodriguez, the thieving, drunken, foul-mouthed fun-loving funbot fembots love to love. Futurama‘s tale about a pizza delivery boy being frozen in 2000 and waking up a millenia later realizes that what-if of the future, all the while mixing in a laugh-infused will-they, won’t-they soap opera that pokes at the heart, tugs at the strings. Fry’s unrequited devotion for Leela takes center stage, but there’s also the fact that he left his brother and puppy behind in 2000, never knowing how much they loved him; an orphaned Leela searched the stars for her parents, until finally she found them in the sewers of New New York as outcast mutants; Bender became a god, and then he met Him. Like I said, the new Futurama jaunt drops next week, but, please, sir? More?

The 2000s have given us a bounty’s worth of cartoons for adults given the explosion of ubiquitous niche programming (Cartoon Network’s [adult swim], you milker, you), but none have left their indelible marks like these have. You can have a thousand Aqua Teen Hunger Forces, but not a one comes close to the Family Guy Star Wars episode. (Well, maybe the Robot Chicken Star Wars episode comes close.) And so I ask you, the predominantly human viewer, where do your alliances lie? Where does your a-ha come in?

It doesn’t. Snappers. However, in the same way Family Guy “borrowed” from The Simpsons, so, too, did a-ha borrow from Savoy. Yuppers, this Video of the Week manages to stay on target by giving you the original version of the best song about a type of fabric, “Velvet.” Being the original can sometimes be tough. Many a time, people will say that Version 2.0 is better. (“I Think We’re Alone Now” belongs to Tiffany.) As for me, I enjoy a-ha’s “Velvet” more, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like Savoy’s original. It means I hate it.

Nah, I keed. I enjoy this one, too, and I hope you do, as well. I had never seen this video in full prior to today. It reminds me of Uncle Jessie’s “Forever” from Full House. Hold your horsies, that’s a future blog. Hm…..Anyway, here is Savoy’s “Velvet.” But hear how glee sings!

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~ by Alfredeus on June 19, 2008.

One Response to “votw ii.21: D’oh! Kenny Propaned Shiny Metal Ass! Giggity!”

  1. “With more schedule conflicts than you can shake a Bluth at”

    that was the best line, i think. thanks for the news on futurama, bender’s big score just wasn’t enough. and that show really does know how to pull the ol’ heart strings. the song at the end of the episode with fry’s dog always makes me sad. though the bit in the underground lab, next to the lava, that’s always fun.

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