Tag: Adult Swim

Truly wacky

Truly wacky

I was planning on taking today to write about a new YouTube series I’ve come to love.

However, that’s on the back-burner after I discovered something more wacky to discuss from a more traditional visual medium.

I’m not blind to the fact that the 2010’s media landscape is a minefield of reboots, remakes and sequels.

Properties that aren’t based on comic books or old television and movies struggle to break into blockbuster budget range. Just look at this line-up for remakes and reboots in 2019, which doesn’t include the glut of tentpole cinematic sequels.

From The Walt Disney Company alone we have Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars Episode 9, Frozen 2and now X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

I wager this proliferation of content comes largely from two areas.

Firstly, Internet remix culture. This 2015 Tech Crunch piece elaborates further, but in essence the Internet has created a people interested in re-consuming the same ideas with transformed variations and assimilated elements.

If the blanket of ‘memes’ don’t cover that idea in a personal enough manner, I’m in the process of writing a book that’s essentially just assimilating other fantasy genre properties.

There are no new ideas.

The second cause is the success of recognizable brands. Remakes are safer investments for studios than novel properties, as general audiences are more likely to pay for a movie featuring iconography they know and love.

It’s a phenomenon you see way before 2019 in all sorts of entertainment mediums.

So to reiterate: Content generally does better if it has an established name and does something to re-contextualize old idea.

Now, with all that said…

Who the fuck decided it was a good idea to bring Wacky Races back?

1968 vs. 2017

I discovered the 1968 Hanna-Barbera cartoon’s 2017 reboot while watching Cartoon Network’s IP graveyard Boomerang with my Mom this afternoon.

My two-year late discovery of the show might be a bad sign. But to be fair, I’m not as avid a Cartoon Network viewer as I was in the 2000s.

Considering the show has two seasons, perhaps it’s popularity in circles I don’t frequent.

Wacky_Races_-_The_Creepy_Coupe
The Creepy Coupe [1]
Based on the two episodes I watched with morbid curiosity, I can’t imagine that’s the case.

It has a quickly cobbled together, rubbery and unappealing visual style akin to later seasons of Johnny Test (a show I enjoyed before its decade run gave way to factory-churned quality).

The show also has weird tonal inconsistencies. The original was true to its name, as every episode was a different wacky race with bizarre stipulations.

In the first episode of the 2017 series I watched, there was a wacky race in which the original Dastardly returned, suggesting less of a reboot and more of a continuation.

The next episode was in space, and wacky racers were now garbage collectors. For no explained reason. Even though they kept their individualized get-ups, there were no races.

A good sign for a show called “Wacky Races.”

800px-Wacky_Races_-_Army_Surplus_Special
The Army Surplus Special [2]
That said, the show’s character designs are visually appealing and the theme song is iterated upon well for a decent soundtrack.

But these are elements lifted directly from the old series, and the 2017 characters are paper-thin archetypes at best that rely on forced, surrealist humor and returning elements like Muttley’s snickering that are somehow both referential and current, all-encompassing character traits.

I’m willing to bet the pitch for the show was simply bringing that iconic laugh back into mainstream consciousness.

One thing that stood out in my viewing: I’m not sure what audience this reboot is targeting. Its simplicity is bland even for a younger Cartoon Network demographic, but there is a heavy leaning on dated references for fans of the ’68 version.

For example: In the spacefaring episode, Dastardly pretends to be Space Ghost so he can sneak onto the garbage collecting ship.

This joke was actually the catalyst for my post, because… Really? Space Ghost?

I know Adult Swim and Channel Chasers kept him relevant well beyond his shelf life, but what kid in 2019 is going to know what Space Ghost was?

In fact, this lazily executed “fellow 60’s cartoon” reference raises more questions. Why would these characters know who Space Ghost is if, as the other episode suggested, they are the grandchildren of the original Wacky Racers?

Full disclosure, I know I’m overthinking things. But when your show is so dull that this is all I can think about, there’s something wrong.

Wacky_Races_-_The_Mean_Machine
The Mean Machine [3]
Frankly this whole post probably seems like needlessly overthinking children’s entertainment. Why does Wacky Races matter as much as I seem to suggest?

The thing is… It doesn’t. Which is kind of the point.

I have fond memories watching re-runs of the 1968 show, but I’m under no delusion that it was perfect television.

Wacky Races suffered from the same budget shortcuts of endless animation loops and recycling story ideas as The Flintstones and other serialized Hanna-Barbara cartoons in its mold.

They were flawed, but incredibly important and popular parts of animation history.

The YouTuber Saberspark has a wonderful series on the rise-and-fall of different animation companies, and recently featured Hanna-Barbara.

It’s a great tribute, but perhaps it primed me to quickly perceive this reboot as a lazy cash grab. The kind of product that retroactively degrades a show’s popular perception, or even dissuades a consumer from seeking the original they may be unaware exists.

But to be honest, Wacky Races (2017) could just as easily be a catalyst for curious youngsters to seek out the original piece of animation history.

I would hope such a mediocre reboot at least succeeds in keeping its predecessor alive.


Featured Image, as well as [1], [2] and [3] courtesy of big-ashb via Wikimedia Commons

Salons and Binge Watching

This might be an unpopular opinion here on the old Internet, but haircuts are nice.

Yeah, I said it. Don’t @ me.

Alright well for real, I got a haircut this morning and it feels nice. Everything is just a bit smoother, lighter. Both figuratively and literally.

I’ve already done the whole ‘check out this sweet haircut’ post in the past so I don’t really want to go down that road again. Though I suppose it was productive to go back and see that post again, because it made me realize I really like to use the mad ramblings cliché.

Not sure realizing that is going to change anything, though. I do really like to use that cliché, after all.

In fact I probably could name this post something about rambling too. Because that’s basically what I’m about to do.

See after getting said haircut this morning I haven’t exactly done a whole lot. I came home, plopped down on the couch, and (in no particular order) played some video games, did some work for my Senior Honors Project and watched Rick and Morty.

That’s right, Rick and Morty.

It’s a show I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. In fact I have watched it in bits and pieces, mostly the episodes which are famous for how clever or meme-worthy they are. But up until now I’ve never taken the time to go through the full three-season catalog.

I got through all of season one last night straight through 1 a.m. and haven’t been able to stop watching the rest today. Everyone always talks about how great the show is, but I never realized how truly brilliant it was until I started to watch it in its entirety.

All of the seemingly random, disconnected plots each simultaneously come into their own with the full context of a subtle overarching story. Yet, at the same time, it’s all totally made pointless by the same sarcastic, casual and horrid sense of humor that pervades the entire experience.

Plus it’s dope watching different characters like Summer evolve over the course of the show.

It’s as awesome to think and theorize about as it is to watch just from the merits of its production value.

Seriously if you’re like me and know you’ll enjoy the show but find reasons to put it off, just stop putting it off.

In fact, binging Rick and Morty made me realize that I should have spent more time this summer binging more shows. Like the different anime I talked about that one time.

Maybe I’ll do it some more over these last two weeks.

It could be a good way to pass some time while I work on outlining my story. Which, by the way, I would argue is going well. I may or may not have finally come up with the connecting thread I need to get my characters from their starting point to the climax I was imagining.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise if it winds up being what I actually implement, since it’s a pretty cool idea in my head.

Just know that my trope-fest involves a prophet who bestows information on how to move the plot of the game along. One who has a secret, meta way of learning the information they need to pass along.

With that said, I’ve hit the 500 word count I was hoping to get to with these blindly fluctuating topics. So I think I’m going to jump off and… You know… Watch more Rick and Morty.

Watch it, losers.

Catching the Anime Bug

This post title has a double meaning because I’m looking to talk about anime and also I’m kind of out sick.

Except I’m not planning on talking about the sick part because of anime. So why even bring it up?

Well… Because why not I suppose.

Probably because being sick makes me ramble aimlessly.

Though that isn’t really any different than usual around here, now is it?

Anyway. Getting super off topic.

While hanging out with my friend Sam today, a lot of the videos we watched had the creators interjecting ads throughout their content. Many of those ads were for the anime site Crunchyroll, or their streaming service VRV.

At the same time, I’ve been seeing lots of commercials for the anime FLCL Progressive on Toonami lately while watching some Adult Swim with the family.

As a side note, I’m not sure why we’ve been doing that, honestly.

However it has been interesting to experience watching the sort of shows with my parents that I used to stay up late to watch secretly on my bedroom TV because they were ‘adult shows’ and I felt like I rebelling in some way by seeing them without my parents knowing.

Amazing how life cycles around like that.

Toonami was always one of my favorite parts of the secret late night TV watching experiences, as I’m sure many others would agree. It was (and still is since coming back to life) Adult Swim’s anime block, and I’ve discovered a lot of really interesting anime though it.

The ones that chiefly come to mind right now are Deadman Wonderland, about a boy who has blood powers that winds up in a psychotic hell prison after being blamed for killing his entire class at school, and FLCL, about…

Er…

I’ll be honest, I don’t quite remember what FLCL was about. I do remember enjoying it quite a bit, but for the life of me I can’t recall any specific plot details.

Seeing commercials for what I assume is the sequel/follow-up to the series brought some intrigue into the forefront of my mind, and as a result I’ve been considering going back and watching the original FLCL again to see if I can actually retain it this time around.

Once in a while certain things bring that desire to watch anime back for me. It’s usually one show at a time before a few month’s break, as I did in my previous sessions watching the entirety of the Dragonball saga (before Super was anywhere near starting), watching both runs of Fullmetal Alchemist, Madonna Magica and Soul Eater.

It has been a long time, and I’m thinking FLCL might be my next project this summer.

Though at the same time, there’s also a few others I’ve been meaning to watch that I missed for one reason or another.

My Hero Academia has been highly recommended by my friend Mitchell recently.

One Punch Man is something I feel I’ll be very interested watching but I just missed my shot when it first came around.

At some point there were more episodes of Attack on Titan that came out that I should go back to see.

Past that I’ve also heard good things about a lot of other shows. Little Witch Academia, Kill la Kill, Neon Genesis Evangelion… So many shows that I need to catch up on.

Perhaps I’ll consider this post to be a checklist of sorts and start to work through some shows over the rest of the summer while getting my other work done.

If there’s any anime my gracious audience can also think to recommend that I haven’t listed but should go ahead and try to watch, please let me know! I’d love to jot some more down before my interest begins to fade for another chunk of time.