Well I Discovered a Cartoon Called Adventure Time and Everybody Already Knows About it

So the title of this piece pretty much says what happened; I just found out about Adventure Time. And I like it. I’m not sure why and I’m not super dooper crazy about it. But generally I like it. I mean, it’s no Fullmetal Alchemist but it’s waaaaaay better than most animated American shows made for kids.

Here’s the deal; looking back I’d say I like a lot of cartoon shoes about boys with magical powers and/or doing adventures. It probably started for me with Prince Planet. Back in the day that was MY SHOW! And yeah Clutch Cargo and Johnny Quest were a lot of fun-but I think even then I understood that shows were crazy informative with real facts and that left a lasting impression. Hence my degree in Anthropology.

But even in recent years I’ve gravitated to super boy type shows. Dexter’s Lab, Danny Phantom, Ben 10 and of course Fullmetal. Hell, maybe I want/ed to BE a super boy.

At any rate Finn and Jake on Adventure time represent a real departure from even the shows I listed. I’d honestly have to say it captures ACTUAL young people’s state of mind most accurately. I mean, looking back on my youth I think that’s how I thought when I was 11-13. And that’s certainly one of my favorite age for girls; its before they get sexual and self-conscious and they’re still loud and full of energy and can still run and jump rope and they’re funny and make funny faces. That all disappears by 14 for them. And in boys, they’re not quite ready to get in the chest pounding he-man fist fights but they’re brave enough to go on little adventures and try stunts. But they still sorta, kinda believe in magical of fantasy type reality. They haven’t quite closed the door on the realm of the spooky. And parents usually let them run around alone a little. In this era of abduction that’s sort of going away, but generally moms and dads will let them run around out of sight so kids that age can still do little adventures.

So this show seems to catch that spirit. I mean there’s a lot of funny voices, and yelling and screaming and wailing and every little thing is GIANT. Plus they use tons and tons of hip lingo, just like real kids. So it feels real. And let’s not even talk about the romance. All the romance that’s going on is this conflicted and confused and unrequited stuff. I think that tone the show goes with really captures that brief time in our lives very well.

Anyway, here’s a link to the pilot episode.

Friday Means New Ben 10-Alien Force and Later Assy McGee!

Well tonight’s the night. The brand new Ben 10 starts. He’s supposed to be 5 years older, I think, and now we get to see how he grows up on his way to becoming Ben 10,000. Which of course we’ve already seen at the end of the original Ben 10 series. The show is going to air on Cartoon Network weekly at 10AM on Saturdays, but tonight is the premiere. And what can I say? I love kid with superpower TV shows. I always have. It must have started with Prince Planet for me. Most of you probably know Speed Racer, and a couple of Chicago Polish guys have just made a new Speed Racer movie. Those guys are from here, largest Polish community outside of Warsaw, and once they got out of the furniture building they got INTO the comic book business. And then from there they said, what the hell let’s make some movies. That’s the short version of how the Matrix got made.

And I know where those guys are coming from. Chicago morning and afternoon TV was fantastic. On this blog I’ve already talked about how the guy who plays Homer Simpson grew up here and was so influenced by the Chicago Bozo that he decided to use that voice for the Krusty the Clown character. I’m telling you, we had it going on out here in the 70’s. And that’s why when I went into showbiz and moved to NYC and later LA I was WAY ahead of the game in terms of doing comedy improv. I had references to pull on that just blew people away-because in improve being able to pull some obscure TV, book, historical or song reference out of the blue and fold it into the “scene” is what makes you look crazy good. ANNNNNYYYWAY.

Those kid with superpower shows were all over the place out here, mostly from Japan; where the kid would either become the hero, like Astroboy or Prince Planet. Or he was the friend of the hero robot, like Gigantor and Ultraman. But we also had Johnny Socko, Clutch Cargo and Johnny Quest (which of course has been totally parodied by The Venture Brothers with Dr. Quest and Race Bannon being “good friends”). So as I got older comic books like Spider-Man really and shows like Batman and Robin seemed pretty cool. And then as I become and OLD MAN. I’ve gradually discovered all kinds of super boy type shows. In the last 5, 6, 7 years they’ve made the Smallville show, Danny Phantom (best song int eh world by Guy Moone on that one) and of course Ben 10. Now, Ben 10 is a weird one for me. It’s definitely in the vein of Johnny Quest of a “family team” fighting crime, but I haven’t really liked the Ben character. They decided to make him “kid with an edge.” So he says all this mean spirited or low IQ stuff, so that the show has a contrast for the his cousin Gwen character and have this ongoing tension. I understand it from a plot device point of view, but it’s also the reason I prefer Danny Phantom. Both shows recently ended by the way with a like multipart story line and hour long episodes. But in a flash of great ideas. They’ve decided to bring Ben 10 back older. And I think it’s a pretty cool idea. The downside is they may loose some of the younger viewers-but here’s the deal. The reruns of the original Ben 10 will be right there for eh kids, and the original views have ALSO gotten older-so this should be right up their alley.

Later in the evening the Cartoon Network becomes AdultSwim, and when that happens the party really gets started and the freaks come out . One of those freaks is Assy McGee, and this episodes air on TV on Sunday, but on Friday nights they show the new episodes online .

Assy is a cop, but in the above picture, he’s depicted as a used car salesman, who has done what all those low rent salesmen do in those ads; he’s put on a prop hat to present himself as a “character.” Clearly the humor here works on multiple levels. But the main humor is like classic AdultSwim; parody. The show is basically in the spirit of those Steven Bocho cop shows-or for that matter any of those cop shows that littered the airwaves in the 70’s and 80’s. McMillan and Wife, Cagney and Lacey, HillStreet Blues and hell why not throw Barnaby Jones and McCloud in there too. The sort of pinnacle parody moment is the end of the show; where some character says something and everybody looks at him and they all do that smirk that says “what are we gonna do with you?” and the frame freezes and th credits roll. You can get this pose yourself if you try. Put one hand on your hip, tilt your head to one side, smile with one side of your face and then slowly shake your head from side to side like you’re saying “no.” And voila! You’ve captured the spirit of Assy McGee.