Category Archives: Television

2 Stupid Dogs Combines Childhood Slapstick With Adult Innuendo

If you were a kid in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, chances are you probably (didn’t) watch a little cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera studios featuring the antics of two highly-stylised and intellectually-challenged canines. The show in question, 2 Stupid Dogs, is one of the rare, unappreciated gems that helped herald the new renaissance in American animation and gave way to later unbridled shows–such as The Oblongs, Superjail, and Robot Chicken (pretty-much the entire Adult Swim lineup)–that have come to define a humour for an entire generation.

The show was the brainchild of Disney house animator Donovan Cook who had worked on several feature films while finishing his degree at CalArts.  In addition to Cook’s demented sense of humour, Spümcø president John Kricfalusi (“John K.” of Ren and Stimpy fame) as well as other Spümcø writers and artists would often contribute story and artistic elements (Kricfalusi was even credited with contributing “Tidbits of Poor Taste” in some episodes).  The series also helped launch the career of some of the biggest names in animation in the 1990’s and 2000’s:  Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory), Craig McCracken (The PowerPuff Girls), Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents), and Rob Renzetti (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), to name but a few.  The writing was fresh and often topical, appealing to a mature audience while silliness, gross humour, and slapstick appealed to the “target” audience.

The sheer brilliance of the series laid not only in its razor-sharp wit, but also in its unusual “retro” style.  The cartoon was drawn the the very simplistic, stylised manner of cartoons common in the 1950’s and 60’s, considered to be the golden age of television animation; the show also employed many conventions that had fallen by the wayside during the 1980’s such as absurdism, irrelevant sound effects, and wild takes.  The show also employed a gaggle of celebrated voice actors, some of which were legends in their own right (June Foray, Carol Channing, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker), and some of which were just beginning to get noticed (Ben Stiller, and Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Brad Garrett).

Though only 36 shorts were produced (a paltry 4.5 hours of content compared to other shows at the time), they are packed full of quality content with absolutely no “throw away” episodes.  2 Stupid Dogs guarantees to appeal to both the classic animation lover and to the casual aficionado of cheap jokes and hearty guffaws.

P.S.: This is quite possibly the best line in the series.

A Warm Welcome

Rowan Atkinson (a.k.a. “Mr. Bean”, “Edmund Blackadder”, and even “The Doctor”) is probably one of the most versatile actors and certainly one of the funniest minds of our time.  Most people in the U.S. have never heard of him, so he is certainly one of the most under-appreciated acts on this side of the pond, usually relegated to playing small characters and flunkies in Hollywood’s B-list movies (Rat Race, Never Say Never Again, and even his titular Bean).  Just remember, that if it weren’t for Atkinson, American audiences would never have been told that “it’s not lupus” for eight years (House‘s Hugh Laurie first came to prominence on Blackadder).

This is a clip from the home video release of Rowan Atkinson Live! released in the early 1990’s when he played Boston University in a one-man show.  In it, Atkinson, as The Devil, welcomes a new batch of sinners to Hell’s eternal damnation.  Enjoy!

The Cabler

Waiting for the cable guy is certainly one of the most annoying things I have ever had the displeasure of undertaking.  Some dude with dirty boots comes into your house, snoops around, then has to run his grubby hands all over your keyboard to connect to the central switch.  The worst part is that some companies still charge you to have to experience this!  I know not everyone knows how to run cable through their house, or how to connect to the branch line, or even how to program the remote, but dammit I do!  I don’t want to pay for a service that I would enjoy doing myself!  That being said, enjoy some more break-in nonsense with “The Cabler.”

Neil Gaiman on The Occupy Movement

I think there should be an Occupy Gallifrey. “Because 0.000001% of the people have 99.99999% of the Time.”

Neil Gaiman

Jason Mustian on Primetime TV

I’d rather watch Seinfeld reruns in primetime before I watched about 98% of the primetime shows on TV today.

Jason Mustian

Jason Mustian on Advertising

Yep, making the commercials louder than the show is exactly what will keep me from muting them.

Jason Mustian (@JasonMustian)

Jason Mustian on “The Deadliest Catch”

I bet the “deadliest” part of their catch derives from the mental anguish caused by knowing it’s going to get eaten at a Red Lobster.

Jason Mustian (@JasonMustian)

Gaius Baltar on Life and Death

Life can be a curse as well as a blessing. You will believe me when I say that there are far worse things than death in this world.

Gaius Baltar (James Callis), Battlestar Galactica

TV a la carte? I’ll Buy That For A Dollar!

According to anonymous sources via The Wall Street Journal, Apple is possibly in the process of wooing at least CBS and Disney into a subscription service for streaming television.  The basic rundown is that the customer could subscribe to a program stream without having to deal with those messy, customer-unfriendly cable companies that everyone I know loathes and despises in a vein similar to their affections for Terrorists and Nazi Zombies.

I, for one, am ecstatic about the prospect of only having to pay for the small handful of channels I watch (when I actually sit down and watch television).  If I want The Military History Channel, I don’t want to have to purchase Golf TV, BET, Lifetime, etc. when I will practically never find myself actively watching such tripe.  Of course, this is something we’ve all been subjected to since the advent and explosion of the format since the 1980’s.  I remember talk during the late 90’s about the FCC kicking around the idea of “TV a la carte” wherein, thanks to programmable receivers, consumers would be able to purchase subscriptions only for networks they actually watch.  Lobbies representing the cable providers (namely Comcast and Verizon, if memory serves correctly) immediately went into action championing the plight of the niche-market TV networks–small, usually locally-oriented, stations that have little to no widespread appeal (think low-power UHF stations of old)–saying they would inevitably be destroyed if no one had the opportunity to stumble upon them.  Thankfully, we now have Web 2.0.  With its proliferation of on-demand services such as RSS, YouTube, Twitter, etc., the “no one will ever see this” excuse is practically eliminated.

I think this is certainly the start of something new and necessary for the growth of entertainment, information, and technology.  With seemingly limitless options provided by the Interweb, television doesn’t have to be held hostage to timeslots…or location-specific receivers, for that matter.  My only concern is the fact that Apple might keep a stranglehold on the market–is there a way to make sure that the receiver software stays open?  I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes just to keep up with 24 or Doctor Who.  Frankly, I don’t want to have to deal with iTunes, period, but that’s a subject for another time.

In the meantime:  Streaming media to your set-top box, laptop, or phone?  Yes, please.