Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Freakazoid came out on DVD for the first time today

and I think the world is a better place for it.

For those of you who don't remember Freakazoid, it was an animated show brought to us by Steven Spielberg in the mid-90s, following The Berg's (that's his hip, abbreviated name... didn't you know?) hit cartoons Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. But it was also bred out of the sensibilities of the WB's other hit cartoon, the one I talked about ad naseum a few weeks ago... the one starring this guy...

Who is that handsome devil, anyway?

... At any rate, Freakazoid was a show that was part comedy, part superhero, and was even originally being developed by Batman's Bruce Timm and Paul Dini (according to the features on the DVD, they left the show when it took its more comedic bend, and the character of the Creeper we see in one of the later-day B:TAS episodes resembles what their Freakazoid would have been like). And the interesting thing about Freakazoid, the thing that made me hunger for purchasing the DVD today, is that it is really funny. Like, still. Especially for those of us who grew up on a steady diet of Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, and Batman.

I don't really want to go into a huge dissection of Freakazoid's humor, mostly because I'm no expert on comedy, but also because the show is just, to use a word I kind of hate, completely random. The senior story editor says it best on the DVD featurette: there was no formula Freakazoid episode. Every episode was different, and anything could happen from one to another, from fighting cultured cavemen complete with a New Englander's snooty drawl at a school dance, to our hero wondering at a gummi museum with Ed Asner's cop character Cosgrove, to an argument with Wakko Warner and the Brain on whose show Spielberg likes best. But don't take my word for it...

The point is that this show's humor could come from anywhere. Some of is it silly and slapsticky, other bits play off having a fair understanding of the workings of fiction, while other aspects still rely on non-sequitur lines and characters (this is, I think, my favorite part of the show, and Ed Asner's Cosgrove embodies it). It all adds up to a really satisfying, surprisingly funny watch... I daresay that episodes of Freakazoid could live alongside middle-year Simpsons and The Critic in pretty good harmony. It may not reach the heights of those shows, but seriously... it is really good.

Hooray for DVDs!


ITguy said...

I have a phone number for an expert on comedy if you need it.

Anonymous said...

I loved this show when I was younger. Oh for the return of more shows like Earthworm Jim and Road Rovers.