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More Beef Life

Scoop Boy

(no subject)
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lynxara
So I thought I'd post about this here for lack of any other sort of blogging outlet that would make a lick of sense for it. Don't go thinking I'm going to update this thing regularly or anything now.

I occasionally write list articles for Topless Robot, a geek cult site run under the auspices of the Village Voice and edited by Rob Bricken. When I manage to complete a list, it tends to do fairly well. My latest topic was awful Hanna-Barbera cartoons, since (as a child with cable in the 80s) I grew up watching vast amounts of the company's output in rerun. I can't imagine any kid growing up now, or even anybody around now in their 20s, would have had a similar experience. I don't think any generation of kids will anytime soon.

In the 90s, cable networks became much less reliant on rerun material to fill out kidvid blocks and syndication slowly died out. Cable networks began to produce their own major hit cartoons, Cartoon Network with the first wave of Cartoon Cartoons and Nickelodeon with the Nicktoons block. In due course, The Disney Channel went to basic cable and joined in the high-quality original programming festival with Kim Possible. Now we've got a fourth kids' programming channel in the Hub, which is still heavy on the reruns but is already cranking out credible programs like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Transformers Prime. Kids now can choose from a vast array of new cartoons to watch, made in a variety of styles and genres, and at a fairly high average level of quality. Kids today got Class of 3000 where my generation got Hammerman, to make the starkest comparison possible.

In this much more competitive environment, truly wretched cartoons tend not to survive their first airing, let alone linger in reruns for decades after their initial cancellation. Back in the 80s, though, a kid with cable could grow up on a diet of cartoons so bad that they make Johnny Test look like a paragon of competence and good taste. Due to Hanna-Barbera's sheer prolific output, it was easy to sell cable networks (especially once Turner bought HB) on filling up their kid slots with nothing but miscellaneous Hanna-Barbera reruns. Utter dreck like Galaxy Goof-Ups ended up perpetually rubbing shoulders with more worthy reruns like the original Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear shorts. Sometimes you'd have programs featuring the same characters shoved into the same time slots, so one day you might something fun like Yogi's Treasure Hunt and the next it's goddamn Yogi's Gang.

Anyway, many of the cartoons on the bad HB list are cartoons I grew up watching as a sort of captive audience, fascinated but repelled as I waited for something better to come on. Some I discovered while trying to watch basically anything HB was involved with as research. Going into this project, my idea for a cut-off level of "bad" was going to be Dastardly And Muttley In Their Flying Machines. My rationale for this was the cartoons being bad enough to actually get made fun of by other Hanna-Barbera cartoons. There's an episode of Yogi's Treasure Hunt where Dick Dastardly forces his funny animal foes to watch episodes of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, complete with his captives moaning and groaning about how boring and repetitive they were! Yogi's Treasure Hunt was by far the best of the HB crossover cartoons, in my childish opinion, so if it said this Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines thing sucked then it must be true.

So when adult me, which had a more thorough grasp of how cartoons end up good or bad, started digging into the HB back catalog to see how bad it got, I really expected that Dastrdly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines would end up somewhere on this list. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The HB back catalog is a deep rabbit hole that leads to an underground river of sewage. The sheer quantity of product the studio flushed out in the 60s, 70s, and 80s really was enough to rerun on cable for decades. There's no way for a studio cranking out that kind of quantity to maintain any sort of consistent quality.

Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines wasn't bad enough to make the cut. A lot of things I watched, sometimes the entire misbegotten run of them, were ultimately not bad enough to make the cut. In the comments for the article, people make calls for the inclusion of some shows that they feel I omitted. In many cases, I watched these shows, and trust me: they aren't that bad. Usually not very good, true, but there's a big difference between lame and merely awful. In particular, a lot of the sitcom-based shows and The Three Robonic Stooges actually aren't anything special if you force yourself to sit down and watch several episodes of them. The bizarre premises lead people to assume they simply must be bad cartoons, but mostly they're just average. In particular, the licensed cartoons were never allowed to look as bad as your Blast-Off Buzzards and CB Bearses.

There is one comment about should've-beens on the list that I have to admit has some merit, though. One person made a very credible argument for the HB Godzilla cartoon, which inflicted the dread Godzooky on the world. I really wanted to give the Godzilla cartoon a look for the list, but simply was not able to find any episodes of it. I never saw it in reruns, so I simply couldn't write about it with any sort of emotional honesty. Based on descriptions of this cartoon, I am inclined to think that it might just be bad enough to bump The Thing or Sky Commanders off the list. Of course, sight unseen, I would've said the same was probably true of the Mork & Mindy cartoon or the cartoon where Fonzie travels through time with his talking cat, and those both turned out to be pretty harmless.

VOTOMS IN SRW!
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lynxara
VOTOMS IN SRW!

VOTOMS IN SRW!!

Moon Knight is kind of stupid.
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lynxara
But Bill Sienkiewicz is brilliant.Collapse )

Writer's Block: It's allergies ... really!
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lynxara

What was the last thing that made you cry?

First question listed was submitted by rainingcookiies. (Follow-up questions, if any, may have been added by LiveJournal.)

View 2245 Answers



Something got in my contact lens. My eye teared up until the thing... probably a mote of dust... was washed out.

Sometimes life is not very dramatic.

(no subject)
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lynxara
People sometimes wonder why I disliked Megas XLR so much. It's because deep down, I knew a better creative team could've made something like this instead.

Now, this show is something I can see in SRW. Even the trailer makes it clear that Tartakovsky knows what the fuck he's talking about.

(no subject)
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lynxara
There has to be some specific gene in our DNA that makes butter pecan ice cream start tasting better as we get older.

Re: Dullalala 11
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lynxara
To Whom It May Concern,

It has come to my attention that Isaac and Miriam from Baccano appear in eleventh episode of your ongoing animated television production, Dullalala. I write to address comment on this event to whichever parties in the production staff that were responsible for it.

Fuck you people.

Seriously. What the hell were you thinking?

In conclusion, fuck you.

Regards,
A. Ashby, Esq.

P.S. Honestly, you guys can just fuck right off.

(no subject)
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lynxara
I usually ignore LJ's goofy "question of the day" things, but today's struck me as potentially interesting.

The one movie I think everyone should see is Birth of a Nation. It is one of the clearest possible demonstrations of how film can be used to powerfully express abhorrent ideas.

I'd like to think that if more people saw this nasty ol' flick, you'd get less "Well, it's just a movie, it doesn't really matter!" bullshit out of J. Random Moviegoer.

(no subject)
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lynxara
There's nothing I like more than a hater who feels suddenly compelled to link to my work. I like to imagine him grimly realizing that he has no choice.

(no subject)
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lynxara
So an interesting addendum to my previous post about the Siren in Borderlands.

Now that the game is out in the wild, I've been tripping across gameplay accounts and impressions from friends-- same as any big new game. Most of what I heard was totally expected, except for one thing: the Siren class is hopelessly busted.

By "busted," I mean busted in the strategy guide sense of the term. A busted item is so optimal that you have no logical reason to use anything else, a busted character makes all alternative choices sub-par by comparison. Well, the Siren is better at DPS than all other classes in a genre where combat is largely a DPS race. She can debuff and stun enemies, she can self-heal and self-buff. Even without a completely optimal build, she can go solo and (reportedly) outperform an entire team of the other characters at equivalent levels.

The Siren's achievements don't suggest that she is by far the best class in the game. They suggest quite the opposite, that she's a stealthy class that will be useful in groups but not getting a ton of solo kills. So either whoever came up with the Siren achievement list either played the game poorly or just didn't write them based on how the game actually played.

It is also possible that the current Siren simply does not work as intended, since I've read speculation that her ludicrous DPS is purely the result of Elemental damage being superior to all other damage types due to a quirk of calculation. The Borderlands developers I believe said they were disinterested in making the game balanced, which is typical for loot fiend games (but not really desirable). It will be very interesting to see if Elemental damage or other elements of the Siren are patched in the PC version.

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