Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wonky 2

This follows part 1 above this post...
I met Jim Smith during Harlem Shuffle. He could draw real construction, composition and perspective and liked old cartoons as much as I did.

Ralph sold Mighty Mouse to CBS in 1987 and we put together a big crew in a week.

http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/10/mighty-mouse-show-presents-tribute-to.html


Jim drew some amazing semi-distorted BGs in the storyboards he was doing. (I wish I could find some to show you!) These drawings still had a composition and an organized graphic plan. When they got to layout, they were misinterpreted as being arbitrarily abstract and "wonky" came into existence as a full-fledged new cartoon style.

I also drew much more emotive and exaggerated characters than anyone else at the time did, and many of my artists again misinterpreted this as meaning no-rules. So for every Bruce Timm Ken Boyer, Eddie Fitzgerald, Lynne Naylor and me there were 5 other cartoonists who looked at our stuff and decided anything-goes, as long as it's weird. I had unleashed a monster that I've rued to this day.
Mighty Mouse was a mixed blessing to the cartoon business. It freed up cartoonists and brought back creativity, excitement and invention to cartoons. It also brought back story structure and characterization - in the best episodes. It reminded the whole business of what cartoons were for in the first place.

It also was full of accidents, mistakes, sloppy execution and rushed work that I had no time (and not enough experience) to get under control.

MIGHTY MOUSE'S IMMEDIATE INFLUENCE

Even though Mighty Mouse wasn't a huge ratings success it was immediately imitated by the rest of the industry. In a way that was flattering, but it was also frustrating to me, because what everyone imitated was the mistakes. They imitated the wonkiness. No one picked up on the novel concept of specific acting and expressions, the satire, the constant custom-made new ideas and experiments.They just imitated the surface. Satire was misinterpreted as parody. Anti-establishment inside gags were now imitated by conservative establishment studios.
Hanna Barbera came out with "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" the following year. It was pushed by Tom Ruegger, Charlie Howell, Gordon Bressack and a bunch of young brash HB writers. A bunch of writers tried to "write" a cartoony show into existence.

Now these were all friends of mine at the time. We hung around and played Pictionary at their writer parties (I always lost). They were nice guys and they pushed me at Hanna Barbera a couple years before to design some shows they created with a more modern style. I helped them create story bibles for shows that never sold. I witnessed them at writer meetings on Scooby Doo and discovered an amazing creative process. The way the ideas are chosen for script driven cartoons works like this:

A group of writers meet in a boardroom and shout at each other like a bunch of McKimson characters.

They shout out what plots to steal from the latest hit movies. They yell in a strange secret cartoon-writer language, belting out phrases like "WE NEED A SCOOBY BEAT HERE!"

or "WE NEED TO LAY DOWN A PIPELINE!"
Image Hosted by <span class=


"WITH ARMS AKIMBO!"

Each time a writer blurts out a "gag" it's followed by huge laughter - The image “http://img419.imageshack.us/img419/4597/pdvd0113ll.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
but only by one person - the writer who yelled it. All the other writers roll their eyes and tell him what an idiot he is.

Then they all start up again.This pushing, shoving and shouting goes on for a few minutes. Whoever shouts the loudest gets his ideas in the script.

The whole process is built around stealing ideas that someone else came up with for a medium that all cartoon writers wish they could be in. They rearrange the ideas from live action, then decide which live action characters to base the incidental characters on.

"a-la Danny Devito", "a-la Robin Williams" You see this stuff all over every cartoon script. It's an admission that cartoon writers can't create original characters. For some reason, executives do not see anything wrong with this.


All this stealing is performed with what appears to be total sincerity. After a big shout down where the writers knock out a formula plot that they have all already written 50 times, and plug it up with handfuls of other people's ideas they all slap each other on the back and go off to their separate rooms to type up all these horrors and inflict them on long-suffering cartoonists.

So this same bunch of personable fellas at HB, after seeing Mighty Mouse, got together and wrote up the new drawing style and stories for the self-parodying Scooby Doo show. Someone in the art department run by Bob Singer, who chastised me for drawing too flat just a couple years earlier, then had to draw the show in what they thought was my style. They did a cautious conservative version of wonkiness, thinking that's what I love more than anything. You can tell by the drawings that they didn't really believe in it and it pained them to do it.

A couple years later, this misinterpretation of wacky "hip" cartoons and the same HB crew merged with some of the Mighty Mouse crew and grew into Tiny Toons, then Animaniacs - which took our mistakes and self-indulgences way beyond anything we had ever imagined possible.


Nelvana also immediately copied Mouse's mistakes and took the wonkiness to more extreme levels...
As I was trying to figure out what we did wrong in Mighty Mouse, and what I could do to build on the things we did right, I - in horror and revulsion - watched my mistakes grow into a whole school of cartooning doctrine at other studios - studios that just a year before thought everything I was trying to do was evil, crazy and ugly.


More wonkiness to come....






I sort of got of the topic in this post, talking about imitating other kinds of mistakes besides wonkiness so I'll try to get back to that in the next post.

121 comments:

Alvaro said...

Interesting post.
Now there are a lot of ugly and uninspired cartoons that try too hard to be "clever" and "original" using immature toilet humor and replacing humor with cultural references. I guess that some people think that anybody could make cartoons, and they imitate some succesful show at the same way that those companies tries to imitate "The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse".

John S said...

I remember you said something in a post about how Peanuts and The Muppets were great, but have since ruined comic strips and puppets. I'd also like to add the Beatles to the list. I've noticed you're very specific about which influences you show on this blog. You can never be too careful, especially not these days! I don't know that animation will ever recover from Disney's negative influences.. I know I sound like an old man, but honest I'm not.

EalaDubh said...

Continuing the 'wonky surrealness' theme, I'd love to get some insight on what it was like working on the Beany & Cecil show for DiC, and what ultimately happened to it. Having caught the few episodes on YouTube, it sure looks now like a product well ahead of its time, that had the television executives completely unable to get their collective heads around it in 1988.

HemlockMan said...

Re: "Arms akimbo".

I've never understood why this obscure and archaic term is so misinterpreted. You'd think that so weird a combination of two words would be investigated before its casual use. Basically, it means with your hands on your hips. There are lLots of photos of General Douglas McArthur arms akimbo. It's a pretty sedate and conservative way to stand. Far from the images most writers wish to convey when they use the term (incorrectly).


re: Mighty Mouse. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see these. The only one I ever saw I thought was really good--it featured Mighty Mouse in a relationship with, I think, Gandy Goose. It was pretty funny for its day and routinely riffed and copied ever since.

Mattieshoe said...
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Ted said...

"Jim drew some amazing semi-distorted BGs in the storyboards he was doing. (I wish I could find some to show you!)"

I recently bought a pack of storyboards purporting to be from Mighty Mouse. They don't conform to the apparent framing of series storyboards from that early issue of Animato you did the Mighty Mouse cover and interview for, and they aren't a produced episode, but it seems possible they may be real; is this the kind of Jim Smith storyboard background you mean?:
http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/inv_info.asp?ItemID=254088

JohnK said...

That's Jim all right, but I'm thinking of his panoramic cityscapes and such.


That might not be from Bakshi's Mighty Mouse; I'm not sure. It might be from the Mighty Mouse presentation we did later at Spumco.

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

Yikes. That's scary crap.

But didn't carefully controlled "wonkiness" start in Popeye and Betty Boop before "Tin Pan Alleycats"? Maybe I missed your point.

Thanks Mr. K! Interesting post as always.

Jack Ruttan said...

Too much cocaine, perhaps? Everyone's an intense genius with cocaine, and all ideas are brilliant.

JohnK said...

>>The Artistic power in Animaniacs had been turned over to a pretty obscure (but also pretty talented) cartoonist named Rich Arons, as the Producer.<<

There is artistic power in Animaniacs?

Rich used to work for me before Anmaniacs. He was Eddie's assistant on Tiny Tunes and took over his unit when Eddie left.

It all came from Mighty Mouse through either Beany and Cecil, Tiny Toons or Ren and Stimpy, watered down and distorted by typical cartoon writers who all think the same way.

Even the voices came from Mighty Mouse and Beany and Cecil.

Toss in Spielberg and you get Tiny Toons and Animaniacs.

What does Pinky and the Brain remind you of?

JohnK said...

"But didn't carefully controlled "wonkiness" start in Popeye and Betty Boop before "Tin Pan Alleycats"? Maybe I missed your point."

carefully controlled distortion did.


Wonkiness is a modern style that began with my infatuation with Tin Pan Alley Cats and people copying my misinterpretation of it.

Even houses and furniture became "wonky" after Mighty Mouse.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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JohnK said...

both of whom worked with me on Mighty Mouse

then appeared together in an imitation of Ren and Stimpy

hey, the last thing I want to take credit for is inspiring 90s cartoons, but it's a fact.

None of those cartoons would exist if not for Mighty Mouse and they are all heavily influenced by it. I was there. I knew the people who did it. The good ones are all ashamed of it.

watch TV cartoons before Mighty Mouse, then watch them after. No one before Tiny Toons or Animaniacs had any desire to do anything like that in the 80s.


Your infatuation with this stuff is astonishing! Even the folks who worked on it can't believe it.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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oppo said...
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Nick said...

Hey wasn't that Flintstone model sheet drawn by Craig Kellman?

And for the record John, what did you think of the episodes from the 1988 season of Mighty Mouse, the one you didn't work on? Do you feel that they were a step in the right or wrong direction?

oppo said...
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oppo said...
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k.dubb said...

i never understood what was so "special" about Animaniacs. it's funny how often i STILL get ridiculed for not liking Animaniacs. more often than not, it comes from my peer artists. however, i'm willing to bet that the only reason many of them would like it now is purley for the nostalgia and not so much of anything else. we were fairly young back then, but i was old enough to tell the difference and make up my own mind that i couldn't stand Animaniacs or Pinky and the Brain. they were just so... how do i wanna say this?... not funny?... unappealing?... lack-luster?

even now when i talk about influences or inspirations with others, i forget all about those shows until someone shouts them out (like they're waiting to accept praise for unvailing the holy grail). i guess they just didn't go well with my after-school snack of Powdered Toast.

anyway, thanks for the history lesson, John K.

JohnK said...

"And you blame the overseas animation crew for interpreting your drawings as "Wonky" "

when did I do that?

Rudy Tenebre, esteemed secretary. said...

I appreciate your expanding on this 'history of an error'...

When I asked you previously how could one imitate a style which is no-style, you responded "By imitating the mistakes."

I understand your reasoning much better now, and appreciate the better that Spumco style is an evolving entity encouraging diversity in its style(s)and organic in its development. But the cartoons you leave in the wake of this development do count for something.

Mighty Mouse was nonetheless great, and none of the ripple effect convinced me, an' I was there. Part of what won me over in MM was it was very challenging visually, and this really punctuated its break from the rest of it all. It was a struggle, an active participation compared to the endless drek of the other offerings one passively spooned-in at the time for lack of anything better. I would rather see nothing of the modern anymore in cartoons, good or erroneous modernism, but so what, right? Bakshi likes to say he didn't want to lie to kids, and I think you guys fulfilled that desire nowhere better than in those old MM cartoons.

May your budgets be ample and often!

I-Like-it said...

A really good thing for studying your influence on 90s cartoons is a string of Cartoon Network's "What a Cartoon Show" shorts I found on the youtube recently

linky linky

Those failed unispered ones look like half-hearted blend between R&S and Animaniacs . Plenty of wonky backgrounds, wonky "cartoony" music, wonky retard characters, wonky jerk characters and the worst of all, the wonky cool dude characters. What's with that?

The whole thing brought up Genndy Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken however, and shortly after we've reached a phase where all tv cartoons seem to be half-hearted blends of Genndy Tartakovsky and hip prime time cartoons.

ANother thing, I love Eddie's cartoon but it seems even it has a bit of Animaniacs wonkiness. Backrounds like 1:22 and 2:25 and that guy just aren't warm and invitive. If you don't believe it compare them with the worm backround (the ones with Sally) which make the characters really come alive in my opinion (like 2:38).

I don't want to seem like I'm bashing it, I loved the cartoons as I said... it's like I waited my whole life to see Eddie's drawings get animated so I wanted it to be really perfect. How cool it would be to have a crapload of exciting new expressions on a bunch of worms examining the purpose of life to look forward every Friday night, huh? I'm sorry the cartoon didn't start a series, why's that? Eddie knows?

Guy said...

Mattieshoe: That certainly seems like the kind of "cartoon take" that an animation writer would come up with.

But are we really going to get more Animaniacs squabbling because of this post? Well, I suppose it was inevitable.

Rodrigo said...

I've heard that this new trend of angular garbage also stems from Cal-Arts.
According to them, their students started following this trend in the early 90's, and now lots of them are in the business and influencing aesthetics. Of course I'm just telling you what I heard.

The Animaniacs were funny. *ducks into nuclear bunker*

oppo said...

Sorry about that John. I misread your comment. I thought you meant that there were artists working on Mighty MOuse who were drawing "wonky" because of your imfluence and that the overseas crew was making the show look bad.

But now I see that you meant that people from other studios were getting the wrong impression of your style.

Ted said...

I don't think I have any exteriors in that group. But here's another image from the pack of a Stimpy-esque tough:
http://tag.rubberslug.com/gallery/inv_info.asp?ItemID=254126
There are parts of a wedding scene in the group as well. From the Spumco presentation then?
When did Spumco make a Mighty Mouse presentation?

Brendan M said...

@JohnS "I remember you said something in a post about how Peanuts and The Muppets were great, but have since ruined comic strips and puppets. I'd also like to add the Beatles to the list"

The Beatles as in- the band?

I'm sorry, but you're just flat out wrong. Many groups performing around the Beatles time all the way up until now have (in my opinion) outdone the Beatles.

Pete Townshend- "Once you just listen to the Beatles backing tracks, they're flippin' lousy"

I like some of the Beatles stuff, despite the bashing, but I think they've been blown way out of proportion over the years. Especially in comparison with groups with more soul to them like The Who, The Kinks, I'd even say The Move has more substance to their songs.

But yeah, if you're looking for newer music to sound like The Beatles, then you're delusional, but there's still good a LOT of good music out there.

JohnK said...

Actually, I meant people on Mighty Mouse misinterpreted the exaggeration the best artists were doing as wonkiness and drew weird stuff for the sake of being weird.

It would be another year before the other studios started copying the show.

oppo said...

Oh, now I get it.


Soory I made you have to re-explain things for me John.

JohnK said...

It's OK, my writing was probably not clear.

I wish I had more art to make it all obvious.

Nikita said...

can you, like point out misktakes? cause I'm lost

Mitch K said...

MAN I hate the term 'wonkiness'. I never knew that it was a genuine term until I went to animation school. Some folks there use the term so seriously. One teacher was supposed to teach the 'wonky' style as a lesson. I skipped that class!

Iritscen said...

I really don't want to prolong a debate over Animaniacs, but I think there's a reasonable position to take between "it's unimaginative tripe" and "it's a masterwork".

A lot of the show was uneven, to be sure, and maybe it tried too hard to be clever sometimes, but sometimes it succeeded in doing stuff that would never have been done in previous decades and that owed nothing to prior works by others... "Seventh Seal" parody, anyone? In fact, the productions of WB at that time were swimming in parody and self-awareness that was largely operating on an adult level (with cartoony spit takes and such thrown in for good measure).

There's no question that it was a show driven less by artists than writers and improv performers, but is there no place for that in animation? The art may have fallen flat in those Spielberg shows from time to time, but there was a strong *performer* spirit that breathed life into the characters and made some of them modern classics.

Finally, I simply think that a lot of the Spielberg crew was searching for somewhere to go post-generic feel-good '80s cartoons (and post-imitation-meaningless-wonkiness-and-fake-'tude), and they decided on equal parts old-old-school (thus the Fleischer tribute 'toons like the one oppo linked to) and old-school traditional Warner zaniness that had been dialed up a little further than ever before (hence Minerva's crazy end-scene takes in that other cartoon, which I remembered vividly as soon as the cartoon began, before watching it again for the first time in a decade and a half).

But I second mattieshoe in saying that I don't see a John K influence in Animaniacs and Co. at all.

I always thought of those shows as direct tributes to the old school, whereas John K. & Friends were pushing forward, trying to find a new aesthetic and attitude for cartoons (by building on reliable old techniques). But both groups were fighting against an animation industry that had fallen into a sinkhole of predictability and style-lessness. I daresay both kinds of work had their place in the world and still do.

Williaint said...

The wonkiness is transforming into 3d, with Clonewars and igor, and stuff like that...

lastangelman said...

I wonder how many Pinky and The Brain scripts Tom Minton set on fire?

JOHNCBEGGS said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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craigp said...

john, could you do explain the wonkiness of Gendy's star wars art direction? all i see are flat drawings, nothing seems overtly arbitrary about the placement of shapes in those drawings.

i know you're not necessarily using "wonky" as absolutely a bad element but i'm confused on those drawings.
(unless in this case you just mean flat and very stylized)

craigp said...

john, could you do explain the wonkiness of Gendy's star wars art direction? all i see are flat drawings, nothing seems overtly arbitrary about the placement of shapes in those drawings.

i know you're not necessarily using "wonky" as absolutely a bad element but i'm confused on those drawings.
(unless in this case you just mean flat and very stylized)

craigp said...

i'm confused about Gendy's clone wars drawings.
are you using "wonky" here as very flat, stylized drawings or that the placement of shapes is arbitrary?
nothing seems overtly arbitrary to me.

it's so great to finally have something to teach all these important lessons that no one and most books don't cover.

mike f. said...

Those writers didn't slap each other hard enough.

I can't believe anyone over the age of seven takes Animaniacs seriously, let alone adults who aren't actually retarded. My five year-old niece turns up her nose at it. It's worthless and insulting on every conceivable level, and it shouldn't be necessary to explain why.

To paraphrase the great Louis Armstrong: if you have to ask, you'll never know.

Mattieshoe said...
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oppo said...

Geez... I thought this discussion was over. Though I wonder...

What would've Ren and Stimpy have been like if you were able to keep people like Tom Minton and Rich Arons, with you?

JohnK said...

Hi IDRC


I didn't post your comments. They were a bit too harsh for me.If you wanna reword it with less cursing and more your opinion about the cartoon,I'd be happy to post it.

Sorry!

Your pal,


John

Mattieshoe said...
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JohnK said...

Hi Mattie

I made myself watch that cartoon all the way through.

It did have better technical drawing and animation than most of that stuff. It looked like someone worked hard on the art and animation to get it solid and not as warpy or wonky as usual Animaniacs stuff is.

The "story" was totally cartoon-writer-speak and exactly what I was talking about in my gag-session description.

It's a fake cartoon.It's people who never watched cartoons before being forced by Steven to pretend to like them - and worse, to pretend they like wild cartoons like Tex Avery, Mighty Mouse and Ren and Stimpy.

Like they just found about takes the night before they started production.

The girl is right out of Mighty Mouse. It's "Madame Marsupial", a cute, pretty well drawn but standard Ken Boyer furry.

The cartoon is a generic (and expensive) watered down version of what we started years earlier, without any of the invention or specific new ideas and styles.

No specific acting or characterizations, no character chemistry. Those are things we did right (sometimes) on Mighty Mouse and were truly new and worth building on.

Cartoons like the one you linked to would never have happened without Mighty Mouse. That's completely blatantly obvious.

All that self-reflexive"breaking the 4th wall" stuff was done in MM and of course (40 years before)but wasn't being done in TV cartoons. We weren't allowed to do it in Saturday morning cartoons, because the execs, writers and producers told us that we lose the "believability of the characters".

Bakshi was the first one to let us do it. Then we did it too much, got over it and let WB TV carry it on to such limits that it became worn, monotonous and predictable - and without humorous reason behind it.

I also thought that the gags in the cartoon were all staged wrong; staged to be hard to animate, rather than staged for humor or even clarity.

Too far away, or on a live action weird angle that doesn't allow for a clean silhouette; all very clumsy direction.

I realize that Spielberg demanded arbitrarily difficult angles and constant motion to get his money's worth, but it handicapped the cartoon humor that it was trying to emulate.

I'm curious; was the animation by Glen Kennedy?

Who did the layouts?

It has production-value and dollars in it, but still feels like a big insincere lie.

Mattieshoe said...

John:

you're right. it certainly isn't accepting itself as a "True"cartoon.

and the writers knew that.

Sherri Stoner is a very decent writer, but not a very good cartoon writer.

I'm certain she LIKES cartoons, she's still friends with Paul Dini, but since she knew she couldn't make a "Sincere" cartoon of her own, she tried to make something that was sort of n honorable "Parody" or classic cartoons.

Slappy Squirrel is supposed to be an "old cartoon star" who know all the tricks in the book.

it's a normal writer's satirical take on what a cartoon is.

not all the writers tried to go the Roger-Rabbit-y self parody way. some really just wrote what they thought was funny. (they also had to throw some "Cartoon gags" in the mix, as the Story Bible tells them.)

I really don't see what's "Insincere" about it. it is what it is. It's not like it's trying to hide the fact that it's a writer-driven cartoon,rather then something done by artists.

By the way, John, do you feel the same way about Tom Minton's Animaniacs Cartoons?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp3PnQjymdM
(this must have been one hell of a hard script to write)
He did quite a lot of them.

oppo said...

John: The animation for the cartoon mattie posted was done by Startoons, which was run by Jon Maclenahan, a former employe of Kenedy Cartoons. Glen Keddy barely made it through the first half of the first season of Tiny Toons before being fired by Ruegger and Spielberg.

What did you think of the cartoon I posted, though?

Larry Levine said...

Wonky works when it supports the characters & their enviroment. Too many think it's about using wild & distorted designs sinmply for anarchy's sake.

That's why Wonky works so beautifully for you, John. You don't try to be great, you know how to make great looking (and damn funny)cartoons.

oppo said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...

The Animation was by Jon McClenahan's Startoons.

Jon was a Kennedy Animator on Tiny Toons, and so were many of his animators.

He used his best Animators for "Meet Minerva"

Amazingly, he seems to love his Tiny Toons and Animaniacs work, calling it "Some of His favorite Stuff" on his website (http://www.mackhammer.com/)

As for the Layouts, I'm not sure, Maybe Tenny Henson?
Z(That would explain the hard-to-read staging. we was a chum of Tom Ruegger's from "He-Man" (Which Ruegger at least hated)

The backgrounds were all done in Chicago, by Startoons.

Mattieshoe said...

the storyboards for that cartoon were done by Barry Caldwell, one of Animaniacs' best.

I.D.R.C. said...

?I didn't post your comments. They were a bit too harsh for me.

No problem. I only used one "firetruck", though. It might've started a bunch of crap that nobody needs, though. I didn't really intend it as a rant.

But for the record, I hate animaniacs.

Nothing against the people involved, or the people who like it, but the end product is abysmal, and John just said why in a much more analytical fashion than I tried to.

Jeff Read said...

It's worse than you think, guys. "Wonkiness" isn't just for knockoff cartoons; it has crossed over into real-life architecture now, too.

Check out the Stata Center at MIT:

1

2

3

And yes, these buildings are even more disorienting to walk around inside than they are to look at from the outside.

J.R. Spumkin said...

Anyone else vomit in sheer terror after seeing combination Clone High and flat, 'tude drenched Fred Flinstone?

As for Animaniacs: it's okay. I used to love it, by nowadays, I really just don't care about it or for it. I'll watch an episode, but like a lot of things I've watched when growing up, I think it's just f#@king cheesy.

>>It's a fake cartoon.It's people who never watched cartoons before being forced by Steven to pretend to like them - and worse, to pretend they like wild cartoons like Tex Avery, Mighty Mouse and Ren and Stimpy.

Like they just found about takes the night before they started production.

The girl is right out of Mighty Mouse. It's "Madame Marsupial", a cute, pretty well drawn but standard Ken Boyer furry.

The cartoon is a generic (and expensive) watered down version of what we started years earlier, without any of the invention or specific new ideas and styles.

No specific acting or characterizations, no character chemistry. Those are things we did right (sometimes) on Mighty Mouse and were truly new and worth building on.

Cartoons like the one you linked to would never have happened without Mighty Mouse. That's completely blatantly obvious.

All that self-reflexive"breaking the 4th wall" stuff was done in MM and of course (40 years before)but wasn't being done in TV cartoons. We weren't allowed to do it in Saturday morning cartoons, because the execs, writers and producers told us that we lose the "believability of the characters".

Bakshi was the first one to let us do it. Then we did it too much, got over it and let WB TV carry it on to such limits that it became worn, monotonous and predictable - and without humorous reason behind it.

I also thought that the gags in the cartoon were all staged wrong; staged to be hard to animate, rather than staged for humor or even clarity.

Too far away, or on a live action weird angle that doesn't allow for a clean silhouette; all very clumsy direction.

I realize that Spielberg demanded arbitrarily difficult angles and constant motion to get his money's worth, but it handicapped the cartoon humor that it was trying to emulate.<<

Once again, John, your words cripple me, both in laughter and in realization. Mostly realization, but I couldn't help but laugh first reading it. Just a giggle.

Like Slim Pickens said in "Blazing Saddles", "You use your tongue prettier than a $20 whore."

oppo said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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JohnK said...

I have informal writing
sessions over lunch or breakfast. But we don't yell at each other and don't steal plots from trendy movies or the Simpsons. We don't think up puns and bad rhymes and horrific 3rd grade songs just so we can get the royalties.

We also don't try to think up grating catch phrases like "hellooooo nurse".

We tell stories from the soul and our experiences rather than just try to keep up with trends and formulas.

I could understand enjoying Animaniacs if it came out in 1984 and you had never seen :

Disney and Tom and Jerry (which has better generic animation)

or seen real WB cartoons (which are funnier, better timed, directed and staged and have real characters)

or seen Spumco cartoons which are more satirical, original and have pure sincere modernism mixed with a love of our traditions and heritage - and evolve constantly.

Nothing in TV WB cartoons is better or even half as good as any of the things it copies superficially and it offers nothing new or original.

Yes, the odd time they let Tom Minton cut loose, he'll write a really funny parody (like the one of Jonny Quest) but that happens too rarely, and it would be better executed at a studio that actually has a system of creative follow-through.


But you can't make lasting characters and series, if you rely solely on parody. Well, wait, I guess I'm wrong,I just described Family Guy.

Mr. Semaj said...

hey, the last thing I want to take credit for is inspiring 90s cartoons, but it's a fact.

If it's any consolation, the 1990's did a bigger favor to the world of animation than the 1980's or the 2000's.

Mr. Semaj said...

We also don't try to think up grating catch phrases like "hellooooo nurse".

For some reason, this made me LOL.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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Bwanasonic said...

"I could understand enjoying Animaniacs if it came out in 1984 and you had never seen :

Disney and Tom and Jerry (which has better generic animation)

or seen real WB cartoons (which are funnier, better timed, directed and staged and have real characters)

or seen Spumco cartoons which are more satirical, original and have pure sincere modernism mixed with a love of our traditions and heritage - and evolve constantly.

Nothing in TV WB cartoons is better or even half as good as any of the things it copies superficially and it offers nothing new or original."

Well I was going to post about how depressing I found the whole Animaniacs / Tiny Toons era after getting my hopes up after Mighty Mouse, but this post sums up my take. I wanted to jump on the Beatles are overated thing too, but maybe another time.

JohnK said...

" Also, as Un-cartoony as you may think the writing is, Animaniacs didn't try to be "Trendy"

Ideas like Slappy Squirrel getting into a war over putting a soda can in her neighbor's Trash can come strait from life experiences.

or Two little old ladys following Yakko Wakko and dot to the ends of the earth saying "Would ya like ta take a survey?"

Wakko's "Potty Emergency" cartoon wasn't something I'd ever seen at the time, But I've seen the ideas presented in it duplicated many times.

things like this rise the show above "A pup named scooby doo"

It actually had REAL WRITERS. who write about their life experiences.
5:51 PM "



Every single sentence in that comment defies all reason. You grew up with it and like it, that's all. It's not a crime.

I like Rocket Robin Hood in a weird way, but I can't defend it in any way.

mike f. said...

Does Mattieshoe prefer Beatlemania (registered TM copyright 1977, pat. pend., all rights reserved) to The Beatles, too?

Let's hear it for derivative, soulless corporate product - Hooray!!

I speak from (horrible) experience when I tell you that I personally witnessed the Tiny Toons and Animaniacs writers write THEMSELVES into the cartoons! (The artists were supposed to supply them with flattering caricatures. However, they KNEW better than to ask me!)

They also wrote sycophantic, reverential references to Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, (Tarrantino wasn't as well known in those days, I guess) in a desperate and pathetic effort at jockeying for future live action gigs (after they were finished "slumming" in animation, that is.)
I can name the guilty parties (Tom Minton was definitely NOT one of them) if anyone is interested.

All this on top of the fact that the finished Animaniacs product (you can hardly call it a cartoon) is unwatchable by thinking adults - or even advanced children, for that matter.

I'm sorry, but reality hurts sometimes. The truth will set you free, son...

oppo said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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PCUnfunny said...

Ah, so the origins are explained. Beetle Juice and Tiny Toons is definetly fake wonky style. I also like to add that A Pup Named Scooby Doo is the only version I liked featuring that wretched dog.


"You grew up with it and like it, that's all."

EXCATLY !!!!! People seem not to differentiate between what they love because of nostalgic or sentimental reasons and what they love because it actually has a type of credibilty. There is alot stupid things I like now or in the past that I can't defend at all.

"The Animation was often good. sometimes even giving out specific acting."

That is a lie. I have seen MANY episodes of Animaniacs and it's all stock acting.

Animaniacs was one of the cons of the century, the very definition of a false cartoon. Throw in some broke a** Tex Avery gags, gross gags (because they worked on Ren and Stimpy), 90's pop culture, badly imitated Groucho Marx, Laurel and Hardy, and other old time comedians and you got a product to spill out to the dullards.

SoleilSmile said...

I thought A Pup Named Scooby Doo was following the revisited Tex Avery trend started by Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Go fig.

SoleilSmile said...

Just a quick note: I loved the Animaniacs episodes: "Bumbi's Mom" and Tiny Toons' "Thirteen Something" were my favs. Both written by Sherri Stoner, I think. Slappy was her character. Sherry did the voice too.

Startoons rocks.

As for being retarded for being over aged and loving Animaniacs.
I watched these shows along with my other Cal Arts classmates as a freshman in 1993. Every weekday at 4pm the freshman class would take over the TV in Tatum Lounge. We would pee in our pants and laugh in our lattes.
Good times.
By the way, we loved Ren and Stimpy too:) Someone would always pop in a TV recorded VHS in the Palace screening room before class started. We all needed a good giggle to inspire us before the teacher walked in.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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J.E. said...

"All this on top of the fact that the finished Animaniacs product (you can hardly call it a cartoon) is unwatchable by thinking adults - or even advanced children, for that matter."

Funny, if Animaniacs was unwatchable by adults then how do you explain this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEdrBuBMN3Y&feature=related

This was a video taken from an Animaniacs panel at Comic Con 2006 where one of the voice actors sings one of the songs from the show live. Notice that the audience(made up of adults who love the show mind you) claps along and gives him a standing ovation at the end. That shows you that lots of people cared for the show.

John, Mike, I can understand if you guys don't like the show based on your experiences in the field. That's fine.

But the general public that watches these shows who aren't huge animation buffs aren't going to know what goes on behind the scenes. All they care about is if the show entertains them or not, not how it was made.

I accept the fact that you guys just don't like it, but you need to accept the fact that Animaniacs did have its fans. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.

diego cumplido said...

Great discussion. I agree with "mattieshoe". "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs" and even "Freakazoid" had enjoyable stuff, even though better stuff exist (Like "Ren and Stimpy" and "Dexter's Lab").

I think the Groucho Marx comparison definitely works.

I CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WONKYNESS WITHOUT MENTIONING Rocko's Modern Life: that show was pure wonkyness and bad drawings and wrong colors, but it had great gags and great characters, and also a thing you always mention as important: it seemed honest. But of course -and I'm serious on this- the show owes a lot to Ren and Stimpy and Mighty Mouse (and the mentioned mistakes), but gets over that fact most of the time.

Guy said...

"That shows you that lots of people cared for the show."

Sure they did. It's called nostalgia.

There's a huge group of adults who are obsessed with Transformers, too. There's probably more of them than there are people who still like Animaniacs. And would you argue that it has any merit?

How do you guys not get this?

Andrés said...

What's the difference between parody and satire? I'm not sure of the definition of the later.

I.D.R.C. said...

Too rough, again? I must be getting old and cranky.

Tim said...

Parody is ripping off of something. Satire is more like poking fun at something. Animananics mainly did the former, with often meddling results.

How do you feel about Disney's animated TV endeavors, John K.? Would you say they're better or about the same as WB's?

John S. said...

I've heard that some writers even have a numeric code for the gags they use, like "We need a #32 here". It always infuriates me when they reference movies in story meetings. The idiots I worked with at Sony kept trying to work in a "Scrat character", referring that little squirrel from ICE AGE. Coincidentally, they are the two jack-offs responsible for "Clone Hight", which you have down near the bottom.

mike f. said...

[This was a video taken from an Animaniacs panel at Comic Con 2006 where one of the voice actors sings one of the songs from the show live. Notice that the audience(made up of adults who love the show mind you) claps along and gives him a standing ovation at the end. That shows you that lots of people cared for the show.]

Do you have any videos of actually objective, or general audiences subjected to Animaniacs - not just regressing fanboys? For Chissakes, the very NAME of the show is cringeworthy.

oppo said...

Mike: I'd like to hear about the offending parties because I like to hear dirt on professional people in general. (Professional in the sence that they got payed.)


On the subject of what we defend and why, let me say this. We sometimes search for people who were great that worked on something, weather or not it was good or not.

Thus, Ralph Bakshi made a scene when John K tried to mention Rocket Robin Hood to him.

And if someone who was naive enough tried to mention Animaniacs to Mike Fontanelli would probably get similar results.


(By the way, I don't think that Tom Minton is with WB anymore. He's with PBS, working on Click and Clack.)

Guy said...

These days, parody is creating an exact reproduction of a popular TV show or movie with your characters replacing theirs. Hilarious!

Rotgut said...

John, you must sleep like 3 hours a night - how do you stay so involved with this industry, this blog, everything else and still find time to run your company?

I am a bigfan of your work. I am also (damn near) a daily visitor to your blog and enjoy reading your thoughts on so many aspects of cartoons, animation, and style. I can't believe how many times I have said to myself "I agree 100%!"

One exception - and granted, I haven't seen the final product - is your George Liquor show. As a concept, it seems to be a little raunchy. Are kids part of your expected audience? The Ren & Stimpy naughty stuff you did (naked girls in the hot tub, etc) I thought was a bit of a misstep for you in that you limited your audience potential with material not suited for kids...

Educate me!

mike f. said...

Most if not all of the offending parties have mercifully left the business. The biggest offenders were certainly Tom Ruegger and Sherry Stoner. Stoner somehow parlayed a gig as a "body model" for Ariel into an animation writing career - no other previous experience was deemed necessary. She went on to co-write Casper (1995), a bomb that Leonard Maltin (someone who actually knows something about animation) recommends for brain dead children.

I think the same can safely be said for Animaniacs - and that other modern classic - Histeria!, for that matter.

trevor said...

John:

Your style from these early days is actually a lot harder for me to understand than your current style.

I guess it's because now you're better at what you do, but I've always wondered about the style that I fell in love with.

Thanks for talking about the early MM style. I remember feeling cheated as a kid when Scooby Doo and Beetlejuice came out. I didn't record the credits for Mighty Mouse, so I didn't know you're name.

All I knew about it was what I told my sister: "This looks like Mighty Mouse, but I bet it's not the same guys".

My sister didn't care. She liked My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake. And Rainbow Brite.

But any time you want to tell us more about your mid to late eighties style, I'm totally game.

Thanks a trillion!

- trevor.

John Pannozzi said...

"We also don't try to think up grating catch phrases like "hellooooo nurse"."

For the record, Pinky and the Brain's catche phrases ("Are you pondering what I'm pondering?", etc.) wre created naturally. They were in the first P&B cartoon and everyone liked it so much they put in the rest of the episodes. In that case, they weren't trying to cram a catchphrase down our throats. Most other catchphrases were very forced, though.

"I speak from (horrible) experience when I tell you that I personally witnessed the Tiny Toons and Animaniacs writers write THEMSELVES into the cartoons! (The artists were supposed to supply them with flattering caricatures. However, they KNEW better than to ask me!)

They also wrote sycophantic, reverential references to Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, (Tarrantino wasn't as well known in those days, I guess) in a desperate and pathetic effort at jockeying for future live action gigs (after they were finished "slumming" in animation, that is.)
I can name the guilty parties (Tom Minton was definitely NOT one of them) if anyone is interested."


Mike, the Simpsons animation staff snuck caricatures of themselves into episodes of that show. It's actually very common in recent cartoons (like Invader Zim)

"All this on top of the fact that the finished Animaniacs product (you can hardly call it a cartoon) is unwatchable by thinking adults - or even advanced children, for that matter."

Well, Harlan Ellison like Tiny Toon, Animaniacs, and Pinky & the Brain.

Personally, I can see the flaws in the Tom Ruegger shows clear as day, but I still think they had some strong points. Such as fast pacing and timing (maybe the jokes themselves weren't as funny as some Ren and Stimpy jokes, but they came flying faster than some of the jokes in certain Ren & Stimpy cartoons). Norm McCabe and Tom Ray worked on the timing of TTA and A! (and also directed some episodes). I also admired that they spoofed everything from the competition to themselves. Maybe alot of the jokes were grating, but they made fun of things few kids' cartoons in this decade have.

I.D.R.C. said...

Chuck Jones woulda been 96 yesterday.

Let's all tip our 40's to a non-wonky master.

J.R. Spumkin said...

As someone probably said in 2003, "Stop the ass kissing, we's gonna have a war!"

I keep my stance on Animaniacs and all that has the E.T. greased hands of Speilberg on it. Personally, when I was a KID, I liked it. And sometimes now, I like it. Like George Carlin's description of children, not all of the jokes were clever.

I couldn't get the musical references till 13.

I couldn't get the acting references till 12.

This, sadly, is a battle of taste. John's stance on it is that it's a bad show with Speilberg's candy-covered monkey paws (thank you Scott Cragg for thhe quote) with poorly thought out humor and musical jokes no sane or straight persron can think of.

Other people think this is a brilliant show with hilarious humor and that Mr. Spielberg (I'm sorry if I keep misspelling his name) is a genius.

But, here's what I have to say, and I know none of you will give two monkey s#!ts, but here it goes:

Tiny Toons is annoying. Very annoying. It's a decent concept of "Acme Looniversity" and stuff, but spin-offs of the classics are never good. It's what I call "Loonatic Factor".

Animaniacs is good in some points. I'll sit through an episode, I'll laugh a little bit. It's not an awful show, it's not the best thing created by humans (and subhumans). It ain't great, but it's a decent thing.

The movie references will fly right over a kid's head, and yet the stuff that is for kids is pretty lame.

This is coming from the same guy who bashed "Tarzan II", and who is going to explaining the "Dreadlock Factor" in his next post on his blog. Feel free to ignore him, ladies.

PCUnfunny said...

It's a decent concept of "Acme Looniversity" and stuff, but spin-offs of the classics are never good."

I HATED the Looniversity. That just makes the show deliberately generic and stale. Cartoon characters learning how to be cartoon characters ? That makes about as much sense as humans learning how to be humans. By creating a "Looniversity", you just make the charactes empty shells that rely on sterotypes, the very thing Tiny Toons were.

PCUnfunny said...

"And Rainbow Brite."

Embrassing confession, I loved Murky and Lurky. They were my first exposure to the retard and arse hole dymanic.

Roberto González said...

>>I HATED the Looniversity. That just makes the show deliberately generic and stale. Cartoon characters learning how to be cartoon characters ? That makes about as much sense as humans learning how to be humans. By creating a "Looniversity", you just make the charactes empty shells that rely on sterotypes, the very thing Tiny Toons were.>>

At least they came out with something better than just showing the LT cast when they were kids, which could have been great if well done (Old Gray Hare anyone?) but it would have certainly made purist even more angry if they have pretended their main characters to be young Bugs, Daffy, etc. I'm not mad with all that cartoon characters learning to be cartoon characters concept either, but I liked the fact that we had Bugs, Elmer and Daffy in the show being themselves (and they were portrayed with some dignity,certainly better than they were in Space Jam) and then we had these other characters. So maybe Buster has some stereotypical adolescent traits but at least they didn't transform Bugs into it. And Buster was still better than most of the other "cartoon stars in kid version" (think about the whole cast in Yo, Yogi and the clothes they were wearing, for example).

Mattieshoe said...
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Roberto González said...

About all that "it's nostalgia" arguments. It's not, really. I loved Ducktales as a kid, now I find it pretty flawed (I can only see some of it because I love Scrooge from the comic-books). I loved Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers, now it seems shit to me. I loved A pup named Scooby Doo, I can't stand it now.

Yeah, people who still praise Transformers are mad, but if you rewatch certain things you liked as a kid and some of them still seem entertaining while others seem crappy that's clearly not nostalgia. I just rewatched Potty Emergency on youtube. Not my fave gags or plot but entertaining at least. Visuals and characters facial expressions are just fantastic, much better than I remembered. It's nostalgia when I find something better now than I found then?

As for the rest of my opinion about Animaniacs (gags, characterizations, etc.) I completely agree with Iritscent and John Pannozzi.

Mattieshoe said...
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JohnK said...

"At least they came out with something better than just showing the LT cast when they were kids,"

Huh? That's exactly what they did. Looney Tunes babies who explained and made excuses for all the old cartoon gags that never needed explanation - except to cartoon-script-"writers" who don't get it.

It was repulsive, insulting, amateurish and blasphemous in every way.

SoleilSmile said...

Acme Looniversity was based on Cal Arts, I think. The beloved Cal Arts animation history teacher, Corny Cole, used to work on the Road Runner cartoons and if you look at him closely, he'll remind you of Wile E. Coyote...just much much much older:) So, the Tiny Toons young cartoon characters being taught by famous cartoon mentors strikes familiar. Furthermore, Tiny Toons had a Producer's Show episode and someone who worked in the industry confirmed that the eps was a spoof of Cal Arts--and the judging--it's short--it wins.
BTW, I made a film just like Shirley the Loon's by the way. I dig surrealism in animation.

Anyhoo, hope the sheds some light on the subject.

Carry on

PCUnfunny said...

"Huh? That's exactly what they did. Looney Tunes babies who explained and made excuses for all the old cartoon gags that never needed explanation - except to cartoon-script-"writers" who don't get it.

It was repulsive, insulting, amateurish and blasphemous in every way."

Thank you.


"I'm not mad with all that cartoon characters learning to be cartoon characters concept either"

How can you defend that ? If they are learning how to be cartoon characters, what are they then ? Like I said, empty shells.

PCUnfunny said...

"About all that "it's nostalgia" arguments. It's not, really."

Yes it is. People like to love what they grew up with and they try to justify it. Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, all that WBA "welcome to the 90's crap" is a time capsule of that decade.

Mattieshoe said...
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Mattieshoe said...
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Roberto González said...

"Huh? That's exactly what they did. Looney Tunes babies who explained and made excuses for all the old cartoon gags that never needed explanation - except to cartoon-script-"writers" who don't get it.

It was repulsive, insulting, amateurish and blasphemous in every way."

You know what I meant. They were different characters, very similar but there were little differences. Annoying as she was Elmyra was quite different to Elmer and Furball looked and acted quite different to Sylvester. Yeah, the very concept of the series can be as bad as Yo, Yogi, but by doing it this way they didn't change Bugs Bunny and friends, who were other different
characters in the show. The development of the typical "carton stars turned into a kid" thing , unoriginal as it is, was done in a more original way. You don't like it now, but you'd surely hate it even more if they have transform Bugs into Buster. The show was a little more tactful than Loonatics or Baby Looney Tunes in that respect.

I don't love the idea of copying the traits of other classic characters, but they tried to include some new personality traits in some of them, and in Animaniacs they finally included their own characters. Sure, they didn't risk much with the Tiny Toons, but once they got confident they tried their own thing.


>>>"I'm not mad with all that cartoon characters learning to be cartoon characters concept either"

How can you defend that ? If they are learning how to be cartoon characters, what are they then ? Like I said, empty shells.>>

Actually what I was trying to say is that I don't like that kind of concept that much either. It was my bad english. I meant "mad" as being crazy or loving something, not being angry. I don't "defend" it but I don't think it's necessarily an excuse for lack of personality. Probably the characters would have acted the same if they were learning Maths instead of how to be cartoons. That ruined some of the cartoons gags, but it didn't really ruin the character based gags. Yes, there were character based gags, better or worse, but they were not so empty.

Ryan said...

Using examples from Beetlejuice is an interesting choice. The live-action Beetlejuice movie used some distorted perspective in the world of the dead. I had attributed Beetlejuice's wonkiness to a misinterpretation of that (If Tim Burton did it some of the time, we should do it all the time.) rather than Mighty Mouse.

PCUnfunny said...

Roberto:

I think what would have made more sense is if the tiny toons went to school to be actors. Like I said, learning things such as "wild takes" and how to react when walking off a cliff robs the fun of those gags and makes them feel like a gimmick. It also makes the characters artifical.

Mr. Semaj said...

People like to love what they grew up with and they try to justify it.

If this is just for contemporary cartoons, then the same would have to be applied to Ren & Stimpy.

Strange as it sounds, there are people out there who don't appreciate R & S as much as they used to (and not just because of the Games episodes).

Ted said...

"That makes about as much sense as humans learning how to be humans"
Have you ever noticed how most tweens and young teens act like amoral animals? Humans do need to learn how to be humans.

PCUnfunny said...

"If this is just for contemporary cartoons, then the same would have to be applied to Ren & Stimpy."

It applies to anything.

"Humans do need to learn how to be humans."

No, when humans grow up they learn how to restrain themselves from there disgusting human tendencies. You never learn how to be human.

Ryan said...

Related to my comments about Beetlejuice, Tim Burton's 1982 stop-motion short "Vincent"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD8uQzu0IL0

So I'll bet Beetlejuice cartoon's wonkiness was an imitation of Burton's style, which in turn was influenced by German expressionism. And I'll bet the earliest "controlled distortion" cartoon backgrounds were influenced by the German expressionism, too. So that's an influence on "wonkiness" I think nobody should ignore.

Whit said...

Tim Burton's whole career is an 'homage' to the style of Edward Gorey.

Mattieshoe said...
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Alain-Christian said...

I HATED a pup named Scooby Doo. I also hated the Tiny Toons episodes that resembled it. Ugh.

dandeco said...

I actually LOVE "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo!" It's a great self-parody of the old series, and I love the Tex Avery/Bob Clampett-influenced animation Glen Kennedy did for the show's first season. (I have mixed opinions on his work on Tiny Toons, though.) In fact I wouldn't be surprised if one of the staff members on the "Pup" series went on to be a Spumco employee judging by the layouts, fuller animation and stuff. From what I understand, this was H-B's earliest attempt at a "zany" kind of animated cartoon after their stilted output for most of the 1980s.

BTW, I'm surprised you never hired Kennedy Cartoons to do some of the animation for Ren and Stimpy back in the early 1990s! I'm willing to bet that Glen Kennedy guy could've done some great animation for Ren and Stimpy (I wouldn't want to see them doing the "Pup Named Scooby-Doo" dance cycles, though). Kennedy Cartoons would've been a good Carbunkle Cartoons substitute when you didn't want to rely on Rough Draft Studios or Fil-Cartoon. Though not as good as Carbunkle's work or your own aniamtion, I'm sure Kennedy Cartoons would've been able to make R&S retain its surreal look and feel to it, and be a thousand times better than Bob Camp and crew's work during the Nick takeover in 1993-1996.

Alain-Christian said...

@danedeco

Rough Draft is one of the top 3 studios when it comes to getting the look and feel of a show. At least in my opinion.

While other studios have a look about them, TMS and Dongwoo for instance, Rough Draft actually retains the look of whatever it is you give them. Rough Draft doesn't have their own look, which is why you want them working on your show. Do do exactly as you tell them and it's always on-model. They're amazing.

From Ren & Stimpy to The Maxx and beyond. They have not a single fault. why would you want Kennedy instead of RDS?

dandeco said...

Well Alain...

I don't have a problem with Rough Draft Studios, but Kennedy Cartoons could've still been involved maybe with certain sequences. I'm not talking about the lumpy bad animation in some of their later episodes for "Tiny Toon Adventures" and a few "Darkwing Duck" scenes. I'm talking about the smooth bouncy style seen in some earlier Kennedy-animated TTA episodes, like in "The Looney Beginning" or "Best 'O Plucky Duck Day" or maybe even "Gang Busters." Now THAT style could work with Ren & Stimpy. After all, it worked with "Tales of Worm Paranoia" (especially that opening with the spiral background).

Pokey said...

PCUnfunny said:
"
Animaniacs was one of the cons of the century, the very definition of a false cartoon. Throw in some broke a** Tex Avery gags, gross gags (because they worked on Ren and Stimpy), 90's pop culture, badly imitated Groucho Marx, Laurel and Hardy, and other old time comedians and you got a product to spill out to the dullards."

Only Ren and Stimpy used stock music cues from APM and Capitol and Shaindlin (which Art Clokey used for Davey, Goliath, Sally, Gumby, Prickle, Goo, and me), and STORYBOARDING but PC you are right....

Pokey said...

John K, as for self-referencing, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and sometimes H-B (with Pixie and Dixie in one of the very first, "Ghost with the most" where they tell us that they recognize a ghost (like what Dixie dressed as) as Jinks) used that (Rocky certainly did...(the P&D cartoon was one of those "guiltiness aftyer killing ones"..) Huckleberry Hound and Roger Ramjet were narrated and would have conversations like in your and Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse, but yeah, never to the extent that Mighty did..Steve

Pokey said...

JR, you spelt Spielberg correctly.

PC, forget about everything else: Tiny Toons spending times being cartoons or toons is not only shallow and a shell, but simply over dependendtly self-reflexive.

I gave up on those shows immediately.

Pokey said...

In all of the talk about the Beatles vs other Brit groups no one mentioned an important competitor-The Rolling Stones!!!

I mean, how can ya mention The Beatles versus other British Invasion groups without Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and company!!!