Thursday, May 25, 2006

When Cartoons Evolved 3 - First Bugs Bunnies


Here's the first Bugs Bunny cartoon - made by "Bugs" Hardaway and Cal Dalton in 1938.Here he is in a typical calm Bugs Bunny pose.
Here he is laughing the Woody Woodpecker laugh 2 years before Woody was created.

..still doing magic.

This cartoon is basically a remake of Porky's Duck Hunt with some proto Bugs traits just starting to emerge. He's kinda like Daffy Duck-really wacky but with some underplayed scenes that predict Bugs' future.

Here's Chuck Jones using the early proto Bugs in a cartoon from 1938 Presto Changeo
He's not the star of the cartoon and is basically a magician's rabbit.


Here's another Hardaway and Dalton Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare-um Scare-um - 1939.
His design is starting to look like the Bugs we all know. His voice is sort of like the retarded early Barney Rubble.
A typical Bugs Bunny routine.
Here he is invoking mock sympathy - making fun of pathos. A very Warner Bros. type of irreverence-very anti-Disney.



To remind you of an important point I made last post: In the old days, artists evolved their ideas constantly. The character designs would change from cartoon to cartoon, director to director and in some cartoons, from scene to scene!

These 3 cartoons here represent 18 minutes of Bugs Bunny's development-that's less than a half hour cartoon. Today's cartoons are frozen in time. They barely change at all over 100s of half hours. The world is opposed to creativity today.

70 years ago, creativity and rapid progress were just taken for granted.

You have to be raised in an uncreative environment in order to blindly accept how bland everything is today.

The difference between a generation that grew up in the 1930s and a generation that has grown up in the 70s or later is stark.

When my parents first saw some modern prime-time cartoons they said instantly: "I can draw better than that." That should be the obvious conclusion.

Here, Evan has provided proof that modern cartoons evolve:


Year 1




10 years later.

346 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 346 of 346
The Incorrigible Hulk said...

Stephen,
I have to say I think Boner sounded fairly well informed about Superman. He's clearly seen a few episodes which puts him in a good position to form an opinion about them. I don't think you need to have seen every cartoon ever made to form an opinion about one.

Chet said...

Can you think of a single scripted cartoon that comes anywhere close to being as good as the animated cartoons of the golden age? I sure can't.

well it depends on what you view as the golden age?

in my mind the looney tunes of the 50's are the best.So i dont think many cartoons have ever been as good as ''one froggy evening'' but i think that futurama,south park,the powerpuff girls,the simpsons,and sheep in the big city all beat the hell out of cartoons like pop-i,and betty boop.

antikewl said...

I don't go out of my way to avoid shows like South Park or even, say, Aqua Teen Hunger Force-- they are genuinely amusing -- but I would not feel one wit poorer if all memory of them was erased in a sudden interstellar burst. In contrast, I'd feel an enormous loss if those joyous, well made, BEAUTIFUL golden age cartoons were to disappear. And I wouldn't be alone.

You wouldn't. Well said that man.

Anonymous said...

The problem with SP "conservatives" is they think that anyone who disagrees with even their METHODS is a "commie", even though episodes like "The Passion Of The Jew" and that one about Kenny on life support go AGAINST their supposedly "conservative" agenda. (They've even claimed not to BE "conservatives" in an interview, because they must've felt embarrassed, although I don't see why!)

Well, John sounds fairly "conservative" in his views on culture "then and now", so I think they're just jealous because they rely on non-jokes for humor!

Stephen Worth said...

Do you suggest cartoons should be always be a lot more about the visuals and a lot less about the dialogue?

Good question.

Yes. Dialogue can be great in great films, but ultimately, what sets animation apart from live action filmmaking is that it consists of visuals that could not exist in any other medium... specifically drawings that live. If you remove the primary aspect of animation that makes it unique, why bother animating it at all?

As John pointed out, it's a lot easier and more effective to create a sitcom with human actors. Archie Bunker, Ralph Cramden, Jethro Bodine and Maxwell Smart were wonderful characters, not because of the jokes that came out of their mouths, but because of the personality that came out of the acting. Once these great character actors got into character, and a writer got in sync with the personality they were putting across, magic happened.

It takes more than just dialogue to create synergy like that... it takes the cooperation of an actor, a director and a writer. The same is true in animation between the animator, the director and the story man.

An actor without a writer is the same thing as a writer without an actor. John isn't saying that the visual aspect is the only important part of a cartoon. He is saying that it is an important one... just as voice acting, music, sound effects, story, design and color are important. A good cartoon is one that has all of these elements working together to pack a wallop that no single element could deliver on its own.

See ya
Steve

Chet said...

Killer statement stephen

Stephen Worth said...

The moral of the digression: people don't know much, generally.

It isn't the audience's job to know how to make a good cartoon. All they have to do is either enjoy it or not from a purely subjective standpoint. If a cartoon works for them, they become immersed in it and it's magic. They don't have any idea how it was constructed or why it affected them the way it did. They just enjoy.

An animator has the responsibility to understand his art and know exactly how it works, so he can build a cartoon from the ground up. This requires analysis and careful thought.

Whether you know it or not as a member of the audience, you are chatting on the blog of one of the most knowledgable and experienced animators alive. He's sharing his secrets with you, exactly the same way he would speak to an animation peer. He's not dumbing it down for you like the sales pitch you read in magazines and hear in DVD commentaries. Where else can you get that kind of respect?

See ya
Steve

lyris said...

>> "Did it ever occur to anyone that his posts on the subject reek of "old man rant."

In the context of animation, I think that would actually be a compliment.

South Park has made me giggle once or twice (and I do mean once or twice) but saying the thing is anything other than clumsy is a little...puzzling. "Brilliant" it ain't, IMO.

>> South Park is brillant, hands down. If you can't see that you are blind and that's that.

Thank you for this constructive criticism of my opinions.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Mainly I just meant the South Park guys were conservative in that they haven't changed the visuals for their show in ten years. If they were real artists they'd be experimenting.

Not that they aren't also politically retarded.

David Blumenstein said...

"I've found that some gags/themes/whatever are just not as funny when the characters are fully, beautifully animated. Stiff, jerky, purposely "crappy" animation can sell them better."

This is like saying that bad actors can perform as certain types of characters better than skilled ones. It just isn't true. A bad actor is nothing more than a bad actor.


People you might consider "limited" actors can give entertaining performances. Not BETTER, necessarily, but different.

Stick figures are symbols of characters, and symbols can only express symbolic acting. That can never be as funny as real live personality.

If it's written, laid out and posed well, I think it can. But that's my sense of humor (and maybe my youthful ignorance) talking.

Quite frankly, it's absurd to see people trying to tell John how evolution happens in "development"

I think I made it plain this was my very humble opinion, and I was expressing it. Also, in effect, I was agreeing with him. I wasn't "trolling", or trying to be disrespectful, so please don't jump on my head.

And the creators of South Park have no love for animation, let alone a basic understanding of the medium. Explain to me again how that's a good thing, because I just don't get it.

Those who like South Park probably appreciate the fact that a couple of amateurs went ahead and made some crude stop-motion animation because they thought it was funny. Then they got a show on TV because other people thought it was funny too.

Say what you like about that show, but it wasn't created by a committee.

As for whether R&S stories evolved and grew, all you have to do is watch the show to know that R&S stories evolved not just year to year, but episode to episode.

I agree. I love Ren & Stimpy. I posed the question as I was interested in hearing what John might answer.

Successful shows with crappy animation set an example. That example doesn't lead to good cartoons.

Not usually, no. And it's unfortunate that some tv executive types are trend-followers. But crappy shows with great animation don't set much of an example either.

So I sincerely hope Spumco gets another funny, well animated show on tv soon.

Chet said...

south park (in my mind)

simply isnt about animation at all,the animation is just a vehicle for the humor.South park is all about humor and nothing else.

and while the art of south park hasnt changed alot,the writing has.Its gotten much smarter over the years.

Stephen Worth said...

Chet, you're 14 years old. You haven't had the experience to be making the absolute statements you're making. I'm not talking down to you as an "adult", I'm simply pointing out the obvious fact.

If you're in the LA area, come down to the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive in Burbank with an open mind and lots of free time, and I would be happy to provide you with the experience you need to be able to support an opinion on the relative merits of various cartoons. You have immense resources in front of you on this blog and the various other good animation sites. Don't waste that opportunity.

As I said before, if you want to argue with John K about the history of animation, it would help to have a comparable background in the 100 year history of the artform. This has nothing to do with age. Yesterday, a 50 year old man came into the archive to expand his horizons. An open mind and open ears are much more useful in a discussion like this than an open mouth.

See ya
Steve

Chet said...

and also, the design of ren and stimpy really didnt change(except for in apc)

aannoonnyymmoouuss said...

III dddooonnn'''ttt kkknnnooowww wwwhhhaaattt tttooo sssaaayyy!!!

Dr.Awkward said...

I think the South Park creators specialize in "nervous humor", which isn't really humor at all. They depend upon "uncomfortable laughter", which is really a sign of embarrassment!

Chet said...

Chet, you're 14 years old. You haven't had the experience to be making the absolute statements you're making. I'm not talking down to you as an "adult", I'm simply pointing out the obvious fact.

If you're in the LA area, come down to the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive in Burbank with an open mind and lots of free time, and I would be happy to provide you with the experience you need to be able to support an opinion on the relative merits of various cartoons. You have immense resources in front of you on this blog and the various other good animation sites. Don't waste that opportunity.

As I said before, if you want to argue with John K about the history of animation, it would help to have a comparable background in the 100 year history of the artform. This has nothing to do with age. Yesterday, a 50 year old man came into the archive to expand his horizons. An open mind and open ears are much more useful in a discussion like this than an open mouth.

This converstaion is all about opinions.Some people like things that other hate.All im stating is my opinions.

I think that humor should drive a cartoon,and no matter how good the animation,acting,or art is the cartoon will not survive unless it is funny.

Its an opinion,and no matter how much i learn about the history of animation it will never change.

I would love to see the archive,but i dont live near there.

Anonymous said...

Alright, this is beginning to sound like talk radio!

Anonymous said...

So I sincerely hope Spumco gets another funny, well animated show on tv soon.

Now you know none of us are going to live to see that.

Anonymous said...

UGHH!!! There's too many young whippersnapper punks who don't know about anything they didn't grow up with posting snot-nosed profane posts here!

Chet said...

UGHH!!! There's too many young whippersnapper punks who don't know about anything they didn't grow up with posting snot-nosed profane posts here!

umm.. the magority of young wipersnappers as you call them, dont watch looney tunes,old movies,or listen to old music.

hulk hogan said...

I'm old, brother! But I'm also cool, dude!

Stephen Worth said...

Hulk,

Ted was the one I was replying to, and he may have seen the Fleischer Superman cartoons, but he didn't view them from the standpoint of a filmmaker. If he did, he would have realized, as you did that the characterizations of Lois and Clark Kent and the complexity of the plots are limited by the seven minute format.

He would also recognize that the rotoscope is only used in a small fraction of the scenes, mostly to animate vehicles, short scenes of static expository dialogue and incidental characters in the background of establishing shots. The animation of Superman struggling against the electronic ray and battling the army of robots isn't rotoscoped. It's pure hand drawn animation.

There is no narration in the Superman cartoons, and the "Ken Burns effects" like the spinning newspaper headlines are film noir conventions from contemporary crime movies. The shots he claims are designed to avoid lipsync are again, "dutch angle" shots like the tight over the shoulder shots and characters emerging from deep shadows derived from crime movies to set mood.

Music keyed to specific action isn't "cheezy", it's the mark of a composer who is supporting the action on the screen, not just providing musical wallpaper. Compare the soundtrack of Jungle Drums to Max Steiner's classic score for King Kong. You'll see where the musical expressiveness comes from.

The still paintings he refers to as cheats are establishing shots. Every cartoon has scenes like that to establish the place and mood. And the stories are definitely NOT the same... Jungle Drums is nothing like the story of Japateurs or Mechanical Monsters, except that it uses a similar framing device of Clark and Lois competing with each other.

The truth is that the Superman series enjoyed the highest budgets of any Fleischer series. No expense was spared for these cartoons. Rotoscope was used properly, as an effect and basis for hand drawn animation. It wasn't used as a substitute for character animation.

If you want to see budget cheats, dependence on formulaic stories, arbitrary music and design, and flat characterization, you can find that in abundance in superhero television cartoons today.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

the design of ren and stimpy really didnt change

The design of Ren & Stimpy often changes from SCENE TO SCENE in both the original series and in Adult Party Cartoons. This is a reflection of the mood of the scene and the personal style of the artist laying it out or animating it.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Its an opinion,and no matter how much i learn about the history of animation it will never change.

There's the root of your problem. I can assure you that my opinions and the opinions of John have changed radically as we learned. We're still learning and revising our theories to fit what we know now that we didn't know then. If you refuse to do that, your opinions will never be anything more than the ignorant ones everyone starts with.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

umm.. the magority of young wipersnappers as you call them, dont watch looney tunes,old movies,or listen to old music.

I sincerely hope you aren't proud of that sad fact. When I was growing up, I watched cartoons and movies made in the twenties and thirties. I read books written hundreds of years earlier. I enjoyed music of all kinds and vintages. Limiting yourself to the pop culture of today- and being proud of it- is like taking a ride on the short bus.

See ya
Steve

Anonymous said...

"Cartoon Network doesn't show real cartoons much anymore. Just a bunch of untalented anime crap."

Hmm. They just showed an episode of Ed, Edd 'n Eddy. And they don't always show anime. That's limited to Saturdays and Thursday nights. Untalented? Ghost in the Shell is anything but untalented.

Roberto González said...

That's true, Steve, Ren and Stimpy designs changes from scene to scene, but like I have said before their general design hasn't changed so much. If I remember the visuals correctly if you post a Ren picture from Big House Blues next to one from Altruists you couldn't see an evolution like that one in Bugs, only little differences. He perhaps has changed a little more than Homer Simpson from season 1 to season 17, but he hasn't changed like Bugs. And I'm talking about Big House Blues. If you take Stimpy's First Fart the characters would probably look a lot similar to the ones in Altruists.

Anyway, I thank you for answer some of my questions and I agree with you about the visuals in a cartoon, that's why I'm a little pissed off when people seem to enjoy more than anything else the realism in modern animated movies, I always think "if you want realism, go and watch a real action movie" (however I think you could have both the full of existential angst dialogue and the action sequences and enjoy both parts)

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

Holy controversy, Batman.

Okay, I'm seventeen, so maybe my opinion isn't as educated as everyone elses, but I completely agree with Mr. K and Mr. Worth. Before someone calls me a sheep or accuses me of idolizing John, I assure you that I don't agree with everything John or Spumco ever say. I do, however, completely agree with him on most points.

I've watched The Simpsons and Family Guy, and whilst I may have been amused at the time, it was empty shallow humor. With Family Guy, most of the jokes are "Is this floor stable?" *CRASH.* "Can somebody give me a hand?" These two shows are superficially entertaining, with no soul, most anyone could write the jokes and the drawings are awful. South Park is so appalling I can't even bear to watch it.

About four years ago I began to appreciate real cartoons, my favorite being Looney Tunes and the black and white Fleischer cartoons. Personally, I enjoy Disney too, just to a much lesser extent. There is no comparison to the crap on now.

Am I saying I can draw better than Family Guy or South Park? Yes I certainly am. Anyone can. I'm very far from a great artist, but that stuff SUCKS.

People complain Mr. K is stuck in the past or whatever, but good for him. If it takes that to make cartoons stop sucking, then all the power to him, and all you people who truly enjoy South Park or Family Guy, can just go on your merry way and let us appreciate what we will.

Sorry for leaving such a long comment.

Bud said...

"The design of Ren & Stimpy often changes from SCENE TO SCENE in both the original series and in Adult Party Cartoons. This is a reflection of the mood of the scene and the personal style of the artist laying it out or animating it."

Well, the idea of the mood of the scene(or really-the characters'actions)driving the look of the characters' desgn is a goal that John talks about a lot, yes-
-but which examples in APC would you give where an individual who is NOT JOHN had the floor, so to speak, and it was left to another artist to apply his "personal style"? My understanding is that JOHN designed the characters and he went over each and every layour drawing to get them the way he wanted, and was super tough on such things. Has anyone other than John credited with inventing a new expression or piece of acting, especially on his more recent shows. Can you correct me? I think it'd be cool to read those names and know who did what at Spumco. I'm talking about the meatiest, juciest scenes, not just a pose here and there...I know that other artists by necessity draw most of R&S, but that John lets very little go through without his redrawing of it. That's his prerogative, of course--he's the boss!

Anonymous said...

"umm.. the magority of young wipersnappers as you call them, dont watch looney tunes,old movies,or listen to old music."


I hope for the world's sake you're wrong. Disregarding the past is a huge mistake, and I don't know what kinda young people you hang around, but I hope none of you make it into any kind of creative field.

I am 21, and I've known for a while, the absolute best stuff has been done decades past. The music, movies, writing and animation during the golden age just kills anything today. Show some goddamn respect.

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

>>For the first 70 years of animation, stories were written visually using storyboards. They didn't use scripts. Since Scooby Doo, most cartoon stories have been written in script form. Can you think of a single scripted cartoon that comes anywhere close to being as good as the animated cartoons of the golden age? I sure can't...

Good point, I guess I fringe on the border of youth, so I'll admit I'm probably alot less informed on the process of creating dialogue for cartoons than many of the commenters.

Perhaps thats the "it" (besides the visual aesthetic), that sets the newer cartoon series apart from the classics; storyboard v. written script. ???

Not everyone is as technically knowelegable as Mr. W, but again, when it comes to cartoons it is aesthetic and very subjective. And, what 90% of viewers are not technically knowelable; they just know what they like. Mr. & Mrs. Public are ultimately responsible for making or breaking these shows? So in that respect I need not have expertise to know what I like because I belong to the aforementioned set...

We are very lucky to be able have the opportunity to learn more via this forum.

Anonymous said...

South Park was never about it's animation, and for that matter, animation is secondary to the Simpsons success as well. I do, however, think that the Simpsons is a damned sight better than Family Guy, American Dad, Ripping Friends, South Park- really any of the cartoons on television in the last decade or so. Futurama looks beautiful as well. Just because it's not grotesque and over animated doesn't mean it's bad, John.

tedrex said...

wow.I enjoy a lively debate as much as the next guy,but there are going to be serious heart attacks by the tone of some o' these comments! They're CARTOONS everybody. Let's all just step back, take a breath and head outside for a dose of reality! Remember that?

JohnA said...

This argument has been going on all day, and it just keeps going 'round and 'round, touching on the same three targets (three targets that have relatively little to do with each other, either in content or execusion.)I mean, if we want to tear apart modern animation, why not compare things that are supposedly in the same universe? Instead of railing against SP and the Simpsons for not being like Ren and Stimpy, why hasn't anyone mentioned the real crap out there, the stuff that doesn't succeed or fail on its own (or lack of) merrit. John, you should be tearing into a show like DUCK DODGERS, a show that blatantly rapes the corpses of the brilliant talents that created WB's golden era.(all with the apparrent blessing of the parent studio, to add insult to injury) I can tell Paul Dini(a fine writer on other projects)has tried to capture the spirit of the old cartoons, but without the visual component, the resulting cartoons just make my soul hemmorage.The artwork is stiff and crude and just plain ugly to look at. Daffy, a character known for his range of emotion and impressive acting ability, just stands around and talks, utilising repetitive and poorly drawn beak movements that make the worst of the Daffy/Speedy team-ups look like comedy gold. THIS is a project that should have had your input, stop bagging on the Simpsons, they are what they are.

Ted said...

Stephen, I didn't claim everything in the Fleischer Supermans was rotoscoped, I said the humans were, and that they show the ugly badness of rotoscoping (some of the props do as well, but I didn't say that before). (As for how you'd rotoscope a dinosaur coming out of a block of ice or an ape tearing apart a circus, I'd say you'd stick a guy in a suit and have him work it out; the thing in Arctic Monster doesn't look rotoscoped tho; of course, it doesn't visually match the rest of the cartoon either, like the bird in the first episode.) I've watched all of the Fleischer Supermans and watched Mad Scientist and Mechanical Monsters immediately before posting as it's been a couple of years since I last watched them. I've just watched Arctic Monster and Terror on the Midway as you referenced them, and the rotoscoping isn't as bad, and Superman's movements are generally more fluid. But the "we don't have to animate this" tricks I mentioned are still present (tho in less of the second two than the first two), plus others I hadn't mentioned (the silhouetting, for example, which might be a stylistic choice but it smacks of "we can fill it in in black" to me, altho as I don't find it to detract from my enjoyment, it doesn't really matter much), and the backgrounds in AM and TOTM aren't as good as those in MS and MM. There's still basically a premise and no plot. The bit with the panther sneaking up on Superman's silhouette was pretty cool, but pointed out the problem to me that the cartoons (yeah yeah, they're not exactly cartoons) fall short mostly in conveying any kind of real risk. Lois keeps being in danger (almost always by her own foolishness), but Superman is never in any real danger (the panther was the exception in these four cartoons), and so Lois is really always safe. Lois never learns anything, Superman never learns anything, there's nothing behind any of the characters; it's all just going through the motions.

And I wonder if you watched STAS. Because I would rather watch a bunch of guys in suits of various kinds (and in STAS, it's mostly not skin tight PJs) making a solid plan to attempt bringing down Superman rather than see some half assed not a plan by some stereotyped bumbler with a "whacky" (but evil) bird (and Popeye's voice) or a guy in a tux who owns a foundry. Plot makes the action worthwhile; action by itself borders on worthless. I find watching multiple Fleischer Superman cartoons to be deadening. I can only watch a couple of them at a time without drifting, even tho the backgrounds kick all kinds of ass. When you only saw one before a movie, watching more than one of the series didn't come into play, so I can understand how they would have been successful at their job of looking good for 8 minutes. So, if I briefly want to look at some great backgrounds, a Fleischer might be on the agenda. But if I want to be entertained, or to think about something (other than deco aesthetics or how something with such nice backgrounds can be so unsatisfying), or to just watch something for more than 15 minutes, I'll be going to STAS.

You've expressed the opinion here (and in several other of our discussions) that as my experience is not yours, that you don't think I should express an opinion on cartoons. I believe I've pointed out publicly before that I think there is a severe danger of people on the production side moving to greater and greater isolation in what they think is good. That's true for execs who think everything should look like the last big thing and it's true for animators who are convinced that what's good for an individual drawing is good enough to make an entire cartoon.

I've watched plenty of cartoons from the last 100 years in the last 30 years, and while I'm certain you've watched many more and I know you are enmeshed in the production side of things unlike me, my opinion is not uninformed. I love animation; you and I clearly love animation in different ways, but try to remember that I do love it. And in this case I have specifically watched the cartoons at issue, most of them several times. The Fleischer Supermans have failed to make me like them more than STAS. I can point out the things they've done or failed to do that make that so (while pointing out the things I really like about them) and did so, and I can point out the aspects of STAS that succeed with me, and did so. How would watching other cartoons cure the Fleischer shorts' failures? If it would underline an amazing technical proficiency it still wouldn't make them more watchable as a short from a viewer's standpoint. For a technician it might provide a distraction from the cartoon itself towards the underlying parts. How is it helpful to the production side to shout down and ignore the opinions of cartoon viewers who experience the cartoon in a way far more similar to (but distinct from them in that they actually give the subject some thought) the way the vast amount of the viewership does compared to the animators, instead of as a frame by frame bit of clockwork abstracted from simply being watched? If the goal is to make good work, shouldn't the production side listen to what active viewers believe succeeds and what they think fails from a spectator's view that is largely free from the shackles of technical introspection in addition to examining cartoons from an abstracted technical point of view that allows them to recreate specific technical aspects of a cartoon? Shouldn't the production side be told they're in a burning forest when all they can see are the pretty trees?

Anonymous said...

but i think that futurama,south park,the powerpuff girls,the simpsons,and sheep in the big city all beat the hell out of cartoons like pop-i,and betty boop.

The above pretty much shows how insane you are.

junior said...

If I remember the visuals correctly if you post a Ren picture from Big House Blues next to one from Altruists you couldn't see an evolution like that one in Bugs, only little differences.

Sorry, but your memory maybe is tricking you. I don't have the keenest eye out there but I sure can visualize more than 'only little differences' between those versions. In fact the versions I picture in my head don't even look like they were drawn by the same folks.

The Butcher said...

One thing I must say is that the stories in APC are just as good and relevant to the real world as any other animated sitcom, it just doesn't focus on current world views and situations as much. Living in a dump, seeking help from less than competent therapists, and being sexuallly frustrated are things real people in the real world can relate to. This isn't all fart humor. The characters are just as deep as they always were. Even the early run of Ren and Stimpy was constantly labeled as fart humor. Sorry to sound smug, but anyone who says this obviously isn't very perceptive and is unable to look past the gross-out factor which is actually a very small fraction of what makes the show so wildly entertaining.

Watch Ren Seeks help and tell me it's all gross-out humor. Tell me there's absolutely no substance to it at all. I dare ya. And if you say it, I'll feel pretty secure in labeling you a liar.

Dr.Awkward said...

Hey,, all this "animation" talk, and yet nobody's touched on the subject of CLAYMATION!

It's what Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit, James & The Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride used, as well as Celebrity Deathmatch, Gumby & Pokey and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, to a lesser extent.

What are your views on clamation such as these?

Thad K said...

I'm a pretty damn young whippersnapper myself. The only things I watch are old cartoons and movies. On my 16mm projector.

Talk about living in a past you never lived in!

Ted said...

"the characterizations of Lois and Clark Kent and the complexity of the plots are limited by the seven minute format."
Snafuperman has far more rounded characterization in a shorter cartoon.

"There is no narration in the Superman cartoons,"
First cartoon: Opening shot: "In the endliess reaches of the universe, there once existed a planet known as Krypton..." etc. I did over emphasize this as it was one of two I watched immediately before posting. Others have the "Faster than a speeding bullet" opening spiel as well.

"He would also recognize that the rotoscope is only used in a small fraction of the scenes, mostly to animate vehicles, short scenes of static expository dialogue and incidental characters in the background of establishing shots"

Clark talking to Perry in the first cartoon sure looks rotoscoped to me. Superman's distance shots in it look the same way. And static expository scenes and shots of secondary characters take up large amounts of the cartoon. There was a specific shot of Superman jumping to something and the angle he grabbed onto it said rotoscope to me. I'm sorry, but I don't have time to find it right now.

"There is no narration in the Superman cartoons, and the "Ken Burns effects" like the spinning newspaper headlines are film noir conventions from contemporary crime movies. The shots he claims are designed to avoid lipsync are again, "dutch angle" shots like the tight over the shoulder shots and characters emerging from deep shadows derived from crime movies to set mood."

The Ken Burns effect does not mean spinning papers, it means a moving shot over a still, and I don't mean any fancing trucking in, I mean tilt and or pan and that's it. There are several in the two cartoons I watched first, but I don't have time to check for them right now.

Shooting Perry from behind while he's speaking in perfectly normal light levels is not cinematic. Cutting to his rotoscoped hands holding a paper for an extended period while he speaks is not cinematic.

"Music keyed to specific action isn't "cheezy", it's the mark of a composer who is supporting the action on the screen"
The following determination is subjective; I feel that the musical stings in this action cartoon are inappropriate. The music itself feels cheesy to me (I did not spell it with a z), in large part because it is so very repetitious that it becomes melodramatic (and it has melodramatic undertones anyway).

"The still paintings he refers to as cheats are establishing shots. Every cartoon has scenes like that to establish the place and mood."

Superman has many more of them than other cartoons. As the paintings are a strong point in the production, it was probably preferable to animationg. Doesn't mean it's not a cheat. Example of a non-establishing cheater shot: Superman looking into the flying robot in MM (about 15:50 into the Image DVD).

"And the stories are definitely NOT the same... Jungle Drums is nothing like the story of Japateurs or Mechanical Monsters, except that it uses a similar framing device of Clark and Lois competing with each other."

Only one of those was a Fleischer Superman. Japateurs and Jungle Drums were from Famous Studios. MM and MS have almost interchangeable storylines with a different weapon. TOTM and AM have almost identical storylines with different animals and settings (and that's either a really strong ape or an incredibly weak dinosaur as it takes the same time to stop them both; I bet the dinosaur is weak from his nap). But you're right; the Fleischer Supermans have two different stories to choose from; if there was some plot or characterization, this wouldn't be a problem as the basic storylines would diverge. But as is, we're left with what's there.

"If you want to see budget cheats, dependence on formulaic stories, arbitrary music and design, and flat characterization, you can find that in abundance in superhero television cartoons today"

Following apply to Timmverse:
Budget cheats hiding a lot better perhaps. Subjectively, I'd say music and (Character, not background) design are better. I'd say characterization in both plot and in animation are building leaps beyond the Fleischer.

lyris said...

That South Park pilot is interesting to look at, it's actually slightly more animated than the show was. Even if the voices are 10 times more annoying.

At least their heads twist and turn around in the pilot.

Chet said...

I sincerely hope you aren't proud of that sad fact. When I was growing up, I watched cartoons and movies made in the twenties and thirties. I read books written hundreds of years earlier. I enjoyed music of all kinds and vintages. Limiting yourself to the pop culture of today- and being proud of it- is like taking a ride on the short bus.

i was pointing out that most kids my age dont watch looney tunes or old movies,Im proud to be the only child i know that watches looney tunes and old movies.You must have read the comment incorrectly.

Chet said...

I am 21, and I've known for a while, the absolute best stuff has been done decades past. The music, movies, writing and animation during the golden age just kills anything today. Show some goddamn respect.

Im with ya, but ever kid iv ever met would dissagre strongly.

Anonymous said...

South Park gives me a migraine.

Chet said...

There's the root of your problem. I can assure you that my opinions and the opinions of John have changed radically as we learned. We're still learning and revising our theories to fit what we know now that we didn't know then. If you refuse to do that, your opinions will never be anything more than the ignorant ones everyone starts with.

give me examples please.

Chet said...

The design of Ren & Stimpy often changes from SCENE TO SCENE in both the original series and in Adult Party Cartoons. This is a reflection of the mood of the scene and the personal style of the artist laying it out or animating it.

yeah,but the design of the characters hasnt evolved (and im not counting the diffrence between the r and s show and apc.)

Chet said...

but i think that futurama,south park,the powerpuff girls,the simpsons,and sheep in the big city all beat the hell out of cartoons like pop-i,and betty boop.

The above pretty much shows how insane you are.

and what great cartoons do you like?

spongebob,courage the cowardly dog,cow and chicken,billy and mandy?

Chet said...

Im basicly talking to the ren and stimpy fan club here,so of coaurse were going to disagre.

everyone needs to take this conversation like im taking it,calmly.

tim kelly said...

Limiting yourself to the pop culture of today- and being proud of it- is like taking a ride on the short bus.

Stephen,
Please explain what you mean by this. My daughter is autistic and rides the short bus.

Anonymous said...

Is this debate about quality of animation or how funny a program is? In terms of animation (and humour derived from outrageous animation) Spumco wins easily for me. However from what i've seen of APC, the frequency of actually funny moments are as scarce as in any other animated comedy today, they just look better. The Simpsons is still No. 1 for me but i think John K really could do something special if he avoided trying to be deliberately shocking with the adult material. I really hope the best is yet to come.

JohnK said...

>>Is this debate about quality of animation or how funny a program is? <<

There is no debate.

The post is about how old cartoons constantly evolved and new ones doen't.

I already proved it with the examples.

If you have other examples that show that new cartoons evolve faster than old ones, go ahead and post them.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"but i think that futurama,south park,the powerpuff girls,the simpsons,and sheep in the big city all beat the hell out of cartoons like pop-i,and betty boop."



You think sheep in the big city is better then Popeye ? Please, just stop posting.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I sincerely hope you aren't proud of that sad fact. When I was growing up, I watched cartoons and movies made in the twenties and thirties. I read books written hundreds of years earlier. I enjoyed music of all kinds and vintages. Limiting yourself to the pop culture of today- and being proud of it- is like taking a ride on the short bus."


Amen to that,my taste in music goes as far back as Cab Calloway and to as recent as Jay-Z .

P.C. Unfunny said...

"John, you should be tearing into a show like DUCK DODGERS, a show that blatantly rapes the corpses of the brilliant talents that created WB's golden era."

John,I would also like to hear your opinions about this abortion.

The Butcher said...

Dexter's Lab used to be my favorite kid's show at the time, but had actually evolved backwards! The design changed 3 times as far as I know. The corners got even pointier, the characters became even flatter. The entire show began as a knock off of Spumco's retro style, which I could live with, but just got even crappier in it's design.

There's an example of a modern cartoon that changed over time, except it changed for the worse.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

THE AMAZING EVOLVING REN! GASP IN AMAZEMENT AS REN'S EARS GET SMALLER AND HIS TORSO GETS BIGGER!

Ren starts out as kind of a hyper-exaggerated cartoon of a chihuahua and then he evolves into something more human-like and occassionally in Adult Party Cartoon he becomes a more reality-based cartoon of a chihuahua.

Chet said...

You think sheep in the big city is better then Popeye ? Please, just stop posting.

who could find popeye funny?

Its so bad words cabt begin to describe it.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly not on the level of Bugs, but there has been a bit of evolution in Billy and Mandy...

The pilot:

http://www.universohq.com/cinema/images/cartoon_grimevil.jpg

Grim & Evil: (This was the art style, despite the pic saying Billy and Mandy)

http://gfx.filmweb.pl/f/103517/po.6927850.jpg

Billy and Mandy season 4 or so:

http://www.templelooters.com/evil/images/gabm-010.gif

Billy and Mandy current:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/70/Grimy.jpg

Anonymous said...

And since my dumb ass forgot to linkify that...

http://www.universohq.com/cinema/images/cartoon_grimevil.jpg

http://gfx.filmweb.pl/f/103517/po.6927850.jpg

http://www.templelooters.com/evil/images/gabm-010.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/70/Grimy.jpg

C. A. M. Thompson said...

It's funny someone mentioned Dexter's Lab because Genndy Tartakovsky did a short that played in front of the Powerpuff Girls Movie called Chicken Scratch which pissed off a lot of Dexter fans with its Spumco-y look. It's well animated and you can see it on the Powerpuff Girls movie DVD, but unfortunately they cropped the hell out of it to make it fit a standard TV screen.

Gabriel said...

who could find popeye funny?

Its so bad words cabt begin to describe it.


You're digging your moral grave, why?? I'll save you, go here!

WIL said...

"I cannot wait for the rant on how unleaded fuel ruined the american automobile."

Actually, Ralph Nader ruined cars.

And analogue recordings on vinyl are better than digital ones on CD or MP3.

Happy now?

Stephen Worth said...

give me examples please.

I'll give you one for each of us...

When I first met John, he asked me if I liked country music, and I made a face and said that I thought it was ignorant. John explained that it was beautiful ignorance like an animal that was hurt and didn't know why... or whether the pain would ever stop. He played a wide variety of country music for me, from the Carter Family and the Louvins to Marty Robbins and Hank Williams. He explained what the music meant to me. Now, country music is among my favorite kinds of music.

John used to think that the Fleischer cartoons were inferior, because they didn't tell linear stories the way Warner Bros cartoons did. Then he saw Grim Natwick's animation in Mysterious Mose and Swing You Sinners and realized that the Fleischer cartoons were just as cartoony and had an underlying construction in their own way just like the WB cartoons did. Now if you ask him what the greatest cartoons ever made were, he will list Talkartoons and Popeye along side Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Hi Ted

I'm betting that you are looking at scenes that are animated and you're assuming that because they are tightly drawn that they are rotoscoped. That isn't the case. In the Superman series the roto was only used straight for props, effects and incidental characters. The main characters have been animated using roto reference, just like every single Disney feature. Straight roto is like Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels, or Bakshi's American Pop or Waking Life. Those applications are flawed for the very reasons you mention, but the Superman series isn't,

And as for Superman not having a difficult time, you should look at the films again. He gets the stuffing beat out of him in every cartoon just before rallying and coming out on top. Look how the electronic ray knocks him down for the count, how he struggles to lift heavy objects, and how he takes some really hard knocks fighting the robots. That's excellent action animation, and it isn't at all how you describe it.

You don't have to subjectively enjoy the Fleischer Superman cartoons more than the recent TV series, but objectively, you can't say that the Fleischer cartoons aren't produced and animated a whole heck of a lot better. Even the people who worked on the recent series would admit that.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

i was pointing out that most kids my age dont watch looney tunes or old movies,Im proud to be the only child i know that watches looney tunes and old movies.

Don't be proud about what you do know. Be curious about what you don't.

See ya
Steve

miss 3awashi t said...

too true...
the only cartoon i've seen evolve in any way is "ed,edd,n'eddy" theres a big diffrence between their designs between season 1 and season 4
cartoons like dexters lab and powerpuff girls 'changed' but i wouldn't call it evolved in the new seasons they just became more anglar presumably so they'd be easier to draw in the computer without anyone having to actualy draw them ..its sad really

Chet said...

I'll give you one for each of us...

When I first met John, he asked me if I liked country music, and I made a face and said that I thought it was ignorant. John explained that it was beautiful ignorance like an animal that was hurt and didn't know why... or whether the pain would ever stop. He played a wide variety of country music for me, from the Carter Family and the Louvins to Marty Robbins and Hank Williams. He explained what the music meant to me. Now, country music is among my favorite kinds of music.

John used to think that the Fleischer cartoons were inferior, because they didn't tell linear stories the way Warner Bros cartoons did. Then he saw Grim Natwick's animation in Mysterious Mose and Swing You Sinners and realized that the Fleischer cartoons were just as cartoony and had an underlying construction in their own way just like the WB cartoons did. Now if you ask him what the greatest cartoons ever made were, he will list Talkartoons and Popeye along side Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.


ok,but this is based upon watchin and hearing certain songs,or films.

Everything i commented upon i have seen many times.Iv watched about 7 episodes of ren and stimpy(that werent games) and at least 10 episodes of popeye and betty boop.

After watching that many episodes,i think i can clearly state what i like and what i hate.

You act like im hating these cartoons because iv never seen enough of them.

Now if i started making comment on how i hate baby huey and might mouse,then i wouldnt have enough knowledge of them to talk bad about them.

I do have enough knowledge of ren and stimpy,popeye,and betty boop, to say what i think of them.

Your being ridiculous.

Chet said...

Don't be proud about what you do know. Be curious about what you don't.


I said it in responce to one of your comments.I wasnt just saying it out of the blue.Take my comments in the context they were spoken in.

Nate_Birch said...

Using South Park as a representitive of all modern cartoons is kind of cheap...the show barely even counts as a cartoon. At least not an animated cartoon since the characters don't really animate...they're flat characters that were originally cut out of paper that are shuffled around. It has more in common with a puppet show than classic cartoons (a fact proven by the fact the the creators of the show did in fact make an entire movie using puppets).

Anywho, it is disappointing to see that cartoons no longer evolve and change like they used to. The Simpsons interestingly was one of the few cartoons made in the past couple decades that *did* evolve...watch the first 3 seasons if you don't believe me (after that it stopped for the most part). Otherwise, most other cartoons don't change much at all.

The one place you still see things evolving is in comics. Whether it be comic strips, comic books or whatever.

The real reason cartoons don't evolve anymore? I think it's just because the process of making an animated cartoon got too big and complicated. How many people work on a TV cartoon these days? Dozens and dozens...hell, a lot of cartoons have credits that roll on for 5 minutes it seems...and they aren't even giving credit to all the individual Koreans who actually animated the stuff.

How many people worked on your average golden age WB cartoon? Under 10? A director, half a dozen animators (or less), a couple guys on backgrounds, a couple guys on sound. Just like an individual cartoonist can evolve his craft, so too can cartoons strongly led by a specific director and his small team of animators.

Will cartoons ever be made like that again? I doubt it...and thus I doubt they'll ever evolve like they used to again. Sad but true.

Well there's my 2-cents worth of blather.

Roberto González said...

Nate-birch, I agree 100% with you.

Still waiting for a John K's opinion on Simpsons evolution...and on Beavis and Butthead drawings and ¿evolution?

The pictures of Ren's evolution didn't show such a great evolution either (and I'm not saying this like a complaint, just like a fact).

Also, I didn't comment it before, I actually don't remember Flinstones season 1 so good, but I agree the designs and the character expressions were prettier and perhaps funnier than The Simpsons, but in therms of animation I think the Simpsons is more fluid, it seems like the movements are more natural, even if the specific poses of the Flinstones are better constructed and all, but they have that Hanna Barbera animation that is quite limited. I don't dislike it, and I agree with John K. that this kind of animation can work if the designs are cool, but it would be even better if they'd be more fluid (using the same designs and poses), and in fact that's what Spumco did in those Ranger Smith cartoons, they took that wonderful designs and they animated them in a more fluid way. That or maybe I am blind or I don't know anything about animation, but that's the way I see it, at least.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Wow this page has doubled in size since I last posted!

It's pretty simple IMO: TV isn't the best place to be looking for good animation, because the execs control it. In that sense, comparing Looney Tunes to South Park is rather un-fair as their completely different kinds of animation all together. Good animation rarely comes out of America anymore, it's had it's day. Most of the best animation comes from other countries now, like Japan, France etc. Just look at Triplets of Belleville, and Mind Game, and Dead Leaves. TV animation has always, ALWAYS been about cutting things down to the bare essentials, even with the Hanna-Barbera stuff, where they recylced walkcyles, lip-synch etc. Your looking in the wrong place for modern animation, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

South Park is absolutely hilarious and it doesn't need to have the aesthetic of a Spumco cartoon to be enjoyable.

People arguing that South Park is technically inferior to traditional animation, well no shit. It's animated entirely within Maya in a 48 hour period and a show is produced from start to finish in under seven days. This allows them to be topical and regardless of how it looks, it is an incredibly funny show and that is more than you can say about some other works.

I'd argue that political satire isn't inherently cheaper than using nostalgia as a creative cruch. But that is just my opinion.

cemenTIMental said...

I’m not sure the metaphor can be stretched to the idea of evolution vs. creationism. That makes my head hurt.

hehe fair enough... yeah, I just found it interesting that evolution in artistic terms is so often used in almost the opposite way to its scientific meaning...

Anonymous said...

I can accept people have different tastes, maybe you prefer chicken to beef, that's reasonable. But you prefer eating dog crap to eating lasagna I think it's reasonable to say you're crazy. So, person who can't laugh at Popeye and thinks Sheep in the big city is better than Betty Boop: you're crazy.

Anonymous said...

THE AMAZING EVOLVING REN! GASP IN AMAZEMENT AS REN'S EARS GET SMALLER AND HIS TORSO GETS BIGGER!

AND WATCH HIS LIVER SPOTS MAGICALLY DISAPPEAR!

What amazes me about The Simpsons is their lack of computer effects in every episode. They don't go overboard with them like most cartoons with digital coloring.

Eric Stough (who works on South Park and is the source of the character Butters) said this in an interview:

"When you work at such a fast pace it's hard to really enjoy the process of making the show."



Anyway, of all of my favorite cartoons, Family Guy has evolved the least. The only difference I spotted is in the first season the outlines were a little bit thicker. And the voices were a little different. That was pretty much it.

Gabriel said...

hehe fair enough... yeah, I just found it interesting that evolution in artistic terms is so often used in almost the opposite way to its scientific meaning...

Maybe it's not that different. Evolution at it's core is adaptation through mutation and natural selection (bear with me here), but the commercial world demands certain adaptation that may not be in sync with the arts world (or the individual artist's world, since each person has his own views of whats better and/or desirable). If I decide to simplify my cartoons in order to be able to hire homeless folks who can't read to draw them, i would have adapted nicely to the commercial view. I'd spend less money on the 'artists', and this economy is good if you're playing by money standards. But by my artistic standards that would be awful.
We're mostly artists and consumers here, right? Should we try to argue for the economic side of the whole thing? Maybe so to some extend, but we can't let economy ruin art, we're not businessmen! How can people say 'show X needs to be crappy because it's done in 6 days'? Maybe we should ask 'why so little time'? Isn't haste the enemy of perfection? How did things come to this point?

David Germain said...

I'm not sure who said it here (I DON'T feel like reading all 276 posts to find it) but someone said that the makers of The Simpsons and South Park have no respect for classic animation. That's completely false. On the commentary for Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants, Trey and Matt talk about how their biggest influence for that episode was the WB war cartoons with Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck in them. They sprinkle a few LT references throughout other episodes as well. As for the Simpsons, Matt Groening has stated that the dynamic for the Simpsons family was patterned after Chuck Jones' Three Bears cartoons. Homer choking Bart is the current equivalent to Papa Bear punching Junior in the face. These two shows certainly don't reach the lofty heights of animation quality the the Looney Tunes achieved, but the creators certainly aren't ignorant of classic animation. The biggest problem with them (and others trying to be them) is that they are stuck within the TV animation system which is run by uncreative misers who use Ronald Reagan's trickle-down theory to fund the shows.

But, I'd like to get back to the evolution of Bugs if I may (finally). What John K. has presented here is rather incomplete. Over the last three posts of this subject, he has used selective evidence to try and make it look like Bob Clampett had the biggest hand in creating Bugs (a story so insane only ol' Bob could have thought of it).
For one thing, John forgot to mention a Frank Tashlin cartoon Porky's Building (c. 1937) featuring an ambidexterous rabbit. Surely that could be considered an ancestor of Bugs. But instead John brought up an out of nowhere reference to some generic gopher in Clampett's Get Rich Quick, Porky (c. 1937). The truth is, neither Tashlin nor Clampett had ANY hand in creating Bugs. During those crucial years of prototype-Bugs' development (1938 to 1940), Tashlin was leaving Warner's for Disney and Clampett was seperated from main lot in some building Ray Katz put him in where he cranked out the black & white Porky Pig cartoons. Had Clampett been in the main building maybe he would have made significant contributions to Bugs' persona. But, he wasn't. THIS is why Chuck Jones left Clampett off of Bugs' "Wall of Fathers" in The Bugs Bunny / Roadrunner Movie (along with a personal grudge Jones had against him). Technically, Bob Clampett was more of a step-father to Bugs really. He wasn't involved in the birth of Bugs but he did participate in the shaping of Bugs' persona after the fact. (So then that makes Friz Freleng a step-father also because he was at MGM when all this was happening). Another key member of the bucket brigade that created Bugs that John left out for some reason is Charlie Thorston (a Canadian! WOOT!). He was the one who first penned the name Bugs Bunny. Ben Hardaway's nickname was Bugs. So, when Charlie was asked by Ben to redesign the rabbit for his next cartoon, the label at the top said "Bug's Bunny". Charlie is also the key link to Disney's Max Hare character. Mr. Thorston had created the design for Max Hare when he was at Disney's. And so when he came to Warner Bros., Charlie had such limited design capabilities that this germinal Bugs does look similar to Max. Someone asked here before if there was any plagiarism involved. Charlie was just plagiarizing himself really.

There, now that those holes are filled up, I can't wait for John to start posting about Elmer's Candid Camera and A Wild Hare.

junior said...

Liking something is not the same having it as an influence. I just don't buy it.

Homer choking Bart is the current equivalent to Papa Bear punching Junior in the face.

Animation wise it's not equivalent. The idea is similar, but ideas can come from everywhere, not just from cartoons. People hitting each other is older than writing, and I bet so is laughing at it!

Roberto González said...

Another thing: I think The Simpsons is a lot more than an animated sitcom, in fact some of the episodes are more similar to a movie and they would be extremely expensive to do in a sitcom. South Park is also very different to a sitcom, it is a complete surreal world and very little sitcoms play with the surreal as much as SP.

I've just watched two Family Guy episodes and it's the first time I watch these series (well, actually the second, I downloaded an episode before, but I thought it was entertaining enough) and now I've realized how boring it is and how ugly are the drawings/animation. This is the show you should be attacking: it is mostly a sitcom, it has bad drawings, bad pacing, virtually not plot development and if you are lucky you can get only two decent jokes per half hour episode.

The Simpsons have hilarious episodes. South Park, while not the best series ever, has some decent episodes every now and then. Talking about one of the others John K's entries I think the characters in these both series have good personality traits. The Simpsons, especially, but South Park kids are decent characters (adult characters in SP are actually pretty bad). FG characters doesn't have interesting personality traits.

That's actually what I'm searching for in a cartoon. Of course the visuals are very important, but personality traits are more. If Ren and Stimpy were not so great in therms of personality it wouldn't have worked even with the great Spumco animation.

Maybe Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends have a too computerized flash-look (though very well done sometimes) but the characters have GREAT personality traits. I think there is a lot of good or decent series to look at in "kids" cartoons today. Yeah, these series are not Betty Boop or Loooney tunes, but they are certainly better than Scooby Doo or other series from the 80s. I certainly think John K. could make more positive comments if he'd talk about these kid shows instead of adult ones.

Stephen Worth said...

You act like im hating these cartoons because iv never seen enough of them.

You haven't. I'm cutting you slack because you're young, but the truth is, your opinions aren't backed up by experience. When I say to keep your mind open and try to see as much stuff as you can, that's not criticism. It's friendly advice from someone who was a kid who loved cartoons once. I'm still learning. There's an awful lot to know.

When I was in college, I was lucky enough to be able to hang out with great animators, like Bill Scott and Grim Natwick. I sure as heck didn't argue with them. I listened to everything they had to say and tried to understand and absorb it, because they lived what I was just dreaming about. You're getting that opportunity right now with John K. If you really care about animation, don't mess up. You may not get an opportunity like this again.

See ya
Steve

JohnK said...

to David Germain,

Hey I've never seen that Tashlin cartoon, but if you have frame grabs or can put it on Youtube, I will add it as an influence.

My point by the way is that no one created Bugs Bunny. He evolved, and many artists had an influence in shaping him, even though Clampett made the funniest, most confident and best drawn cartoons with him.

jorge garrido said...

Spongebob evolved.

Season one had the best animation
Season Two had a drop since it switched from Cel drawing and it became standardized.
Season Three was the most stamdardized.
Season 4 has greatly improved teh quality, probably due to the presence of Vincent Waller as TECHNICAL director, and there are alot more expressions. But it's not at the level of Season one.

Strangely enough, season one had the WORST writing, season two greatly improved it, the first half of 3 had the best, the 2nd half of season 3 had the worst, and season 4 has greatly imporved it again, almost to the level of season 2.

Spizzerinktum said...

>>I've just watched two Family Guy episodes and it's the first time I watch these series (well, actually the second, I downloaded an episode before, but I thought it was entertaining enough) and now I've realized how boring it is and how ugly are the drawings/animation. This is the show you should be attacking: it is mostly a sitcom, it has bad drawings, bad pacing, virtually not plot development and if you are lucky you can get only two decent jokes per half hour episode.<<

What bothers me the most about the truly appalling Family Guy and numerous recent cartoon shows is the voices. Hearing girl characters on kids' cartoons talking with that "California" accent, or whatever it's supposed to be, makes me sick. It's meaningless, a toss-off, and makes everyone sound snotty and illiterate.

Family Guy, to me, is especially repellent for that baby who sounds like Frasier. It makes my flesh crawl. I also can't stand watching the Sideshow Bob episodes of The Simpsons, which actually use the Frasier actor's voice, and allow him to SING too.

I think SP has its moments, scriptwise, but again, the voices. That Cartman character is almost as unlistenable as Donald Duck, and the other kids' voices are just bland as hell. I still don't know which one is Kyle.

More shows with bad voice acting: Rocko's Modern Life, Cow and Chicken (I might have actually watched it if Cow's voice weren't so completely wrong), Spongebob, Ed, Edd and Eddy, Rugrats, that show about the worried dog...

Then you have The Simpsons, with truly unique voices for the main characters, performed by people who do ALL of the dozens of other characters that come and go.

When a character's voice is dashed off a la Scooby Doo or the Archies or whatever, the viewer's emotional attachment is seriously compromised. The voices just have to ring true, or at least not sound like the voice actor is hanging from a noose. They're at least as important as the character design. Hence Mel Blanc's title of "Voice Characterizations" rather than "Voice".

Maybe John will post a voice history lesson sometime.

Anonymous said...

It seems like criticising the creators of South Park for being weak animators is like ragging on the Ramones for being weak musicians. A Ramones song may not have had all the subtle complexities of, say, a John Coltrane track, but I don't think that makes one better than the other. They didn't go through any dramatic evolutions in their style, and most of the time they only played with three power chords. But they accomplish what they set out to do in the first place (that is, to write fun and catchy songs.)

Of course South Park's animation doesn't have the "artistry" of Ren and Stimpy or a Fleischer cartoon, but that's not what the creators were trying to do. South Park sets out to make political satire, and I think it does a pretty good job of it. It may not be as "timeless" as a cartoon like Popeye, but that's because satire, no matter how good it is, usually doesn't have a very long shelf life.

I think John K is right in saying there's a problem when ALL cartoons look like South Park or Simpsons, but I don't think that means that those cartoons are BAD or should be taken off the air or anything. I'm for pluralism- I'd like to see a world with cartoons like South Park, cartoons like Ren and Stimpy, and cartoons that look like something else entirely.

Spizzerinktum said...

And another thing!

The Simpsons' evolution includes the all-important development of the voices; When I first watched the show, the voices were mostly off-putting to my ear, and they reflected the show's creators' struggle to crystallize the characters' personalities (which eventually made them much more lovable if you ask me.) They were flailing about at first, with Homer just being a mean old jerk and Marge like an Edith Bunker sort of person. They did evolve, in voice/personality, and then they settled in for the duration. I'm not sure that's necessarily bad, given the premise.

Dr.Awkward said...

South Park has "better" writing, but Family Guy has "better" drawings.

(however, that's not saying much!)

Dr.Awkward said...

r.e. R&S gross-out humor

At least R&S have something else to stand on; without their crude humor, FG & SP wouldn't be anything, really!

jorge garrrido said...

Animation-wise, The Simpsons was never good. Not even teh early creaitve Tracey Ullman stuff. The writing was brilliant until like 1996. The REALLY early stuff. like 1989-1992 wasn't very funny.

>People want to be entertained IMMEDIATELY, they want to know what all the characters are like IMMEDIATELY and it doesn't matter what sort of stylistic package it comes in, as long as it entertains them.

But the OLD cartoons had both great craftsmanship AND were instanly entertaining to anyone who watches them.

>
The time and money needed to let cartoons "evolve" just isn't there anymore. We live in a different time.( Notice I say different, not Better!) It's getting easier and easier for people to produce quality work on home computers, and I think this is the direction most entertainment is headed.

One episode of FG costs 1 million dollars to produce.

Here's an interview with Seth Macfarlane, speaking about Rhode Island School Of Design:

IGNFF: What aspects of the curriculum at the school have you found to be most useful in your career since then?

MACFARLANE: I tell you, it's interesting. Probably, I would just refer to the overall structure of the way their curriculum operates. Again, they don't teach you a specific style. They teach you to do everything, and then your final year it's up to you and take all that you've learned and make the film that you want to make, and that becomes sort of your calling card in the industry. That set up was probably what governed where I ended up. Specifically in the area of animation timing, which is... I'm trying to think how I can describe that in simple terms. You look at a show like The Simpsons or, in an extreme case, I guess South Park maybe, but I'll point to The Simpsons as opposed to a Disney film. The way Disney characters move, they're very kind of slow and fluid and flowing, one pose kind of eases into the next. If you look at a show like The Simpsons and subsequently a show like Family Guy – the characters will jerk from pose to pose a lot, a bit more snappy. Which sort of goes along with the writing tone of the show.

IGNFF: Where it's more writing based animation than visual based...

MACFARLANE: Right, but there is a visual style. If The Simpsons were animated like Disney characters, it would never be as funny. That was something that to have the freedom to experiment with timing, to literally put drawings under the camera at RISD and shoot them slower, shoot them faster – just finding your animation style was very valuable. I think overall it was just the open-minded, generalized approach that was the most valuable. I wasn't forced into one particular style, which was terrific.
IGNFF: How would you describe the style that you developed there?

MACFARLANE: I would say simple. It was a simple style. The character design was very basic in a lot of ways. Boy, that's interesting. You know, I suppose I decided there that big, bulbous eyes were important.

IGNFF: Would you say it's more of a function over form kind of style?

MACFARLANE: I guess... I guess, yeah. I suppose that's as good of way as any to describe it. I was more concerned with the way the characters acted than like how detailed the backgrounds were, or how intense the colors were. Which, I suppose, had something to do with my dabbling in the performing arts end of things. The thing about animation is there are people who associate it more with being a visual art. I've actually always thought of animation as more closely related to the performing arts. So many of the same rules of acting apply. In a lot of cases you don't have to be a terrific artist. In Family Guy, most of the people on staff could draw better than me. So it was more about from a direction stand-point... How do these characters act? What's the funniest way for them to move? I've completely lost track of what the question was and I'm rambling...

IGNFF: No... you're rambling, but making sense...

MACFARLANE: Well, that's new.

TALKING ABOUT HANNA BARBERA IN TEH 90'S, AND FRED SEIBERT'S WHAT-A-CARTOON SHOW THAT JOHN K HAS TALKED ABOUT BEFORE:

IGNFF: That was sort of at the dawn of the second Golden Age of Hanna-Barbera...

MACFARLANE: Yeah. They were doing a lot of original cartoon shorts. I had the opportunity to do one myself. They were sort of trying to reestablish themselves as a powerful force in the medium, and really, a lot of that was through Cartoon Network. What Hanna-Barbera was, is essentially now what Cartoon Network Studios is. It's a lot of the same people, and it's just, I think, the name is different. But yeah, that was sort of the beginning of their reemergence as a powerful force in animation.

IGNFF: And a great tonal shift as far as their output, anyway.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, their whole philosophy at the time was to put animation and animated projects back in the hands of the artists, whereas they had been primarily writer-driven throughout the '70s and '80s. Obviously, the artwork in the '70s and '80s Hanna-Barbera cartoons was not the greatest, although I always thought it had its own style – which is now very retro, identifiable with that era.

IGNFF: It was very functional.

MACFARLANE: You're right, it was very functional. But, you know, their plan was "Let's, like in the old fashioned Warner Bros. cartoons of the '40s, give control of the medium and of the shows and projects back to the artists," which I don't entirely agree with. I think since then, they've found a balance. I think that, really, there has to be an equal – having done both, there really has to be an equal balance between the writers and the artists. You can't give full control to... one really isn't more important than the other.

IGNFF: What were the problems that you saw in the purely artist-driven approach?

MACFARLANE: Oftentimes the stories weren't interesting. For a seven-minute show, it actually makes all the sense in the world to have the artists in control. Because, really, that to me is the one format where it does work. Anything longer than that, you need to sustain an audience's attention through the characters, and it can't just look cool.

IGNFF: So it's the difference between actually being a viewable product or a student's short film...

MACFARLANE: Yeah... yeah, exactly. Exactly. With Family Guy, and with The Simpsons – obviously with any half-hour show – there's obviously an enormous work that goes into putting together a script and it's done, really, in exactly the same process as a live-action sitcom, you know, as an episode of Seinfeld. It's the same process from start to finish – you're just writing for animated characters instead of real people.

IGNFF: Were there arguments within Hanna-Barbera at that time, or was it pretty much carte blanche and no one questioned it until later down the road?

MACFARLANE: There were some people who felt that it was not – I think at the time they were definitely in the minority. There were people who felt that it was not always the right way to approach things. And you know, it's interesting, they did have seasoned executive producers from the '70s and '80s whose job it was to sort of oversea these very green young artists – myself included. It's interesting, I was actually one of the few people who got hired into that program because, primarily, of writing. This is what they told me after the fact. Certainly, my student film was not – the drawings were not anything special. They were pretty crude looking. But, you know, it was the content – the jokes themselves – that were the reason that they hired me. It was interesting to be there, with so many people who were just phenomenal artists and who had been hired because of their artistic talent. I ended up writing on additional shows for them, shows like primarily Johnny Bravo. I was writing on that show for I guess most of the time I was there – about a year and a half, two years, after I did my first short. It was really helpful in trial and error as far as the writing process, doing script after script each week and seeing what worked and what didn't work. It was actually great training.
<<<

Seth Macfarlane is a dumbass.

Gabriel said...

But they accomplish what they set out to do in the first place (that is, to write fun and catchy songs.)

I like the Ramones, but they have about 10 memorable songs, and the rest are imitations of those. Not having skills DO limit your possibilities. That's why every South Park episode looks the same, and most people don't even attempt to justify the art, they always say it's about the writing. I wonder what it would be like if it was a radio show.

junior said...

Here's an interview with Seth Macfarlane, speaking about Rhode Island School Of Design

Oh my god, was he actually an art student??

Chet said...

You haven't. I'm cutting you slack because you're young, but the truth is, your opinions aren't backed up by experience. When I say to keep your mind open and try to see as much stuff as you can, that's not criticism. It's friendly advice from someone who was a kid who loved cartoons once. I'm still learning. There's an awful lot to know.

When I was in college, I was lucky enough to be able to hang out with great animators, like Bill Scott and Grim Natwick. I sure as heck didn't argue with them. I listened to everything they had to say and tried to understand and absorb it, because they lived what I was just dreaming about. You're getting that opportunity right now with John K. If you really care about animation, don't mess up. You may not get an opportunity like this again.


Well i take john i like a i take everyone.

I find out what i like about him and what i hate about him.I take the good and leave the bad.If he gives me advise of writing,i wont listen to it as closely as i would his advice on construction.

I am listening to him,but that doesnt mean i cant question him too.

Just because someone has more experience than me,doesnt mean i should listen to him,just to listen to him.

Dr.Awkward said...

I can't stand Sideshow Bob, either. He doesn't even look like a Republican to me, nor does he scare me in the least! Most Republicans aren't that eloquent in tongue, and that voice is too deep for his appearance!

Anonymous said...

If cartoons were meant to please the senses, then how come APC looks "ugly on purpose"?

Gabriel said...

If cartoons were meant to please the senses, then how come APC looks "ugly on purpose"?

It doesn't look ugly to me, but i don't think it's that simple. Any of the 'ugly people' drawings Basil Wolverton has done pleases more my senses than a Care Bear. How would you interpret that fact?

JohnK said...

>>I take the good and leave the bad.If he gives me advise of writing,<<

my first bit of writing ADVICE is to get a dictionary.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Popeye in my opinion has the best lovable ugly cartoon characters of all time. Mainly the ones made by Fleischer around 1938. There are all kinds of little details in them too. They really emphasize Popeye not having teeth. Olive Oyl's shoes don't fit properly because her feet are so big so her heels are sticking out the top. And there are some really wonderful closeups of Bluto where they draw him super freaky.

It's also the best funny human animation of all time, and they play these ugly characters as sympathetic sometimes, which is also rare.

Chet said...

Well i take john like i take everyone.

I find out what i like about him and what i hate about him.I take the good and leave the bad.If he gives me advise on writing,i wont listen to it as closely as i would his advice on construction.

I am listening to him,but that doesnt mean i cant question him too.

Just because someone has more experience than me,doesnt mean i should listen to him,just to listen to him.

*fixed (hahahaha nice point john,when you write out what you want to say quickly you forget about gramar.)

Me taking writing advise from you, is like you taking drawing advice from trey parker.

Anonymous said...

Me taking writing advise from you, is like you taking drawing advice from trey parker.

Yeah, that means you're the John K of writing, doesn't it? When is your next book coming out?

Anonymous said...

gabriel-

I like the Ramones, but they have about 10 memorable songs, and the rest are imitations of those. Not having skills DO limit your possibilities. That's why every South Park episode looks the same, and most people don't even attempt to justify the art, they always say it's about the writing. I wonder what it would be like if it was a radio show.

I wouldn't be funny. It wouldn't be funny if it was a sitcom, either. The art is crude and simple, and you might find that "ugly," but it still plays a significant role in the humour of the show. ACTUAL children cursing and spouting off racist humour on TV would be horrific and completely inaccessible. One of the reasons the show is able to deal with adult issues and still make jokes about it is because the characters are all drawn in a naive, child-like manner.

I absolutely admit that South Park is more about the writing than it is about the art, but I still don't think you can objectively use that as the reason to call it an "inferior" cartoon to Ren and Stimpy. There's always a balancing act between writing and visuals that has to go on in the medium, and in some cases it's going to land in favor of art, and in some cases it's going to be writing. I don't think that makes one better than the other.

Spizzerinktum said...

"gramar"

John was correcting your SPELLING, chet, not your grammar. Maybe it's a good idea to stop rushing and write more carefully and thoughtfully. That way you have a chance to fix the grammatical errors, and re-read your comments before you post them to make sure they make sense.

Stephen Worth said...

MACFARLANE: Oftentimes the stories weren't interesting. For a seven-minute show, it actually makes all the sense in the world to have the artists in control. Because, really, that to me is the one format where it does work. Anything longer than that, you need to sustain an audience's attention through the characters, and it can't just look cool.

WALT DISNEY: The difference between live action pictures and my cartoon features is that my cartoons are not written with a script... the story is developed visually using a storyboard.

Who are you going to believe?

See ya
Steve

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Oftentimes the stories weren't interesting. For a seven-minute show, it actually makes all the sense in the world to have the artists in control. Because, really, that to me is the one format where it does work. Anything longer than that, you need to sustain an audience's attention through the characters, and it can't just look cool."


I can't belive McFarlane said something this stupid,this comment exposed his true colors. I could watch Bugs Bunny for hours because he's funny and the thing's he dose is funny,the Looney Tunes shorts were character driven NOT story driven. Mc Farlane can't do a character driven cartoon becasue all his characters are nothing but props for his stupid plots and gags.

Stephen Worth said...

Maybe it's a good idea to stop rushing and write more carefully and thoughtfully. That way you have a chance to fix the grammatical errors, and re-read your comments before you post them to make sure they make sense.

If only proper spelling would help the ignorant opinions... But with an attitude like that, it's not worth my time any more. He can figure things out on his own. I like kids, but they have to be receptive. I've got no patience for "throwing pearls before Porky".

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

There's always a balancing act between writing and visuals that has to go on in the medium, and in some cases it's going to land in favor of art, and in some cases it's going to be writing.

It's not a balancing act between one thing or another, it's either a director who can't express himself visually, or a director who can't sustain a narrative thread. I call directors like that what they are... lousy directors.

A truly great director uses all aspects of filmmaking to put across his story and the personality of the characters. The visual aspect is just as important as the sound, the dialogue, the music, the acting and the story. It's all one thing- a film, and a really good film fires on all cylinders. It doesn't sacrifice one aspect for another.

See ya
Steve

Anonymous said...

It's not a balancing act between one thing or another, it's either a director who can't express himself visually, or a director who can't sustain a narrative thread. I call directors like that what they are... lousy directors.

A truly great director uses all aspects of filmmaking to put across his story and the personality of the characters. The visual aspect is just as important as the sound, the dialogue, the music, the acting and the story. It's all one thing- a film, and a really good film fires on all cylinders. It doesn't sacrifice one aspect for another.


I agree that all those aspects of film are essential, but I don't think every director has to have the SAME value placed on each of these aspects. For instance, some directors will draw an audience in using pacing and tone. That doesn't mean they throw every other aspect of the movie out the window, it just means they put an emphasis on other aspects instead.

You brought up the Fleischer Superman cartoons, which are a good example- I love the cartoons, but it's impossible deny that there is more of a focus on the music and the look of the show than the dialogue and the story. And again, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, and I'm not saying the cartoons threw out story and dialogue altogether, it's just that they had to lend a different weight to them for their intents and purposes.

That's what I meant when I said "balancing act" (although that might have been a poor choice of words on my part,) and that's what I was saying re: South Park- I don't think the show sacrifices visuals altogether, it just doesn't place the same weight on them as other cartoons do.

JohnK said...

>>The visual aspect is just as important as the sound, the dialogue, the music, the acting and the story. It's all one thing- a film, and a really good film fires on all cylinders. It doesn't sacrifice one aspect for another.<<

Well that would leave out Walt Disney, Tex Avery and many other famous cartoon folk.

Gabriel said...

I don't think the show sacrifices visuals altogether, it just doesn't place the same weight on them as other cartoons do.

I think choosing not to pay a minimum of attention to an aspect is the same as sacrificing it. The truly good directors can be known for his excellence on one particular aspect, but that's because it's what he naturally does best and it shows, not because he decided to overlook the other elements.

Chet said...

If only proper spelling would help the ignorant opinions... But with an attitude like that, it's not worth my time any more. He can figure things out on his own. I like kids, but they have to be receptive. I've got no patience for "throwing pearls before Porky".

Thank you,if you truly belive that my opinions are ignorant then,there is little you can do to change them.your caring a little to much about what i think.

John was correcting your SPELLING, chet, not your grammar. Maybe it's a good idea to stop rushing and write more carefully and thoughtfully. That way you have a chance to fix the grammatical errors, and re-read your comments before you post them to make sure they make sense.

i try to keep that habbit,sometimes i forget though.

well regardless of the spelling mistakes,the grammar of the sentance wasnt correct.

Chet said...

Who here Hates me!!!!!!!?????

Anonymous said...

Who here Hates me!!!!!!!?????

Me! Me!

Stephen Worth said...

Well that would leave out Walt Disney, Tex Avery and many other famous cartoon folk.

That oughta be good for another 100 comments!

See ya
Steve

jorge said...

>If cartoons were meant to please the senses, then how come APC looks "ugly on purpose"?

It doesn't look ugly to me, but i don't think it's that simple. Any of the 'ugly people' drawings Basil Wolverton has done pleases more my senses than a Care Bear. How would you interpret that fact?

There's a difference between ugly characters and ugly drawn characters. Popeye is ugly and are most of Clampett's really wrinkly characters, but they're drawn beatifully. Seth MacFaggot had this to say:

O: The audio commentaries for The Critic discuss how Fox encouraged the creators to make all the characters more attractive between the first and second season. Did you ever get any pressure from Fox to make the characters more pleasing to the eye?

SM: Not with Family Guy. A little bit with American Dad, because there are more eyes on it. To me, who the hell wants to look at an attractive cartoon character? The Simpsons are ugly-looking, and they should be. That's what works. That's one of the things that's funny.

O: Do you think ugly drawings are inherently funnier than attractive ones?

SM: I think so. I think the way [The Far Side's] Gary Larson used to draw, there was something just inherently funny about the way those characters looked. It's the same thing. Those bulbous eyes that would just stare blankly and you had no idea what was going on in the head of the character. I remember reading somewhere about someone on The Simpsons saying that when a character is being addressed or spoken to, they always prefer to keep them emotionless, with a blank stare, rather than give them reactions. It's just a great rule of thumb that I absolutely took to heart for this show. It's just funnier. A dumb-looking character standing there, staring blankly, is much funnier—and cheaper—than a character mugging. The other end of the spectrum is the Disney/Warner Bros. style of very lush animation, where people just don't stop moving. Everything is played to the hilt. I prefer to go the other way, and I think that's something that is inherently funny to look at. When a dumb-looking character is standing there, you don't know how they're registering the information that's being fed to them. It's funny.

HE DOES NO GET IT. He's actually proud of how expresionless his characters are. It's amazing.

>Who are you going to believe?

I believe Macfarlane was just OWNED.

>Thank you,if you truly belive that my opinions are ignorant then,there is little you can do to change them.your caring a little to much about what i think.

You mean You're.

BTW, you might be interested to know that Trey Parker & Matt Stone have boht expressed great respect toward classic wartime cartoons from the 40's, including Disney's. They said they love the classic cartoons wiht Tojo and Hitler. They paid tribute to wartime Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoons in the SP episode Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants, made 1 week after 9/11, and in The Passion Of The Jew, with Mel Gibson in the Daffy Duck role. Although both have said that they can't draw good at all.

Stephen Worth said...

Thank you,if you truly belive that my opinions are ignorant then,there is little you can do to change them.

Ignorance is different than stupidity. Ignorance is simply not knowing. Stupidity is the inability to know. Ignorance can be corrected.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

when a character is being addressed or spoken to, they always prefer to keep them emotionless, with a blank stare, rather than give them reactions.

That's strange... I have the same reaction when I watch Family Guy.

See ya
Steve

P.C. Unfunny said...

"A dumb-looking character standing there, staring blankly, is much funnier—and cheaper—than a character mugging. The other end of the spectrum is the Disney/Warner Bros. style of very lush animation, where people just don't stop moving. Everything is played to the hilt. I prefer to go the other way, and I think that's something that is inherently funny to look at. When a dumb-looking character is standing there, you don't know how they're registering the information that's being fed to them. It's funny."

I am in awe of this foolishness coming from McFarlane,he actually thinks a bland emotionless face is funnier then a character who actually shows a reaction.Thank you for posting that Jorge, you have shown me the true colors of this moron.

David Germain said...

John, those images from Porky's Building are .

David Germain said...

Something went wrong. Click either the period or the posting time.

Reuben said...

OK, I can actually think of a few recent cartoons which have stylistically evolved.

Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy:

Season 1:
http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.11/3.11images/tveddy.gif

Season 5:
http://news.toonzone.net/images/ed.gif

Justice League:

Season 1:
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/images/justice-league-tas/justiceleague_03.jpg

Season 4:
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/jlu/episodes/panicinthesky/54.jpg

Anonymous said...

Reuben, those look almost the same!
Maybe if you showed it with bigger pictures we'd actually see any difference, if it's really there...

jorge garrido said...

Wow! I jsut read all the comments here! Incrdible! My mind is going 100 mph! Here are my comments to what I found of note here. As usual, Stephen gave the best comments.

>>I like hand drawn cartoons too, but -- just to play devil's advocate, not to offend -- maybe the "evolutionary torch" has been passed to video games/CG? Artsy fartsy considerations aside, those are the areas where people expect rapid improvement and change in looks. Saying hand drawn cartoons no longer evolve might be a bit like saying harpsichord music no longer evolves, or titanotheres or dodos. They just aren't the leading edge that captures hearts 'n' minds anymore.

Imagine in 50 years computer animation and technology stops pregressing and gets worse adn worse wiht each passing year. You remember the days when computers worked better and you point out how muhc better computers worked during their peak, and people accuse you of being elitist.

Does that concept seem far-fetched? Does it even make any sense? Why would people want to make and use crappy computers? Why would they choose to use bad computers when they could get a 50 year old compouter that works way better?

>>Family Guy and South Park might not have the fluid, crazy motions as early cartoons, but the writing is sharp, wicked satire.

South Park's animation may be primitive but at leass they try to make the characters act with their hands and faces. Family Guy doesn't even have that. Also, the animation in FG is EXTREMELY fluid because they have tons of money from FOX. There's no excuse for FG having worse animation than SP. Also, the writing on SP is 100000x better than on FG. FG isn't satire at all.

>I also think stuff like Futurama, while not as sharp writing-wise is clever and amusing.

Futurama has probably the best writing of any show in years. It's brilliant, leagues above FG, SP or The Simpsons. The amount of wordplay in that show astounds me, it's so brilliant.

Guys, since when did story become so important? I think Seinfeld proved that character trumps story everytime. Nobody wants to see a show go through a plot with proper story structure if the characters are boring, like on FG, but they lvoe watching interesting varied 3-dimensional charcters do nothing for half an hour, (like on Seinfeld)

And if they don't run on Character, they could run on great gags like a Tex Avery cartoon, but it's best when the gags come form ther character. As Bill WAtterson siad, "Good characters write themselves"

>So whatever. I like them all for different reasons. I love the personality of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I love that they make the episodes in 5 days, which makes them more spontaneous and unpredictable. I love the personalities of the characters (its not JUST cursing)... there has been character development over the years. The show also has great timing. Wish such simple animation they take full advantage of editing and pacing and timing and it's some of the funniest I've ever seen in a cartoon.

Exactly. It's crude but I wouldn't have it any other way. They try, at least. They have GREAT 3-dimensional characters.

>The Simpsons in its prime DID have expressive and dynamic poses, amazing voice acting and quality drawings.

No, it didn't. All that show ever had was great characters and great writing. That ended in like 1996.

As for the Fleischer vs. Superman Animated Series debate:

Fleischer's OWNS the new ones overall, but the new ones are BRILLIANT. They have way better stories, and character development. Bruce Timm's shows are always genius. So it's not that his cartoons are bad, they're still amazing, but it's jsut that the Fleischer ones are SO good tha nothing can compare. They're the best dramatic and action cartoons ever made. Of course as brilliant as Superman and Jusitce League are, nothing of his can top Batman The Animated Series, the original. When the characters got more standardized, stylized, and sleek it wasn't as good.

>How do you rotoscope an eight story high dinosaur emerging from a block of ice, a fiery meteor hurling through space to strike the earth, a giant gorilla tearing a circus to shreds or a volcano erupting and threatening to destroy a whole island?

Here's the deal... you're talking with people who have lived, breathed and crapped animation for the past two or three decades. If you want to make a point based on animation of the past, do what we did... go out and watch every single classic cartoon you can get your hands on, and then you'll be qualified to talk about the failings of the Fleischer Superman series.

The'yre not falings, it's just that the NEW cartoons have better characters and stories.

>And as for stories, what would you rather see, dialogue full of existential angst performed by guys wearing skin tight pajamas or an army of flying robots robbing a bank with cops firing tommy guns on them? Honestly, I wonder if you've even seen the cartoons you're talking about.

Can't we have both? In 7 minutes Fleischer couldn't have had characters drama, so eahc has teh same stircuture. THAT'S NOT A BAD THING. But the new Timm series has both action and chracter drama since each show ranges from 20-60 minutes.

>I agree that there could have been better scripts with some of these classics and maybe some of the Ren & Stimpy ones as well, but, what RS did worked and worked well.

Ughhh... cartoons scripts... Dno't get me started.

>>I have to say my least favorite (without naming anyone specific), would be the shows that produce characters with mouths that talk w/out the rest of the body or shot moving; why not just cut a hole in the face of a pic like in the intro of Spongebob??

Ever seen the Inredibles parody of Clutch Cargo on the DVD? Listen to the in-character commentry Brad Bird wrote. it's awesome!

Another thing, where did tehis myth of SP being edy and in bad taste come from? Sure it's raunchy, but always for a reason. Take the episode It Hits The Fan. They say the word Shit uncensored 162 in that episode to make a point that people swear way too much. They' never edgy to be edgy, there's always have a point to their crude humour. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Hits_the_Fan for more info.

>The thing about creationists and conservatives like the creators of South Park is that they think it's natural for things to remain in the state they're in and they don't understand that things not changing is both unnatural and boring. How many episodes does South Park need to "make fun of bad animation" anyway?

They're not making fun of bad animation, they are bad animation.

>If you would like to provide a quicktime movie or frame grabs of a well drawn and animated South Park cartoon, I'd be happy to look at it, but I've suffered through a dozen or so episodes and that's about all the patience I have for suffering bleeding eyes, waiting for the "good parts" that never arrive.

A few episodes attempted to mock relasism. Passion Of The Jew and Fun With Weapons.

>i think that futurama,south park,the powerpuff girls,the simpsons,and sheep in the big city all beat the hell out of cartoons like pop-i,and betty boop.

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>The problem with SP "conservatives" is they think that anyone who disagrees with even their METHODS is a "commie", even though episodes like "The Passion Of The Jew" and that one about Kenny on life support go AGAINST their supposedly "conservative" agenda. (They've even claimed not to BE "conservatives" in an interview, because they must've felt embarrassed, although I don't see why!)

Not everyone is eihter Conservative or Liberal. That's the point of South Park. Besides, they're both Libertarians.

>and also, the design of ren and stimpy really didnt change(except for in apc)

They change from scene to scene, as all good cartoons do.

>Am I saying I can draw better than Family Guy or South Park?
Well, considering South Park si computer animation emulating stop motion construction paper cut-outs, drawing ability is kind of irrelavant, don't you think? This reminds me of the episode Free Hat where they criticize computer restoration of classic films. They show a fake commercial for a NEW version of the pilot episode (the only one that was actually stop motion) but redone wiht computer graphics. Afterwards they said "NOW ALL NOVELTY OF THE ORIGINAL HAS BEEN REPLACED BY COLD, SOULESS, CGI!!!!"

>I know that other artists by necessity draw most of R&S, but that John lets very little go through without his redrawing of it. That's his prerogative, of course--he's the boss!

As far as I know, every scene in Ren & Stimpy is a combination of that guy's personal style and John's. He doesn't redraw other artist's work.

>I do, however, think that the Simpsons is a damned sight better than Family Guy, American Dad, Ripping Friends, South Park- really any of the cartoons on television in the last decade or so. Futurama looks beautiful as well. Just because it's not grotesque and over animated doesn't mean it's bad, John.

It's not over animated, everything else is under animated. And I've neevr seen The Ripping Friends but it looks way better from the short clips and images I've seen that the entire run of The Simpsons.

>who could find popeye funny?

Its so bad words cabt begin to describe it.

...
...
...
I'll ignore you now.

>You don't have to subjectively enjoy the Fleischer Superman cartoons more than the recent TV series, but objectively, you can't say that the Fleischer cartoons aren't produced and animated a whole heck of a lot better. Even the people who worked on the recent series would admit that.

And, in fact, they've stated that the Fleischers were their biggest influence, especially in the first version of BTAS.

>in therms of animation I think the Simpsons is more fluid, it seems like the movements are more natural, even if the specific poses of the Flinstones are better constructed and all, but they have that Hanna Barbera animation that is quite limited

Millions of dollars will do that for a show..


>In that sense, comparing Looney Tunes to South Park is rather un-fair as their completely different kinds of animation all together.
Yet SP was able to create great tributes to Looney Tunes and Tex Avery. I love to singa, about the moona and the june-a and the spring-a!

>Another thing: I think The Simpsons is a lot more than an animated sitcom, in fact some of the episodes are more similar to a movie and they would be extremely expensive to do in a sitcom

That's what led to tehir downfall. The Simpsons was way funnier when it was character driven and didn't try to be really wacky or unrealisitic with a car chase and and action movie parodies in every episode.

>More shows with bad voice acting: Rocko's Modern Life, Cow and Chicken (I might have actually watched it if Cow's voice weren't so completely wrong), Spongebob, Ed, Edd and Eddy, Rugrats, that show about the worried dog...

Really? Actually I think Rocko and Spongebob have GREAT voice acting from Tom Kenny adn Mr. Doug LAwrence, but Rugrats has the best voice cast of any show ever.

>I wouldn't be funny. It wouldn't be funny if it was a sitcom, either. The art is crude and simple, and you might find that "ugly," but it still plays a significant role in the humour of the show.

I wanna see John work with Trey and Matt and make a well animated episode of South Park with it's same satire and great characters.

Stephen! Have you ever seen the SP episode Osama Bin Laden Has Farty Pants? Go view it on youtube!

Keith Stack said...

I'd rather watch a cartoon with good writing than one with good animation. Ideally, I'd have both.

I can understand that some people prefer good animation to good writing on a show. It just depends on the person's taste.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"Really? Actually I think Rocko and Spongebob have GREAT voice acting from Tom Kenny adn Mr. Doug LAwrence"

Don't forget the great Charles Adler in Rocko.

Spizzerinktum said...

>>Really? Actually I think Rocko and Spongebob have GREAT voice acting from Tom Kenny adn Mr. Doug LAwrence, but Rugrats has the best voice cast of any show ever.<<

RUGRATS??? Wow. I hate every single voice on that show. I even hate the theme music, Devo be damned. I hate Rocko, I hate Tom Kenny in most anything, I hate the old guy in the cowardly dog cartoon...wow. I gotta revisit this. Could I be wrong??

Anonymous said...

So what's more important, the animation, the writing...

The draftsmanship, animation and voice acting are the vessels through which the characters connect with the audience, the characters are the reason you're interested in the story, the story is the reason you stay tuned and care what happens next.

That's it.

As for the evolution of South Park, find the original South Park short with Frosty from 1992 (not to be confused with The Spirit Of Xmas Jesus Vs. Santa with came years later) and compare it to today. Plenty of change. "But it didn't change for ten years after that!" So what. Bugs didn't change since the Jones cartoons and Mickey Mouse's evolution died with Freddy Moore way back in the day.

So except for Chloe's big long comment, this whole discussion is pointless.

mike said...

So what's more important, the animation, the writing? There two differents approaches. It's like saying: who's better filmaker: Fellini or Woody Allen? The italian said that cinema comes from photography, therefore the most important things are the direction, the camera angles, perspetive, shots... Allen, on the other hand said that the most important thing in movies is the script.
Who's more right? both of them. the thing is that each have different conceptions about their art. The same goes to animation.

jorge garrido said...

>> RUGRATS??? Wow. I hate every single voice on that show. I even hate the theme music, Devo be damned.

E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Nancy Cartwright, Kath Soucie, Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer, Tara Strong, Michael Bell, TRESS MACNEILLE, and Joe Alaskey. Are you kidding me? These are the top voices of modern times. The only ones missing are Billy West and Tom Kenny.

I'd love to hear John's theories on voice acting since he's so good at it. My favourite voice actors are Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Don Messick, and June Foray, but my fave modern VA's are Tom Kenny, Billy West and Tress MacNeille.


I hate Rocko, I hate Tom Kenny in most anything, I hate the old guy in the cowardly dog cartoon...wow. I gotta revisit this. Could I be wrong??

Spizzerinktum said...

Jorge,

Just to clarify, I wasn't attacking the voice actors (well, except for Tom Kenny--He just rubs me the wrong way; I don't know why), I was saying I didn't like the voices. The voices of the characters, that is.

Lindsay Naegle is one of my favorites by Tress Macneille, who I do heartily agree is wonderful. Did you see my original post? Here is part of it:

Then you have The Simpsons, with truly unique voices for the main characters, performed by people who do ALL of the dozens of other characters that come and go.

I see that I used the term "voice acting" in a way that made it sound like I didn't think the actors themselves were talented, and that's not what I meant at all. I don't fault the actors for giving a character a voice that seems all wrong to me. (Except Tom Kenny.) I assume they are giving the director what he or she wants, at least to some extent.

My beef was about how the wrong voice can ruin what could be a great character. "Cow and Chicken" fits that description, IMO. I liked the drawings, and was disappointed to hear Cow's voice. It just didn't "work" for me. Maybe if I'd liked the looks of Rugrats I would feel differently, but all the elements combined made it so sappy and icky that I couldn't stand to watch it. And there's just something about a toddler with a runny nose...

Anyway, just wanted to clarify that I'm not a complete moron yet.

CheezNapkin said...

Ah, Tom Kenny, the man who brought us Spongebob's ANNOYING FUCKING LAUGH

DAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*shoots self*


So anyway Tom Kenny is a great voice actor, But he's the kind of guy you hire to do the "announcer voice". You know, his "THE CITY OF TOWNSVILLE" voice. But Billy West is amazing. His Bugs Bunny is almost flawless, but then again I don't watch enough Looney Tunes to spot the difference. In a way, He reminds me of myself. (I have an amazing ability to duplicate popular cartoon character's voices almost accurately. Seriously).

CheezNapkin said...

And believe it or not, Homestar Runner (http://www.homestarrunner.com) Has done tons of evolving over the last 6 years. Look at the cartoons from 2000, and then look at the newest one. Every character has evolved at least a little bit.

Ted said...

"The main characters have been animated using roto reference, just like every single Disney feature."
The displeasure I feel looking at the Fleischer Supermans is similar to the displeasure I feel looking at Snow White in Snow White. This may be a side effect of deep technical skill using roto reference. The trouble is that it amounts to more or less the same thing as pure rotoscoping in terms of its effect on me (altho slightly muted, apparently; my initial impressions of the animation in the Fleischer Supermans was positive; I thought the animation looked great; my initial impressions of Gulliver's Travels (probably a couple of years after the first time I saw the Supermans) was that Gulliver looked like crap; I've always hated how Snow White herself looked). If all Disney features have used this technique, then what I have found aesthetically negative in Snow White and the Fleischer Supermans is not inherent to the technique, but does crop up in some of the material that uses it. As it seems less vile to me in some of the later Supermans, it is probably an issue of execution. An evolving technique leading to a different style, to pull it back to the main post...

"And as for Superman not having a difficult time, you should look at the films again. He gets the stuffing beat out of him in every cartoon just before rallying and coming out on top. Look how the electronic ray knocks him down for the count, how he struggles to lift heavy objects, and how he takes some really hard knocks fighting the robots. That's excellent action animation, and it isn't at all how you describe it."

In the first cartoon he is knocked off balance by the electrothasia ray for 8 seconds, and then is blasted for three more seconds, before rallying. In MM, Supes falls off a robot from a height he jumped to, picks off power lines like he's tying his shoes and buttoning his shirt, treats flamethrowers like waterguns, then is beaten down for 4 seconds; after that all the robot hits knock Superman off a little bit, to a position from which he comes through with robot destroying punches. In the first episode of STAS, more or less the entire episode is Jor-El fighting a desperate battle against his countrymen, a malevolent computer, and his about-to-explode world, each encounter of which he wins only by the skin of his teeth, and he ultimately only succeeds in a secondary goal (saving his son alone, not his world, his wife, or himself) in an excellently constructed suspense piece. It's very Hitchcockian; man wrongly accused, a conspiracy is afoot about great events which enfolds the man, big set piece action sequence in the computer room; even the threat to the child calls to the Man Who Knew Too Much (both of them). Even tho any comic book fan knows Kal-El is going to make it to the end of this episode (or else it's going to be a VERY odd series for its title) and probably all the rest of them, there's a real sense of menace in the episode. The Fleischer shorts don't seem to be able to bear more than a few seconds of things going badly for their protagonist; it's like a formality they want to get done with as quickly as possible.

"objectively, you can't say that the Fleischer cartoons aren't produced and animated a whole heck of a lot better."
"Better" is inherently subjective. They were certainly more complicatedly animated, and certainly have more cels per second than STAS; I'm sure they were technically impressive in their time in a way STAS never was, and I'd be unshocked to hear each short cost many times an episode of STAS in adjusted dollars. Of course, for all that technique, they weren't able to animate an iota of character beyond Lois being shocked that her incredibly ill advised actions got her into trouble or Clark's wry wink at the camera at the end of almost every episode. In terms of sound, I'd say STAS is better produced in terms of the outcome, even if far more effort and man hours per second of sound were put into the sound production of the Fleischer shorts.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that Disney animation WOULD make Family Guy less funny, that doesn't mean the art itself has to be so bland.

JohnK said...

>>While I agree that Disney animation WOULD make Family Guy less funny<<

Disney animation would make anything less funny.

You need funny animation to make something funnier.

Anonymous said...

http://www.southparkstudios.com/media/video/misc/spiritxmas_jesusVSfrosty.mov

South Park never evolved?

Anonymous said...

>>>http://www.southparkstudios.com/media/video/misc/spiritxmas_jesusVSfrosty.mov

South Park never evolved?>>>

The characters are exactly the same, they just LOOK better now because of the money and the technology they have.

Look at the first bugs bunny and the one now....that is far more change then you will ever see in a SP series.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the Xmas card Parker and Stone did vs. the TV series is moronic on many levels. The Spirt of Xmas short was done for a Fox exec and was in no way intended for network broadcast and was done with almost no budget. Obviously once given a budget they polished the simple prototypes a little. That's not evolution, that's cleaning up a sketch.

People keep saying "it's that way on purpose" and "they have to do it in a week". These are the CHOICES that Parker and Stone made, they are not excuses for why this series is so visually stunted and unrewarding. No one puts a gun to their heads and says, "Do a lame, moralizing episode about Terry Schiavo before her corpse cools off!" Or, "Reduce the expressiveness of all your characters by creating them out of a very tiny array of body parts that get pasted onto a geometric shape using a formula that NEVER changes." Those are creative choices, dumb ones I might add. But their fans can't admit the obvious and insist that it must be dumb on purpose--Cartman saying something crude is only funny when illustrated by crummy animation (maybe what he's saying isn't really that funny, then).

In fact the original construction paper conceit of the series has been stretched well past the breaking point--the fancier graphics in later seasons clash ridiculously with the faux construction paper art. But they are stuck with it now. In many episodes it is obvious they are trying to make this stunted visual style do more than it is capable of.

It isn't as bad as The Simpsons--every now and then Parker and Stone throw a curve or actually alter a longstanding character, and the scripts occasionally rise above preaching to the choir about random current events. But it is still pretty sad that it is held up as some standard of excellent writing. It isn't, and will one day join a long list of popular series that are entirely forgotten the moment they go off the air.

I don't think John K. is the last word in animated comedy but there are Ren & Stimpy episodes that hold up after dozens of viewings. I can't say that about any SP or Simpsons episodes, even the small handful that I find moderately entertaining. Even when R&S failed it kept trying to do different things. All Parker and Stone want to do is hammer the same three notes over and over again to the delight of their fans.

(Side note: Parker and Stone once did an episode claiming that every good idea has already been done by The Simpsons. This sad claim speaks volumes about the amount of invention going on in either program. Naturally every episode of R&S proves them completely wrong.)

Brian said...

I think Bugs Bunny looked better before he "evolved." I always liked the zanier acting cartoon characters better; the ones where one character is certifiably mad and he/she's working off various straight guys that hate his/her guts.

Oh, and imo, a cartoon should take advantage of the fact that you can make a cartoon character do anything that real people never could.

Anonymous said...

The very nature of shows like The Simpsons and South Park keep them from stylistically "evolving". Why the hell is everyone picking apart these shows because their characters look the same? They're freaking sitcoms. If the character models were changing or as it was so eloquently put 'evolving' people would be confused as hell. I don't think the writers would have fun thinking up a plot twist to explain why the South Park kids suddenly have joints and realistic hair.

I don't watch these shows to admire the animation or appreciate the craftsmanship of the artwork; christ these shows are mass produced over in Korea like so many packages of ramen noodles. I watch these shows just to get a laugh, that's it. You have to remember that back in the old days cartoons weren't being aired on t.v., they weren't being churned out factory style in order to meet a due date, and they sure as hell weren't sitcoms, meaning they weren't limited to exist in the same creative universe. The artists had the freedom to let their characters grow. If some guy offered WB to make a sitcom with the retarded looking primordial version of bugs bunny, bugs wouldn't be the bugs we all know...he'd still be retarded looking primordial bugs bunny. Which I actually kinda like, but the point is that creativity has no place in a sitcom, that's a given, so why complain of a lack of it?

All I'm saying is that if you're going to regard cartoons with such scrutiny target it on something that actually has merit in the context you're putting it in, bashing South Park because the characters are on model (albeit a simplistic and cheap looking one) is like bashing President Bush because his tie totally doesn't match his suit.

bradbirdisking said...

John,

All cartoons stop evolving once people take notice of the character and/or the design people like how the character looks. The process of designing a character took place in the open, in the actual shorts back in those days (intial design in the early shorts, later ones show the charcter closer to his/her final form). This all happens behind the scenes in a TV series, since you have to get a set design (or close to it) when the first episode airs. Besides, the design of Bugs Bunny was practically unchanged in his last 20 years of being in shorts (40s-60s), and it hasn't changed since. Why? Because people don't want to see thier favourite characters change in form. It's the same as Family Guy, South Park, and the Simpsons. It would be stupid to alter the design of ANY of the charcters in these shows. All animation goes through that design process, just at different stages! Ever heard of behind-the-scenes material on DVDs?

Animation God, thy name is Brad Bird.

lastangelman said...

The one thing that bugs about The Simpsons and you nailed it.After season two, all drawings of characters became frozen, development-wise. When classic era Warner Brothers did a caricature of a celebrity or politician, before the character spoke, you knew who it was. When The Simpsons have a guest walk on as themselves, they look horrible, unrecognizable. It's sad that South Park can actually draw better recognizable caricatures than the Simpsons (but not by much!)

Hector Cortez said...

Wow, I had no idea that Bugs Bunny had evolved that much. Great post!

pinkboi said...

Look at South Park for what it is - crude, animated political cartoons.

degrussaband said...

i'm a huge fan of Ren and Stimpy, season 1 and 2 is all good
season 3 to 5 starts to dull out a bit because to me the early versions of Ren and Stimpy as characters were much better looking and sounding and you knew what they were about.

so in that case, is it possible that nowadays people have designed a character and left it that way so that it doesn't get worse?

maybe the phrase "don't F*ck with greatness" applies, not that i'm saying new cartoons are great, but in their minds it must be.

then again, maybe they're all pussies and haven't got the guts or the talent to make things better.

also, I'm sure Trey Parker and Matt stone don't think they're better cartoonists than anyone, they have a funny show that says what alot of people are thinking, and it must've been easier and cheaper to animate a show like that than it was to film it.

de Grussa

Captain Napalm said...

It's strange, y'know - I agree with John K. on most things, and I can't think of a single image he's used in any blog he's ever posted that I didn't like. There are no cartoons he likes (that I know of) that I DISlike, even if I don't LOVE all of them the way he does. (Popeye, for example.) Everything he says makes sense and is well-argued. But far from feeling the need to defend The Simpsons on the basis of it's popularity or my history of watching it "before I knew better", I just...like it. (Please note: all following comments refer ONLY to season 3-8 episodes and the recent film, plus the very odd bursts of genius elsewhere.) I mean, I like the way it LOOKS. I like the way it's STAGED. I like the way it's DIRECTED. The angles and effects in "Cape Feare", the acting in "Krusty Gets Kancelled", the colours in "Treehouse of Horror: The Raven" and "Lisa's Date With Density", The contrary-to-popular-belief use of WAAAY off-model drawings in scenes like Homer's heart attack, or his fit of hysteria over the pooch-poker painting, or Krusty's even grislier heart attack, or Homer's spice-induced reverie of Carlos Castaneda-esque psychotropia, etc. I'm no fan of pink-against-baby blue colour schemes, but they just don't happen to offend my eye on The Simpsons. I like the patina of the backgrounds, very warm and tactile. These so-called abominations of design strike me as pretty handsome, and I spend a fair bit of my time looking at the stuff on this blog just for the love of it. None of it has changed that opinion. Maybe some things about those episodes go against the principles that John outlines and explains so eloquently, but I can stare, in rapt concentration, at an episode of The Simpsons, and this so-called lack of taste just does not hit me even if I LOOK for it. I hate ninety per cent of animation made in the past fifty years. I genuinely think The Simpsons is better. Not Clampett, but not bad, even really, really funny at times. Yes, EVEN WITH THE SOUND MUTED. If this makes me completely insane, then so be it, but I'm probably not the only one who feels this way.

And as for all these former Film Roman employees who "hated their jobs" whom John, J.J. Hunsecker and numerous other posters have referred to here and elsewhere, I'd like to meet them and ask them about this stuff personally, because the commentaries on The Simpsons DVDs include plenty of words and even some demonstrations from the animators themselves, and they come across as unanimously happy and grateful.

James Sutton said...

It's simple.

Family Guy stays on the air because of it's viewers who watch nothing else but mindless garbage.

And yeah South Park's animation sucks but it's the funny that keeps people watching.

RobNonStop said...

Not sure if this has been posted before but South Park is not supposed to look like a cartoon with outlines.

Their original viral hit video was an experiment for fun, cut out of flat cardboard and they kept the look and movements ever since.
The storyboards look better than the final show, because the show is supposed to look flat, and cut, not drawn. They even made fun of how they change the characters’ walks to look crappier.

People loved the original, why should they suddenly aim to compete with something completely unrelated like drawn cartoons? You can compare them to other stop motion films, but that wouldn’t make sense either.

Storyline wise they have evolved into something completely different, hardly any show had that much change going on.

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