Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL

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This show has been the New Hotness around here for maybe three weeks or so, and he really hasn’t watched anything else during that time.  Outside of Teen Titans Go!, which it just occurs to me has never been the subject of one of these posts, it might be my favorite series he’s ever watched, to the point where I really don’t even have anything snarky to say about it, just a recommendation that you go watch it yourself, even if you don’t have a little kid in the house to give you an excuse.

The premise: the blue, oddly wide-hipped cat on the right is Gumball Watterson, a middle-school aged cat-thing.  The orange thing in the green socks on the left is Darwin Raglan Caspian Ahab Poseidon Nicodemius Watterson III.  That’s not a joke.  They call him Darwin, but that’s his name. Darwin is a fish, and he used to be Gumball’s pet and live in a bowl on his desk, but apparently I missed the episode where he grew legs and became a main character or something?  I dunno, roll with it.

(In time-honored The Boy Is Watching TV fashion, I haven’t seen the episodes in anything even vaguely resembling the order they aired in, so I’m sure I’m missing lots of stuff.  But yeah, Darwin’s a fish, and used to be a pet, but now he can breathe air and walk around. Make something up so it makes sense.)

Also, Darwin is a cat, and his mom is a cat, but the fish is also his brother in addition to being his former pet, and his dad and his sister are both rabbits.  The role of genetics in this world is somewhat suspect.  Also, his dad is a genial useless Homer Simpson type without the cynicism– oddly, I find dad weirdly refreshing– and Mom may be a no-shit actual ninja when she isn’t housewifing.

Take a good long look at that picture up there, which includes a decent chunk of the cast. You will note that there appear to be a pretty wide variety of animation styles on display, from traditional 2D animation to 3D CGI to papercraft to 8-bit pixel art to 1930s-style cel animation to puppetry to stop-motion to live-action.  The characters themselves range from animals to insects to robots to inanimate objects (one character is a bomb with legs) and food to Sussie.  This is Sussie:

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Sussie, if you can’t immediately tell, is someone’s upside-down face with googly eyes glued to her (?) chin.  (Sussie is female, but I think the chins are mostly guys?  They’re not always the same chin; that one snaggletooth in the picture isn’t always there.) We watched a Sussie-centered episode last night before going to bed and she was what convinced me that this show needed one of these pieces written about it, because Sussie is fucked up, guys.  She apparently takes her eyes off before she sleeps, and then peels them off of a sheet of googly-eyes to put them on in the morning?  And the episode was about her making Gumball and Darwin wear her googly eyes over her real eyes, and then they saw the world the way she does, and the entire episode was a fucked-up masterpiece of 3000 different styles of animation all in the same episode, and it was weird and brilliant and

(brief pause while I realize the second Tunisian player is being stretchered off the field since I started typing this; damn, but the Belgians and Tunisians are going at each other hard in this match)

and anyway the show is weird and dark and funny and insanely inventive and adventurous and original and has the best facial expressions of any animated television program I’ve ever seen and it’s genuinely worth a watch even if you don’t have a kid in the house to give you an excuse.  Actually, let’s talk about those facial expressions for a moment; one of the results about this show’s refusal to stick to a single stye of animation is that they’re free to vary things like line weight as much as they want, which gives them a tremendous range of expression when they need it:

Multiply this across literally every character on the show and you’ve got something really special.  Go check this one out.

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G01Ye_s-200x150I’m exhausted.

I am sitting in front of the TV with my laptop in my lap and a highly uncharacteristic glass of wine sitting on the end table next to me.  We’re watching Season 2 of Jessica Jones, which I’ve really had trouble paying close attention to.  We’ve got like three episodes left and I’m just not feeling it right now.

I dunno; I started this post hoping if I rattled on for a while something interesting would fall out but I don’t appear to have it in me right now.  Writing in general has been much more like pulling teeth than usual lately– in fact, now that I’ve had a tooth pulled and know how simple it is I may need to come up with a new metaphor.  I’ve got another con coming up in a few weeks– I’ll be at IndyPopCon again, have I mentioned that?– and I’m hoping it’ll get the creative juices flowing again.  We’ll see, I suppose.

In the meantime, this glass of wine ain’t drinking itself.  I’m not sure who’s going to drink it because I kind of hate wine but it’s definitely not going to drink itself.

Anybody read any good books lately?  Recommend something.

Quick question

I’ve completely lost patience with The Walking Dead, and haven’t watched an episode since the show came back from its midseason hiatus.  We’re, I dunno, four or five episodes into the new season of Jessica Jones and I can barely pay attention.  I did notice that Season 2 of Into the Badlands was on Netflix, and I’ll watch that, and I binged The End of the Fucking World on Hulu a week or two ago but that’s kinda a one-off.

What’s good in TV right now?  Y’all should have a decent idea of what my tastes are like after all this time, right?

Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: POKEMON

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You may have heard of this show.

My son has, in the last few months, become entirely obsessed with… whatever the fuck these things are.  They come in types, apparently, Water and Fighting and Nonsense and Flatulent and Clown and probably a few others I’m unaware of.  And they live in little plastic balls, except for the little yellow one, who won’t go in the ball.  And they only come out of the ball when it’s time to fight each other, which they are willing to do at any time and for any reason.

Except, see, they don’t know how to fight.  They have no fucking idea how to fight even though fighting is literally the only thing they’re for, or at least it’s the only thing they’re for once they go in the ball.  The ones out of the balls seem to live perfectly normal wildlifey sort of lives.  So they need people to tell them how to fight.  All of their moves have names and they have “trainers” who tell them, step-by-step, how to fight each other. Picture somebody outside a boxing ring hollering at a boxer to “Use Jab!” and “Duck!” and “Use Roundhouse!” or “Use Spousal Abuse!” and you have the basic idea.

The main character is a homeless orphan named Ash.  His last name is Ketchum, because his job is to catch all of the Pokémon– to catch ’em— and this show is nothing if not fucking subtle.  He only has one set of clothes and his electric rat lives on his shoulder.  He literally wanders around in the woods with his friends and looks for other electro-rats and fire-bears and flatulence-sloths and such and he finds them and he makes them fight his electro-rat or whatever and then if he beats them he gets to stuff them into a ball and keep them.

I think.  It’s hard to pay attention to if you’re grown.

Then there’s these assholes:

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These are… the bad guys, I think?  They seem to really want the electro-rat.  So maybe they want to steal him, or something, or maybe they just want a different electro-rat to go with their weird horn-cat thing they have, I don’t know.  But here’s the thing: there are eleventy fifteen thousand different versions of Pokémon.  There’s Pokemon XY and Pokemon Black and Pokemon Silver and a bunch of movies named after individual Pokébeasts and all sorts of shit.  And I’m pretty sure these three are in every one?

And every time they show up on screen they introduce themselves with the same rhyme.  

I’m pretty sure that this is actually supposed to be happening in the real world.  Not, like, in their heads or some shit like that.

Try and imagine knowing these people, and every time you see them they have to introduce themselves with this stupid fucking rhyme.  Each and every single time.

These may be the most annoying people in the history of television, and we live in a world with Super Why.

On letting idiots make decisions for me

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Perhaps the sound of a million baby-men all wailing at once alerted you; there is to be a new Doctor Who, or maybe a new Doctor, hell, I don’t watch the show, I don’t think “Doctor Who” is actually the character’s name, but maybe it is– and at any rate, the Doctor is to be played by a Person of Feminine Aspect, a Vagina-Haver, a Breasted-American, except she’s not American and Breasted-Brit sounds like some sort of snack food.  A girl!  Playing a character who used to be played by a man with a penis!

I assume Peter Capaldi has a penis. And all the others, whatever their names are.  Steve or James or Bonbon or something else British.  I’m only assuming they all had penises.  I’ve never seen any of their penises.  But apparently they were really important to all this Time Lord business.

So, yeah, there’s a girl in a show now and oh so many judgment-challenged sillymen are oh so very upset.  And here’s the thing: I’ve kinda been jonesing for a new Nerd Thing lately that I could pay attention to?  I’m tired of Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones has worn very very thin and I was never into the TV series anyway, and I’m not actually certain that the new Star Trek is actually watchable by regular people who don’t have some sort of arcane CBS subscription that I refuse to find out anything about.  But I can watch this new Doctor Who thing, right?  And knowing that me watching it is a tiny thorn in the ample sides of some very horrible people brings me pleasure, so there’s that.

I have actually tried to get into Doctor Who on a few occasions and failed.  With the notable exception of Monty Python, British entertainment does tend to bounce off of me a bit, and every previous episode of the program I’ve tried to watch really didn’t get anywhere with me.  But for some reason I downloaded the two-part season finale of Season 10, which was Capaldi’s final season (although I understand there’s some sort of Christmas special thing coming, where he’ll actually end his run?) and damn if I wasn’t well and hooked despite not really having the vaguest idea what the fuck was going on or who any of the non-Capaldi characters were.  The Cybermen should have been Power Rangers-level cheesy nonsense but somehow they worked, and I was suitably creeped out by them.

And so: I shall be partaking of this new LadyWho person, and hopefully I will enjoy it.  And if not, meh.  At least I annoyed some idiots.  That’s always worth something, right?

PS: Is “Dr. Who” some sort of faux pas?  I keep wanting to spell it that way and changing it back to eliminate the abbreviation.  Is it like Spider-Man, where if you don’t include the hyphen you die in seven days?