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Posts tagged as cartoons

Exploring the Hidden Racist Past of the Looney Toons

I have an uncomfortable confession to make: I have never liked the Looney Tunes. Despite the cultural pervasiveness of these characters, and a lifelong love of animation on my part, they’ve always struck me as annoying, repetitive, and boring — for all the pandemonium that Bugs Bunny and his ilk ostensibly represent, their chaos is bland, their destruction is predictable, and their lineage is corporate.

To be fair, my exposure to Looney Tunes at the time bore that out pretty well: I grew up in the age of Space Jam and the slew of jerseys, sneakers, McDonald’s toys, pogs, and cookie jars that film spawned. Today is no better, [...]

'Rick and Morty', 'Bob's Burgers', and 'American Dad!': Three Cartoons at Three Stages of Life

Due to the nature of animation, cartoons can last a lot longer than live action shows. Characters don't age, so the 4th grade can be played out dozens of times in a row without the threat of puberty ever setting in. But as the 25th season of The Simpsons reminds us each week, that doesn't necessarily mean they should last forever. The writing gets stale, storylines get re-used, and as Lisa Simpson reminded us was when The Simpsons was still in its prime, the characters can't have the same impact they once had. With that mind, let's take a look at three animated comedies at different stages in their [...]

The Complete Guide to Everything Christmas Specials Christmas Special (Part One: Christmas Specials)

This week we cover the holiday TV specials: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, A Charlie Brown Christmas, I Want a Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown, and The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Also, we discuss leftover antibiotics, Tom has a furniture mover steal $0.25 from him, Tim describes his perfect piece of furniture, whether Alfred Hitchcock and The 3 Stooges are alive still, why Derek Jeter doesn't beat himself up over errors, misunderstanding Bea Arthur as a drag queen as a child, 50 Shades of Tim update and we solve a problem involving a grandson not wanting his grandpa to send him to space camp.

Watch a New Yorker Cartoonist Doodle and Chat at the Same Time

Here's a video interview with New Yorker cartoonist Matt Diffee, in which he discusses the business of "drawing funny" and also doodles a macrocephalic flying unicorn. It's a good shock to the system for those of us who are used to thinking about comedy as a words game only. [Drawing of you watching this video, looking thoughtful, and chuckling.]

The Strange Fad of Comedian-Based Saturday Morning Cartoons

Maria Bamford has a great bit about how she wants to have a TV sitcom someday called Me, My Mom, and a Monster, in which she, her mother, and a friendly but disgusting monster all live in the same house, where one can presume wackiness would ensue. Had Bamford been an up-and-coming comic in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s (which she wouldn’t have been, because she would not have gotten any club dates in that culture of jokes about airplanes and the myriad difference between New York and Los Angeles), she might have actually gotten the greenlight, and Me, My Mom, and a Monster would have wound up [...]

Puck Magazine and the Birth of Modern Political Cartooning

In the late 19th Century, long before Mad Magazine and the Daily Show, there was Puck. The magazine helped to change the very nature of political cartooning, was at the forefront of printing technology and agitating for progressive causes during the Gilded Age — and is even credited with helping to put Grover Cleveland in the White House in the election of 1884! In their new book What Fools These Mortals Be: The Story of Puck, America’s First and Most Influential Magazine of Color Political Cartoons writers Michael Alexander Kahn and Richard West look at the history and the influence of the magazine. Richard West has written extensively about [...]

The Gross Mess That Was the 'Garbage Pail Kids' Cartoon

Sometimes TV shows drag their unfunny, uninteresting, yet highly rated feet across our living rooms for years. “Who let this happen?” we cry in vain. Other times, the powers that be get things right. That’s where “Brilliantly Canceled” comes in, looking at the shows that didn’t make it past their first season and saved us all a ton of grief.

It’s not every day that Brilliantly Canceled gets a number of reasonable theories as to why a show failed. Usually, we’re left to complaining about unfulfilled expectations and audience confusion. In the case of the Garbage Pail Kids cartoon series, which CBS canceled several days before its initial 10-episode [...]

Can You Best Elaine Benes in 'New Yorker' Captioning?

This cartoon was used in "The Cartoon" episode of Seinfeld. You know the one where Elaine accidentally steals a Ziggy. Well, now the New Yorker is actually planning on running it but it needs a caption first. You can submit your best quip here until July 23rd. I hope the New Yorker intern who has to read the first run of submissions likes Seinfeld quotes: "I have a complaint. These pretzels are making me thirsty." Haha, got you, intern who probably has an MFA from Iowa. Watch the perfect Seinfeld scene below in which Elaine first shows Jerry and Kramer her cartoon because it is so, so perfect. [...]

Bill Murray, Steve Martin, and Bugs Bunny: The Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special

In the 1970s and 1980s, Warner Bros. did not take great care with its animation legacy. The studio spit out a new, clumsily assembled “special” for every remotely notable occasion, with a lack of care and inventiveness that would have shamed Bob Hope. The programs were comprised of 75 percent recycled old cartoons, strung together with unfunny, ugly looking new animation that contained none of the craft and anarchic humor of the source material.

Not so with the The Looney Tunes 50th Anniversary Special. Produced in 1986 to mark the titular occasion (and loosely tied to a Museum of Modern Art retrospective), it too made heavy use of classic [...]

Cartoonists' 9/11 Tributes, Collected

Almost 100 comic strip artists used their Sunday strips this week to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11. They range from simple visual tributes to full narratives that find humor in the way we remember tragedy. The strips are collected here and definitely worth a look.

The "Gas Leak Year" of 'The Boondocks'

For its first three seasons, The Boondocks, which followed inner-city siblings Huey and Riley Freeman's adjustment to life in the predominantly white Illinois suburb of Woodcrest, was a genuinely funny and remarkable achievement on TV. It was the first successful TV-MA-rated animated sitcom spearheaded by an African-American comedic mind, as well as the first animated show that the hip-hop generation can be proud to call its own.

Cartoonist Aaron McGruder's adaptation of his own popular 1996-2006 comic strip took no prisoners in its satirical potshots at the likes of gangsta rappers, the Republican Party, Tyler Perry, and the network execs behind BET's lowest-common-denominator programming. The original strip took no prisoners [...]

Sufferin' Succotash! Looney Tunes Voice Actor Joe Alaskey On Bugs Bunny, Geraldo, & Why He Wasn't In 'Space Jam'

Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck. Yosemite Sam. Marvin the Martian. These animated icons would have been silenced years ago if not for Joe Alaskey, the multi-talented voice actor behind the lion's share of Looney Tunes productions over the past few decades (including but not limited to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and the Steven Spielberg-produced Tiny Toon Adventures). Alaskey's résumé also includes vocal stints for such varied projects as Forrest Gump, Rugrats, Duckman, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, but let's be frank — you really only wanna know about his work on D.C. Follies, right? Joe was kind enough to speak with me recently about his [...]

Nick Weidenfield is Bringing Crazy, Weird, Unironic Animation to Fox

After spending seven years heading up development over at Adult Swim, Nick Weidenfield is in the process of creating a very similar late-night animated block over at Fox called ADHD (Animation Domination High-Def). He explained to Fast Company how ADHD will differ from Fox's regular animated fair and Adult Swim:

There’s just more room for us to be experimental than in primetime. Conceptually, ADHD will be broader than some of the stuff that we worked on at Adult Swim, but in terms of execution, it will still be weird and late night—the shows will have the kinds of jokes and the kind of storytelling that will be too [...]

Watch the Media-Conspiracy TV Funhouse Segment SNL Banned in 1998

Marc Maron just Tweeted the link to this video, a Robert Smigel-written TV Funhouse segment in which the educational program Conspiracy Theory Rock presents a catchy little ditty called "Media-opoly." The animation depicts the total control of the media by a few unregulated corporations – especially, yep, good old GE – who are also dumping nuclear waste directly onto playground woodchips. Big surprise, this clip was cut out from all but the first airing of its SNL episode. It's interesting to think about how far we've come in the last decade and a half, though, with 30 Rock casting GE's fictional parent company Sheinhardt Wigs as a [...]