Tuesday, April 11, 2006

"Make It Stop! MAKE IT STOP!"

One of the best half-hour episodes Warner Brothers Television Animation produced in its '90s heyday was the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Toon TV." This was a follow-up to an episode they'd done in the first season, which featured segments timed to music by They Might Be Giants and other groups. For this "sequel," they weren't allowed to use any contemporary songs -- too expensive -- so they used a mixture of original songs and Golden Oldies that the creators of the episode didn't even seem to like very much. It worked very well, better than the first episode. The best segment is set to "Do You Love Me" by The Contours, and essentially mocks the song as a loud, repetitive mess -- the final gag has Babs Bunny screaming at the camera, begging someone to make the song stop playing.

More than that, the segment is a good example of the style of Rich Arons, the director and co-writer of this episode (and later the producer of "Animaniacs"). It's very fast-paced, tossing off gag after gag without a break and with the gags often lasting no more than a second. It's constantly going places you don't quite expect. You expect the standard cartoon gag of Buster Bunny turning up when Babs Bunny runs into a cab to escape from him; you don't expect the cab to suddenly drive over a map covered with footprints (based on the footprints on the floor in a rudimentary dance class), or Babs to jump in front of an onscreen caption in synch to the music, or the pointless involvement of an elephant with, yes, footprints on it. And some of the bits of animation -- especially the animation of Babs at the end, holding back the iris-out -- are hilarious. I wish I could say who storyboarded the segment; the episode credits Alfred Gimeno, Jim Fletcher, Rusty Mills, Enrique May and Eddie Fitzgerald as the storyboard crew, but doesn't say who storyboarded what. Anyway, here's the segment:

Also, here's the final segment of the episode, "Yakkity Yak" by The Coasters (where Plucky Duck's father is a caricature of storyboard artist Eddie Fitzgerald):


John Pannozzi said...

FYI, Jamie, Rich Arons is directing a cartoon for Nickelodeon that was created by animation historian Jerry Beck. Read about it at http://www.hornswiggle.com/

Anonymous said...

Hi-I worked on this, and IIRC the entire song "Do You Love Me?" was drawn by Alfred(Gimeno). Of course, as is usual for anything like this the director added drawings, made some changes etc. but believe me, it was all there in Alfred's boards. The director timed it himself, as I think he did for all the rest of the songs. As for not liking the songs?! That's funny...we loved all the songs and the director in particular requeted(I think)most of the titles specifically. Oh well!
Eddie Fitzgerald did a large part of the song "Yakkity Yak" himself(boards). He didn't draw his own caricature in there, though; that was someone else's idea.