Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Flintstone Flyer - Carlo Vinci, part 1

Here's proof that the Early Flintstones have funny and unique stuff in it. I love these drawings and how Carlo combines cartooniness with realistic man-type character personalities.

FRED SNORES







FRED WALKS OVER WALL

This couldn't happen in The Honeymooners and wouldn't in The Simpsons. A cartoon sitcom can never compete on an acting level with a live sitcom, so to make up for that, you should put in some cartoon humor to balance things out. Obviously.

Wait! It's not obvious, is it? No one does it!



FRED LEAPS OUT OF HAMMOCK




Look how funny these drawings are! And completely off model!...which would make poor old Ed Benedict furious and me grunt with delight!


FRED'S BENT WRIST, ASS, BACK AND TEETH







This expression is perfect for Fred's emotion in the scene. It doesn't exist on any model sheet and wouldn't be allowed today. Carlo listened to the track and drew how he felt Fred was reacting.

In 1985 I was supervising The New and Crummier Jetsons in Taipei and I called Bob Hathcock, the producer at Hanna Barbera and asked him for casette tapes of the voice actors' recordings for the cartoons I was supposed to draw. Bob sounded confused. He cupped his hand over the receiver and I heard him talking to his junior producer, Jeff something-or-other who hated my guts. "Is that Kricfalusi on the phone again? What the Hell does he want now?"
"He wants the recordings!"
"What the f***k for?"
"How should I know? Just send them to him. No one else will take this job!"

Well it seemed obvious to me what I needed them for but to no one else at the time. I wanted to draw specific expressions for the characters that matched the inflections that the actors gave the characters in their line readings.
By the 1980s cartoons had decayed so bad that no one knew what an expression was anymore, let alone a specific custom-tailored one. They expected you to literally trace the 3 poses they provided on the model sheet. Trace them over and over and over again until you become a mass murderer.

Like they do on the prime time TV cartoons today. It makes me wonder why you would ever need more than one episode of a cartoon that always has the same drawings in it. That's why I can't watch crap today. Within 2 minutes you've seen every drawing you are ever gonna see of a modern cartoon character. ?????????????? Explain this to me!

I can't even figure out why Nickelodeon or Film Roman or these places have live artists on staff. Why not just do what South Park does? Put the models in the computer and just copy and paste them over and over again. Why torture creative artists? I think the studios like to pretend that something creative is going on, so they hire artists then tell them not to ever make art. But dress retro so we can feel like we're wacky.









NOSE POKING

I'd swear Ed designed Barney's nose just so the animators could have fun molesting it.


FF04nosehandling1
Uploaded by chuckchillout8

Wanna know something crazy and evil? There is so much money being spent on cartoons today that they could easily animate the cartoons here, and then we could get some individuality in them like Hanna Barbera did in their first couple years of existence.

Know where the money goes? To useless people who don't draw, to scads of executives, to "development", to voice directors, to story editors, so-called writers...tons of cash goes into market research - which is like Scientology for executives. Money is just burned away today-money that could go directly into the product, to the artists so they could bring back animation to the country, learn their craft right again and then contribute some personality and fun and make each cartoon unique.

We need to bring back common sense to this business. Will we? Nah.....

53 comments:

Alex Whitington said...

If studios can't spend their money responsibly then they shouldn't be allowed to have any.
Then they'll have no choice but to be creative...
Or...just cheap...
...
Hello.

FantasiaMan said...

I can't stand some of these new shows. They're so poorly drawn & all the body movements & facial expressions are the same in every episode. I'm suprised that they didn't reuse any old animation, it's all the same crap. Fairly Oddparents is the biggest travesty, I can't watch it, it makes me cry thinking that the art, beauty & feeling is completely gone in animation these days. These executives are money-hungry pigs who don't care about any creativity as long as the money keeps pouring into their bottomless pockets of self gratification & greed. Sheesh...

Roberto González said...

Well, it was my birthday the other day and they gave me Flinstones first season in dvd, so I've been watching some episodes.

I understand what you are saying but-as often-I feel as if you over-exagerate a little. I am pretty sure The Simpsons has off-model poses (especially during seasons 5 and 6 and the very first season) and that even with they stay strictly on model they sometimes match the expressions with the feeling of the character in a very subtle way. I don't know how much have you watched The Simpsons but to put on an example, Homer's face when he is wearing a mexican hat and a horn in The Whacking Day is not exactly one that we have watched so often.

I know, I know, I should be giving visual examples...It's not an excuse, I just don't feel like doing the job of capturing them and putting in some web, because I don't even know anything about internet video capturing. Also in my last effort of doing that I failed, cause most of the drawings I used looked admitedly (sp?) very similar.

I'm not saying there is such a range of expressions as in the Flinstones, but it's a little more flexible than South Park or Family Guy. Actually they usually follow a very strict model sheet, especially nowadays, but it seems that they try to give the characters a little more personality sometimes in the way they draw or animate them. I know what you are saying, I imagine myself drawing The Simpsons every week and I think it has to be extremely boring. I just don't think it's SO boring when you watch the show on tv, though.

And some of the Cartoon Network cartoons like everything by Tartakovsky and McCracken have a range of expressions too. Even your beloved Animaniacs and Tiny Toons had some range of expressions (though they don't count as modern cartoons).

Also, I'm interested to know why you seem to have no problem with Beavis and Butthead (incidentally I like that cartoon series and I love the movie), but visually is pretty much the same as The Simpsons or other cartoons of today in therms of character expression.

This is not a personal attack. I just want to read your reasoning. Probably I could talk more about the subject in this post, but you pretty much articulated it all and explained it perfectly. I don't have a big knowledge about the guys who did The Flinstones and I don't have the passion to elaborate it further either, though I'm beggining to enjoy these series more thanks to your posts and the adquisition of the dvds. But it is not something that totally makes me wild like Looney Tunes or Tex Avery's MGM shorts, so instead I'm just expressing what I think by reading the post.

Spizzerinktum said...

We can all take solace in the known fact that when people without souls arrive at the gates of Hell, they are immediately deposited in an aquarium filled with brain coral and Tabasco sauce.


What amazes me, among other things, about The Flintstones is how completelydifferent the characters can look with just the slightest bit of extra space between their eyes. For instance, this version of Wilma is very disturbing to me. The eyes are too close together, or too round, or something. She looks weak and dopey, and her hair is all weird in relation to her face. It's like she's had a botched facelift.

Wilma is/was so real to me, so human, that the tiniest changes in her facial geometry make it hard for me to look at her. This is Bad Wilma, which is even worse than Bad Barney, with his "other" voice. I used to cry and vomit when Bad Barney Flintstones episodes were shown.

But then there'd be an episode with Good Wilma next, and I'd be all better.

I'm not bashing off-model here, not at all: My observation, I guess, is that a great character design's "simple" construction belies its subtleties, which are probably invisible to the average Joe (Rockhead). And which can make kids throw up.

murrayb said...

In context with what you were saying,I did a spit take on my screen when I read that awn stuff you linked. HA HA HA HA HA! ahem, sigh. I would love to see Homer and the gang do more cartoony stuff. Bart had a dream in a halloween episode that was supposed to be tex avery/ chuck jones inspired.He did a pseudo wacky eye pop out take. Dan Castellaneta must be inspired by the animation, he doesn't make any expression when he does the homer voice:
conan interview

Jesse Oliver said...

I feel like any time you see a cartoon like Fairly Odd Parents, Danny Phantom or My Gym Partners A Monkey they try to show you that the people working on those shows were influenced by the early Flinstone cartoons. I remmember reading about Butch Hartman being influenced by the first season of The Flinstones.

Jesse Oliver said...

Hey John

I know that you can't stand todays cartoons but do you still like to watch Beavis & Butthead?

Jesse

Trevour said...

And why is it all the cool kids and hipsters (even the 'artist' type) absolutely LOVE Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

Nico said...

You can learn more from this blog than any class you could EVER take on the subject.

Thank you for all the facts John! but at the same time, it's depressing.... it's the same reason why I can't watch anything today either. cartoons need to be cartoons again. but it doesn't look like it's changing anytime soon...

Jordan said...

I have to say I can't stand the laugh track in the Flinstones and especially the clips. Even a joke that's funny is automatically made lame by the canned laughter. I understand it's trying to be like a sitcom, but at least a lot of sitcoms were taped in front of real audiences. It really makes the Flinstones hard to watch. I am admiring these clips in all other aspects, though.


Also, while I see your point about the Simpsons, etc, a TON of cartoony things happen in that show that could NEVER happen in a live action sitcom. I think with the Simpsons it is a very fair trade of sitcom mixed with cartoony situations. Characters get injured or nearly killed in crazy ways (nails in the head, fingers cut off, falling off buildings, swords poking out through stomachs, eating radioactive waste, etc), animals do impossible things, characters have hallucinations/dream sequences...

I know it may not be cartoony enough, but a lot of impossible things happen in the Simpsons.


-Jordan

Matt Greenwood said...

I always loved that walking over a brick wall gag.

JohnK said...

>>And why is it all the cool kids and hipsters (even the 'artist' type) absolutely LOVE Aqua Teen Hunger Force?<<

I've yet to meet anyone who can really draw who likes that stuff. Not even the ones who worked on it.

k9_kaos said...

Great clips! I love the way Fred flies offscreen in the fourth clip right after he says "Opera?!". That's something you could only see in a cartoon!

I love it when cartoon characters make expressions or poses that are off-model or unrealistic, yet perfectly fitting for the situation. Ones that you wouldn't normally expect the characters to make.

Here's one of the very few examples of funny facial expressions on The Simpsons. It's of the Mr. Plow episode. Skip forwards until the scene at about 5:47 into the clip, where Homer is making a phony call to Barney's Plow King business. His Jim Carrey-like lip flapping coupled with the funny voice acting by Dan Castellaneta is priceless. If only the makers of The Simpsons would do this more often!

Kali Fontecchio said...

' “I was actually a criminal defense lawyer,” '

"Wiebe also served in the public sector – the military... my job was turning government manuals into accessible web pages"

That's just great.

I don't really care said...

We need to bring back common sense to this business. Will we? Nah.....

I'm trying to decide where the blame really lies. I'm leaning towards people who watch crap. Without people who watch crap, how could there be a market for it?

On the other hand, why do people watch crap? Have they been conditioned to do so by unsuspecting parents who used the TV as a babysitter, never comprehending the evil within?

Why shouldn't somebody who grew up in front of Scooby Doo be tickled to death by Harvey Birdman? It's a step up.

Corporations are not known for caring about people's needs, they only care about people's responses. As long as people respond favorably to crap, they see no need to be critical of themselves for putting it out.

So it would seem that in this society, the only path to better cartoons starts with more discriminating fans. How do we make enough of them?

Trevour said...

>>>And why is it all the cool kids and
>hipsters (even the 'artist' type)
>absolutely LOVE Aqua Teen Hunger
>Force?<<
>
>I've yet to meet anyone who can
>really draw who likes that stuff. Not
>even the ones who worked on it.

This reminds me - one night when Family Guy came on TV, I was trying to explain to my wife in a rant, the numerous reasons why it's a poor example of a cartoon - including the ultra-strict keeping to model and the same 2 expressions on any given character's face. And also how they're always standing like boards with a fast-moving mouth (next time anyone catches that program, watch how un-naturally quick the mouth animation is with the vocal recordings - it's like no matter how speedy the dialogue is, they'll still manage to animate the mouth down to each syllable). And to mix things up a bit, they might animate the eyelid up or down!

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, my 'non-animation enthusiast' wife (who doesn't draw either) couldn't comprehend any of the points I was trying to make. And when you consider the state of popular animated shows from the past several decades, I don't think the average TV viewer even acknowledges GOOD animation, or could even make the distinction between amazing animation and eye poison animation. It's like as long as there's a drawing on the TV screen that isn't a real-life person/object, that's enough to call it a cartooooon! Is there even a way to bring animation awareness to the masses? Will the tides ever shift, for real?

R said...

Ha! ya got my fave quote in there. To be fair, The Simpsons DO occasionally use cartoon logic and animation, (I think mainly that's Dave Silverman's doing) but yeah- not enough at all. I've always wanted to see an episode laid out and animated like the old Butterfinger commercials that Silverman did for em.


-R

sods'n'odds said...

Bingo. I have a really hard time watching most of today's kids cartoons for most of the reasons you describe. (And my kid sure loves watching cartoons.)

There are one or two gems out there for creativity, but they are few and far between.

Thanks for giving me the vocabulary to articulate the reasons why I don't enjoy them!

Lee

Jack Ruttan said...

I don't know. Are there, like, artists who want to become development executives?

I write in TV (but also draw stuff) and am unhappy with the lack of originality in management, and the number of people who give notes about your stuff and "improve" it 'til it's utter crap.

My good producers were on the same wavelength as me, paid promptly, and generally left me alone. Most artists I know don't have the stomach for the meetings and schmoozing, and the inevitable compromise. But on the good side, there's pleasure in collaboration with smart people, and being on a good team.

Joel Bryan said...

Yeah, I think making commercials and writing manuals for defense contractors fully qualify people for work in the animation industry.

Now I know why I never got in. I was thinking it was because I can't draw for shit but now I realize it's because I haven't kissed the right asses or written for the right zine.

Jorge Garrido said...

At least with South Park, when it looks like it literally took 6 days to write and animate an episode, it actually did take 6 days. With Family Guy it takes 9 months for an episode to finish prodution and it still looks worse than South Park. Simpsons is no better these days.

I was watching a 3rd season Flintsontes yesterday and was disapointed that they didn't go off-model as muhc, but since it was 1963 it was still much better than Secret Squirrel or Atom Ant.

Ben Williams said...

I thought that first link with the quiz 'So You Wanna Be an Animation Executive?' was a joke. I wish i was right.

Patrick said...

Unfortunately, I believe we artists are the only small group that can appreciate the talent injected into the old cartoons!! Sadly, most viewers respond to what the character is saying or the goofy sound effects!
3-D animation will make the REAL artist a dinosaur! I'd hate to see this happen!

lastangelman said...

I'm watching "Hot Lips Hannigan", my favourite Flinstones epiosode when Fred was allowed to actually sing in tune. A lot of good bits in this one, when Fred and Hot Lips reunite and Fred strokes H.L.'s beard, some great acting by the H.L. character! Barney's drumming matches the soundtrack pretty well, H.L.'s fingering matches the lead trumpet, maybe the animator could have a done a better job on Fred when he was singing, but it was a good scene, I thought, for limited animation.

mykgerard said...

Yeah.. that article made me puke on my keyboard. Executives should be animators who had motorcycle accidents and can't draw anymore.

mike f. said...

It ought to be against the law for lawyers to be creatively involved in animation. I can't think of another group that is, by its very nature, more diametrically opposed to everything cartoons stand for.

They shouldn't be producing them, developing them, giving creative notes on them, focus-testing them, or supplying audio commentaries to them.

Cartoons are made for people, not robotic, soulless corporate mouthpieces or whoring, paid advocates. They should go back to chasing ambulances and foreclosing on widows and orphans, where they belong.

Sebastian Wagner said...

Hi John, I'd be interested to know if "Duckman" is to your taste?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duckman

JohnK said...

>>I don't know. Are there, like, artists who want to become development executives? <<

Why do we even NEED development executives? It's a made-up useless occupation.

Imagine being a kid and someone asks what you want to do when you grow up and someone says "I want to give notes."

Andy Harwood said...

I wish you'd shut-up about the Simpsons. It's not helpful, it just alienates those of us who appreciate both the beautiful cartoons you're teaching us about (which I'm hugely grateful for) and visually uninspiring but brilliantly written shows like The Simpsons.

Also, I'd like to point out that one of the evil executives in charge of The Simpsons directed Broadcast News and Terms of Endearment.

Dan DeHaan said...

And why is it all the cool kids and hipsters (even the 'artist' type) absolutely LOVE Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

I'm certainly not cool or a hipster and I'll admit that ATHF isn't for everyone but it's obviously not a cartoon to watch because you love animation. I think it's funny regardless.

I "Wanna Puke"....every day.

I don't really care said...

I'm certainly not cool or a hipster and I'll admit that ATHF isn't for everyone but it's obviously not a cartoon to watch because you love animation. I think it's funny regardless.

I'd have to go one step further and say that it's not a cartoon. Funny or not, my eyes cannot forgive the fact that there is nothing to engage them. How do yours? I can't understand how something can be called a cartoon that would be more entertaining if I were blind.

If we could find out what mechanism allows people to enjoy visual entertainment without the visual entertainment, we might be on the verge of a solution. As it stands, my only solutions involve either ending civilization as we know it, or a vast eugenics program under my direct control.

I wish you'd shut-up about the Simpsons. It's not helpful, it just alienates those of us who appreciate both the beautiful cartoons you're teaching us about (which I'm hugely grateful for) and visually uninspiring but brilliantly written shows like The Simpsons.

Some of us people believe it is one of the primary functions of a cartoon to be visually inspiring, or stimulating, or engaging, or to at least aspire to such things, from the ground up. Call us crazy.

You don't need to worry. There is absolutely no shortage of overly talky, uninspiring cartoons lacking any semblance of creative animation, acting, or style.

There may, however, if you look around, be a shortage of well-made cartoons by competent visual artists.

It is much easier to write about absurd characters in absurd situations saying absurd things, and give those instuctions to slaves to diagram than it is to conceive of and execute drawings of well-designed absurd characters actually performing funny actions.
The Simpsons does not even belong in a conversation about cartoons, unless you are talking about why it really is not one. When something genuinely cartoony happens, it is a notable exception.

It would be nice if you could be "hugely grateful" enough to acknowlege this distinction as a major point of contention. It is, in fact, where the battle lines are drawn.

The GagaMan(n) said...

There are two kind of cartoons I watch: Those for the beautiful animation (mostly old stuff, but some non-TV non-American modern stuff too), and those I watch for the laughs. Sadly there are far too many for the latter nowadays, because their simple to make. We should demand cartoons that do both, but just about every media in America is corrupt now, so good luck on saving it. Watch more foreign animation instead.

Organic Oranges said...

Executives are punks.

JohnK said...

>>Those for the beautiful animation (mostly old stuff, but some non-TV non-American modern stuff too), and those I watch for the laughs.<<

I watch the kinds that have both. There are lots of those. Just not any more.

David Germain said...

>>I don't know. Are there, like, artists who want to become development executives? <<

Why do we even NEED development executives? It's a made-up useless occupation


Also, a big problem with animation executives is that there are waaaaay too many of them around these days. I remember a teacher back in animation school saying that it used to be 1000 artists for every executive but now the ratio is more like 1000 exectives for every artist.

Y'know, when Australia was over-run by rabbits who were destroying entire crops and such, the people got all sots of implements of destruction such as bats, crowbars, big sticks, etc. and just ran around beating a bunch of those little creatures to death. I'm surprised a similar thing hasn't happened to the overwhelming population of animation executives yet. ;)

Thunderrobot(aka Chet) said...

The drawings (and ink's) are incredible!

I have to get the first season.

The GagaMan(n) said...

"I watch the kinds that have both. There are lots of those. Just not any more."
Your not looking hard enough, mate. Flicking though the crappy TV channel cartoons doesn't count.

Dr. Strange-Q said...

Of course, the inks on these cels adds even more charm and personality to the acting of these scenes. I guess they used black cel vinyl ink? I wonder what guidelines they used to control the "waggle" factor due to the thick & thin over the thin pencil line. Believe it or not, you can do this kind of inking in Flash, and it's very much like these early HB brush inks. I believe it's going to be up to us as independent artists, to promote, develop, and educate new generations, to be aware of the things we are discussing here, just like John's been doing for years. We don't all have that kind of high profile, but every little bit helps. That why I'm hanging around here, trying to put in my two cents.

Roberto González said...

I don't really care said "If we could find out what mechanism allows people to enjoy visual entertainment without the visual entertainment, we might be on the verge of a solution. As it stands, my only solutions involve either ending civilization as we know it, or a vast eugenics program under my direct control"

Come on, that's a little too much. One thing is to say that cartoons today should be drawn properly and other thing is forgetting COMPLETELY about the story or the characters. The Simpsons have endearing characters and I have the feeling even John K. would agree about that. He don't like the way the story is written and the way the acting is done, but his proposition of experimenting with doing a Simpson cartoon of his own with more poses and expression and the fact that he kind of defended the Tracey Ullman shorts seem to point out that he sees something valuable in this show.

I know this is a blog about drawing and that's why most people talk about art, but ultimately, what makes Looney Tunes more memorable? Was it the drawings or the characters and dialogue? Easilly both, but if the characters weren't interesting it would be just fun to watch but not endearing and memorable. I totally understand why people, especially those who don't know anything about drawing, could enjoy a cartoon that's poor drawn IF THE CHARACTERS ARE LIKEABLE in some way. I actually can enjoy some of those shows and I don't know what my opinion would be about a cartoon that has very good visuals but very unlikeable characters or uninteresting story (I can't think of a good example now, but partially some Disney shorts have this problem, they are pretty boring even with the skilled drawings). I loved The Rocky and Bullwinkle show. I don't really enjoy the drawings in Beavis and Butthead or South Park too much (though I have watched worse than BandB and at least in SP I like the vivid colors) but I think the characters have appeal.

I don't know in USA, but here in Spain, even if I don't consider The Simpsons a cartoon and I consider it merely a sitcom (which I don't and I'll extend about that later) , it's still the best sitcom I can see on tv, there is not over-sappy moments, it's acid, there are lots of interesting characters, it makes me laugh and there is some kind of emotional core. If you don't understand why people can enjoy that you must think all people out there are artist that turn off the sound of the TV and analyze the drawings.

Like somebody said, lot of the episodes of The Simpsons have impossible things happenning. If I'm correct sitcoms is that genre that has kind of a limited budget, few scenaries and mostly takes places during half an hour. Only the last thing can be applied to The Simpsons. If I don't consider The Simpsons a cartoon I prefer to consider it a SERIES, but not a SITCOM. Some episodes are like a comic action/adventure movie, I never see that in my regular sitcom. A well-done Simpsons-like real show, which probably could have be done with the original concept (not now, cause I don't really like actors resembling the weird designs) would be something more similar to Northern Exponsure or even Desperate Housewives, visually speaking, than something like Married With Children or Seinfeld. But sitcom is a very american genre and I could have the definition wrong, so please correct me if I have made some mistakes here.

Of course I don't understand why the authors of a number of shows today can't offer both likeable characters and visually stunning cartoons, or how a cartoon with easy gags and uninsteresting characters, plus boring animation, like Family Guy, can become such a big success.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Very, very nice post, John! It says a lot of things that needed to be said! Why isn't anyone else saying this kind of thing!?

Jorge Garrido said...

You know the worst sound in the world? The music they play on the title card for the 80's Jetsons. du du DUH du du du du du du DUH du du dum dum DUM duuuuuuuuuuum. You notice on the menu guide that The Jetsons is on so you put it on, you watch the classic 60's opening which they sucker you with, you're all excited to watch a funny futuristic cartoon, and all of a sudden that 80's title card music hits you like a ton of bricks. UUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! The BEST sound in the world, however,is that swooshing Hanna-Barbera end title card sound that accompanies the swirling star logo they used in the 70's and 80's.

I don't really care said...

If you don't understand why people can enjoy that you must think all people out there are artist that turn off the sound of the TV and analyze the drawings.

No, I think that I can turn off the picture, and still more or less watch the Simpsons. There is a limit to how entertained I can be by bad drawings not doing much of anything most of the time.

Regardless of how endearing their personalities might be, or the outlandish funny situations they are in, or the absurd dialogue, no matter how far I want to go along with the Simpsons, at some point I recognize that my visual cortex is still begging for stimulation, especially if I've already seen the episode. Nothing to watch.

I never said the Simpsons isn't funny, or even endearing. It is not very engaging to view. I like to view engaging things. Why don't you?

Because I grew up appreciating real cartoons, I can instantly recognize that the art and animation have been placed in a subordinate role to the other aspects of production. Because I grew up appreciating real cartoons, I am instantly revulsed by that concept. I intend to try to spread that revulsion far and wide, not because I hate the Simpsons, but because I admire and enjoy real cartoons and the rare people who can make them. I want to see the spread of real cartoons, not fakes. Why don't you?

Roberto González said...

I do like everything you mention, Idon'tcare, and I agree with a lot of things people says here. I actually have that problem with some cartoons, like the Rugrats. Still there are about three Rugrats episodes I really like because of the story, but they are the very few ones in which the story is so good to forgive the visuals. There are other stories I could find tolerable but I get bored in the middle. Of course there are a lot of that are totally awful in all departments.

Another show that gets some praise and I also find boring in the visual aspect, and that detracts me for entertainment, is Rocko's Modern Life. I don't know, it have off models and things, and the designs on themselves are not so ugly, but the lines are lousy, as if they has been drawn too fast, and the colors are about the less vivid I have watched apart from Family Guy.

I also get kind of bored by the look of shows like Danny Phantom or even Invader Zim (which have some good aspects in the designs I guess but the word "off-model" is even more impossible here than in The Simpsons).

But I just don't find The Simpsons so boring to watch. Maybe some specific episodes, especially some new ones, are boring to watch (the very last one aired was a whole boredom in all aspects). But the ones during seasons one to eight have vivid colors, well chosen shots and perspective. The pacing is fast and the animation is fluid enough. I think the gags work quite well VISUALLY, even if I admit they sometimes add too much dialogue to it. I have watched recently The Curse Of The Flying Hellfish and I doubt you could get the third act of that episode without the visuals.

On the other hand, I admit the visuals of Shrek totally detracts me of the entertainment of that movie. Probably the gags are lousy too, I don't know, but I keep thinking that if it had the pacing and visuals of something like Ren and Stimpy I would enjoy it.

I wish I know more english to explain myself better, but my problem with John K's comments is not that I don't agree with him, it's that he very rarely admits "the other side of the coin", so to speak. I totally get what he's fighting against, and probably the way he express it it's the most defensive way, because too many people is saying the oppossite. It's that this is not my style, I usually try to be fair and recognize the merits and the shortcommings in everything, except the couple of things that are too perfect (some of those things could be Clampett's Looney Tunes or all Tex Avery's MGM shorts, or in other context, some Billy Wilder's movies) or too bad.

And to clarify I have 26, I grown watching Looney Tunes, Disney, Popeye and Tom and Jerry in tv and my own drawing style is much more similar to that than to The Simpsons' style (or at least I try it).

I would try to talk about The Flinstones the next time. For the episodes I have been watching in the dvds I find amazing how politically incorrect they were, especially Fred. But I don't want to give ideas to the censor guys...Besides, John, you have to do a post against censorship (I think you havent got one only devoted to that yet). I hate that, they cut Tom and Jerry smoking , but of course nobody touches The Birth Of A Nation, because , of course, to the view of these people Griffin's film is a masterpiece while Tom and Jerry are silly and funny stories aimed to children...For God's sake

Roberto González said...

Three comments in a row might be a little too much but I just noticed I didn't answer Idon'tcare post so clearly. I'll be shorter this time.

For me, the most important thing in almost every work of art is the original concept. In a cartoon that concept has to be funny, interesting and honest. I think the concept in Shrek is not honest, they try to make fun of Disney's formulas but they are not really acid or sincere in it, they are just the other big studio out there and both Shrek films ultimately ended with sappy morals. It's nothing like Tex Avery making fun of Disney, they were also rivals, but they make fun of Disney because they found Disney lousy, not only because they wanted to get more money in the cinemas.

So the characters and the concept is the most important thing to me.

Then, it's the drawings and the animation.

In the third place I would put all the other things, including the specific stories or the method of production. A cartoon with a good concept, endearing characters and good drawings can work with extremely simple stories and there are lot of examples of those. Of course, the method of production is the most important thing if it avoid the existance of all the other things, but , while clearly the good drawings and animation are the one they forget usually, I think some good concepts still remain, even if the executives try to water them down.

I don't really care said...

So the characters and the concept is the most important thing to me.

Then, it's the drawings and the animation.


I won't go so far as to say you are wrong, as we are all wired uniquely, but for me a cartoon is first and foremost something to watch. If there is nothing to watch, I won't stick around for the characters or the concept.
It takes execution to hook me. What good is the concept of gymnastics, if nobody ever does any? Would you watch the olympics to see people standing around or doing things that everybody else can do?

Bugs Bunny is a great character and concept. What good is that without his design and execution? How interesting would he be on the Simpsons, drawn and animated that way?

JohnK said...

>>A cartoon with a good concept, endearing characters and good drawings can work with extremely simple stories and there are lot of examples of those.<<

Not lately.

Roberto González said...

You are totally right, John. There aren't any more cartoons of that kind, that work with a simple story and good drawings and endearing characters. I was actually thinking about the classic stuff (and Spumco ones too).

Most of the new stuff tries sophisticated concepts and more complicated plots that sometimes-but not always- fail completely.

Whatever you migth think, I have always thought Pinky and The Brain had a very good concept and I think it was worth watching just for that, although I usually found flaws in the development, especially in the way the gags were visually executed and many of the episodes are not good for rewatching if you remember the plot.

I would probably like Bugs Bunny in a Simpson animated style too, not so much, of course, but I think it could be entertaining enough. Like I said The Simpsons doesn't even look so boring to me, I don't think it's the most beautiful style but I don't find it disgusting or unfunny either. Probably with a Family Guy or Shrek style I would have more doubts.

In fact I don't quite buy movies like Madagascar and such, cause they tried to do kind of Looney Tunesque stuff but in a 3D visual style that is not adequate for exagerated or abstract poses (but I enjoy the Pixar ones mainly because of the concepts, and also the visuals are more aesthetic than those of Dreamworks, still I don't love the CGI too much).

I don't really care said...

I would probably like Bugs Bunny in a Simpson animated style too, not so much, of course, but I think it could be entertaining enough.

I want to be entertained ALL THE WAY. Why would you want to be entertained only partially, and why make excuses for people who would water down the artform that you love?

Like I said The Simpsons doesn't even look so boring to me, I don't think it's the most beautiful style but I don't find it disgusting or unfunny either.

Try THIS.

Not much more I can say. What style would you rather see?

The Simpsons is one of the funniest of the un-cartoons, but it's still an un-cartoon. It will never be funny because the artists made drawings that are actually doing funny things. At least not THIS funny. It will only be funny because of absurd situations and dialogue, which the artists are forced to illustrate in strict sweatshop fashion.

Why can't the Simpsons be funny like Jim Tyer? The Tracy Ullman spots almost WERE. Why not now? Only because they place no value on it, and you and others excuse them for it.

Now, perhaps what you need to ask yourself is whether the proliferation of un-cartoons is cutting into your chances of ever getting any new real cartoons, and if so, whether that is something that is okay with you. I think it IS cutting in, and it's not okay with me.

Roberto González said...

Yeah, I'm totally against the profileration of it. I think The Simpsons mostly work (or worked, some of the newer episodes are too stiff) the way they are. I like more the episodes that are drawn better (more perspective, best colors and good shots) more, but not I don't necessarily enjoy an episode more cause it has one off-model sequence in it, though, yeah, it would be great if they do it more.

However I think this is The Simpsons look. I don't want to see something similar but more crude in other series. I prefer totally different designs for each series. I don't want all cartoons to look the same, and of course it's a bad idea to just do something like South Park to look different. Still I think it is more definitive than FG, which is The Simpson style less all the good qualities in it. But yeah, the formula to be different shouldn't be trying to be more and more crude each time.

Maybe Peanuts drawings are not as artful as Tex Avery , but they look funny and distinctive (in fact first Peanuts strips had more details and perspective, they show, perhaps, more skill, but they weren't so distinctive). I enjoyed looking at them when I was a kid because they were different to everything else. But I don't want all comic strip to look like crude copies of Peanuts. For me it's similar with The Simpsons.

Probably the Simpsons could be awesome with an improved Tracey Ullman-esque animation style, though a little less rude (some of the poses were extremely ugly, I like off model but not ugly expressions). If suddenly John K were told to do something like that with the visual style in the show I would be totally for it.

But I'm not sure what would happen if , instead, the drawings were not like the ones in Tracey Ullman show, but more like Ren and Stimpy, which actually is what kind of happen with the Ranger Smith cartoons John k directed, though there it works cause John's drawings are actually influenced by Ed Benedict. Then it would be a beautiful cartoon, no doubt, but it would be John's cartoon, not Groening's. I like some very different designs every now and then, even if they are somewhat crude, as long as they are done with some skills and they are not copied from another show.

The GagaMan(n) said...

I remember really loving the animation of the first Simpsons cartoons, when it was just a 3 minute toon on the Tracey Ullman Show. The characters would very often go off-model, and they would use very odd and crazy expressions. I especially loved it when a characters' face would twist with just the mouth staying in it's original place. It was crude, but looked great in a Beavis and Butthead kind of way (in fact, it probably had more expressions than B&B had back then.)

I don't really care said...

... I think The Simpsons mostly work (or worked, some of the newer episodes are too stiff) the way they are.

There is little or no funny motion or posing. I don't see how a cartoon can really "work" without these things. They are fundamental to the concept. Only an un-cartoon can.

...I don't want all comic strip to look like crude copies of Peanuts. For me it's similar with The Simpsons.

I am all in favor of distinctive styles, too. Groening can't draw to save his life, and the people who made the original spots embraced that fact, and made it funny in motion.

Regardless of the style, I think that any "funny" cartoon that is not fundamentally interested in expressing the joys of funny motion and poses, whether limited or full, is lacking in both style and substance, and is failing to capitalize on the medium, no matter how funny what remains may be. For me, the Simpsons series is uglier than the originals, even though it's all cleaned up, because there is no interest in funny motion, so I lose interest in watching it. I wish everyone felt the same way. Then maybe I could get some real cartoons.

mce said...

you know, I think you've described the problem with all creative industries today.

rodineisilveira said...

"DID YOU BUY THE TICKETS TO THE OPERA?", Fred said with a menacing voice to Barney, pointing his finger to the Barney's noise.