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MSN - 10 Cartoons That Should Stay Retired

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MSN - 10 Cartoons That Should Stay Retired

Postby Charles » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:52 pm

There's an article at MSN.com that lists 10 cartoon seres that should stay retired. Here's what the author of the article, Nick Prueher has to say.

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http://tv.msn.com/retired-cartoons/stor ... ?GT1=28130

10 Cartoons That Should Stay Retired

'Futurama' is back, but some animated series should never return

By Nick Prueher
Special to MSN TV

On Thursday, June 24, at 7 p.m. on Comedy Central, "Futurama" returns to television with its first new episodes in seven years. The acclaimed but underseen series was canceled by FOX in 2003 but saw a second life in syndication on Adult Swim and in four popular straight-to-DVD movies, prompting Comedy Central to order 26 new episodes for the 2010-11 season. While we applaud the resurrection of deserving shows like "Futurama" and, to a lesser extent, "Family Guy," we think this could mark a disturbing trend in animation.

Frankly, many cartoons should stay dead. The 1980s and '90s saw a glut of cookie-cutter Saturday morning cartoons that left a steaming pile of corny jokes, hackneyed story lines and shoddy animation in their wake. And no amount of nostalgia can sugarcoat the truth: These were genuinely terrible shows that in no way deserve a second chance. So, all hail the return of "Futurama"! But here's hoping the following cartoons never, ever come back.

"Snorks" (1984-89)
Fresh off the inexplicable success of "The Smurfs," Hanna-Barbera decided to cash in with "Snorks," a cartoon that added nothing new to the formula apart from setting everything underwater. Snorks even looked liked Smurfs, except instead of tiny woodland creatures with hats on their heads, they were tiny sea-dwelling creatures with snorkels on their heads. For most of the series, the writers ignored the fact that the Snorks were underwater unless it lent itself to a cheap gag (seahorse races instead of horse races!). And while there's nothing patently offensive about that (see "SpongeBob SquarePants"), the forthcoming "Smurfs" movie has us very worried that the Snorks may once again rear their ugly, snorkel-adorned heads.



"Rambo: The Force of Freedom" (1986)
Take every kid's favorite hyper-violent action hero and give him his own Saturday morning cartoon. That was the ill-conceived premise for this children's series based on the R-rated Sylvester Stallone film franchise. Though the show steered clear of Rambo's background as a disgruntled Vietnam vet, it did feature a lot of real-looking guns and military equipment that would certainly frighten younger viewers. But the most offensive part about this cartoon was the way it ended every single episode with Rambo and his group of freedom fighters laughing at some lame joke somebody made. And with the horrible animation on display, it looked more like the characters were vibrating than laughing.




"The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang" (1980-82)
Many people point to "Happy Days" as a series that went off the rails and never recovered after a ridiculous plotline in which Fonzie jumped over a shark on his motorcycle. But few people remember that things got even more ridiculous in this animated spin-off that sent The Fonz, Richie and Ralph Malph into a time machine along with a futuristic babe named Cupcake and a Fonzie-imitating dog named Mr. Cool. If "jumping the shark" has become synonymous with a show that takes a turn for the worse, we'd like to coin the phrase "adding Mr. Cool" for when a cartoon piles on extraneous cute characters in the hopes of winning over kids.



"Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos" (1986)
In this action-packed series, Chuck Norris could do everything, from rappelling off helicopters to communicating with dolphins. We give Norris credit for providing his own voice for this cartoon, but did the writers need to constantly remind us of that fact by inserting the name "Chuck Norris" into almost every line of dialogue? If nothing else, we suppose it makes for a good drinking game.



"It's Punky Brewster" (1985)
For the makers of this "Punky Brewster" spin-off cartoon, it wasn't enough to follow the adventures of a spunky orphan and her golden retriever. They "added Mr. Cool" by centering the series around a magical creature called Glomer who lived at the end of rainbow. Essentially a flying rodent with a soul patch, Glomer used his special powers to get Punky and her pals into and out of various predicaments. But his real power was irritating anybody within earshot with his grating chipmunk voice.

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Re: MSN - 10 Cartoons That Should Stay Retired

Postby Charles » Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:05 pm

Here's the rest.

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"Police Academy: The Animated Series" (1988-89)
Another example of an R-rated movie franchise that became a kid-friendly cartoon, "Police Academy: The Animated Series" did away with the bawdy gags from the movies and focused instead on the wacky characters. Mahoney, Hightower, Callahan, Jones, Zed, Sweetchuck and Tackleberry were all there, along with a group of talking dogs called the K-9 Corps. But the real surprise was the inclusion of Jones, the sound effects guy played by Michael Winslow in the movies. His skill seems far less impressive in cartoon form when they can just dub in the sounds of sirens and helicopters while the character moves his lips.



"Life With Louie" (1995-98)
When FOX scored a hit with Howie Mandel's "Bobby's World," they attempted to catch lightning in a bottle a second time by giving a cartoon to an equally unlikable comedian. After all, they reasoned, what kid doesn't love the whiny observations of portly funnyman Louie Anderson? This show actually had some modest ratings success and won two Daytime Emmys, but we'd be fine if we never heard or saw Louie Anderson in cartoon form again.



"Gilligan's Planet" (1982-83)
The original "Gilligan's Island" was about as cartoonish as a sitcom could get, with its bumbling lead character and wacky plot contrivances (The Harlem Globetrotters!), so it was only natural that the castaways would eventually make the leap to an actual cartoon. It first happened in 1974 with "The New Adventures of Gilligan" and again in this 1982 series set in outer space. Both versions were nearly identical to the live-action show, except for the addition of an adorable sidekick for Gilligan (Snubby the Monkey in "New Adventures" and Bumper the Alien in "Planet"). And in case you couldn't figure out where the jokes were, they added a laugh track, suggesting that a live studio audience was somehow watching the animation as it happened.



"Rubik, the Amazing Cube" (1983-84)
Most Saturday morning cartoons were intended to sell toys, but at least He-Man and G.I. Joe were humans that could do things. "Rubik the Amazing Cube" was an inanimate Rubik's Cube. The gimmick was that, when solved, Rubik would sprout a blue face and use his magical powers to help a trio of Hispanic siblings foil bad guys. Menudo did the theme song, which was a major coup at the time, but this cartoon suffered from the same crappy animation and recycled story lines typical of most Ruby-Spears Productions (the same company responsible for "Rambo," "Chuck Norris," "Police Academy" and "Punky Brewster"). Luckily for us, Ruby-Spears folded in 1996.



"New Kids on the Block" (1990-91)
Cementing their reputation as the biggest (and most overmerchandised) boy band in history, the New Kids on the Block got their own cartoon in 1990. Producers envisioned the show as a hip, MTV-style amalgam of live-action interviews and animated sequences of the New Kids on the road. What they ended up with was a truly unwatchable mess of frenetic editing and nonsensical story lines, complete with a husky bodyguard named Bizcut and the requisite animal companion, Nikko the shar pei. With three sold-out comeback shows at Radio City Music Hall last weekend, we hope the New Kids aren't getting any ideas about a cartoon comeback as well.

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