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Moriarty Joins John K On A WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some rumblings from the Lab.

So, have you checked out Icebox.com yet? It's a site built around original Flash animation programming. Anyone who was at the San Diego ComiCon no doubt saw the massive Icebox.com booth. I first found the site about two months ago, and I've returned several times for episodes of SUPERHERO ROOMMATE or the wicked and crazy MR. WONG, both of which are funny, even if they feel like they're still finding their way in some regards. SUPERHERO ROOMMATE has droll vocal work by Dave Foley and Brian Posehn, and it riffs wittily on the cliches of the genre. MR. WONG is a crazy old butler (former manservant to Bing Crosby) who has a strange love/hate relationship with the rich young woman he works for. It's strange and dirty and very probably racist, but it's also genuinely funny.

If the experiment is to see if they can develop original programming on the site that can cross over to other media, then consider it a success. Here's a quote from a press release that Icebox.com and Showtime issued earlier this week:

"Showtime Networks Inc., a leading provider of premium television entertainment, has licensed "Starship Regulars," a comedy series by Rob LaZebnik from the entertainment website, Icebox.com. This is the first series to migrate from an online site to an established television network. The series, which Icebox is producing as an animated series for the Internet, will be a live-action, half-hour, primetime series for Showtime. One unusual element of the deal is that as the sci-fi comedy webisodes appear on Icebox.com, they will simultaneously be broadcast as interstitials on Showtime during the network's "Sci-Friday" night line-up. Moreover, in this landmark multimedia deal, Icebox has given Showtime the right to order additional original webisodes for their site, SHO.com."

This particular program isn't part of the Icebox.com lineup yet, but there was a new show added this week that is worth a look for animation fans. It's a series with the unlikely title of WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT. It was created by the great John Kricfalusi. I know I get flack every time I call him that, but that's because nobody polarizes response inside the animation community like John K., with the possible exception of Ralph Bakshi. John K. is, of course, the creator of THE REN & STIMPY SHOW, and was the primary creative force on that show until he was raped violently by MTV and Nickelodeon, companies that are subsidiaries of Viacom, who also owns Showtime. Wanna bet WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT doesn't end up at the network any time soon? John K. has never been shy about attacking corporations in public forums, and he's been a vocal advocate for Internet animation as a way of cutting the corporations out of the process.

I wish I could say that WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT's first episode was up to the standards of the best of his previous work. It's not bad overall. There's appearances by Spumco regulars Jimmy the Idiot and George Liquor, and we're introduced to Dirty Dog, one of the stars of the series. This is basically just a character sketch, something that shouldn't surprise fans of Kricfalusi and the Spumco style of animation. I remember the first time I ever heard of John K. I was working at Dave's Video in the Valley, and there was a regular customer by the name of Eddie Fitzgerald. Great guy. Animator for Hanna Barbera at the time. He had seen some early tapes of this new show that Nickelodeon was about to put on the air, and he was practically evangelical about what he had seen. He was talking about the first episodes of REN & STIMPY, of course, and what got him so worked up was that there was no emphasis on story. Instead, everything was about performance. For animators, this is a major distinction. Story-based animation, what I've heard called "Saturday morning/everyone jabbering/no real action crap," is boring, deadly dull to work on. It's all just set-up to set-up. I've had a friend describe the process to me as "feeling your talent atrophy day to day." With something that's entirely performance-oriented, though, the animator really gets to practice his art. He gets to pour himself into the character and find ways to express subtle nuance with the way someone stands or a gesture or a look. Eddie told me he was going to quit Hanna Barbera and go work for Spumco, something he did indeed end up doing. I made sure to check the show out when it premiered, since anything that could make an animator that rabid, that eager to be involved, sounded like something worth paying attention to.

I miss those early days of Spumco freedom. The sense of surprise is gone... I used to be shocked at how John K. and his team would push the envelope. Now there's no real line for them to cross. Anything goes. It's funny, but it's not bracing and memorable like earlier work was. Then again, this is just a first episode. Maybe John's just warming up. There's some funny point and click games built into the cartoon, and there's a hidden prize in the episode (I found it, and I'm still not sure what the hell I won as a result) that you must try and find. Overall, this is a great use of the cutting edge of Flash programming, and it's a promising website that you'll no doubt return to many times, no matter what program it is that eventually attracts you.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 4, 2000, 7:33 a.m. CST

    John K the Great

    by George T Gimp

    John Kricfalusi is a great animator for many reasons, here are a few. For one, the man can DRAW. There aren't many out there who have the ability to turn a line as gracefully and forcefully as John K. His drawings are smooth and slick because they are done well and with finesse. The style he uses may seem simplistic, but it has a quality rarely found in modern animation, a line that says something. Every line on a Kricfalusi character is put there for a reason, either to emphasize a pose, establish a sense of space, or to heighten emotional impact. Kricfalusi also is able to get the most out of the animated form, because he embraces it. He loves the history of animation and respects the medium. Many animation houses animate with a machine-like efficiency, animating as if they were creating a live-action film. Kricfalusi realizes that animation is not live-action, and that to get the best results, an animator must alter what he sees in life to create realism in an animated scene. He doesn't shy from exaggeration and the extreme, creating a surreal environment where everything seems more realistic by result. He's one of a dwindling few, someone who is more interested in the art of animation than the business of animation. I respect him and admire him. John K's great!

  • Aug. 4, 2000, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Superhero Roomate

    by Choda Boy

    I must agree with Moriarty and say that this cartoon is superb. Anythimg with Dave Foley in it is good and this is no different. The Maxim episode or the Utilities episode have to be my two favorites. This is a must see show for fans of the superhero genre or fans of KITH

  • Aug. 4, 2000, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Don't forget the "Ripping Friends" movie Johnny K. was cheated o

    by user id indeed!

    I'd tell you about the project, but then I wouldn't have anything for my development hell feature! Tough patooties, folks! This has been a Moment w/User ID Indeed! What about Hard Drinkin' Licoln? That alcoholic 16th president gets my beeper set to "hilarity"!

  • Aug. 4, 2000, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Did somebody say PUSSY?!

    by Lenny Nero

    Well, I guess so. I'm interested now, especially from someone involved with Ren & Stimpy.

  • Aug. 4, 2000, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Definitely will check this out

    by All Thumbs

    I'm one of those people who desperately misses the golden days of Ren and Stimpy and have followed John K.'s Internet adventures a bit, so I'm excited to hear of something new from Spumco. I'm also one of those people who is getting mighty sick of the Ren and Stimpy rip-offs like Cow and Chicken, CatDog (or DogCat, whatever), etc.***Dave Foley, what is your next project and when will you return to the TV screen? You're very missed.

  • I hope Spumco gets even crazier and sicker on the web for now. Just stay the hell away from Viacom which is media whore house. Which makes me wonder...who owns the rights to Powdered ToastMan?? That was the funniest bits of animation to run through a TV tube. --Syd.

  • Aug. 9, 2000, 3:19 a.m. CST

    "...very probably racsist." What?

    by crimsonrage

    That doesn't make any sense.

  • Aug. 21, 2000, 8:34 a.m. CST

    I Didn't Like It...

    by Mintgiver

    but I loved "Poker Night" on icebox.com. The creators are mostly MST3K alumni, and the great Mike Nelson is one of the voices! How can it miss?