Friday, July 27, 2007

Speaking Of Animation Critics...

Rebecca Sugar sent me this intellectual nugget...

Does that mean that the Disney style movies are ironically written?


I like how our language keeps changing.

Sanjaya is an ironic singer...

"Mom, I hope you don't mind, I got an ironic report card today."







go check out Rebecca's sites, she's very talented...and doesn't draw poorly on purpose
http://www.sugarboukas.com/PD

http://berkolounger.livejournal.com


SUNDAY: Howie Post, my favorite Harvey Comics Cartoonist

40 comments:

ted said...

That reviewer seems to need a punch in the brain.

Colin said...

That review was....ironic.

So I guess we're now using that in place of shitty.

Roberto said...

That review was so convoluted. It reminded me of communism, especially this part: It's supposed to be poorly drawn, just as comedy is supposed to be poorly staged, so only the comedy and never the filmaking stands out. It's obviously that the critic has never made a film before.

Tool said...

the writers are the stars of the simpsons. matt groening parlayed his underdeveloped drafting abilities into a career writing stuff, animation without much of an emphasis on the visual art.

that doesnt make the simpsons completely unenjoyable, but thats just what it is. its all about the script. it doesnt go for the potential of drawings in sequence, it never will. many people still find it entertaining for what it is.

John said...

The word we be at a loss without blogs like these...

kelvinkao said...

You know... this makes me wonder.

What if... instead of movie critics reviewing animations using live action standards (like character development, acting, etc.), we have animators writing reviews of live action movies as if they are writing animation? What would've they have come up with?

Not enough colors?
Not enough stretching?
Not animated enough?

Just a thought.

cartoon lad said...

I like up to about season 9 of The Simpsons.But I thought the new movie for the most part was lame and tired.

But practically everyone seems to think its the best thing ever.

It's me against the world, baby!

PCUnfunny said...

Ironically drawn ? Do we need amy more excuses for crappy darwings ?

chrisallison said...

It's the crutch of postmodernism to make the assumption that everything in the piece is INTENTIONAL.

My two cents anyhoo...

Mr. Semaj said...

The ironing is delicious...

Colin said...

"What if... instead of movie critics reviewing animations using live action standards (like character development, acting, etc.), we have animators writing reviews of live action movies as if they are writing animation? What would've they have come up with?"

It would probably make Richard Roper's head explode. I'm all for it.

Will Finn said...

i loved the SIMPSONS MOVIE and am a big fan of the show, but thanks for posting this clip: it is a classic example of why i don't read newspapers any more, least of all movie criticsim.

here you have some pseudo-intellectual tripping all over herself trying to sound smart to a readership that could care less, describing the obvious about why the show is funny. and in the process making idiotic generalizations about live action (the writer's supposed area of expertise) that are pathetic. "Comedy is staged badly"??? WTF??? Filmmaking is only considered good if the aesthetics upstage the material, i guess... this is the sort of ivy league gibberish that is supposed to be film criticsim....

by contrast what a relief and refresher to read Chuck Jones' no holds barred rip on UPA. Even if i didn't agree with him i would applaud his articulation and respect his view here.

C. A. M. Thompson said...

The Simpsons at least had some talented artists who created a new version of Matt Groening's style for animation. Underneath the crude exteriors there are some classic cartoon principles, although they're very conservative about what they're using. A lot of newer cartoons don't even try to transform their creators stuff into something that will animate.

Bluedog said...

Just to go back to UPA for a second. The strangest thing...my wife bought a VHS at a small town Zellers called "Gerald McBoing Boing Presents the Twirliger Twins" from 1957 redone in 1987 for 99 cents. Good voice work by Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, super simplistic drawings by Fred Crippen, Phil Duncan and Frank Smith. My 4 year old and 2 year old can't stop watching it, even though it's kind of dumb-assed, violent and mean-spirited.

NateBear said...

i bet that semi-fun pose of homer is one of the most popular ones.

baggersteve said...

Hey John, I know you dislike The Simpsons, but it seems you didn't really understand the reviewer. You cannot compare 'ironically drawn' meaning 'poorly drawn' in the article to 'Hey Mom, I got an ironic report card.'

In the case of The Simpsons, the art is deliberately simple. The result is a highly successful, influential TV series. The creators know that and celebrate it. In the case of the report card, the kid did not deliberately fail. And even if the kid did, for some reason fail his exams on purpose to get a bad report card, success and influence will not follow. So I don't think those two are comparable.

'Irony' means using a word to describe something that is is not. To be precise, "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning." So when the reviewer said 'poorly' he or she actually meant 'well.' (I know you disagree with that, I'm just saying that is what the reviewer meant.) The Simpsons were one of the first shows to start the huge trend towards ironic comedy that was so popular all through the nineties, and still today.

I doubt the show would have been as popular or successful had it been animated in 40s style full animation, nor crappy 70s and 80s 'realistic' animation.

That said, I do know what you are talking about in this blog -- the artists (if not the writers!) on The Simpsons are certainly creatively constrained. Then again, I am sure a lot of the artists would be happy that they have worked so hard on a show as successful as The Simpsons.

lastangelman said...

Reading his previous columns, I would wholeheartedly agree that this writer is a whole hearted phony, who has just enough skills to twist the English language enough to make himself appear to less educated people that he knows what he is talking about. More perceptive people can see through his phoniness, his pretensions, all his false trappings, but they wised up to his act long ago and have long ignored his pseudo-intellectual forays into the critical arts, unless they were in need of an ocasional good laugh.

Having seen The Simpsons Movie, I will say the drawings and visuals and styles are exactly what you would expect from the creators of the show, no surprise, but the comedy writing and action holds together throughout the film, surprisingly. Essentially, though, this movie isn't going to be a classic piece of animated history. Despite all the hard work the creators sweated over this, as they claim, it remains about as disposable and faux controversial as any other piece of pop culture detritus produced in this decade. It'll sell a lot of DVDs when paired off with the Simpsons 10th season DVD this Christmas, and that'll be it.

Max said...

I'm going to see The Simpsons Movie tomorrow, even though you don't like the animation. And that review was horrible.

Brian B said...

Pretty much, tool. The writing and the voice actors. Now if she could make an excuse for the bad writing of the last 10 years, I'd like to hear it. Season 1-8 not only had good comedy, but good staging and dramatic writing as well. The dumbest thing about this article is the suggestion that they can't coexist together - and make the product better as a whole by doing so. The Simpsons could have used better drawing, but it's never been death to the series as entertainment, that it hadn't.

Anyway, this lady should check out Billy Wylder, and get back to us with the inevitable review about the quality of filmmaking and comedy together ammounting to sheer incomprehension.

amir avni said...

Wow, Rebbecca's stuff is great!

The GagaMan(n) said...

If anything every drawing of the Simpsons now looks really calculated, like they have all the eye and mouth templates sitting on a computer somewhere. I haven't seen the movie yet though so I can't really tell if it counts so much for that than it does the TV series for last few years. I say this whenever something about the Simpsons comes up, but I loved how the old Tracy Ulman (?) short episodes looked, myself. Crudely drawn (much like Beavis and Butthead) but also very creative and looked it like the animators were having fun. Not so much now, as they’re very strict on keeping on model. Shame, ‘cause the writing is usually good enough.

stephen rogers said...

Looking forward to your Harvey post. Warren Kremer and Howard Post belong up there with Harvey Eisenberg, Milt Stein, Dan Gordon and Owen Fitzgerald!

Thanks for drawing attention to artists who more often than not are condescended to by historians.

And surely some of the Harvey characters are ripe for the sort of treatment you gave Yogi Bear and the Jetsons a few years back. Hell, they're half way there themselves. The first time I saw "Tarts and Flowers" I initially thought I was getting a Famous theft of that old Silly Symphony about Candyland. I changed my mind when the villain is gleefully beaten up by the cops.
And the whole thing ends with an amazingly funny and grotesque shot of the gingerbread man having sired a family in the oven, and everyone is grinning, though baked to a crisp! Sick-cute indeed!

Jeff Read said...

Here's a rule of thumb: Your art teacher likes Clampett-directed Bugs Bunny whereas your English teacher likes The Simpsons.

Well, all of mine did; the fact that I had mainly the same English teachers as Simpsons writer Mike Reiss (he went to my high school) helped matters there.

The world is awash in writers who are amateurish cartoonists who can still be funny. Groening, Mike Judge, Scott Adams... but all of these are still better than this guy, who can neither draw nor be funny.

JohnK said...

But those cartoons aren't as funny or well written as Looney Tunes or Tex Avery.

You don't have to have bad animation on purpose.

And those animated sitcoms aren't as funny as the classic live action sitcoms.

Limbotoons.

E said...

its the Simpsons people, not 13th century oil paintings done by the masters or whatever.

you people are WAY too critical and have a stick WAY too far up yourself atop your undeserving high horses.

ive checked out some of the blogs from the people who had something to say i didn't agree with/was ridiculous and most of you should probably just stop posting your opinions all together.

i give it a B-... being that i haven't watched an episode in about 2 years now, i didn't think it was as horrible as some of you jerks proclaim.

Blue said...

Hey John, Thanks for putting up Rebecca Sugar's LJ - I fell in love with her comic immediately. Now there's a cool artist with some great skills and ideas. Really inspiring for me - I'm about her age, and it's cool to see that someone so young has such strong and crazy aesthetics!

Gabriel said...

the guy comes to a cartoon blog to complain that people take cartoons too seriously. That's so stupid, i wonder if folks in other fields have to deal with this. Do architects keep hearing "chill out, dude, it's just a building" whenever something aggresses their senses?

baggersteve said...

I had no problem understanding what the writer was talking about, as some posters have. I think I made it pretty clear in my last post.

Now, of you want mind-bogglingly cryptic and awful writing about animation, try this. It's from the programme of an animation exhibition in my hometown of Sydney in 1996. I met John there, and immediately gave him a yoga demonstration by putting my foot in my mouth. Luckily he was woozy from jetlag, so he probably forgot about it. Enjoy:

"This paper will explore in a transverse, speculative manner the intertextual delineation of the animatic apparatus in the cultic Nickelotoon The Ren and Stimpy Show. Mobilising an interdisciplinary poststructural approach, the speaker will address questions of abjection, animatophilia, carnivalisation, dialogism and the frame of the frame in a multifaceted discursive attempt to colour the more distinctive polyphonic cultural, kinetic-visual and theoretical concerns of our Spumco odd couple."

I'm more or less certain it was a joke. Ironic, to be precise -- deliberately confusing, in order to make fun of over-important pop-culture critics. I'll never know for sure, though. John, do you know? Do you still have your notes on the animatic apparatus and animatophilia from 11 years ago?

Roberto González said...

I loved the Itchy and Scratchy short in The Simpsons movie. It was funny because of the visuals, Silverman did a great job with it.

There is a couple of other scenes that have more or less creative imagination, but nothing as good as the Itchy and Scratchy piece. At least visually. The movie is really funny, though slightly flawed plot-wise, it does have some cliches and it's a little disjointed in places.

megabulk said...

Wow, Rebecca's Pug Davis comic is GREAT. And I like how PD looks a bit like George Liquor American.

crolyss said...

just have to say it here that i thought the comic rebecca sugar wrote is brilliant. really funny and really well drawn, well done!

E said...

gabriel : you all speak of cartoons like they're poetry. "this guy comes to a cartoon blog saying people take them too seriously" damn straight.. THEYRE CARTOONS they dont have to be technical artistical splendor. People like you are the reason talented people with new ideas of what animation is/can be have such a hard time breaking through narrow minds such as your own.

1dying said...

John K.!
Have another nugget:

1. To be lousy on purpose.

2.

Does that mean that the Disney style movies are ironically written?

OK

go check out Rebecca's sites, she's very talented...and doesn't draw poorly on purpose

NOT OK

Lousy on purpose? ... to be, or not to be... : you are about two tones too soft on her.

So BLUE thinks she's cool.

Her style is dump, her stories are psycho. Rebecca thanx(!) for making serious analysis about though subjects in life. ... Like we need this kind of art in order to enlighten ourselves and... find the passion.


BLOG COMMEMTS Critique:

Why do you approve bad comments?

COLIN got it nice.

ROBERTO
points out that The critic is not cooking sausages... um... something else totally irrelevant. (But funny.)(Damn communism victim.)

TED is irrelevant and [nr.1]="should get deleted, otherwise commie victims like roberto will have dialectic space prepared for them".

JOHN is irrelevant and so #1.

kelvinkao is having just a thought, so #1.

CARTOON LAD has desires of world domination, so #1.

CHRISALLISON only weights about 2 cents on this white background, #1.

Mr. Semaj seems OK to add mass to your blog, right? Cut it out for my sake, then. Just look how much I wrote, alone. (This would be a damp irony, a suggestion, etc. but, of course, I am too serious for that. It's killing time. Fight me, oh, enemies!)

COLIN said that you need to be a professional ice cream maker in order to taste it. This is a really really stupid way of putting things.

WILL FINN is OK.
Will I give my opinion more if more than one fine gent will comment per post? SURE. Communist VIRUS needs 1 good man in front, to be the hope of ones dying every day.

... so here is C.A.M. THOMPSON.
And OTHERS.

Because...

On the internet...
... you don't have to be lousy on purpose.

There are real people out there:

BAGGERSTEVE says:

"Hey John, I know you dislike The Simpsons, but it seems you didn't really understand the reviewer."

1. John K does not dislike the Simpsons.
2. Are you giving a strong argument here?

"You cannot compare 'ironically drawn' meaning 'poorly drawn' in the article to 'Hey Mom, I got an ironic report card.'"

3. Will you take the time to explain why?

"Simpsons BIG, so OWNER POWERFUL. Failed exam, so KID +choice NEGATIVE/POSITIVE, sinthesis= YOU ARE WRONG."

4. Self explanatory.

"'Irony' means using a word to describe something that is is not. To be precise, "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.""

5. I just read it and realized you are a GENIUS! You must have an IQ of goddamn 160!

Then he says some stuff more, some negatives/positives, and then reaches a highly successful and appraised conclusion, in the for ever spirit of the revolution.

AND THEN HE SHUTS UP, THE DAMN COMMIE VICTIM!

John K, You have written very well that you /negative/ over being lousy on purpose.

Is this the bright side?

PCUnfunny said...

"say this whenever something about the Simpsons comes up, but I loved how the old Tracy Ulman (?) short episodes looked, myself."

Me Too ! Every time I bring it up the fist thing I hear is "The darwings were crude" or they were "sloppy". Yes,BUT,thay had lots of funny animation and darwings. Now we have this ultra stiff, "god forbid I go off model" crap.

Gabriel said...

E:
You obviously don't care for cartoons as much as most of us here do. You're pretty happy with the ugly stuff on tv. Why would you go out of your way to tell people who yearn for funny and well drawn cartoons that they are asking too much?


People like you are the reason talented people with new ideas of what animation is/can be have such a hard time breaking through narrow minds such as your own.

That makes no sense at all.

Drifta39 said...

Funny Drawings does not equal a funny cartoon. The early Tracy Ulman crap was Ok... animated to "John K Standards" but from what I've seen they were not funny. The Simpsons was hilarious... it may not conform to you animation elitist's standards, but it was well written and funny.

You guys need to realise that the majority of people that watch cartoons are just interested in a laugh and not in how well animated it is, the talent of the artists etc.

JohnK said...

I thought the Tracey Ullman shorts were much funnier myself.

I've never seen anyone laugh out loud at The Simpsons' half hour show.

I see people smirk and look at each other to see if they should acknowledge that something wry just happened.

People laugh out loud and lots at Looney Tunes, Tex Avery and the 3 Stooges.

They are well written and funny looking at the same time.

Drifta39 said...

I have also laughed out loud to Looney Tunes as well as Simpsons. I am not saying well animated cartoons are not funny, I'm just saying that some of the posters here need to realise that Simpsons is funny in its own special way... it's mainly due to the writing and a few slapstick gags... and it works.

Just Like Looney Tunes, Screwball Squirell (which I like) and Tom and Jerry rely on crazy insane drawings and well animated characters... which works as well.

All I'm saying is Cartoons do not have to be drawn and animated crazily to make people laugh, and The Simpsons is one example.

I've laughed out loud a lot of times during a Simpsons half hour show... "City of New York vs Homer Simpson" was a particularly funny episode.

PCUnfunny said...

I don't know how you can't laugh at a funny drawing. The Ulman shorts are better then a majority of the series.

Clownface said...

I'm probably going to cause people to get their knickers in a knot, but speaking of Looney Tunes and such...

Am I the only one who never found cartoons such as Looney Tunes particulary funny? Sure it has had large impact on the animation industry and all, but when I was a kid the cartoons annoyed (and sometimes bored) me more than they amused me. This is a reason I find it pointless to argue that cartoons have to be like this and that, it all boils down to personal preference, as much as a cliché it sounds. I myself wouldn't care for animation as much as I do if only these over the top wacky cartoons existed, they usually don't do much for me.