Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Filching Lunchboxes

I don't have much time for posting at the moment, so here's something to fill the time, the not-on-DVD Animaniacs cartoon "Back In Style," written by Tom Minton and a sort of follow-up to the famous New Adventures of Mighty Mouse "Don't Touch That Dial!"

This was the best cartoon from the last couple of years of the show (when the episode orders were slashed and it was mostly working from leftover scripts and boards), though it's not all it could have been. As Minton explained in a comment on John K's blog, he was told to put in the Scooby-Doo parody even though it was redundant (since it had already been done in "Don't Touch That Dial"). And more importantly, the animation studio, Akom, was going through a bad patch -- "It's not TMS," one director said about a Pinky and the Brain cartoon, "but at least it's not AKOM!" -- and even after a year's worth of retakes, the animation still doesn't look that good. Just something to keep in mind about animation budgets: it's not only about how much money is available but how efficiently it's spent. During the '90s boom there was a lot of inefficient spending going on.

The best part of the cartoon is the Filmation parody and seeing it again it seems like the Warners had become the weak link in their own cartoons by this point in the series. (I may just feel this way because Wakko and Dot's voices have both gone from cute to loud and obnoxious by this time, making them seem kind of like nasty adults rather than rambunctious kids.) So it's not as good as the best "historical" cartoons from the Fox run, but I still enjoy it.


Kevin W. Martinez said...

The in-gag with Friz Freleng sounding like Yosemite Sam and creating the Grey [Pink] Panther by superimposing a panther head and tail onto Bugs' body has to be one of the greatest gags ever done on the show. Why couldn't the rest of the show be this funny? People would hate it less.

Mattieshoe said...

>>Why couldn't the rest of the show be this funny? People would hate it less.

Believe it or not, that joke was panned by cartoonists as being "Untrue" and "Ignorant"

"Funny" is relative.

To me, What make Animaniacs great in the first season wasn't just that it was funny (Even though it was, very) but it was fun, well-crafted, and had appeal.

Rich Arons told me that he put his heart and soul into that first season, pushing for every las gag to work and making all of the artists work twice as hard and well.

I believe that, although that turned many Artists that worked on the show to dislike it, that hard work really payed off and the first season stands as a real achievement.

I laughed at this cartoon, (Well really close anyway) but it just didn't feel good like a great deal of the season one cartoons did. I laughed, but then the joke would go on for too long, or the pacing would get me bored.

I find many season one cartoons just as funny, if not funnier than this, and with much more immersive and funny visuals and much sharper timing and pacing.

Anonymous said...

In the 1990's no studio could measure up to TMS.

Nick said...

So much funnier and satirical in Mighty Mouse.

Thad said...

So who's the retard that allowed Bugs and Daffy to be drawn like that?

Mattieshoe said...


Blame the Koreans.

I'm sure every artist working on the show Gagged when they saw these drawings.

zgeycp said...

The Phlegmation bit is amusing, but if this is the best cartoon from the last couple years then I'm kind of glad I missed them.

Speedy Boris said...

Even in the Tiny Toons days, Akom didn't draw the classic stars very well. And the people voicing Bugs and Daffy in that scene don't do a very good job of imitating Mel Blanc. A shame.

Despite that, I like this episode. Favorite scene was the Fat Albert parody. "Name four sources of warm milk." "Hot chocolate and three cows!" The purposefully long pause after Orson's comment about long establishing shot cracks me up, as does the side view of Orson walking down the street. His massive jutting stomach is hilarious.