The thing: I bought Season One of Animaniacs on iTunes, because I remembered liking the show before, when I was a snarky post-collegiate slacker. I wanted to see if I still liked it, as a snarky middle-aged workaholic type. The following post covers Episode Four. You can see my previous reviews here.
I found this episode so boring this morning, sitting on the train, forcing myself to watch it (more interested in staring at the miserable faces of the commuters on the other side of the car, honestly) that I’m starting to question my love for the show altogether. Maybe you should never revisit past favorites. Maybe it’s just because I’ve found out that John K. hates it, and I’m a fickle fanboy whose opinions are too easily swayed by those of my heroes. Maybe I’m a crankyface this week. I am definitely a crankyface this week, actually — no maybes about that one. But maybe it’ll get better if I talk about it. I doubt it, but maybe, maybe. Let’s try that:
Hooked On a Ceiling
The Warners annoy Michaelangelo while he tries to paint the Sistene Chapel.
Inexplicably, Michaelangelo is represented here by a parody of Kirk Douglas in Spartacus drag. I usually enjoy it when cartoons throw in little referential asides that children aren’t likely to understand, but this one just won’t do at all. For one thing, it isn’t an aside; it’s the whole bit. For another, it doesn’t make any sense. I thought, for a second, that maybe Douglas had played Michaelangelo at some point in his career, but that doesn’t seem to be the case (or, at least, Googling doesn’t bring up any hint of such a thing, though it does bring up a mention of this Animaniacs episode). Worst of all, the character portrayal itself is not zany, funny, crazy, scary, loud, wild, aggressive, manipulative, irritable, engaged, or emotive in any interesting way at all — not a good cartoon antagonist, in short. Not a good cartoon anything. The real Kirk Douglas would have thrown himself into the role with more abandon than this lukewarm cartoon incarnation.
The ending, in which E.T. and Stephen Spielberg make an appearance, is an example of the laziest kind of humor, where making a reference — just randomly choosing to remind us that something exists — is supposed to be funny, in and of itself. It almost never is. It’s especially not, here.
Goodfeathers: The Beginning
If Goodfeathers hadn’t been mentioned in the opening theme song, and if I hadn’t committed that theme song to memory sometime back in the early nineties, I would have forgotten this sub-series by now. I wish that I had. Its only “humor” comes from the characters imitating Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro saying “Are you looking at me,” and “I am here to amuse you,” and “That’s it!” and etc. Over and over again.
Triple blah and a ptoooey.
I hate that this turned out so badly. I thought I loved Animaniacs! Maybe I still do. Even Homer, you know, nods. Here’s hoping next episode is better. Stay tuned!