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:

1 – 200 of 346   Newer›   Newest»
KenM said...

John,

I really enjoy your posts on animation history. Very enlightening and a great way to present a sort of filter for examining the kinds of attitudes that plague the world of entertainment today.

By the way, I was wondering what your feelings are on The Ripping Friends, now that some time has passed since the show ended. I recently got ahold of the DVD and the episodes keep getting better every time I watch them. Really good stuff!

David DeGrand said...

What a depressing but spot on description of the state of cartoons today. Now that I think about it, the only recent cartoon that comes to mind that evolved at all was "Ren and Stimpy", and because of the success of that show we have a ton of cartoons trying to do what you did but not learning a damn thing from your brilliant creation. Oh well, whatever keeps the suits rich.

stiff said...

I'd say the Simpsons have devolved; at least back when Groening was involved they used creative camera angles, perspective, and actually animated some action. The drawings have become more 'refined' but that just means they're in a formulaic rut.

JohnK said...

>>Oh well, whatever keeps the suits rich.<<

They would get richer if they let nature take its course.

Robert Hume said...

Well shit, cartoons sucks today...but I think the bigger point John is trying to make is that this is in all walks of life today. In our shitty music, out movies, our sitcoms, and everything relatively art related. Not to say that there isn't good art today, but corporations are letting people who aren't achieved artists make the calls on what is and isn't marketable. How gay is that?

Robert Hume said...

Not only that but lets get a Vehicle that run on something else besides Fossil Fuel god damn it! Were living in the stone ages! But anyhow, lets get back to cartoons...:p

P.C. Unfunny said...

"I'd say the Simpsons have devolved; at least back when Groening was involved they used creative camera angles, perspective, and actually animated some action. The drawings have become more 'refined' but that just means they're in a formulaic rut."

My thoughts exactly. The Simpsons used to be more cartoony and alive,now they have become stiff.

David Germain said...

You got sidetracked, John. You started talking about the early stages of the Daffy Rabbit that would become Bugs Bunny and then you went off on a tangeant on how things suck today. I was hoping you'd carry on into talking about Elmer's Candid Camera, A Wild Hare (the first tru Bugs Bunny cartoon), and The Heckling Hare. I guess that'll happen either next post or in a post in the near future.

I wouldn't say the Simpsons evolved so much but rather it took them a few seasons to settle into a good groove which then slid into a rut which they are currently in (but even still, a "rut" episode of the Simpsons is still better than a lot of the crap made today (except for Ren & Stimpy of course)).

Actually, The Simpsons has caused somewhat of an external rut as well (through no fault of their own). Besides the main family, there are many other colourful characters that people enjoy seeing on the show (Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Ralph Wiggums, Groundskeeper Willie, Apu, etc.). With all these popular characters to draw from, it's no wonder they can come up with more than 300 episodes (they may be approaching 400 now). However, the show didn't start off with this huge ensemble cast. It took many seasons of experimentation to achieve this motley crew. Unfortunately, any other animated sitcom made afterwards has had to create a cast inwhich every character is hilarious and therefore popular. Pretty much everyone knows that such a thing is damn near impossible (except for clueless executives). Therefore, each of these shows has maybe two or three characters that catch on in some way surrounded by a bunch of other bland characters trying way too hard to be funny and/or likeable. That's the part that really annoys me about many things made today.

Hmmmmmmmm........ maybe I should have typed all this on Eddie's animation theory blog. (8O

Kali Fontecchio said...

I rented The Golden Collection of Looney Tunes with Kitty Kornered and the Duck Twacy episode you did commentary for- amazing still frames just like you said! I paused every other frame to try to copy the expression- it was loads of fun!

I also watched a dvd of banned classic cartoons-I've got to say cartoon women nowadays are so bland compared to the girls they chugged out back then (and the ones you do now)- I guess cartoons today are a reflection of the people making them- boring and bland!

Dr.Awkward said...

"The Simpsons" was in its prime from seasons 3-5, and then became garbage, obsessed with celebrities guest starring for voices and the use of bland pop culture references.

Duck Dodgers said...

Ehi John,
you can use my pictures of the Clampett's proto-Bugs when you want.

P.C. Unfunny said...

the Simpsons is still better than a lot of the crap made today

I bed to differ, South Park is in it's 9th season and has held up far better then The Simpsons.

P.C. Unfunny said...

"the Simpsons is still better than a lot of the crap made today"

I beg to differ, South Park is in it's 9th season and has held up far better then The Simpsons.

Craig D said...

It might be a case of semantics, but the Simpsons have gone through quite a few "changes" over the years.

Off the top of my head...

They started as short bumpers on the Tracy Ullman show. Then they became a Series (I'm not sure if that "Santa's Little Helper" episode counts as a pilot, a Christmas Special or just the first mid-season episode.)

They switched production houses from Klasky-Czupo (sp?) to Film Roman, so there was a stylistic change of sorts there.

Scads and scads of incidental characters have come (and gone) over the years.

Well, you get the idea. Many changes have occurred. Does this sort of stuff count as "evolution" or just a series bumbling along as the personnel changes?

My Blair Blog

Gabriel said...

An example of a cartoon evolving. Most folks here probably saw this as it was in a Cartoon Brew post, but it's still a nice read.
Of course, one exception proves nothing, specially when it's a relatively unknown example, and it's not american (I assume John's theory are mostly about american cartoons).

BrandonPierce said...

>>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.

John you DO realize that these three cartoons were created over a two-year period? That's plenty of time to figure out a character.

But, I do see your point. Cartoons today (i.e. 2001-onward) don't "evolve" and stay the same.

Anonymous said...

i think south park is the exception for trying to improve the artistic qualities of the show... when it was super crappy, you knew they wanted it to look that way and they were maybe even making fun of crappy animation...

however when a bunch of people who are not that artistically gifted try to improve the looks of the show... well the fact that you know they are now trying to make it look cooler, finally gives you the right to start criticizing the artwork, and i think they'd have been better off just using the defense of, "it's supposed to look crappy" and it would have been easier for them too.

in otherwords, "do not try, DO... but if you can't DO, then DONT TRY"

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

Hey. No, there wasn't much worth watching; I grew up in the 70's there wasn't much in the way of variety. but every morning before I was off to school they would play the old popeye, felix the cat and looney tunes episodes (mixed in w/speed racer).

BTW, EVERYONE SHOULD BUY A SKETCH FROM JOHN. I GOT MINE IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY. I LOVE IT & NO ONE CAN BELIEVE THAT HE ACTUALLY DID IT FOR ME. THEM THARS BRAGGIN RIGHTS!!
DO IT NOW!!

DHaynes said...

I read somewhere the other day that the main problem with art today (but this could apply to what you were saying regarding cartoons) is that craftsmanship has taken a backseat to content.

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. What else could explain why people are obsessed with shitty, shitty Hollywood Michael Bay-type movies, movies that they can know and predict every plot twist and are told explicitly how they are supposed to feel about the characters and the story? Nowadays people are just used to being spoonfed content and don't care if they are being fed regurgitated crap.

I also think its a temporary thing, and that the generation that grows up under South Park, the Simpsons and the like, will suddenly discover cartoons and realize how awesome they are. Studio execs will pick up on the increase and demand and cartoons will make a comeback.

Anonymous said...

Too true. Animation today has only gotten worse. The thing I like about Ren & Stimpy is the free-flowing creative way the characters moved and acted. You can see the artists were creative people. The old classic cartoon styles emerged: round eyes, bulging faces, erratic motions all reminded me of Looney Tunes.

As a kid during the 1970s, Saturday morning cartoons were basically pablum. When I saw old Bugs Bunny and Popeye cartoons, I liked them better than anything Hanna Barbera had done in the 1970s.

One of the things I like about South Park and Family Guy is not the animation, but the writing. It's a more raw, adult-themed style than The Simpsons.

- Eric A.

Marc Deckter said...

Wanna see more frame grabs?



PORKY'S HARE HUNT (April 30th, 1938)

PREST-O CHANGE-O (March 25th, 1939)

HARE-UM SCARE-UM (August 12th, 1939)

Roberto González said...

I have started this thread http://www.felizonia.com/cgi-bin/YaBB/YaBB.cgi?board=general;action=display;num=1148577129;start=0#0

in a spanish Simpsons community and different people are trying to show the changes in the Simpsons. Not the best examples right now, I would post again if we eventually do the best choices. I think they are better choices myself, but I'm too lazy to search on my own.

Also, I give you classic animation looks miles better than the Simpsons, but you should consider that, aesthetically (spelling?), Simpsons look far better than South Park. I mean, they may not evolve too much, but they have volume, they had some variety of expression (at least more than SP), there are interesting angles in some of the shots, that sometimes could be a little hard to draw, the backgrounds look a lot better... I mean, I understand what you are saying but I don't think the general kid could draw a good Simpson or someone who doesn¡t know anything about drawings.

I don't even dislike the look of SP either and I LOVE classic cartoons and yours, but anyway. For some reason Family Guy or Dreamworks 3d movies like shrek look more boring for me than Simpsons or SP. And I'll give Shrek and Family Guy have at least somewhat better graphics than SP (especially shrek movies) but I find it funnier to watch, it has more colours and it doesn't look so homogeneous, Family Guy looks too bland and Shrek movies looks too much like a real action movie or a weird mixture between a cartoon and a real movie (Pixar has far better designs, I think The Incredibles is the best looking 3D movie yet, even if the story is not my fave, it was quite well done but I'm just not too much of a superheroe fan).

Stephen Worth said...

David G,

You're missing the point of this series of articles. It isn't the history of Bugs Bunny per se, it's how great characters like Bugs Bunny get created. There is a good reason why we don't have many characters with the depth and personality of Bugs Bunny being created today. That's the whole point of these "Evolution of Bugs" posts.

The Simpsons hasn't changed much at all since it went to the half hour format. Bugs Bunny changed more in the first three or four seven minute cartoons than the Simpsons have in a gazillion hours of programs. In order for something to get better, the creators have to be free to experiment and try new things. That's what makes a character real flesh and blood, and not just a predictable, hackneyed concept.

The past can't be changed, but we can learn from it and change the future. John isn't just ragging on modern animation. He's pointing out how we can make it better. That makes him a lot more forward thinking and hopeful than most people in the business today.

See ya
Steve

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Wow! The pictures make a strong argument! It breaks my heart to think how animation, which always strains at the leash to exaggerate, has been tied up and boxed in the way it has.

-Eddie

Stephen Worth said...

Saying that the Simpsons looks better than South Park is like saying dining on the excrement of gazelles is better than dining on the excrement of dogs.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

And to add one more analogy...

A cartoon with lousy animation is like a beautifully wrapped birthday present with nothing inside.

See ya
Steve

Anonymous said...

re: evolution of characters --
didn't even the warner bros. characters stop evolving once they'd reached a kind of stylistic endpoint?
just from a viewer's perspective, but once bugs bunny started looking like the modern-day toy/icon version of bugs bunny, I didn't notice much of a significant progression from then up-till-and-including [gah!] space jam.
should the fact that the simpsons took a much shorter period and distance to reach the toy/logo version of themselves be held against them?

I liked the John K. yogi and boo-boo redesigns, but I'll bet there were more than a few yogi fans who saw any kind of deviation as blasphemy -- so it's not just boneheaded execs and too-dumb-to-know-better young'ins but conservative nostalgia fans who are as much a force against innovation as anything.

Per said...

I don't know, dude. I think the appeal of the simpsons and south park is that the average viewer CAN draw them.
And this trend of simple stuff succeeding trememdously started long ago... A little cartoon strip called Peanuts.

benj said...

Great post John!

junior said...

should the fact that the simpsons took a much shorter period and distance to reach the toy/logo version of themselves be held against them?

Yes, it should, because that's when things start to suck. Warner Bros did get stale after one point, but they were not at their best in that moment.

Chris Wyatt said...

The Simpsons is still a great show regardless of the crappy animation.

To Per, I don't watch The Simpsons because I can draw them, I watch it because of it's great characterisations, plots and because its funny (well, the older ones anyway). Most animation these days is mass-marketed for kids and a lot of it really does look like it's been drawn by kids.

Chris Wyatt said...

One reason why animation is so stale today I think is because as long as the money's still coming in, why change the formula. Animation in the 30's had to change and evolve because otherwise everyone would have become bored shitless of it. That's why the 30's and 40's were such a great time for animation.

Anonymous said...

I remember those cartoons... haven't seen em in years. Cartoon Network doesn't show real cartoons much anymore. Just a bunch of untalented anime crap.

Anonymous said...

One reason why animation is so stale today I think is because as long as the money's still coming in, why change the formula

That only makes sense until someone comes in and dares to change it. If that person makes a lot of money everybody will imitate him/her. We've seen it happen countless times, it happened with Ren and Stimpy! The problem is that whoever makes the calls in this business are a bunch of pussies! They are afraid of losing money if they bet on something new, they waiting for someone to take the risk

junior said...

One reason why animation is so stale today I think is because as long as the money's still coming in, why change the formula

That only makes sense until someone comes in and dares to change it. If that person makes a lot of money everybody will imitate him/her. We've seen it happen countless times, it happened with Ren and Stimpy! The problem is that whoever makes the calls in this business are a bunch of pussies! They are afraid of losing money if they bet on something new, they are waiting for someone to take the risk and if it works they'll just jump in the bandwagon and suck all the milk until the cow dies from dehydration.

Charlie said...

didn't Clampett gag most of "porkys hare hunt"?

Nico said...

could someone follow up on John's request in his last paragraph? i'm very interested to see them.

Jim said...

Eventually he managed to evolve into this.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117705/

Thats creativity for you!

Elliot said...

http://students.risd.edu/yr2006/espence/seniorthesis.jpg

bardhol said...

I think the modern sensibility is that you have to work out the kinks in your characters (or "product"), get them ready for the bright lights, and then exploit them to hell and back like so many JonBenet Ramseys. All the pre 1950s Bugs, Daffys, Porkys, et al, would probably called "pre-visualization" in this context. As far as I'm concerned, cartoon shorts should either be rib-splitting funny and / or wildly surreal, or else make you want to get up and dance. There are few exceptions. Has to be done right. I still admire the work of guys like, let's say, Bruno Bozetto, but the problem with 85% of post golden age short form animation is that it is either heavy-handed, and didactic, or else a philosophical treatise smooshed into 7 mnutes. Look at the cartoons of our time -- so much preachiness and existential angst. Where's the unmitigated joy of the Warners, the Fleischer's Popeye and Betty Boop ---- Spongebob comes close. And actually, that show would be at the top of my list again if they would let the characters evolve and do something out of the routine!
Well, nuff gabbin. I just have one request for all you artist types. Please come over to my blog
http://seed-sower-sowing-seeds.blogspot.com/
and answer the questions I just put up, to help me become good! If you've already been, there's lots more to see than there ever was before and now kids get in free! C'mon!

Tony said...

Hey Junior,
that sounds so goddam right, you could'nt find better words to discribe the situation in which the animation industry is!!

Evan said...

John-

If you mean the character designs only are evolving, South Park hasn't done much of that. But if you mean the over all look and quality of the show, it has improved.

Anyways heres a comparison

season 1 screenshot

season 10 screenshot

Eggie said...

Well...Bavck in season 1 of the Simpsons when the animation was done by klasky Csupo or however you spell it the animation was more squishy and expressive. Then the budget went up and they could have more drawings per minute and figured they didn't need to make each induvidual one tell a story anymore.
Theeeeeen it pretty much stayed the same.

But hey, what do I know? I was raised in poo.

Anonymous said...

Funny, before '39 Bugs didn't wear gloves. Anybody know when and why cartoonists started drawing gloves on their characters? How come no shoes or pants?

Roberto González said...

I totally agree with everything the "usuario anónimo" said. The one who posted about LT stopped evolving at some pòint. Yeah, Chuck Jones would add some details here and there but the models were quite similar. Yeah, each director used different types of facial expressions, but they look quite close to each other and McKimson's Bugs was always McKimson's Bugs. I don't even see such a big evolution even in Ren and Stimpy, apart from the very first ones. I see there are different styles used, sometimes within the same episode but I don't see an evolution such as that one in Bugs, the characters look quite similar today and they would change for specific expressions in every episode. I'm not saying they are not cool, great or creative, I am a big Spumco fan, I'm just saying I don't think they have changed SO much.

I agree with John K. that these should be the way to create a character. However I am not sure if you should change your style if you already like it and it works. I enjoy Dexter's Laboratory designs , for example, and I don't care if they don't change so much during the series or within the same episode.

Just out of curiosity I would really like to see that Simpsons experiment by John K. Would you do it like the Yogi Bear ones, changing the expressions within the same episode (I mean, like when Ranger Smith is walking and he is showed in such different styles). No offense, I loved those cartoons, but I think it would be probably boring too if all cartoons looked like that, if all kept changing during the same episode. I don't see such a big problem in staying on model, or more or less on model, if the expressions are well drawn (most of the Disney stuff), I agree that cartoons like The Simpsons and SP have very little range of expression and that could be fixed somehow, though.

Please, don't get mad or anything, this is just my opinion and I'm not saying that John K. is wrong, I would just like him to explain his arguments a little more, cause it seems to me that he always uses similar points.

John Park said...

I would say that The Simpsons and South Park are more like sitcoms than cartoons. They certainly have more in common with sitcoms than most any cartoons.

Eric Dotseth said...

Why do so many successful cartoon characters accumulate neotenous attributes as time progresses? The classic examples include Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird and Woody Woodpecker.

In the natural world, we often see the adults of successful species retaining neotenous characters for a very long time. For example, adult humans have little body hair, relatively large brain capacity, the ability to drink milk and a longer time until maturation.

Once again, Spumco breaks the formula. George Liquor is the first successful cartoon character without youthful attributes.

MKN said...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/47/Simpsons_on_Tracey_Ullman.png
1987 on the Tracey Ullman show

That's the original Simpsons. The characters actually look sorta funny there.
So Simpsons changed like, once or twice maybe in the last . . .19 years or so.

Danne8a said...

Why do formulaic and bland looking cartoons like Family Guy and South Park Last so many years when wonderfully creative cartoons like Ren & Stimpy leave the airwaves well under their prime????

AM I MISSING SOMETHING??????????????

Chris Wyatt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris Wyatt said...

Look! Even South Park had to start somewhere, check out this pilot episode.

The Spirit of Christmas

tedrex said...

While I agree that the Simpsons and South Park are not really the best designed shows, I don't think they should be. These shows are less about the visuals and more about the writing. The fact that the characters are so simple makes them easier for people to identify with.

Given that these shows are more writer-centric, with the dialogue being the thing that drives the story, I watch them with a totally different part of my brain. I love classic Warner Bros., Disney, Ren and Stimpy, etc., but I watch those pieces for the visual feast, not for the biting social satire which South Park delivers in spades(and the Simpsons used to deliver!)

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. Lower budgets with less need for "blockbusters" just to break even on a producer's investment is what will save the entertainment industry.One look around the internet should prove to anyone that viable stuff is being created on minimal money.You just gotta filter out all the crap!

Anyways,I just wanna thank you, John, for all the time and energy you spend on this blog. I' m an animation student in Vancouver, and I visit it every day. It's great to read your insights and opinions. Thanks again!

Eric C. said...

Response to John K's quote

>>BTW, some folks have argued that The Simpsons and South Park evolved too. Please post some examples and the dates so we can compare the rate of evolution and see how far they have come and how long it took.
Well John, have you ever seen Matt's original Simpsons drawings. They're pretty funny looking. I do find myself frustrated once in a while that they don't exaggerate the top lip more. I LOVE CARTOON LIPS! http://www.bookcaseangel.com/publishing/images/humor/simpsons.jpg
John, I don't know if you notice this or not but I noticed that Matt didn't really do much with his shows The Simpsons and Futurama but create them. But that's mostly it, other people take over. You know Matt right John, tell us what you think ?
Please respond,
Thank you.
_Eric
(John K. admirer/historian)

Robert Hume said...

Hey John, it is pathetic I totally agree...I really don't care for South Park, never have...but other than not watching these horrible shows, supporting cartoonists we admire like your self, and trying our best to harness our own craft and skills, what more can we really do?

I guess a shit load of cartoon history, and classic cartoon exposure can never hurt either! ;)

-Bob

Anonymous said...

For the most part, cartoons now-a-days aren't visually appealing. A commonly used excuse is "Well, this cartoon isn’t meant for kids, so we don’t need to put much effort in making it colorful and cartoony in order to hold their attention”…A cartoon should look good just for the sake of looking good, not because kids have low attention spans! And even with that excuse, many modern kid’s cartoons are even WORSE than the ones for adults. Too many cartoons look the same too. Too many either try to be anime-esque, or else they’re just way too stiff and simplified- as if they were made up of auto shapes on MSPaint and rigid outlines.

I like Family Guy and South Park for what they are; funny. They’re good examples of comedy and satire, but horrible examples of cartoons. I would never consider either one to be a good cartoon. They may have evolved by their own standards, but not by the high standards of how a good cartoon is supposed to look. Family Guy and South Park may make you laugh from what they say or what they do, but a good cartoon like Ren and Stimpy is able to make you laugh by HOW they say something or HOW they do something, and are exciting to look at.

Rob H. said...

In South Park's defense, the extremely crappy animation has always been their style and they've admitted, in show, it several times. These are the same guys who made a big stupid Michael Bay action movie with puppets. The problem is now EVERY new show on TV has deliberately crappy animation. 12 oz Mouse and Perfect Hair wouldn't even make it on NewGrounds

Anonymous said...

I love the old bugs...

Lego Sex

Chet said...

John thanks for the cool pictures!!!

i have a few things to say about your evolution comment on simpsons and south park-

1.I actually am not a huge fan of early looney tunes.I think it took a while for the drawings to actually look really good.

2.I think that even though south park didnt evolve much,it didnt need to.Just because it was easy to come up with doesnt mean its bad.I love south parks animation,its very cartoony.

3.the makers of south park know that the art isnt as good as looney tunes and i think you should stop comparing them.

4.even if you dont like the look of south park, its very funny and humor is the glue of a cartoon.

5.that said, when i make a cartoon it will rule, because i will make it funny and cool looking.

BAM!!!!!!

Roberto González said...

Here is my Simpson evolution theory:

http://www.felizonia.com/cgi-bin/YaBB/YaBB.cgi?board=general;action=display;num=1148577129;start=0#8

See one of my last posts, the one with the two big pictures and a lot of small ones.

Season 1: Off model, squishy characters

Season 2: A lot more on model, very rounded and nice looking

Season 5-6 (pictures 3 and 4): A little rushed, again more off model and expressive, but not squishy

Seasons 7 and 8 (picture 5): again very on model, "perfect" in therms of volume, shadowing, etc.

Seasons 9-13(picture 6): de-volution. Everything looks more flat, colouring is toned down, line is unsecure.

Season 14-15 (picture 7): the new E.P. Al Jean introduces better animation, they hire people like Lauren Mc Mullan as animation director, and they start using digital colouring, with more shadowing effects and such

Season 17 (last picture): Lauren Mc Mullan leaves, they try to do it again a little simpler, and more expressive, a little like seasons 5 and 6 but normally on model

Anonymous said...

And the interesting part is people say those shows are not about the animation, it's about the writing. The writing is pretty lame too. The simpsons were actually good once, but that time is gone. If it's about the writing, why don't those people write books? They would still suck, of course, except we would compare them to Samuel Beckett instead of Bugs Bunny.

Kevin said...

to me it's hilarious to watch an episode of Ren and Stimpy produced by Games Animation. it's amusing to watch how they tried to emulate Spumco's style, and make Ren and Stimpy the way Spumco made him but they just couldn't get it right.

there's always something lacking; or something just a little off in every scene, especialy when they would add additional characters like children. Thats when it's really obvious you're watching a Games episode. basically they're all really boring and Ren and Stimpy lost all their awesome traits

Stephen Worth said...

While I agree that the Simpsons and South Park are not really the best designed shows, I don't think they should be.

When did less of a good thing become a positive attribute? That's like saying that Mohammed Ali would have been great if he had gone through his whole career with both hands tied behind his back.

Face it. The producers of poorly animated shows are cheating you. They're giving you a half a show and figuring you won't notice if they substitute pink circles and yellow triangles for real characters. They may just be right.

The Simpsons and South Park wouldn't be the same shows if they were expressively animated... but they sure as heck would be a a lot better if there was something to look at that didn't make your eyes bleed.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

One more thing...

Expressiveness costs no more. The budget for a half hour of Ren & Stimpy is a tiny fraction of the budget for a half hour of the Simpsons.

What you see in cartoons today is baldfaced laziness. They are playing "quality limbo" with you... "How low can it go before the audience tunes out."

Get smart. Demand quality. Don't make excuses for shows that cheat... ESPECIALLY if you're an animation student yourself. You owe it to the medium to push it forward, not drag it down into the mud. To be able to make money drawing cartoons is a gift. Respect your medium. If your instructors in animation school aren't teaching you this, punch them in the nose and get the hell out of there.

See ya
Steve

Roberto González said...

Incidentally, why isn't there any problem with Beavis and Butthead? They pretty much stay on model and it's arguable that their animation is worse than the one in the Simpsons...

And I like Beavis and Butthead too. I actually love Beavis and Butthead Do America, I get a lot of laughs every time I rewatch it.

Sorry if I'm over-posting, John k., but I expect answers to every one of my questions.

I just wanna understand his full reasoning behind the theme of this topic, cause I agree with the premise of it, but not so much with some of the subsequent points. I think this is a very interesting discussion. Do you know what I think? I think it's easier with comic books, cause there is only one guy who draws them, so he naturally changes the characters, without even knowing. He can go as far as he wants with the changes or try to kept them more on model, but he'd probably become a better artist if he continues with his work. However , in animated series and movies there are lots of people who are forced to keep the characters on model and here I agree with John K. that they should try to eventually be more creative. However, I think those changes can be subtle, like the ones I have posted about The Simpsons or the ones I see in a show like The Powerpuff Girls. I don't see why they should change too much if they already like the designs.

Stephen Worth said...

In South Park's defense, the extremely crappy animation has always been their style and they've admitted, in show, it several times.

Ugliness isn't a style. This is an excuse for cheating you out of the entertainment you deserve. Wise up.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

Roberto, I don't see any evolution in those frame grabs you posted. All I can say is that one of those Homers has shadows. Take a look at the Bugs Bunny frame grabs again.

See ya
Steve

Mark said...

Supposedly, there's a rule on the Simpsons against doing overtly cartoony gags--the sort of stuff that happens on the Itchy and Scratchy "show within the show." Yet, the times I remember actually laughing out loud at a gag on the Simpsons have been times when they have broken that rule--like the time Bart has been beaten up by some bullies, and afterwards coughs up his hat and puts it on. I think Bender is considered one of the funniest things on Futurama because, since he's not a living thing, cartoony gags can happen with him that would be too "unrealistic" for other characters on the show--like in the pilot when he's crowing about bending the jail cell bars, shaking his fists in the air, and his arms fall off.

Roberto González said...

Steve, I can see Bugs' model changes A LOT more. But at least you should see there are clear differences between the first Homer and the subsequent ones (or between the two Homers the guy whose nickname is "Popy Fresco" has posted before me in the same thread, and they are both from the series, not Tracey Ullman shorts).

Ok,they are little tiny differences, I'll give that to you, and they become more clear when you actually see the episodes animated and in movement.Most of the other changes are about the shadowing, colouring and animation, so it's difficult to explain with framegrabs.

I'd also say that I don't consider every one of those an evolution, I actually liked more the visuals during season 1 to 8 than recent ones, but I prefer recent ones to seasons 9 to 12. Could The Simpsons have a more creative animation? Probably, I am not saying I would not demand it if I actually have the chance to see it and I like it better than the one they have been used. Do I think the Simpsons look crappy and stale? I'm sorry but not, perhaps a little during the very last seasons, but I think they were actually pretty funny to watch (not only hear) during the first eight seasons or so (see Homer's hearth attack in Homer's Triple Bypass for instance, if you don't think that's visually funnier than most of what you see in some anime shows, South Park, Beavis and Butthead, Family Guy, Drawn Togeteher, etc., I rest my case).

Anonymous said...

Who really cares what South Park is doing? it's not like they're trying to dominate animation as a culture, they're just doing what they know best. I know I can draw and animate better than Trey Parker, but I don't hate him for being popular. He did something that people thought was funny, and it worked. But people will always respect good animation, it just needs to be done and put out there.

Roberto González said...

^ Sounds very reasonable to me.

Robert Hume said...

Ok, now that we got that all squared away...Can SOMEBODY get on that Fossil Fuel independent Vehicle please? LOL just kidding....



...but seriously.

Mitch K said...

Excellent post. As a kid, I used to be bothered when I saw earlier episodes of shows. Nothing looked 'right'. Now I love to look back and see how it all came to be.

I'm working at a studio now where we're making a flash cartoon for tv. Just as we were finishing up the first episode, the models changed! We had to go back to all of our scenes, and change the models! They said that the show had to be consistent. But I don't understand! The whole magic part of every first episode to every cartoon is that it's nothing like the rest of the whole series!

Evan said...

I do defend South Park a little, because I think the creators are actually really funny, is it their fault they couldn't draw?

Which is part of my larger point that most of the time the jokes in these type of shows like Simpsons, Fam Guy, South Park and the ones like Aqua Teen & etc on Adult Swim are only funny in their dialogue, rarely their visuals. And to me, when this is the case you almost have to wonder, why even bother being a cartoon? Fam Guy and Simpsons especially to me seem like they could have worked almost exactly the same being live action.

Anonymous said...

I know I can draw and animate better than Trey Parker, but I don't hate him for being popular.

Me neither, I hate him because he invented a cartoon that sucks and is constantly being rubbed against my face despite my efforts to ignore it.

Gabriel said...

I do defend South Park a little, because I think the creators are actually really funny, is it their fault they couldn't draw?

I'd find someone who could draw it to me. Or better yet, do a puppet show, it would fit their scripts better. I'm not trying to be a wiseass, South Park might be a cool puppet show! As a cartoon i find it not much watchable. I kinda like the writing, but I can't just ignore the visuals, I can't stop caring about that part.

Evan said...

John- I know you don't answer me much (or ever really), please do this time, I'd really appreciate it.

I'd like to add that I try really hard to understand your views on cartoons being good or bad. Some aspects of your opinions I think I can really understand, some I can't.

I still don't quite see how Simpsons and Flintstones are all that different, they both stick to pretty much their same models and have sitcom-like stories. Do you just think Simpsons drawings are ugly and Flintstones weren't? If the Simpsons were all drawn from model sheets created by Ed Benedict, would you like it then?

Shawn said...

Evan,
I can watch the first season of the Flintstones, and see more variations of style, expressions, design, and animation than in 10 years of the Simpsons. Just buy the first season of the Flintstones on DVD and see for yourself.

Evan said...

Is that John's opinion as well?

Anonymous said...

Hi John K.

It's Jesse. My favorite Bugs Bunny is the one on the cartoons "Elmers Pet Rabbit", "Tortise Beats Hare", "Heckling Hare" and "All This And Rabbit Stew". I also love the drawings of Bugs in Clampett's classics "Tortise Whens By A Hare" and "Falling Hare". If you did a Bugs Bunny cartoon for WB what would it be about? I would love to see your version of Bugs Bunny. WB should have released the cartoon "Hare Ribbin" on one of the Looney Tune DVD sets.

your pal,

Jesse Oliver

Jim M. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ozy said...

"A cartoon with lousy animation is like a beautifully wrapped birthday present with nothing inside."

I would argue the opposite. The most beautifully drawn cartoon in the world is worthless if it doesn't have some meat behind it. Bugs didn't succeed on animation, he succeeded because of his character. Naturally, if his animation were completely godawful, no one would watch it, though. There's a balance between putting your effort into art and putting it into character/plot. South Park succeeds because its simple animation is overwhelmed by its sharp satire.

If anything deserves to be peed on in the name of art, its that crap Adult Swim is pushing now like 12 oz. Mouse.

Howard Hughes reincarnated said...

Hi, I've been working on a cartoon show since the late '90's, and have been adding, eliminating, changing the names of and modifying the look and personality of my characters since I started (ALL BY MYSELF), advancing them to my liking (as well as working on the name for the show, as well as my pen name). Yet, I've never really animated them "literally" (although I've worked on flipbooks for them; I've been doing flipbooks since I was a kid). Is this "evolution", even though I'M the only audience for it? I'd like to know what someone has to say about this.

Mac said...

South Park operates under an entirely different paradigm than traditional animation.

It's a politically oriented show that is produced in a different manner and by people who have entirely different priorities than those of traditional cartoonists.

If you don't like it then don't fucking watch it.

For people being so small minded as to dismiss the entire concept and for someone to claim the audience is somehow being cheated by watching a show with bad animation is ridiculous.

The people who have been watching South Park for the past decade aren't watching it for the animation and if that was the only valid measure to judge a show by, it wouldn't of lasted beyond episode one.

The extremely large and loyal fanbase proves that the creators of South Park are doing something right and justify the existance of the show beyond anything you can possibly do to belittle it.

Howard Hughes reincarnated said...

P.S.- I CREATED it, not someone else.

Anonymous said...

comparing bugs bunny to simpsons seems a bit awkward for everyone -- how about comparing
the old max fleisher superman cartoons with the more recent superman animations? I think there you can see where one unequivocably trumps the other.

can someone post a sketch of an improved simpsons? it's difficult to imagine what that would look like as opposed to the superman example.
and if anyone is brave enough, please also post a sketch of an improved bugs bunny!

Howard Hughes reincarnated said...

Did anyone notice my post(s)?

Anonymous said...

Most of this thread smacks of "small world" elitism. Once you leave this little enclave you'll find that far more people enjoy the shows that you're so bitterly obsessed with slagging.

Nobody liked the Ripping Friends and the proof is in the cancellation on fox and its extremely brief stay on Adult Swim.

Being completely off the wall and bizzare doesn't automatically equate to being funny and that is probably the best criticism of that creative misadventure.

The only thing that the first few episodes of Adult Part Cartoon managed to do was alienate the vast majority of the original R&S fanbase that decided to tune in.

Promising something spontanious, witty, and funny and then turning around and delivering an episode like "Ren's Help" that just causes an audience to squirm for twenty-two minutes (or less as I imagine that many changed the channel after the first few minutes)probably wasn't the best way to go about things.

Nobody wanted to see the "situational homoexuality" in the pilot episode regardless of the logic behind it.

Basically, the envelope was pushed in all the wrong places and by wrong places, I mean extremely graphic but largely unfunny places. It is arguable that something can be extremely graphic and funny at the same time but for all of the technical brilliance, the episodes aired on SpikeTV didn't really make anyone laugh.

Anonymous said...

Most of this thread smacks of "small world" elitism. Once you leave this little enclave you'll find that far more people enjoy the shows that you're so bitterly obsessed with slagging.

Nobody liked the Ripping Friends and the proof is in the cancellation on fox and its extremely brief stay on Adult Swim.

Being completely off the wall and bizzare doesn't automatically equate to being funny and that is probably the best criticism of that creative misadventure.

The only thing that the first few episodes of Adult Part Cartoon managed to do was alienate the vast majority of the original R&S fanbase that decided to tune in.

Promising something spontanious, witty, and funny and then turning around and delivering an episode like "Ren's Help" that just causes an audience to squirm for twenty-two minutes (or less as I imagine that many changed the channel after the first few minutes)probably wasn't the best way to go about things.

Nobody wanted to see the "situational homoexuality" in the pilot episode regardless of the logic behind it.

Basically, the envelope was pushed in all the wrong places and by wrong places, I mean extremely graphic but largely unfunny places. It is arguable that something can be extremely graphic and funny at the same time but for all of the technical brilliance, the episodes aired on SpikeTV didn't really make anyone laugh.


I agree 110%.

Shawn said...

I laughed.

Howard Hughes reincarnated said...

OK, I'm gonna have to post that again...

Hi, I've been working on a self-created cartoon show since the late '90's, and have been adding, eliminating, changing the names of and modifying the look and personality of my characters since I started (ALL BY MYSELF), advancing them to my liking (as well as working on the name for the show, as well as my pen name). Yet, I've never really animated them "literally" (although I've worked on flipbooks for them; I've been doing flipbooks since I was a kid). Is this "evolution", even though I'M the only audience for it? I'd like to know what someone has to say about this.

tedrex said...

"Get smart. Demand quality. Don't make excuses for shows that cheat... ESPECIALLY if you're an animation student yourself. You owe it to the medium to push it forward, not drag it down into the mud."

Demanding quality is why I couldn't sit through shows like the Ripping Friends, or watch movies like Disney' Brother Bear with out cringing. Beautiful animation, top notch character designs and breath-taking backgrounds can't save
a show that seems like it was written by chimps. For the rest of the world who isn't an animation nerd like us, a good story is more important than a pretty picture.

Evan said...

>>Being completely off the wall and bizzare doesn't automatically equate to being funny

Being popular doesn't automatically equate to being good either. By your argument, McDonald's would serve the best food and 50 Cent one of the most talented musicians.

>>If you don't like it then don't fucking watch it.

Of course! Our whole point is about the sad state animation is in, and how we have nothing to watch but old stuff! "Then don't watch it" is only acceptable when he have quality alternatives to watch instead.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone,

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.

Of course the creators of anything should be allowed to experiment and improve, and bean counters shouldn't make creative decisions, it's just that ... hand drawn toons might be a stagnant tributary off the main stream of cultural interest.

But, once again -- devil's advocate.

Anonymous said...

The extremely large and loyal fanbase proves that the creators of South Park are doing something right and justify the existance of the show beyond anything you can possibly do to belittle it.

Wow, your're really smart! Yeah, they're doing something right, maybe it's marketing.

christopher said...

Anonymous- I'll compare the Fleischer's and WB Supermans. Fleischer's is better! The WB Superman is cold and lifeless. Older cartoons are better, whats your point?

Anonymous- If you think Ripping Friends was written by chimps then I hope Family Guy is in that category for you too! How many times can they use the same setup for gags? At least Ripping Friends had some amazing Jim Smith layouts to look at. I personally thought it was funny. Maybe just too high concept for some :)

John & Steve- Thanks for not being afraid to piss people off by telling them the truth. Everyone just sits back and accepts crap instead of demanding higher quality.

Anonymous said...

>Nobody wanted to see >the "situational homoexuality" in >the pilot episode regardless of >the logic behind it.

So WHAT did everyone want to see in the pilot episode..."Stimpy's Invention 2"...or maybe some edgey hot social/pop-culture commentary loaded with hip up-to-date hip irreverence...Stimpy meeting an online predator...Ren as George Bush acting all crazy and oil-thirsty?

I hate your beloved South Park and all that effort-free AdultSwim junk(only Home Movies had redeeming value). I don't watch cartoons to see what risks the writers have taken that week. I like animation that looks like it took more than a couple of weeks to crank out. Animation that doesn't use a harddrive full of pre-made loops, and motion tweening.

John doesn't make cartoons that pander to this new tech-savy nerd culture, that rely on graphic visuals and language as a crutch. I even seen all that shock humor done on Howard Stern 20 years ago. And all these pop-culture references don't make smirk or make feel smart because "I get them".

These kewl "genius creators" you fawn over right now aren't worth crap. They aren't animators, and they aren't producing real meaty
'n juicy colon-clogging cartoons, like John K does.

Today's popular animation is the equvalent of a McDonald's hamberger...made in a lab to cram in as much people-pleasing crap as they can. They'll turn you into a flabby man-boobed slob no girl would want to kiss.

John K. doesn't need your support! He's a old salty fart with more talent in his manly pinky than all these popular young commie pinkos
you wish would hangout with you and play XBOX360.

Lastly, "gay jokes" aren't something that were recently invented. I'm sure John, had given the chance, would have used those kind of racey jokes in his animation years before
Parker and Stone even met. Too bad John K never got the chance to produce raunchier stuff...say 12 years ago. I guess no one wants to fund the guy that won't bendover and let all the creative goodness get raped out of his artistic visions.

Anonymous said...

christopher said...

Anonymous- I'll compare the Fleischer's and WB Supermans. Fleischer's is better!

urm... that was my point! (I think you are confusing me with other anonymouses.) see how easy it was to see? but with simpsons, and bugs bunny this is not so easy -- if someone can improve on these, please post sketches or better yet animations of new and improved versions here.

JohnK said...

>>I still don't quite see how Simpsons and Flintstones are all that different, they both stick to pretty much their same models and have sitcom-like stories.<<

The Flintstones is a completely different approach to animation and acting.

The first season is the best. Every episode looks completely different and the animation is among the best TV animation ever. It was animated by classic animators who actually drew funny expressions, funny movements and specific gestures matched to the great voice acting.

Of all the animated sitcoms, it's by far the best. Everything is highly professional.

Today's animated sitcoms have amateurish voice acting, terrible art and staging and awful sound fx and music. They punish your senses. I have the radical belief that art is supposed to be pleasurable to the senses.(Everyone used to believe that)


Now... the very concept of animated sitcoms is faulty in the first place.

When you compare the comedy in an animated sitcom to another sitcom, you need to compare it to the best live action sitcoms and none of the cartoons-including The Flinstones- can on that level.

The best sitcoms are The Honeymooners, All In The Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart and a few others.

Those shows work on a number of levels-yes the writing is better than all the animated sitcoms, but the writers are writing for performances-for the characters and to give the actors a good structure to showcase their performance abilities.

These great live actors did things with their faces, bodies and voices that no animated sitcom can (or will) touch-so this is why I can't understand why anyone would be satisfied with animated sitcoms.

They don't work on any levels-not by comparison with real cartoons or real sitcoms. They don't do anything better or anywhere as near as well as the other mediums they take from.

So what is the point?

Bugs and Daffy work on every level-funny writing and gags, funny voices, funny acting, funny satire, funny slapstick.

The best live sitcoms work on many levels as well.

Animated sitcoms that don't utilize animation or acting and sensory pleasures are just primitive forms of the most ignorant kind of communication.



>>Do you just think Simpsons drawings are ugly and Flintstones weren't?<<

Do I even have to answer that? Do you have eyes?

>>If the Simpsons were all drawn from model sheets created by Ed Benedict, would you like it then?<<

Not if they were drawn by the same people who draw the Simpsons and they were under the same restrictions. I know great cartoonists who worked on The Simpsons and shows like it and they hated their jobs.

They are forced to not ever be creative.
It's as if in a live action sitcom, you told Jackie Gleason to only make 3 expressions and to always make them exactly the same-and never ever to exaggerate your acting or emotions.

And even if they were allowed to perform you need material that has meat in it-something that is worth performing.

It's completely nonsensical and evil to impose restrictions like that on artists of any kind.

Anonymous said...

you're a pervert at heart.

Mish said...

Hahaha for the last comment made on the southpark "evolution", i just wanna say I love you hahaha

anonymous said...

"but with simpsons, and bugs bunny this is not so easy -- if someone can improve on these, please post sketches or better yet animations of new and improved versions here."

new and improved------------>

http://www.wbnxtoons.com/images/extras/wp_loonatics_trio_800.jpg

Anonymous said...

Actually, I imagine that people who were anxiously awaiting the premiere of Adult Party Cartoon were hoping for something funny. I didn't really have any pre-concieved notions going into the premiere, except that I was expecting to laugh.

I was sitting with thirty other students around a large TV in the student union.

The general reaction was less than positive and once the anticipation and euphoric hype began to fade, they began to rationalize their dissapointment. I can honestly tell you that nobody had a positive reaction that night, much less anybody I've ever talked to outside of this blog has had a positive reaction to those first two episodes of Adult Party Cartoon.

Revisiting a property after such a long hiatus rarely works, regardless of the medium and APC (from what has been publically shown) is no exception.

The characters really didn't seem to work in a 22 minute long format and the timing that is so precious to visiual humor just seemed "off."

Ren seeks help was basically an excercise in animated brutality. If watching an animated frog get sadistically mauled for 22 minutes in the absence of an actual plot is your kind of thing, good for you. But I find that after a few minutes, that kind of thing ventures over the thin line that sits between funny and pointlessly stupid.

Maybe the series would of gotten better after awhile, pilot episodes are rarely as good as the rest of a series.

Bikini Beach and the Altruists seem like they have the potential to be incredibly good.

John has made alot of incredibly funny cartoons, but I'm not going to sit around, commit uncrticial idol worship based on some of the amazing things he's done, while turning a blind eye to some of the stinkers he has clearly turned out.

Anonymous said...

1) South Park isn't produced like any other animated show, nor are they interested in it either. Episodes are made very very quickly with complete focus on the writing. Aside from two episodes this season (out of eight) and a slump in season 3, South Park has managed to be interesting, relevent, topical, and funny for the last ten years. Yes there is the occasional stinker, but batting over .900 is pretty darn good, I think.

2) I can't defend anything The Simpsons has done since season 7, but the direction, blocking, camera placement, and scripts from seasons 3 through 6 were absolutely fantastic. You want to dispute this, fine, dispute away.

I know your point is regarding stagnation in animation, which I generally agree with. That said, the shows you are attacking aren't particularly interested in being about the visual aesthetics. Yes it would be great if we could have continually evolving, improving, intelligent visuals to go along with excellent writing, but as it stands I'll watch animation from other artists if I want that.

I'm not getting that from an ANIMATED SITCOM anytime soon, I know that.

3) The original run of Ren And Stimpy was genius, absolutely brilliant. The Ripping Friends was horrible. I can't decide which was worse though, that or the new episodes of Ren And Stimpy.

I think you're fucking brilliant and are obviously very passionate about your craft, but you need some creative collaborators, creative editors, something to get you out of this rut. There is a reason things have been slow and it isn't because the general public isn't visually sophisticated enough to pick up on how amazing Ripping Friends or the new Ren And Stimpy cartoons are.

BE MORE FUNNY DAMMIT.

Seriously, you've been breaking my heart for the last 12 years and I'm wondering how much longer I have to keep hoping for more genius work out of your studio.

Rob H. said...

"Ugliness isn't a style."

I've been to enough art museums to say that isn't true.

"This is an excuse for cheating you out of the entertainment you deserve."

No one "deserves" to be entertained. If I don't find something entertaining, I don't watch it.

Shawn said...

I liked Ripping Friends. I don't care what you fuckers think.

Anonymous said...

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

Everything you kids like today about anything on any subject is horrible.

Things were so much better back in my day back in 19-of-47.

It's not political, he's just really your grandfather in disguise.

The way old white people complained about the rise of Rock Music as a "horrible bastardization of traditional genres." or how news commentators are inherently hostile to rap, electronic music, or any emerging genre, or trend.

Anonymous said...

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

Stephen Worth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...

As a test

Hands up who finds flinstones funny?

Stephen Worth said...

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

If you think that, you must be pretty much ignorant of the cultural and creative history of the 20th century. John isn't pointing to "his day" as being better than "yours". He's pointing to things that were created long before he was born and asking, "What happened?" While you settle for "good enough" because you don't know any better, he's trying to move the medium forward. That's why he is the person he is and you go by the name, "Anonymous".

Hand drawn animation will become obsolete when people stop drawng. I don't see that happening anytime soon. The medium is still vital, and there are still plenty of kids who are willing to put their hearts and souls into it. Just because you can't buy something at your local Walmart, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

See ya
Steve

Nico said...

I completely agree with everything John says because it's too damn true.

Also-

Why do people go on John's site and bash him? That's the biggest waste of time I've ever heard of.

Go back to your "Family Guy" DVDs, Anonymous.

Stephen Worth said...

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?

CGI is in its infancy and it will take years for it to catch up at the rate it's going. Why? Not because computer animation is inferior to hand drawn... but because the people who create it aren't thinking like animators... they aren't building on the accumulated experience of 100 years of animation. They're starting all over from scratch.

Case in point... Polar Express was roundly criticized for its use of motion capture. Critics said the characters seemed "zombie-like". Well guess what? Motion capture is the exact same thing as rotoscoping, and Max Fleischer learned that exact same lesson on Gulliver's Travels in 1939. Why is the wheel being reinvented half a century later?

Computers and pencils are just tools. The medium is animation. The motto of the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive is a quote by Isaac Newton... "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This doesn't mean that you have to be a giant yourself. You can be of normal height and still see further if you build upon the foundation of the past.

No one in the animation business does this as well as John K. If you work in animation and you want to steal something from him, don't steal Ren & Stimpy, extreme emotions, sausage shaped noses or old stock music... steal John's dedication to understanding the history of the medium he works in.

See ya
Steve

Boner said...

I liked some of the first R&S, but mostly it was not that funny. Well drawn, but the timing was often a little slow and ... "off"? The newer ones really weren't my kind of tea. Then again, what you consider good live sitcoms is definitely not my thing either, so let's call it taste.

South Park is brillant, hands down. If you can't see that you are blind and that's that. If you ever produce something on the level of the recent "Closet", "Smug" or "Cartoon Wars" episodes, then maybe I'll give a damn about your opinion on this.

I'm talking "entertainment" here, not quality of drawing. Pure entertainment. There's a reason Southpark has a fanatical following and most people consider Ripping Friends tripe.

Evan said...

Wow John, thank you very much for answering my question so thoroughly, I understand a lot better now. I also need to check out Flintstones season 1, hehe.

I do agree the Simpsons is a lot uglier than Flintstones of course. I wasn't meaning to defend them as much as get to understand your views more. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Whilst I, like everyone else values the work John has done. And I agree
he would have to be one of the most important animators to hit the scene in 50 years-What's gonna happen when cartoonists like ME beginning making cartoons? Am I gonna have to worry that I'll become bashed by a barrage of nonsensical John K. Rantings?

David Blumenstein said...

My guess is that most of the evolution of a tv cartoon now happens during the, often very lengthy, "development period" (which I think Mr. "howard hughes reincarnated" has been alluding to in his earlier posts).

It may take ten years to get a show on tv, so even the cartoons you or I think of as bland and formulaic may have started life as fantastically original ideas which were watered down into mush by the time they got to production stage.

I don't think you can compare this with a bunch of funny guys tossed into the deep end and told to make some of these newfangled cartoon things by some guy with a cigar in his mouth. There was no "development period" in the 1930s. Whatever got made went on the screen, since there wasn't time or money to let the "arteests" work on their consistency. That's why these early Bugs cartoons look different from each other, for better or worse.

Then cartoon productions started employing people (like checkers) and created things like standard mouths and model sheets designed specifically to halt the stylistic evolution and make sure everybody did the same thing, error-free. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. If every animator could make the characters look however they wanted at any time, the constant stylistic changes would "step on" the humor (assuming the show is humorous to begin with).

The funny, I think, comes when a character who normally looks a certain way (because their look is to some degree standardised) is put in an extreme situation and suddenly has a psychotic, strange, silly (etc) look, pose or expression they wouldn't normally. If the "bosses" of the cartoon show are flexible and have a sense of humor, this will be allowed to happen, and the result can be as fantastic as in "Scaredy Cat" (my favourite ever Warners cartoon: thank you John K. for the nice post about it the other week), or in certain Simpsons and South Park episodes, and, yes, in many "Ren & Stimpy"s (although we now know that even those fun expressions were sometimes reined in by the geniuses in charge).

But that's ANIMATION's evolution. What I want to know is who can name a cartoon show whose WRITING or CHARACTERS have evolved. It's been a while since I've seen some Ren & Stimpy, and I probably didn't see episodes in order when I was younger anyhow. John K, do you think the show's writing/sensibility had a chance to evolve during the time you worked on it? Do you think it has evolved with the new episodes you've done?

I think South Park's writing has evolved over time, largely because it's the same couple of people writing it, and they have changed. Also, they are able to let their characters grow (which does not happen on The Simpsons). Early on, Stan and Kyle were interchangeable, and now they've developed personalities of their own. Cartman started off as the loud fat kid, and has slowly become a certifiable, Jew-hating murderer. This is not necessarily a pleasant evolution, but is somehow logical and often funny.

That's more than enough said by me, but the other thing I wanted to toss out there is that limited animation can be funnier than full animation, given the right material. As an animator (not a great one, but y'know) 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.

Other readers here have suggested this works for South Park, although I gather there's some here who wouldn't agree. Fair enough. Go and do some funny drawings and smile. Then eat a hot fudge sundae, just 'cause you can.

Good night!

antikewl said...

Motion capture is the exact same thing as rotoscoping, and Max Fleischer learned that exact same lesson on Gulliver's Travels in 1939.

It's unfortunate that Ralph Bakshi didn't learn from that lesson in the 70s. I cringe when I see clips of the Lord of the Rings film now.

I'll have to admit that computer animation still has a special place in my heart. As a kid when I saw primitive objects being given character, then Luxo Jr and Red's Dream, I decided I wanted be an animator. It was after that point that I became fascinated in all aspects of animation and hand-drawn became more appealing. I guess because it's a direct splurging of personal creativity onto paper where computer-based animation goes through an electronic, non physical, process.

I'm probably not explaining myself well, but I'm sure it's the same reason why I prefer to rummage around in a record store than download mp3s.

antikewl said...

Oh, and if it's sitcoms with good writing and artistic direction you're after, look no further than the magnificent Spaced.

Or maybe it's just a product of my generation.

Nic Kramer said...

They would get richer if they let nature take its course.

Yeah, but don't do it near the "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence" board game (just a little Ren Stimpy inside joe).

Anonymous said...

Ugliness isn't a style. This is an excuse for cheating you out of the entertainment you deserve. Wise up.
Oh, does that been the communitee is going to replace you for being the heed owner of the animated archives to chance styes?

Seriouly, the reason the Simpsons were funny was beacuse of their funny scripts(I blame Brad Bird leaving the show for the show going down hill).

kjl said...

nico,

surely it makes it more interesting if people 'go on John's site and bash him'? After all if they didn't, this site would be nothing more than John K saying 'this is good, this is crap' and then everyone else going 'yea, whatever you say'.

A willingness to slag off all modern cartoons (with the exception of those created by Spumco) should mean that we don't care about our own views receiving criticism from others. Kinda getting as good as we give.

Also, I have to agree with the dissenters in regards to South Park's 'animation'. If they really wanted to, Parker and Stone have definitely got more than enough funds to hire more talented animators (perhaps even John K himself) to improve and evolve South Park, effectively changing the show's appearance completely. However, the fact that they don't reflects on the fact that South Park is explicitly not about animation and, much like Parker and Stone's venture into puppets with Team America, much of the show's intrinsic appeal is based on deliberately poor animation.

Just a few of my opinions. I also have to say I do love the Flintstones...

Nico said...

well... it is HIS site...

Stephen Worth 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.

When John talks about quality animation, he isn't talking about more drawings per second... He's talking about more expressive drawings. Expressive animation is funnier and more affecting simply because it's more expressive. To convey personality, it requires acting... and to convey acting, it requires skillful drawing. Stick figures are symbols of characters, and symbols can only express symbolic acting. That can never be as funny as real live personality.

Quite frankly, it's absurd to see people trying to tell John how evolution happens in "development" and explaining how "cartoon bosses" allow innovation to pose off the model sheet in certain circumstances. John's been working in animation for decades, he knows how it works better than anyone. He's telling you the reality of the animation business today. Go ask the talented animators who work on the Simpsons and South Park and have to dumb down their work on a daily basis what they think. They'll tell you the same. FilmRoman is a sausage factory, cranking out product for a price. 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.

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. The format and style of Big House Blues is totally different than Space Madness, Stimpy's Invention, Ren Seeks Help or Naked Beach Frenzy. The character's personalities are expressed through everything from science fiction to film noir thrillers, to ironic fables to lighthearted T&A comedies.

What you have here is a creator defending his artform. It's great that South Park has fans, and I'm sure they enjoy the show a lot, but that doesn't make it good animation by any stretch of the imagination. Good animation is by definition expressive, and formulaic expressions traced off model sheets and pink circles with dots for eyes and round holes for mouths are the opposite of that. It doesn't matter how funny the dialogue is, it isn't a cartoon.

Successful shows with crappy animation set an example. That example doesn't lead to good cartoons. Calling a spade a spade like John is doing does.

See ya
Steve

Chloe Cumming said...

I think possibly unintentionally, in this humble post that’s superficially about the evolution of bugs bunny, John has exposed the clash of ideologies that causes the most friction and misunderstanding among us…

Right, I have read nearly all of these comments, which is possibly too much material to process sensibly. But I had a few thoughts that seem worth contributing:

There’s some confusion about the word ‘evolution’. Evolution in artistic terms surely ought to mean a process of evolution TOWARDS something. But here lies something like a clash of belief systems, because the idea of evolving towards something involves the belief that there is something qualitatively perfectible to evolve towards.

I think one crucial difference between John and the people who are uncomfortable with his arguments is that the predominant sensibility underlying the contemporary cartoons is a kind of relativist postmodern liberal secular one in which there is no absolute objective truth, hence no standards of excellence. All there is is a bunch of 'styles' and 'attitudes', all adopted with tasteful ironic detachment. It’s the crippling fallacious system of non-logic that most of us who have recently attended art school have had to contend with. It presents itself as ‘neutral and inclusive’ but it’s utterly destructive. If all things, art, culture and ideas are equal, how do you progress? How do you grow and get better and learn and throw away crappy ideas in favour of good ones if you aren’t even trained to acknowledge the existence of crap?

Even though he might seem crabby to some, John’s uncompromising position on modern cartoons (to my eyes, I’ve no desire to put words in his mouth) actually comes from a belief in beauty and the idea that art should give sensory pleasure, which cynical postmodern types might sneer at as simple-minded or naive, but it’s actually the seed of sanity that all genuine progress and creative brilliance grows from.

Basically, it could be argued that the fully evolved Bugs Bunny that we’re familiar with is perfect, in that he is optimally and elegantly fit for purpose (and that’s another feature of evolution if you’re using a Darwinian analogy, it’s the survival of the fittest, the perfect biological ‘solution’ in a given context). There aren’t degrees of perfection. It’s an absolute. But if you don't believe in it, you're never going to truly see it.

It’s true that the Simpsons and South Park come from a completely different sensibility than Spumco cartoons and classic cartoons. It’s different, which does not mean it’s equally as good or purely a matter of taste or consumer choice. The true cartoon sensibility has more humanity and more hope built into it. Largely because it remains true to visual eloquence, sophistication, creativity and beauty in a visual medium, it honours the visual human organs it’s built to gratify.

Having said that, this is quite a complex area, and I cannot say in honesty that I hate South Park and the Simpsons or that they make me puke with their ugliness. South Park I find periodically very watchable. There’s a part of me that recognises it’s a reflection of something of the zeitgeist and I get a kick out of that (but maybe that’s a perverse cultural disease I’ve picked up). There is wit in it and an anti-establishment, particularly anti-liberal, anti-celebrity spirit about it that I find likeable. BUT that doesn’t mean it’s equally as good as a golden era bugs bunny cartoon. Especially for those of us who have creative or cartoon aspirations and are looking for pinnacles to aspire to.

There is a kind of compulsiveness about the habit of say, South Park to be topical and satirical and continually process all the cultural detritus that surrounds us, and that compulsiveness is what makes people watch them too. But I think perhaps we ought to question the real usefulness of that compulsion. I don't have an answer, but I think it's worth acknowledging that these series are popular because there's this idea that they're 'of our time' and this is the way they have to be. Someone needs to come up with alternative ways of reflecting 'our time'...

The Bugs Bunny cartoons just represent a more whole, more beautiful, BETTER kind of entertainment, even if both things entertain you. It's also quite telling that the humour of the Looney Tunes is retained through over sixty years. I think there’s a problem with John K getting his points across to those of us who were ‘raised in poo’ sometimes, understandably, because our senses do become dulled. But you CAN retrain them. Beauty does exist, and it is better than ugliness. I’d say: be patient with us John, you have truth on your side, and a lot of us have a lot of poo-flavoured ideas still to shake off.

I think that a lot of the contemporary cartoons are confused about where their sophistication ought to lie. They feed the idea that the audience needs to have its smug postmodern ‘sophisticated’ cultural ‘awareness’ stroked, and yet the visuals are frequently thoughtless and naïve, almost as an extension of the false religion of postmodern apathy. In classic cartoons this is reversed: the visuals are so sophisticated as to present a universe that is utterly perfect and beautiful in its internal cartoony logic, so much so as to completely convince the audience and suck them into it… to make them take it for granted, even. Ironically to achieve this kind of graceful immersiveness takes a shitload of effort, skill and tireless invention. But the spirit underlying it is one of innocent joy and unwavering faith in their pleasure-giving purpose.

That might be my longest ever comment, and for that I apologise. Evidently it's a crucial issue to our creative survival, or something.

Anonymous said...

Different "Anonymous" here.

It seems what's being left out of this whole "argument" is people who agree with some elements of BOTH sides of the discussion (while perhaps leaning towards one of them). I don't buy this whole "either you agree with John's views completely, or disagree with them completely" stuff, because it's BULLSHIT! Where does that leave folks like ME?!?

Furthermore, it leaves eager future animators, such as myself, feeling that they should just QUIT, just because they have gotten the impression that they are "talentless", and have no hope! They're thinking to themselves, "Oh, now I'll have to find a NEW dream, since I'll NEVER be an animator that's any GOOD!" How goddamn depressing is THAT?!? Having all your dreams shattered, because you're being pulled in different directions?

You see, some of us DON'T WANT to "take sides"! There are varying grays in opinions; it's not all "black & white", damn it!

Anonymous said...

Back in the day (1930s-1950s), animators had more freedom to experiment and develop their animation styles. You can see this by the Bugs Bunny examples John posted. Classic cartoons had simple themes but they were goofy and lighthearted. They were tremendously entertaining. Ren & Stimpy is reminiscent of these old time cartoons: well-drawn, crazy, goofy and fun to watch.
Cartoons that make me laugh do their job.
I think the backlash against modern cartoons is largely a style issue. They're drawn shabbily. There's hardly any evolution, apart from the Simpsons, but that was more devolution than evolution in my opinion.
Family Guy and South Park might not have the fluid, crazy motions as early cartoons, but the writing is sharp, wicked satire. I also think stuff like Futurama, while not as sharp writing-wise is clever and amusing. Other modern cartoons flat on style but big on wackiness is Harvey Birdman and Sealab 2021. These two cartoons lift directly from onl Saturday morning cartoons but give them a sick, adult twist.
Old time cartoons were good because they didn't lampoon anything that came before it. They commented on the times (Looney Tunes wartime cartoons, anyone?) and might be seen as violent or politically incorrect, but their are works of art, not mass-produced, corporate bankrolled schlock. Young animators should study old time cartoons and appreciate their uniqueness. Those animators were truly pioneers and artists, because they relied on the animation, not the scripts or writing, to make their cartoons funny.
Just my opinion!

-Eric A.

JohnK said...

>>Young animators should study old time cartoons and appreciate their uniqueness. Those animators were truly pioneers and artists, because they relied on the animation, not the scripts or writing, to<<

They relied on everything, the writing too and they knew gag and story structure, unlike today's cartoons that just curse or mention pop culture references at random.

gOLEm said...

I see that many people defends South Park or Family Guy and their crappy animation/expression by saying that "the focus in the Story/dialogue/social criticism" ok, then dont you think that they would make really fine radio shows? Last time I checked, cartoons were an audiovisual or just plain visual type of entertainment. they give us an audiovisual show with the "visual" part just chopped out and it seems to be OK for some people.
Yes guys, WISE UP.

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

I think it's a shame that so many cartoons are so crudely animated but I also don't consider crude animation to be a deal breaker. The Simpsons is one of the funniest tv shows of all time (even funnier than the Beverly Hillbilies), if it had great animation it would probably be even funnier but that doesn't make the great writing and voice work any less great.
The same is true for King of the Hill, Dr Katz, Beavis and Butthead, South Park and the rest (except for Family Guy), it'd be nice if they had better animation but I still think they're some of the best shows on TV.

Alicia said...

The evolution case provided here is the same exact conversation I had with my cartoon bud Kevin sometime around Christmas. I'll agree with John here not because it's John speaking but because he shares the same views I have. I don't need a celebrity endorsement to tell me how I feel about cartoons but it is nice to find out you're on the same page.

There were two comments on this page that caught my eye in particular.

One was that comparing these two cartoons that were made two years apart gave the animators plenty of time to refine bugs. I disagree. If you've read anything about Termite Terrace & Leon Schlesinger you would know that allowing the animators time to refine their art was not in Leon's best interest and especialy not in his pocket book's best interest. This studio was not Disney. If you worked on something, it had better be going to screen. The animators at Termite Terrace didn't stand around for months or years thinking about how Bugs could be changed and revamped, there were still other shorts to be made or Leon would have your ass out on the street. It is fair to say that these two Bugs Bunny cartoons were progressed over the actual production time of the cartoons, not the time between them.

The other comment was by "other anonymous" who seems to be a bit stressed about feeling that why should he (or she) persue animation if it all sucks now. My only answer for you is that ultimately you have to do what makes you happy. Sorry if I sound like mom but it's true. I've attended two art schools and spent five years in an artistic field and hated just about every minute about it. Not because everything sucks now but because I just wasn't happy in the artistic field I was a part of. Now I work an office job with people who don't treat me like shit and who think my creative talents are facinating. When I come home, I go right back to work doing the artistic things that make me happy and I'm more satisfied now than I ever was because art is no longer work. Do what makes you happy anonymous and don't worry about what others think. If animation is your calling than go for it!

Oh, by the way John, you mentioned a week or so ago that the creative peak is between 19 & 24 years old or something like that. Those years were the worst in my life. 29 is coming up pretty sweet and it's only getting better.

But that's just my opinion.

Gabriel said...

I'll print Chloe's post and re-read it every morning.

The Truth said...

> They relied on everything, the
> writing too and they knew gag and
> story structure, unlike today's
> cartoons that just curse or mention
> pop culture references at random.

Says the man who is behind numerous fart jokes (not that I mind, but your high nose doesn't really fit to that).

Almost any episode of South Park has infinitely better and EDGIER humour than anything in Ye Olde Cartoons or R&S. Both of the latter are drawn way better, no question, but their writing is not in the same league at all.

junior said...

I'll print Chloe's post and re-read it every morning.

me too, it made me cry, i've tasted the stuff dreams are made of and i want more!

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

Golem,
South Park is an entirely audiovisual show. It uses visuals to tell jokes in a way that wouldn't work on radio, they aren't nice to look at but they do their job.
South Park episodes are made in like 7 days so the animation has to be that shitty.

The GagaMan(n) said...

I'm with 'Different "Anonymous"' on this. Everything's not black and white. Besides, there were plenty of pop culture references in classic cartoons as well. Hell, just look at "Hollywood Steps out", anyone who doesn't know their golden age cinema wouldn't get a whole lot of that at all.

Classical animaton was more about the story? It had moe to do with the animation surely, because this was back when the artform was still in it's infancy. 30's cartoons? Mostly featured dancing, singing, and making the impossible happen, particulay with the floppy limbs. 40's and 50's? Insert a cat, mouse and dog, make hem chase each other about in the funniest way you can. hardly what I would call story development. Then of course there's all the re-used gags.

Being a fan of all types of animation, except that manipulated video graphic design crap they try to pawn off as animation but is really just computer tech demos, who wants to get into the industry is hard when you'e told that everything out there today is crap. While quite a lot of it is (there will always be junk out there. Take any era.), there's a lot more creative stuff going on now then there was in the 70's and most of the 80's, you must be looking in the wrong place.

I do, however, love the animation of the 30s-50s and find it really inspiring. I would love to see more animation that's just for the sake of animation, and that's the kind of thing I would like to do.

It sounds like John is very bitter that he has been quite as successful as he would like to be, so blames it on everything hat isn't fully animated. Animation is about bringing thins to life, and if peope wan to bring it to life with paper cut-outs, scribbles or toy models then why not?

Oh, and if you want a modern cartoon that evolves in style, check out Shin-Chan: http://www.pelleas.net/aniTOP/index.php?p=378&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

antikewl said...

Great comment Chloe. A more eloquent writer than I'll ever be!

Hey John, do you have any plans to put any more lessons up? :)

Anonymous said...

You can't worry about stuff you can't control. Who cares about garbage like The Simpsons and South Park? So what if it isn't funny,and is badly drawn, and all the rest of it. You've just got to do your own thing in this world, even if there's an audience of one. Just keep showing em how it's done and don't worry about that other rubbish. Leon.

Roberto González said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roberto González said...

Hey! I've been posting like mad here, I want some answers too ;

Ok, John k., your last post is very clear, I'd like to see long explanations like that more often. I don't know if I agree cause I also need to check the first season of The Flinstones again and I am not an expert in life action sitcoms (in fact, I doubt some of those you mentioned, like the Honeymooners, have been aired here in Spain in recent memory, it's mostly an american genre and here we don't have much aknowledge of its story). However, we do know cartoon sitcoms and I think cartoons are more universal. Of course, a great actor is always a great actor, but sometimes there is a type of comic acting that works better in the USA or in Spain and their gestures and catchphrases are not so funny for foreign people. I think a cartoon feels more "neutral".

Anyway, I think I read somewhere you do like some of the first seasons of the Simpsons, the first three ones or so, is it true?

I do agree with you A LOT with the fact that it is a lot funnier for the people who works in these shows if they are in a cartoon like Ren and Stimpy. I'm a cartoonist myself and I can imagine I would be pretty bored drawing The Simpsons cause there are all that rules and stuff. Maybe when you really get them it would be funnier but I imagine it would be a lot more fun to draw Ren and Stimpy. But...I don't think the Simpsons are so boring TO WATCH.

Please, I would really like to get some answers from my previous posts too. I promise I will shut up and I'll be a good kid, if you do answer...or no (he-he-he)

And check the link I posted there are some other Simpson evolution examples.

Thanks for listening.

Per said...

I like what john said about people who worked on the simpsons saying they hated their job. I know a guy who worked for disney and he was just a "cog in the wheel" drawing mickey mouse.

I think simple character designs succeed more easily because everyone can relate to them. Charlie brown is just a cirlce with some lines for hair, same with homer simpson.

Evolution is all about survival of the fittest, competition. If cartoons are gonna evolve they need to compete. Too bad cartoons take so long to make for an individual. (Micheal Gagne spend 4 years on Prelude to Eden)

stiff said...

It doesn't matter how funny the dialogue is, it isn't a cartoon.

Exactly....so what are we arguing about? I laugh at a lotta things--drunk friends, stand-up comedy, Warner cartoons, and yes, even South Park. To me, all of these have entertainment value. Are they all quality art? Hell no. My house isn't an architectural masterpiece, but I kinda like having it around. Can't we just recognize the shittily animated shows for what they are and take what little bit of entertainment we can from them? Enjoyment of a little bit of crap doesn't prevent those of us who know better from doing it right, does it? I'm not saying that real cartoons wouldn't be wayyyy better, but we have limited viewing options, thanks to the TV execs.

Chloe made a good point about Darwinian evolution--the problem is that the idiots who feel smart for watching "Lost" are the ones "consuming" animation today, so most don't even know that they're watching shit. Thus, shit will be successful, if it's entertaining shit. And I guess I'm guilty of perpetuating it by defending it as bad, but entertaining. But I think the crap and real cartoons can coexist, if we just start making the latter again.


Speaking of which, I've been working on the Preston Blair book (far too slowly) so that I can eventually do my part and make cartoons that don't suck. John, if you get a minute, and if I haven't pissed you off with this post, can you give me some feedback?

my blog

I'd appreciate it.

Desiree said...

Hey John,
what do you think of Disney saying that Warner's Bugs Bunny was actually influenced by their 1934 Silly Symphony "the Tortoise and the Hare" character Max Hare ?

U reckon it's just BS or there's something there?

Anonymous said...

"They relied on everything, the writing too and they knew gag and story structure, unlike today's cartoons that just curse or mention pop culture references at random."

Wait wait, old Warner Brothers cartoons DIDN'T have pop culture refrences? So I imagined all those shorts where they make fun of actors and movies of the time and I was completely lost cause I didn't know who Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra or Peter Lorre was?

I think it's all about how you use the refrence. If you makw it part of the story it'll at least work on one level for the person watching. I may not have known who Frank Sinatra was but I still found it funny when a cartoon skunk made himself a ridicolusly skinny singer to try to attract a girl.

But that's just the opinion of someone raised in a generation of poo.

JohnK said...

>>Wait wait, old Warner Brothers cartoons DIDN'T have pop culture refrences? So I imagined all those shorts where they make fun of actors and movies of the time and I was completely lost cause I didn't know who Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra or Peter Lorre was?

Thanks for making my point.

Old cartoons tried all kinds of humor-including pop-culture references which live only as long as the references are known.

Now all we have is "edginess" and Pop culture references, but nothing original or new to say or anything great to look up to.

The Butcher said...

South Park, while funny in it's own way, isn't a cartoon. It's social commentary dealing mainly with current events and is pumped out in a matter of days. In other words, it's fast food. Spumco cartoons are a meal you savor.

In South Parks defense, it's not exactly a bad thing. You go get a burger or a hotdog, you eat it, you enjoy it, it's here, it's gone, you look forward to the next one, yet you're not under the dillusion that it's fine dining.

This blog is about animation and specific acting. That's what John is critcising and he's more than qualified to do so because that's his business. I don't think he's ever mentioned his opinion on the show overall, he has merely used it as an example in the decline of animation.

The sad truth is that as funny as South Park's social commentary is, future generations aren't going to understand the humor at all and I seriously doubt they will appreciate the art. Classic cartoons and Spumco cartoons are timeless. People will still be enjoying the sight gags and brilliant art years from now.

The problem people are having with APC, in my opinion, is that you can't just swallow it right away. It must first be swished around the pallet and savored. You have to watch it more than just once to catch everything. It's almost a different experience everytime. Once you've memorized all the verbal humor in shows like The Simpsons, South Park, Aqua Teen,(which are all hilarious to me) there's no reason to watch it again. You move on to the next batch of jokes. You can't enjoy breath taking art just from memory. You have to take it out and look at it. You see something new everytime you watch a good classic cartoon.

More recent generations have shorter attention spans and are used to having the bare minimum of what they need just handed to them. They want a long stream of jokes based on what is current (fads, world events, politics, pop culture). These "cartoons", as they're called, are completely expendable and will be rendered obsolete in less than a decade. The creators and network execs know this. In tens years it'll hardly matter. They will have already squeezed the shows for what they're worth years earlier. This is why they don't bother wowing their audience with good art.

Many people may think John is somewhat of an opinionated asshole, but I admire his integrity. With his skill and experience in animation, he could just be half-assing and making fast food for the masses (plus a bundle of money), yet he's still trying, struggling to bring what he considers quality to the public instead.

Can't wait to get my own copy of all the APC episodes by the way. These episodes ooze, John. They friggin ooze!

Stephen Worth said...

Furthermore, it leaves eager future animators, such as myself, feeling that they should just QUIT, just because they have gotten the impression that they are "talentless", and have no hope!

There are two ways to react to a challenge... either you roll up into a ball and give up, or you fight and work on improving yourself and overcoming your obsticles. John K is a perfect example of the latter. He's put in more hours and weeks and months and years perfecting his craft than you can dream of; and he is still fighting for quality tirelessly in a world that grew up on Smurfs and Scooby Doo and thinks there's nothing wrong with it.

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

I spoke to Margaret Kerry the other day. She was the voice and lips of Spinner in Clutch Cargo. She mentioned that Clutch Cargo was immensely popular with deaf kids and that the John Tracy Clinic used their cartoons to teach lipreading.

Perhaps South Park could be used in a similar fashion for blind people. I know it makes me want to gouge my eyes out at the roots.

All opinions are NOT created equal.

See ya
Steve

Stephen Worth said...

obstacles

Sorry, typo.
Steve

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

I enjoy The Simpsons just as much as I enjoy Bob Clampett cartoons but in a completely different way. The Simpsons doesn't make my jaw drop in the way that Tortoise Wins By a Hare does but it does consistently make me laugh like a crazy person at jokes I've seen 8 times before.

Shawn said...

Amen, brother Butcher!! I agree with you 100%!!!

Everyone can say what they want, but John's cartoons are the ONLY modern cartoons that I look foreward to watching. The jokes make me laugh, and my friggin' eyes are overwhelmed with beauty everytime I watch his cartoons. I think they are amazing! And everytime I re-watch them, they get even better. I don't feel that way about ANY other modern cartoon that I see today.

I pre-ordered my copy of the APC set, and it's going to kick ass!

I'm also going to John's art show on Sunday, and it's going to be great!!! I don't see anyone going to any South Park art shows to look at duplicate pictures of balls with eyes.

cheven said...

I think that both the simpsons and south park have evolved through their own little eras, but that this is pure writing. I could see a need for cartoons done in this style (animated sitcoms, basically radio plays with visual gags) if they were quick and cheap to make (I gather south park sort of is and the simpsons isn't), allowed new, fresh-faced writers to emerge (neither) and were about as common as higher budget fare made by people who are interested in how cartoons look and move (a man can dream). Squeezing your stuff and the work of the other animators to the sidelines is like making a decision to phase out drums with the invention of the drum machine.

unanimous said...

Question-

Which hyperactive squirrel came first: the one in "Hoodwinked", or the one in "Over The Hedge"?

Anonymous said...

Heeeey...

I like South Park. A lot. I also love the Simpsons. That show is very important to me. I also love John K and Spumco's work.


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.

I don't watch it for great animation and I don't feel cheated when I watch it. I have a good time because South Park is it's own thing and works on a different level than Bugs Bunny. I don't feel cheated at all.

The Simpsons in its prime DID have expressive and dynamic poses, amazing voice acting and quality drawings. One listen to the commentary tracks on the DVDs will show you how much they put into that show. It's a bit stiff these days but it's still a great show. I mean it's the Simpsons. It's incredibly unique, the characters have become classic, the writing always offering something new...And I DO think it's fun visually. They take advantage of the medium. Simpsons is full of sight gags, physical comedy, and specific acting moments. Maybe I'm wrong but if Simpsons were full of the extreme acting in Spumco cartoons I feel it would almost be too distracting from other elements in the show. Simpsons is just a more subtle show. Characters don't go whimpering and screaming every moment like in Ren and Stimpy.

IT'S NOT Bugs Bunny (or ren and stimpy) and I don't really care. Again: I don't feel like I'm being cheated. And if someone were to point their finger at me and TELL me I'm being cheated, I would feel they're insulting my intelligence and demeaning my tastes. I love all these shows for different reasons. I understand their flaws and their strong points. If I want bugs bunny I'll watch bugs bunny. If i want simpsons I'll watch simpsons. If i want south park I'll watch south park. If I want spumco I'll watch that.

I just can't find it within myself to scowl at the Simpsons because the animation isn't as expressive as it should be.

I JUST CAN'T do it. I'm sorry. I really like the show.

-Jordan

Anonymous said...

I think all of the shows mentioned in this thread are great or were great at one point or another.

Except Family Guy. Awful awful show that gives John K legitimate ammunition for his arguments.

Chet said...

John, dont you consider your own cartoons Edgy?

I hardly think you should be one to talk about how bad modern cartoon writing is.

Ren and stimpy was all about edgy,it was full of gross out humor(which i dont think should even be called humor).In fact ren and stimpy rarely had anything but gross out humor.

South park and the simpsons are about 10 times as funny as any cartoon you have ever made.

Chet said...

STFU about south park and the simpsons and keep posting art,and classic cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Just to let everyone know, John loves Beavis & Butthead. A show he would normally despise (mainly due to its drawing style). But since Mike Judge kissed ass, his show is OK. I have no respect for someone who flip-flops like that.

Chet said...

i know,

I seen a flash animated interview where he said that he only likes cartoons that are drawn well.

Then i read another where he said b and b was one of his favorite cartoons.

Ted said...

Way to alienate (and write off the creativity of) dentists and postal workers, John. The people with high speed drills in your mouth and a group synonymous with snapping...

Someone brought up comparing Fleischer Superman and the new Superman, saying one "unequivocably trumps" the other. I'm not sure which one he means, as by context he's implying old trumps new. The Fleischer Superman has lush dark backgrounds, and were a huge inspiration on Batman the Animated Series' look (and the look of the technology in STAS, and the world's look via Batman (with a lot more sunlight added in)), and are way better than the backgrounds in Superman the Animated Series (which are still pretty good, and great compared to backgrounds in western TV animation in the recent past). The title design also kicks some serious ass. And there's some really inventive camera work, presumably with a moving camera and various still elements.

But that's about it for Fleischer over STAS. The stories in the Fleischer Superman cartoons are pretty dumb (they were adapting superhero comics that were themselves in their infancy, but that doesn't make them any better or less formulaic), the humans are rotoscoped and have that awful rotoscoped look to them most of the time, the narration is cheesy, huge portions of the cartoons are barely animated (lots of still paintings with a flapping cape, or a planet with a moving aura), many shots are designed to hide the mouths of the characters so they don't need to be animated. Lots of the Ken Burns effect, too. The music is cheesy and overbearing, and is often played to specific events onscreen which just doesn't work in this context. Shots are recycled. Superman's motions look wrong for what he's doing much of the time because he's being constrained to a rotoscoped actor. STAS on the other hand had plot, characterization, far more convincing movement, better (if less orchestrated) music, its own visual style in the characters, and great voice acting (compared tyo the Fleischer cartoons, certainly).

But this brings me back to the main topic, namely evolution in the look of animation. Now, the DC animated shows are animation (and animation that couldn't be done just as well as a live action show), but probably not cartoons in the way John K seems to generally define that term (altho I don't think he calls the Simpsons a cartoon, and he brought them up). However, the DC animated universe has had lots of evolution in its look, although largely in the progressive incarnations of the shows (the biggest break being between the original BTAS look and the final season The New batman Adventures look, wherein the whole show world got a makeover). BTAS went through three names during its run, and for the last name (and the last season), there was a completely revamped look to the series.
Check out the various looks in the DCAU at
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/sections/gallery/

There are three distinct Batman looks in the Timm continuity; the original BTAS look, the very different final season TNBA look (which was very similar design wise to Superman TAS), and the revamped version of that look in Justice League/JLU (Batman Beyond has a similar evlotionary look, altho technically Batman looks really different in BB, but that show fits generally well into the TNBA era; The Zeta Project then grew from the BB look, but dumbed down a bit). Batman didn't get a new look between Justice league and Justice League Unlimited (neither did Superman), but pretty much everyone else did.

Those Timm shows are a pretty straight line of the DCAU visual evolution; but there are other peripheral (or unrelated outside of being DC hero shows) shows that have more variance in the looks. The Batman, while generally inferior to the Timm cartoons, is a decent kiddie interpretation of Batman and to their credit struck out on their own visual tack. Static Shock had a very different look, but that was a show that was more brought into the DCAU lineup. Krypto looks totally different from the mainline DCAU shows (kinda similar to Static Shock), but the site I listed seems to have disavowed Krypto (a clsoe to DCAU stytled Superman showed up in it, tho, so I don't know how).

And then there's Teen Titans; out of continuity with the normal Timmverse. It's a show that's happy to play around with different styles within a given half hour. Now, it's generally for comic effect, but it is by far the most active American animation I can think of in terms of switching style for moments when it suits them (it's generally used in places as an aspect of a comedic take).

So, you have a series of related cartoons where Robin's look goes from
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/media/gallery/43.jpg
to
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/tnba/bios/robin/49.jpg
to
http://teentitans.toonzone.net/tt/media/gallery/14.jpg
and where Batman's look goes from
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/btas/bios/batman/02.jpg
to
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/batman/tnba/media/gallery/20.jpg
to
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/jl/bios/heroes/batman/18.jpg
to
http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/thebatman/bios/batman/12.jpg
It's certainly a much slower evolution than Bugs's first 15 minutes, but it's also evidence that American animation isn't as moribund in design evolution as the original post implies.

Spizzerinktum said...

Wow, what a hotbed of activity this blog is! Neat. Great comments, even the ones I don't agree with.

Hey, anonymous 11:33,

I enjoyed your post very much, but I take issue with the following metaphor:

Too bad John K never got the chance to produce raunchier stuff...say 12 years ago. I guess no one wants to fund the guy that won't bendover and let all the creative goodness get raped out of his artistic visions.

Anon. 11:33, are you implying that John K's artistic visions come out of his, er, well, you know...*blush*
Or did you mean he's got more talent in his, er, you know, than most animators have in their entire large intestines? Which could very well be true...

Stephen Worth said...

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? 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.

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.

See ya
Steve

Boner said...

> All opinions are NOT created equal.

Opinion it ain't. There is an OBJECTIVE quality to many recent SP episodes. As in "it's not opinion, just better". Not in the drawing, but in the story.

You can blabber about timelessnes all you want, APC is childish and lame in comparison. Much better drawn (also objectively), but it's not saying anything about anyone. It's things farting and chasing each other and that's it. Nice to look at, funny sometimes (once), but with a REAL script it would be so much more meaningful.

Boner said...

> go out and watch every single
> classic cartoon you can get your
> hands on, and then [...]

Aaaah, the time-honored tradition of old farts bitchslapping young ones with a different idea of fun.

How about you go out there and watch every single SP episode and THEN you can return here and say something worthwile.

Kitty said...

I did a thing on my blog about that sort of thing. (I hate SP. the characters are funny looking, but it still sucks) I like some of today's cartoons. SOME anime is interesting. I like all kinds of cartoons. I usually look at how amusing it is. (the few times i watched Family Guy, I was amused. I don't watch it on a regular basis) anyway, cartoons need these corners in today's cartoons to appeal to children. (most children don't care if it is Tex Avery or one of these cartoonist now days.) as long as it has farting or a funny plot. But that doesn't mean cartoons should be all corners.

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

I love the Fleischer Supermans, I think they're beautifully designed and have incredible animation but I also think they're unbelievably formulaic. Every cartoon has basically the same plot - louis gets in trouble investigating a story and superman saves her. They also have zero character developement (although to be fair character developement is hard in a 7 minute cartoon with barely any dialogue). I still enjoy the hell out of them though.

Anonymous said...

Chet, you're such a crybaby...

Eric C. said...

Two Questions John,

Do you have anything agenst Matt Groening?

And If you believe in cartoonists doing everything including animation, then why was the early and possibly now Ren & Stimpy shipped to animation studios to be animated and not at Spumco?

_Eric

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

I think both sides had good points. However, the way I think the main point is that cartoons are not evolving at the rate they should [if even at all].
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.
Just think what a good script and great, well thought out and skilled animation could accomplish. We might not know what to do with ourselves; perhaps we're not evolved enough as a species to take that kind of advancement?
I'm a different animal than alot of the folks who go for that SP shit. Yeah it's funny, but sometimes it's just cruel and the artistry is just not there.
I think we can challenge ourselves more as viewers and creators more than this.
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??

cemenTIMental said...

Hehe the backlash begins/continues! :)

Interesting comments all round...

Complaining that South Park isn't well animated/drawn seems to me a bit like complaining that Sid Vicious couldn't play bass... :-S

Not that I especially disagree with John K and others' comments on the state of cartoons these days.

Ugliness isn't a style.
The Japanese may disagree with you; I can't find a definition of "Heta-Uma" online, but basically it means 'bad-good'.

And it's good.

Anonymous said...

Some people don't like apc because of farts and boogers, so I guess only south park, simpsons and family guy characters are allowed to fart. South Park's 'Uncle Fucka' even has a fart solo, but if Stimpy farts you people start crying like little anthony...

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

>>cartoons are not evolving at the >>rate they should [if even at all].

What about CGI? Pixar movies are evolving at an incredible rate

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

>>Ugliness isn't a style.
The Japanese may disagree with you; I can't find a definition of "Heta-Uma" online, but basically it means 'bad-good'<<

Yeah they have to make the show look ugly for the audience to pay attention to the dialogue...

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

>>What about CGI? Pixar movies are evolving at an incredible rate <<

Sorry. -Specifically 2D, tv shows.

Roberto González said...

Steve, I own a dvd of Fleischer's Superman and I think they look superb, but I don't really enjoy the stories. I also like Batman Animated Series and some other works of Paul Dini (I haven't actually watched Dini's Superman)...but my point is , I'm not even a big fan of superheroe stuff to begin with, but sometimes I DO PREFER dialogue full of existential angst to some action sequences, if it's well written, why not? Do you suggest cartoons should be always be a lot more about the visuals and a lot less about the dialogue? Perhaps not in Bob Clampett's cartoons but in Chuck Jones' or other WB directors some of the parts I enjoy more are because of the dialogue. Without the dialogue they wouldn't be so complex and witty most of the time.

Boner said...

> but if Stimpy farts you people start
> crying like little anthony...

Who does?

Just don't be high-and-mighty if fart jokes are 90% of your work. R&S is still great work.

Dr.Awkward said...

There's two kinds of people in this world:

TYPE A- people who ARE funny, talented and creative, but AREN'T easily amused or impressed

and

TYPE B- people who ARE easily amused and impressed, but AREN'T funny, talented or creative (although they might like to THINK they are)

Type B are more common, but Type A have more common sense.

You can't have any wisdom without some knowledge, and you can't have any knowledge without some intelligence!

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

I can't stand b & b (yeah I know, too bad. yada yada and tough shit).

Good cartoons are so subjective just like good sex and some of these shows are not getting me off.

If I have to watch a show that's crass and foul in a way that's not particularly funny to me, then at least entertain me with great artistry. It's a give and take; I can forgive some imperfections if you please me in other ways. OOOHHH. Just like a woman...

Crap. That's the answer...make shows that appeal to everyone, on many levels... Where did I hear that?? Humpff.

cemenTIMental said...

Yeah they have to make the show look ugly for the audience to pay attention to the dialogue...
Hmm well that's not quite what I meant... :)

I was just pointing out that bad drawing can be validly intentional. But of course if it's bad but still succeeds as a drawing then it's probably not really bad.

Hence the useful term Heta Uma.

It's a style of drawing either in the 'fine art' sense or in Manga (usually of the more underground/art variety.) but I certainly think it can be applied to South Park in some way.

I'd definitely draw a distinction between South Park (drawn 'badly' for effect and to allow quick turnaround for max topicality) and stuff like Family Guy (just plain badly drawn)

... Just as I got irate when I read the comments of some guy who's actually written a published book on anime who lumped in Ren & Stimpy wit Cow & Chicken, Catdog and whateverrr as 'badly drawn'

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

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

>>I was just pointing out that bad drawing can be validly intentional. But of course if it's bad but still succeeds as a drawing then it's probably not really bad.<<

Rhetorically speaking, Do you think that these shows with bad drawing suceed because thats all to choose from?

Evan said...

This is such a great post, I feel like I asked the teacher a question and now I understand the lesson, haha!

I was thinking, and perhaps the way we should think about evolution in cartoons, is that they should always have it happening. I feel like plenty of these cartoons we've been talking about Simpsons & SP have had rougher starts then standardized their animation. Once they get it to the point they think its "perfect", they stop trying to advance it anymore.

One of my first experiences with this idea is if you read Garfield comics, Garfield starts out looking totally different than he does now, then he changed a couple more times, and while Garfield really isn't funny, he looked much funnier originally. Then the creator hit upon the "official" Garfield look at some point and he hasn't changed in years.

We can discuss all day whether or not shows have had evolution, but I think maybe the more important thing to notice is that it stops. If you notice the Space Jam movies and crap now there's all "official" versions of Bugs and Daffy, and they suck now too because the evolution stopped.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what about a show with nice dialog AND nice art?? That would be a hoot!!

Evan said...

Well, I should add, that's not the only reason the modern Bugs & Daffy suck haha.

C. A. M. Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

I thought the low pant trend was to show off your FANCY PANTIES?

cemenTIMental said...

Rhetorically speaking, Do you think that these shows with bad drawing suceed because thats all to choose from?

I guess all I'm trying to say here, is that I certainly agree that there is a terrible lack of drawing and animation quality in mainstream western animation, but that South Park strikes me as a really bad example to use to point this out, since the whole premise of the show is that it's intentionally 'badly' drawn and animated.


Another random reply to someone's comment before:
There’s some confusion about the word ‘evolution’. Evolution in artistic terms surely ought to mean a process of evolution TOWARDS something.
Uh, yeah, there's some confusion; it's IN YOUR POST STATING THERE'S SOME CONFUSION! :)

- The whole concept of evolution is totally AGAINST the idea that things progress towards a specific goal (that would be creationism ^_^)

In fact, the abundance of of badly drawn, animated, directed, written etc etc cartoons is the evolution of animation! Survival of the fittest! ^_^ Darwin would be proud.

So the moral of the story is; you can't create good cartoons by natural selection, you have to use intelligent design. :-)

JohnK said...

>>Hey, what about a show with nice dialog AND nice art?? That would be a hoot!!<<

Bugs Bunny
Daffy Duck
Foghorn Leghorn
Ren and Stimpy

People memorize the dialogue from those cartoons and find new gags in them every time they watch them because they are so rich with many types of ideas and humor.

Chet said...

John dont compare ren and stimpy with foghorn leghorn.

Two diffrent things.

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

John,
I feel the exact same way about The Simpsons

The Incorrigible Hulk said...

There are episodes of The Simpsons that I must've seen ten or eleven times and still find new things to love about them

JohnK said...

>>John dont compare ren and stimpy with foghorn leghorn.


Should I compare them to Red Headed Stepchild?

Anonymous said...

"John, dont you consider your own cartoons Edgy?

I hardly think you should be one to talk about how bad modern cartoon writing is.

Ren and stimpy was all about edgy,it was full of gross out humor(which i dont think should even be called humor).In fact ren and stimpy rarely had anything but gross out humor."

You miss the point, doofus. Edgy cartoons with EXPECT WORK PUT INTO THEM, is what he's talking about (Incidentally that's exactly what APC is/was.)

Also, your last sentance is WRONG. It is a flat-out falsehood. You can sit there and honestly ignore the artistic ability, the acting, the pathos, the belivability in character emotions, the touching moments, the evolution, invention and heart and dedication that R&S had, to evolve into being all parts equal of everything of quailty?

You show right there, with your idiot statement like this that you aren't worthy of critquing Ren and Stimpy, let alone the crap like South Park and Simpsons you love so much. You're opinion is unvalid becuase it is formed with IGNORANCE>
Good day to you, sir Chet.

"South park and the simpsons are about 10 times as funny as any cartoon you have ever made."

That is just so wrong. So utterly wrong. Dude, I have WATCHED 4 seasons of South Park on DVD to see what the big deal was. That show is NOT funny. In fact, I wanted to kill myself in the middle of the 3rd DVD I watched becuase it was so bad. You should be thankful that I even sufferend through that much crap just so that I could form an honest opinion about it. Because I nearly killed my sanity watching that crap just to prove that South Park isn't funny, and that not only does it look like hell, but one would have to be mentally damaged to laugh at it.

The Simpsons humor (as bland as it was back in the early days) fell off after Season 3, and they continued to pound the show into the flattest and worst drivel ever.

Simply put, John spoke the truth about shitty cartoons, and you just have to cry about it and stick up for yourself using your blubbery whining and saying "Nuh-uh!! Those shows r great u suck wah wah wah!!"

Grow up, and consider coming back when you have a valid point rather than crying about people pointing out the obvious failures in shows you are just a pointless fanboy of.

You lose.

Chet said...

Should I compare them to Red Headed Stepchild?

Hahaha, No red headed stepchild will be alot more like the simpsons than a looney tune.

Anonymous said...

Of course, when Bugs achieved his current look, he kept it for 60-odd years...

Chloe Cumming said...

Cementimental picked me up on something I said:

There’s some confusion about the word ‘evolution’. Evolution in artistic terms surely ought to mean a process of evolution TOWARDS something.
Uh, yeah, there's some confusion; it's IN YOUR POST STATING THERE'S SOME CONFUSION! :)

- The whole concept of evolution is totally AGAINST the idea that things progress towards a specific goal (that would be creationism ^_^)

I didn’t intend to cause confusion. I hope that in context what I said made approximate sense. I was just concerned that the word ‘evolution’ was being thrown around kind of interchangeably with ‘change’, and it was becoming unclear what the goal or the momentum of it was meant to be. The overall point I was trying to make was about aspiring to standards of excellence and moving in a ‘forward’ direction, which is a really difficult thing to grasp and it practically requires a radical leap of faith in our crazy relativistic world.

I did say ‘evolution in artistic terms’, the analogy to Darwinian evolution isn’t exact, I was just trying to create a useful image to show that the process is purposeful and in a way, merciless.

Also, whether or not Evolution is progressing toward a goal is something perhaps we can’t say for sure unless we’re God or some kind of spiritual avatar.

Have you heard of concrescence or the Eschaton?

I’m not sure the metaphor can be stretched to the idea of evolution vs. creationism. That makes my head hurt. My post wasn’t intended to contribute to an argument about semantics, it was meant to try to articulate possible justification for John’s arguing FOR creative evolution in cartoons.

I guess part of my argument that evolution is meant to be ‘natural’ and in a sense you could argue that all nature is perfect and that’s why we should draw from it as well as from perfect or near-perfect art. You could also that to aspire to perfection in art is to aspire to compete with the beauty of nature, with God even. But as in my original post, I’m getting dangerously close to theology and I’d rather not complicate things here, I’d rather keep it about what makes a good or an aspirational cartoon, because that by itself has caused friction and controversy aplenty.

Also on ‘survival of the fittest’… you could apply this crudely to the commercial world and say something you don’t like such as Family Guy (just an example) is successful because it appeals to people you don’t like such as idiots, so it’s adapted to its context. But passively accepting the idea that you cater to the most complacent people isn’t going to get anybody anywhere. When I used ‘fit for purpose’, I meant specifically creative rather than commercial survival/success. Obviously if you apply a merciless Darwinian model to the idea of commercial survival you end up being Simon Fuller (creator of American Idol) or some other cultural scumbag who values money over young people’s souls. I’m not a marketing expert, I’m just a person who likes drawing lumpy wrestler faces.

It’s a little late in the day where I am, I hope that’s slightly coherent.

I got what you were saying about intelligent design though, that kind of works.

Anonymous said...

chloe cumming said:
"beauty DOES exist and it is better than ugliness"
(and a host of other dead-on observations)..
She also talked about the joy to be found in those old cartoons. I would further say that Joy does exist and is better than it's antipole, frivolity. One is the condition of Delight at the "Monkey-ness" of actual monkeys, whether they be swinging from tree to tree, flinging poo or shaking hands with the pope. The other is a man in a monkey suit, belting out the Ave Maria in a richly intoned falsetto. Roaring good fun to be sure, but which would you rather be without? At the bottom of it, the issue is qualitative and absolute. The monkey and man are not just on different wavelengths -- the monkey isn't adopting a style or constructing a narrative-- just doing what it was designed to do. It can't help it.
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.
"Someone needs to come up with alternative ways of reflecting 'our time'..."
I would go further and say that someone needs to offer a topical antidote to the poison injected into the common vein by punks
with names like Lyotard and Sartre. Meet at the crossroads of the intellect and the emotions and serve up a dish that makes the "relativist postmodern liberal secular" souffle taste like the bland nutritionless cheat that it is.
The problem isn't so much that poor shows are being made and consumed -- that's just one symptom of a disease. The problem is that Quality is not valued by our culture and attained towards, largely because of the widespread yet misplaced belief in ultimate subjectivity that is the crapstain on the underwear of our times. You never hear anyone saying, "If you don't like the pictures hanging in the Louvre, then don't go!" Why not? Because it's an argument in defense of poorly executed work; work that requires denial of an objective standard in order to gain popularity. Speaking of which, I wouldn't put too much stock in Popularity in today's bankrupt culture.
/end of rant>

C. A. M. Thompson said...

Things should progress toward the goal of "better". For animals it's "better able to stay alive". As far as art goes "better" differs depending on the person and what their goals are.

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?

Stephen Worth said...

Aaaah, the time-honored tradition of old farts bitchslapping young ones with a different idea of fun.

No, it's pointing out that if you want to express an opinion, you'll have a better chance of making a point if you 1) know what you are talking about, and 2) offer supporting arguments.

Saying that expressing an opinion on the 100 year richly varied history of animation requires research isn't the same as saying that in order to criticize South Park for being dialogue with lousy animation, you have to see every episode ever produced. 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.

I did like the technical aspect of their puppet feature. The puppet crew was very talented. I'd like to see a real movie made by those puppeteers, not just a bunch of in-jokes about actors and pop culture references I have no real emotional involvement with.

See ya
Steve

Chet said...

Also, your last sentance is WRONG. It is a flat-out falsehood. You can sit there and honestly ignore the artistic ability, the acting, the pathos, the belivability in character emotions, the touching moments, the evolution, invention and heart and dedication that R&S had, to evolve into being all parts equal of everything of quailty?

Who cares about the acting?

acting isnt what cartoons are about.

Anyone can make belivable character emotions.

What evolution?

these are all stupid points, every cartoon has what your listing.

Stephen Worth said...

Just think what a good script and great, well thought out and skilled animation could accomplish.

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.

"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." -Walt Disney

See ya
Steve

Chet said...

John can dish it out, I imagine that he can take it.

I like John and all but some of his statements i like to argue about.Just as he likes to argue about other peoples statements.

Its an argument, a lighthearted converstation.Dont make a mountain out of a molehill.

Chloe Cumming said...

Gosh thanks anonymous 3:14! I like your words. Also you covered a lot of my semi-conflicted feelings about enjoying South Park and yet it being expendable.

I might have said more but it's my bed time.

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