Friday, September 26, 2008

Bumper: Nickelodeon - What Time Is It?

If you thought that "Wacky Wild Kool-Aid Style" commercial I blogged about was a trip, you ain't seen nothing yet. This Nickelodeon bumper from 1990 is an amalgamation of various animated bumpers (yes, there are actually bumpers WITHIN bumpers in this one) and clips from Nick shows. It's a chaotic mess... and I love it. It definitely embodies the awesomeness that was once Nickelodeon.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Muppet Babies

Insomnia sucks. I can't believe I'm blogging about Muppet Babies at six in the morning.

Muppet Babies kicked off the "babyification" craze of popular cartoon characters that was so prevalent in the 80s and early 90s. Just think, if this show never existed, we never would have seen such gems as A Pup Named Scooby Doo, The Flintstone Kids, Tom and Jerry Kids, and Yo Yogi! (I don't group Tiny Toon Adventures with these shows, because it featured a completely different group of characters instead of the originals as kids, plus, Tiny Toons was actually a good show, unlike the four mentioned above). While most of these "babyfied" shows are pretty forgettable, Muppet Babies obviously did something right, because it ran from 1984 to 1990 (plus, several characters made cameos in Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue).

From a grown-up point of view, Muppet Babies isn't half bad. It lacks the more adult humor of Animaniacs or Tiny Toons and doesn't deliver quite as many laughs (and the voices are MUCH more grating), but there are still a number of references and parodies that adults will find amusing.

There is one thing that bugs me about the show as an adult: the addition of Skeeter, Scooter's twin sister. Skeeter was never an original Muppet, but the writers obviously wanted another female character. I HATE it when shows add token female characters (I'm looking at you, Smurfette). It's not like Miss Piggy was the only original female Muppet. Couldn't they have just used Janice or Camilla (who actually appeared as Gonzo's stuffed toy)? And if they insisted on creating a token female, they could have at least made her less annoying. Skeeter sucked.

I was well aware that June Cleaver moonlighted as the Muppet Babies' nanny. However, I didn't know that Mr. Deal or No Deal himself provided a few voices (although now that I think about it, Skeeter sounded exactly like Bobby Generic).

Today's post features the very first episode, in which a member of the popo moves in next door to the Muppet Babies (I included an extra clip of the theme song, since it was cut out of the video I posted). If this particular one doesn't tickle your fancy, there are many more on Youtube.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Commercials: Kool-Aid

Tonight's episode of Family Guy inspired this entry.

Kool-Aid has a looong history of advertising campaigns, some more memorable than others. As usual, I'll be focusing on the ads from the late 80s and early 90s. If you're looking for the more classic commercials, you're at the wrong place. I'm one month and three weeks shy of my 25th birthday, those were before my time.

One of the ad campaigns from my childhood was "Wild and Wacky". The following commercial is a trip. It looks like a film student's first project. It embodies the cheese of the late 80s and early 90s. Kool-Aid Man busts through the wall in a pair of pink leopard print pants and a blond wig that resembles fiberglass insulation.

Here's a low-quality commercial of my absolute favorite flavor ever: Sharkleberry Fin. Fintastic!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Joy of Painting

During my pre-school years, I stayed glued to PBS from the time I woke up in the morning until the 5:00 PM (CST) airing of Sesame Street ended and gave way to MacNeil/Lehrer. I did give the TV a rest between the 11:00 AM and 2:00PM airings of Sesame Street, because during those hours, PBS aired boring "grown-up shows", such as Sewing With Nancy. However one of these "grown-up shows" managed to capture my interest: The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

I'm not sure why I was so captivated by this show. Could it have been Bob's soothing voice? His salt and pepper fro? That smooth jazz theme music? Maybe it was classic phrases like "happy little trees" that drew me in. My dad, however, sang a different tune. One day, he put his foot down and refused to watch one more second of "that poofy-haired fucker".

I had no idea that this show ran until 1995. I also didn't know that it started airing in 1983 (my birth year). Judging from Bob's fro, I always assumed that it was from the 70s. I guess I should have known better, his lapels were way too small.

The Joy of Painting's legacy lives on to this day. Reruns still air sporadically. There's even a proposed video game based on the show. No, really. I guess the Frugal Gourmet game was a no-go.

Ultimately, The Joy of Painting taught me a valuable life lesson that everyone should keep with them: "We don't make mistakes, we just make happy accidents."

Here's a sampling. Be warned, Bob tends to get a little crazy with the cadmium yellow!

BONUS! Even the writers of Doug recognized how ripe for parody this guy was.