Animation and Anime

Moriarty Asks, "WILL DUCK DODGERS BE THAWED BY CARTOON NETWORK'!"

Published at: April 1, 2002, 11:17 a.m. CST

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Paul Dini's got the coolest friends.

A little over a week ago, Dini invited me to stop by Warner Bros. Animation for lunch. They're in offices that are part of the newly-redeveloped Sherman Oaks Galleria complex, and there's a PF Chang's, a Cheesecake Factory, and a few other options right there for the animators to enjoy every afternoon. Before lunch, though, Paul asked me if I'd like to see what he was working on.

"This isn't mine, though," he said to me as we walked through the offices, past display cases full of Hannah-Barbera memorabilia. "This show came out of these two other guys. I'm just here because it sounds like fun. I want to make sure you don't call this a Paul Dini show, because that's not really true." In a town where people are constantly fighting over credit and nitpicking and arbitrating each other to death, Paul's attitude is a welcome surprise. I think he just genuinely loves working with Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, the animators who are responsible for the possibility of a new animated series based on the Chuck Jones classic cartoon, "Duck Dodgers In The 24th ½ Century".

Can't say as I blame him. When we walked into their offices, they weren't there, but the walls and tables were lined with artwork, all of it part of their attempt to flesh out the world of that cartoon into something that could give them enough room for an entire series. There's Daffy, and there's Porky as his faithful cadet, and there's Marvin, everyone's favorite Martian. There's new characters, too, like the Queen of Mars and Dr. I.Q. High, but they're rendered in a style that complements, rather than contradicts, the style of the original short. All of Ted Blackman's design paintings for the world itself suggest the magnificent work of Maurice Noble, expanding on his ideas while honoring them.

When Spike and Tony came back to their office, I got a real treat. They sat down and walked me through the storyboards for the entire first episode, performing the character voices just like they would in any story pitch meeting. Even as a series of still drawings, the episode made me laugh very hard, consistently. Thanks to the ego of Duck Dodgers, he and his cadet end up stranded in deep space with a burnt-out power core. They spend years adrift before running across Marvin's ship. Duck Dodgers hatches a plan to distract Marvin long enough to steal his power core, and any fan of classic WB animation will be delighted to know that, yes, they manage to put the pig in a dress right away. If Bugs Bunny and his brethren have taught me anything over the years, it's that drag is funny. Billy Wilder knew it. Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman knew it. And Porky Pig certainly seems to know it. I was weeping as Daffy tried to convince Porky that he was a "hot pertater" in his dress, and I laughed even harder once Porky got carried away with the idea.

Harry and I have always disagreed over which Daffy Duck is the best of the bunch. He changed over the years as different directors worked with him. Harry's a fan of the early Daffy, the wild animal who bounced wildly around the room going "HOO-HOO!" There's a certain Harpo Marx charm to him in that incarnation, but for my money, it's the "happy miser" Daffy, the pompous windbag of "Duck Amuck," with his tragic case of pronoun trouble once Rabbit Season arrives that makes me laugh the hardest. There's something delicious about deflating Daffy, and Spike and Tony have tapped into that perfectly. There's no doubt whose influence looms largest on this project, and there was a sad irony that I was seeing this work less than a week after the death of the legendary Chuck Jones. Spike and Tony and Paul were actually working on Warner's tribute ad for the trades when I was there visiting that day, a sprawling calvacade of Chuck Jones characters designed to run across two pages. I was sorry Warner didn't want to use Paul's inscription, the fitting "Sooooper-Genius," on the ad, but the artwork said it all. Chuck's characters had life spilling out of them, and that same life appears to be present in this new extension of his work.

One of the best things about the way they're using Marvin and Daffy is that they're in the wrong roles. Daffy's the "hero" of the piece, but he's arrogant, vain, ego-driven, and never does anything right. Marvin's our "villain," but he's nice, sweet, and generally helpful whenever he can be. I love that they also brought back the Instant Martians, but they redesigned them a bit, souping them up and making them more robotic so that they can be blown apart in action scenes with impunity.

All of this got started when Spike and Tony worked with Dean Wellins (an animator who's now over at Disney) to create a trailer for a DUCK DODGERS movie. It's beautiful stuff, showing Daffy as he accidentally gets launched into space and frozen in a piece of orbiting junk. It's not until hundreds of years later that Dr. I.Q. High finds Daffy and thaws him out. Everyone thinks Duck Dodgers is some sort of hero, and he does nothing to correct their impression. He goes to work for the Galactic Protectorate, and the film version had him on one great adventure, somehow succeeding despite himself. When Cartoon Network saw the trailer, years after Warner Bros. Feature Animation passed on the idea, they immediately said, "Make us a show like that." At this point, it's been in development in one form or another for almost four years, and it deserves to find a place on Cartoon Network's line-up this coming fall.

Eventually, after much talk about favorite cartoons and favorite animators and common influences, Paul and I left for lunch, and Tony and Spike ran off to some meeting. I wish them well with their efforts on the show for one main reason: I really, really want to see it. I also thank them for the sneak peek. Pretty cool, guys.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • April 1, 2002, 11:29 a.m. CST

    First

    by OompahLoompah

    This sounds like a blast that I for on will watch, unlike those horrible spumco remakes of the Jetsons/yogi bear/flintstones. Although I have to admit that I got a few chuckles out of the Ranger Smith cartoon it wasn't as good as the original.

  • April 1, 2002, 11:29 a.m. CST

    problem

    by omarthesnake

    with this being April Fools day, can anything on the site be trusted?

  • April 1, 2002, 11:37 a.m. CST

    On the shoulders of giants...

    by Fred4sure

  • April 1, 2002, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Good question

    by Terry_1978

    Is this for real, or is it a Harry-induced hoax? If it's on the level, I'd love to see them do something with Daffy again. The latest crop of Warner Bros. writers are in the same vein as those back in the Termite Terrace days, sarcastic, smarmy, and unkind to pop culture. It would be cool to see Duck Dodgers back on track again, if this is for real.

  • April 1, 2002, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I'd really be excited if this was based on a Michael Maltese

    by Fred4sure

    That would be an April Fool's joke that would hurt...

  • April 1, 2002, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Drew, y'scoundrel....

    by RobinP

    This is one of them there April Fools ain't it ? Had me going there for a second....

  • April 1, 2002, 12:15 p.m. CST

    What about FUTURAMA?

    by Mr Glass

    What does this has that the canceled (?) cartoon didn't? Oh yeah, a well known duck... But still.

  • April 1, 2002, 12:27 p.m. CST

    April Fools...RIGHT?

    by wire-fu

    Man dude. This better not be some internet APRIL FOOLS JOKE or I will be mad as hell. If not hell yeah! They should mix in 3-D into the show, but keep style of Chuck Jones. At the same time I wonder if it is possible to even translate his style from 2-D to 3-D. What do you guys think of the who 3-D enhancements thing?

  • April 1, 2002, 12:32 p.m. CST

    This is really cool but what makes me sad is that characters hav

    by superhero

    "Sigh" a sign of these pathetic PC times I guess. I actually caught an old Tom and Jerry on Cartoon Network with a friend a while ago and we were SHOCKED as to how violent and HYSTERICAL those cartoons were! I mean those guys kicked the living S#!t out of each other and it was FRIGGIN' FUNNY! Cartoons these days are so tame and un-wacky that they're pretty much unwatchable. No hyperkinetic energy AT ALL...except possibly Samurai Jack. Hopefully this'll be a great show and even if they only do allow them to beat up robots...

  • April 1, 2002, 12:33 p.m. CST

    And if somebody gets disintegrated they can easily be reintegrat

    by Regis Travolta

    That's the most important ray gun function one needs to know about when one is exploring Mars!

  • April 1, 2002, 12:47 p.m. CST

    not the same

    by rev_skarekroe

    Anybody else think that watching Warner Bros. cartoons without Jones, Blanc, et. al. is a watching a cover band? sk

  • April 1, 2002, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Duck Dodgers in 3D - been there, done that

    by Blabbermouse

    Before it closed up, the 57 St. Warner Bros store in NYC showed a 10min 3D cartoon of 'Duck Dodgers in the 3rd Dimension. It cost all of $2 & you got a huge metal coin featuring Marvin on it that you could cash in at the store (or keep for a souvenir). The 3D was excellent & the cartoon wsa damn funny: Marvin mistakes Daffy fantasizing about leading an invasion of Mars in a movie studio prop room for a real threat & kidnaps the duck, leading to much 3D martian merriment. They played Daffy as his neurotic, Chuck Jonesish incarnation (he jealously seethes at the site of a giant billboard promoting a Bugs cartoon), but actually let him come out on top for a change, with a little help from his detachable bill.

  • April 1, 2002, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Don't get your hopes up kids...

    by jesuschrist

    This has been in development there for years. Unless the new regime running the show there is smarter than the old one...hint hint.....

  • April 1, 2002, 3:24 p.m. CST

    This sounds friggin' cool!!!

    by Psyclops

    It's been too long since we've seen that arrogant duck and the hapless piglet do their thing. I say bring on the action!!!

  • April 1, 2002, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Bring on the Bears

    by Strawhenge

    Not sure about "Duck Dodgers". Seems like it would require an herculean effort to preserve the qualities that made Jones' original so timeless: the brilliant comic timing, the wry humor, clever asides, the use of classical music to underscore the action, Noble's backgrounds which cannot be praised enough. I applaud the sentiment, but can't imagine it working. A better candidate (or candidates) for a series might be those three bears: heavily-sedated Mama, explosively hot-tempered Papa, and brawny, brainless Junior ("I dun a goooood thing! I yam helping pawww!!) Now, that's got potential.

  • Despite everything that's wrong with the concept, I can actually see it working. For the record, I'm with Harry--I like the Woo Hoo duck. But the newer version is a more useful character in the looney toonz world.

  • April 1, 2002, 8:52 p.m. CST

    What Paul Dini should really do...

    by holidill

    for adult swim let's have a hardcore Jingle Belle cartoon. For those who don't know, Jingle Belle is a character Dini created for Oni comics, it's Santa's rebellious daughter. SOme of the stories are funny, some are racy. Let's have fun with it, and maybe a new Christmas classic could be created.

  • April 1, 2002, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Duck Dodgers.

    by Super Rabbit

    I hope I posted this right. The series sounds like it might be good from the description given, but I hope "woo-hoo" Daffy shows up sometimes too. The nutty Daffy had more sebstance than the modern one, he could be greedy, egotistical, a good guy, a bad guy, a winner and a loser, but still be likeable. he did, after all, last over fifteen years. "Daffy Dilly" is a good example of this Daffy, he's motivated by greedy, but greed isn't his only personality trait. "Ali Baba Bunny" is a funny cartoon, I enjoy it, but I don't like either Bugs or Daffy. Bugs is too angelic and Daffy is too nasty. I hope this Daffy is more variable and not the nasty failure we have today.

  • April 1, 2002, 8:59 p.m. CST

    I can't wait (and by the way, Marvin has ALWAYS been "nice")

    by Regicidal_Maniac

    Marvin has always been a genocidal little martian with good manners he's a little Lecter-esque in that respect. I hope, I hope, I hope that this sparks a renewed enthusiasm for the original 7.5 minute formula which I would buy on DVD this minute if I could. All going well we might see some new Looney Tunes shorts produced by artists with their own unique styles, Timm, Kricfalusi etc. Oh I can't wait. Harry Lime.

  • April 1, 2002, 9:04 p.m. CST

    Give me a break Oompahloompah, the Spumco Hannah Barbera remakes

    by Smeg For Brains

    You don't hire an animation house like Spumco to make cartoons that are just like the originals. The whole point of having them do those cartoons is that they are done in the Spumco style, and end up being more of a parody than anything unendorsed by HB/Cartoon Network. I can understand if you don't like the Spumco style and sensibilities, but please don't dislike those cartoons just because they aren't in the same spirit as the originals. That is missing the entire point. And as for the person who compared modern WB cartoons to a cover band, RIGHT ON! I'm not saying that this show might not be good, but I can't see it even coming close to those classic cartoons. In fact everytime I see a commercial using those old Looney Toons characters, inadequately voiced by Little Blanc Jr. (I mean I've seen many comedians do a much better job with the characters) I feel my childhood is being anally raped by some evil guy in a suit. Especially those damn Road Runner online commercials, and that horrible feature length Jordan/Nike/Gatoraid/Hanes comercial, Space Jam. Again not that I'm saying this show will definitely be bad, but I hold little hope of it being good (and any of that is based on Dini's support).

  • April 1, 2002, 9:19 p.m. CST

    Well what a shock it didn't take that long for someone to sa

    by Regicidal_Maniac

    "Boo Hoo my childhood is being anally raped by the studio that still owns the intellectual property I enjoyed as a kid. And even though I can continue to enjoy the originals on VHS and (one day soon) on DVD I demand that this studio cease and desist forthwith lest I launch a class action on belhalf of all those whose childhood's have been rectally penetrated..." What a Fuckwit. Grow up child. I Love the originals more than anyone and I can still enjoy them and any new interpretation. It has been TOO LONG with no action on the Looney Tunes front I for one welcome ANY new WB cartoon with open arms. Harry Lime.

  • April 1, 2002, 9:21 p.m. CST

    I'm with Moriarty on the duel of the Ducks

    by St Buggering

    The late era Daffy is a far more entertaining comic persona, particularly in the hands of the mighty Chuck Jones; and his use of the demoted Porky as a sidekick was always priceless. The Woo-Hoo Daffy just gets on my nerves. This can work if these guys remember all that made the Looney Tunes great. Too many people who imitate them now think they were nothing but manic action. In actual fact, many, like the afformentioned "Rabbit Seasoning" relied largely on dialogue and slow-burn reactions for laughs. In closing, for my money, the all-time champ is "Duck Amuck".

  • April 1, 2002, 9:40 p.m. CST

    I'm sure Harry Lime will just love Baby Looney Tunes then, s

    by Super Rabbit

    No offence or anything, but I don't blame anyone for being cynical about this, when was the last crop of really good Looney Tune cartoons made? Most of the 90s shorts I have seen have been a major disapointment, terrible stuff. The web cartoons aren't much better, mostly movie parodies. I'll give this a shot, but I'm reluctant as to whether it will be good.

  • April 1, 2002, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Harry Lime is a perfect example of the reason that there is a ma

    by Smeg For Brains

    Supporting something simply because it is called something, and not because it is good is idiotic. Any new Looney Toon cartoons will be so only in name, and only because some mega corporation deams that they can make profits by using their "intelectual copyright", and not because they have what made the originals so great. Jones, Clampet, Nobel, Freleng, Blanc, Avery, and Stalling made the old Warner Bros. cartoons great. Ploping down a drawing of Bugs Bunny into a baddly written ad for a shitty product IS raping many childhoods, and ISN'T good. every attempt at making a new Looney Toons cartoon in the last 30 years has been completely horrible. To like it simply because WB is whoring out its "intelectual property", and calling it "Looney Toons" makes you an idiot. I'm all for going back to the old ways, and letting new young animators go hog wild and make new, creative, fresh cartoons, but that is not what WB has been doing with their "property". Everything they have done with Looney Toons recently (up until now maybe) is carefully planned to be as mediocre as they can make it in order to MAKE MONEY. No creativity is involved. Of course the Cartoon Network has taken the lead, and is now putting out some of the most creative animation today, all done by fresh young animators with new creative ideas so who needs WB. Let the old cartoons stand alone, unless they are ready to take some risks, and create something good with those characters. I love the old cartoons, and that is WHY I am sceptical about this, and why I hate them being bastadized. If you think I am wrong then I feel sorry for you. It must be easy to be so easily entertained. No wonder Hollywood is so mediocre and crappy now-a-days.

  • April 2, 2002, 12:49 a.m. CST

    Sounds great

    by Daygloblue

    Daffy and Porky make a great team. I love "Drip Along Daffy." Also, the drag part reminds me of one of the funniest scenes in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", in which Psuedolus (Zero Mostel) persuades Hysterium (Jack Gilford) to camoflauge himself as a woman so that they could convince Miles Gloriosus (the homicidal despot) that the virgin bride he had ordered had died (rather than the fact that she had fallen in love with the young hero), and he wouldn't horribly kill them all. The gag can be wonderfully funny if it's done right.

  • April 2, 2002, 1:44 a.m. CST

    "Duck Amuck" is the greatest animated short of all time

    by WorstBlankEver

    and dammit, I will not entertain debate about this.

  • April 2, 2002, 2:06 a.m. CST

    I always preferred the borderline-evil egomaniac Daffy...

    by KingKrypton

    ...simply because his old "harmless goofball" persona seemed to generic. Try putting the old goofy "Hoo-hoo" Daffy against Bugs Bunny. It wouldn't work, because Bugs would overpower him as a character. But the hateful, vicious Daffy DOES play off Bugs well, because there's a massive contrast in their personalities. Bugs, for all his sarcasm, is a big-hearted hero at his core, and Daffy is just pure selfish @$$hole to the Nth degree. The personality clash works. And plus it works better from a story standpoint to have Daffy be a prick; you can get more stories out of puncturing Daffy's ego than you can from making him a run-of-the-mill ditz. So count me in for saying that making Daffy a hateful bastard was the best thing that ever happened to the character. As for the DUCK DODGERS series, I have mixed feelings about it. While the idea of Daffy being a villain in hero's clothing and Marvin being a hero in villain's clothing sounds enormously appealing, I really think that the only person who could do justice to this was the late Chuck Jones. Without him, this project isn't even close to being a sure thing. If it goes to series, I'll give it a try (it can't possibly be any worse than COW & CHICKEN or JUSTICE LEAGUE) and see if it works out, but color me skeptical about the project.

  • April 2, 2002, 12:10 p.m. CST

    run-of-the-mill ditz?

    by Super Rabbit

    I'm starting to wonder what cartoons the people who don't like nutty Daffy have been watching. He doesn't just jump about like a harmless idiot in all those cartoons. He's an imaginative character who enjoys being obnoxious to others sometimes. Watch the the great Porky and Daffy cartoons, or the Scarlett Pumpernickel, or the Great Piggy Bank Robbery or Art Davis' cartoons. A little bit of nutty Daffy even surfaces in the hunting trilogy, when he says "and what the hey, I gotta have some fun woo-hoo woo-hoo!" Personally, I hope Daffy isn't a nasty villain in hero's clothing, he wasn't nasty in the original Dodger's cartoon. He was egotistical and overconfigent, but not nasty, evil, and craven.

  • April 2, 2002, 12:41 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't say Bugs would overpower him as a character...

    by Z-Man

    But I do think it wouldn't work because they pretty much are the same character. I might even prefer the old daffy to bugs, but the people have made their choice long before I was born. If Bugs is the resident anarchist, then Daffy should be the character he has become. On the other topic, yeah, I think everything that's been done with our looney toon characters in recent memory has been insultingly bad. But this seems to hold a little potential. More than anything, I'd like to see brand new 7 minute cartoons with new, original characters and visions, which could be attached to the beginning of theatrical and video features. Considering how much we pay for tickets, it's the least they could do.

  • April 3, 2002, 12:09 p.m. CST

    If you say TOON one more time, I'LL KILL YOU!!

    by Klam Bake

    Instead of repeating what other have more eloquently written here, I'll just say I hate this idea. And in the tradition of TALK-BACK, I'll completely ignore my first sentence. If WB wanted to start producing new cartoons using their entire catalog of characters I'd have less trepidation, but basing an entire 30 minute (21 minus commercials) series on 1 short is just a disaster waiting to happen. I agree with others here who have stated that WB should bring cartoons back to the theater and quit bleeding the characters as shameless pitchmen. And don't give me that argument that Bugs & Daffy pushed War Bonds back in the day. That was a different time. Cartoons should only represent the joy of unreality. Not shovel slogans for Adverts that couldn't think of something more clever to do. Here's a plan WB... Gather up all your creative Artists, Writers, Composers, Voice Actors and Directors. Then put them up in a barricaded section of your studio so as not to disturb the "true" film makers on your lot. Then kill all the writers. They should never have been let into the animation department in the first place. Place machine guns on the walls and instruct security to shoot any "real" actors trying to break into the building. Another mistake that will never go away. Break off all contact with the outside world except Satellite TV in the lounge. Now wait 6 months and see what they produce. Then place burly 7 foot men in black hoods with whips in each dept. and wait another six months. Wallah! Cartoons!!!

  • April 4, 2002, 2:58 p.m. CST

    It's for real...

    by Toonimator

    ...in case anyone's still wondering 3 days later. This was announced several weeks ago, in fact, on Jerry Beck's cartoonresearch.com among other places. Spike & Tony love the classics. Ted Blackman's a fantastic choice for background designs (he worked on Batman:TAS, doncha know, among many other popular films & shows). The ol' trailer for the Duck Dodgers feature is (according to animators who love the medium, love Chuck, and love Looney Tunes) very much in the style of the classic short, capturing every ounce of character & comedy. Porky would never dress in drag? Too much dignity? You forget he's the Eager Young Space Cadet. He'll do what his hero convinces him to do, then have the perfect solution once that plan blows up in Dodgers' face. Duck Dodgers' Porky is very different from Robin Hood Daffy's Friar Tuck-Porky, one's jaded & supremely confident, requiring proof of Daffy's hero status, the other's got a calm confidence but is the subordinate, eager to please, to take orders, but quietly knows what to do when things go wrong. Klam Bake, there aren't much bigger proponents of bringing back theatrical shorts than me, but several very knowledgable folk like Steve Worth have impressed upon me that there's no market for it right now. Studios don't care, except a few like Pixar, and theater chains would be against it unless it made them more money. The new breed of shorts would have to be commercials, basically, which we already have enough of. The best place for shorts to thrive is on TV compendium shows like What A Cartoon! or Animaniacs or Liquid Television. I'd prefer one where all sorts of new stories, new styles, and new characters are presented, rather than an established cast & style like Animaniacs, but with the possibility of a well-received short producing follow-ups, so you'll eventually have a dozen or two shorts featuring a certain character like Pepe LePew, but to the money-men, a compendium show like this would best serve them as a breeding ground for new series, which could go wrong really quick. Turning a short into a weekly 22-minute series is an enormous task (though I'm confident Duck Dodgers can be done!), but it's easy for a short-to-series to lose its momentum and life, and after a couple shorts-to-series from the compendium become either big hits or major duds, the money-men will pull the plug on the compendium show. If the series are hits, the money-men won't want new shorts based on them to show up in the compendium, it could detract from the full series, and with time-slots for programs being so few, there's no sense keeping the compendium around to spawn new series that'd have no place to air, especially when the compendium's slot could be used for one of those recently-spawned series (bear with me here), while if a couple shorts-to-series fail, money-men will think it's just a bad idea all-around and pull the plug. Probably. That's the worst-case scenario for shorts-showcase. Best case, they just let it go, hit shorts just spawn more shorts featuring the characters, so if they lose momentum, it's no great loss to anyone involved. An entire TV animation crew (that is, an East Asian studio...grumble...) would be out of work if a series went sour, until a new one came along, but if a short cartoon, conceivably animated by American artists (YES!), were to grow stale, the artists would just whip up something different. The transition wouldn't be that big a deal. And if there are several crews going on this, in theory if Crew A gets tired of animating Bugbob Boomer, or their stories aren't as entertaining, Crew B might give Bugbob a try. Like Freleng, Jones & McKimson all tackling Bugs & Daffy cartoons. Some might be held close to a specific crew (ala Roadrunner & Marvin) but others can be passed around, and different styles of storytelling can be explored, full-animation, limited, stick figures, comedy, romance, action, little bits of everything. It could remain fresh and entertaining for years! A 6-minute short, back in the days of Termite Terrace, took about a month to animate with a crew of 3 animators and one director (who drew the key poses himself), along with a layout designer, background painter (remember, Maurice designed the BGs, but Phil DeGuard mostly painted them based on Maurice's designs), and a writer (waitwait, don't kill this writer! The Termite Terrace-era writer was a gagman, a storyboard artist!). Don't knock the writers too much. It's "studio procedure" that requires definite scripts and such nowadays that makes for some stale storytelling. If you have several crews going, you can have many shorts produced a month, and mix & match them, vary the time lengths on some (I'd say no longer than 6 minutes, but let 'em be as short as 30 seconds if it's a good bit of entertainment!), and shorter shorts can be produced quicker, although requiring more to fill the gaps in a 22-minute show. In this fashion, it'd be possible to produce 13 or 22 or however many half-hours of entertainment a year, especially the more teams of animators there are! 3 teams alone, each doing a six-minute short a month, would produce about 72 minutes of animation a year. Each team's essentially doing 3 full shows, with a spare short leftover to collect with the other teams, giving a total of 10 episodes, JUST with those 3 teams. Double the number of teams, you've got a good-sized season order of episodes. And for vacations, or if the wells dry up for a bit, or if production's slowed down on one team who's doing a short of the same complexity as What's Opera, Doc?, just grab some older shorts from the pile and plop 'em in. So it won't be a full rerun, there'll be some familiar material but also some new ones. Down the line, if certain characters take off, episodes can be built around that certain character's shorts, giving the artists a bit of a break or a bit of breathing room to finish up some more stuff, as needed. The toughest obstacle is getting the show off the ground; once in production, once some teams are assembled and shuffled as needed, some damn fine entertainment can come from this. And the best part, this can work for family-friendly cartoons, AND for a more adult audience. It doesn't have to be just for kids. It can be for everyone! The teen-adult-skewed one would be free of some of the more stifling restrictions placed on kids' programming. More subject matter can be tackled. Westerns can have guns again. Characters can get shot, or slashed, or whatever. I'm not saying it has to be gory, or even should be, but if the story calls for a bit of dismemberment or what have you, the storytellers should be free to explore that. As much as I want to just do some wacky animation and tell funny stories, cartoons shouldn't be limited to just that. A forum like a TV show like I've described above can broaden the minds of the public regarding how animation's received in America. As long as the entertainment is good, it shouldn't matter if it's for kids or adults, if it's comedy or action, it can be everything. And for popular shorts, merchandizing can be had based on the hit characters, or based on the show itself, it doesn't have to be built JUST for merchandizing potential. That can happen later. So then everyone'd be happy... artists would have jobs... execs would have advertising and merchandizing revenue... and the audiences would have a wide variety of entertainment, all wrapped up in a 22-minute show. And animation would have a much better life in these here United States.

  • April 7, 2002, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Oh Smeg for Brains, your name says it all.

    by Regicidal_Maniac

    Just because something is new is no reason to hate it before you see it, but you'll learn that when you grow up. Harry Lime.