Monday, December 30, 2002
Last night I was up late watching TV.
This in and of itself is unusual, since I'm not a big TV watcher in general. There are a scant few shows that I enjoy (Farscape, Samurai Jack, Jeff Corwin, Six Feet Under, and the like), and these I watch somewhat sporadically. I would much rather sleep, or read, or paint, or somesuchathing, than watch TV.
But last night I was up somewhat late, and I wasn't really tired, and I didn't much feel like doing anything, so I was watching TV. Cartoon Network, to be exact. Adult Swim, to be even more exact.
Adult Swim is, for the uninitiated, the late-night side of Cartoon Network. It is when all of the kid shows go off the air and some slightly different cartoons go on, shows geared more towards adults. Adults with insomnia and a firm footing in the surreal, to be sure, but adults nonetheless.
Now, I do not, as a rule, watch Cartoon Network. The exception to this is, of course, Samurai Jack, because that show kicks ass. In all truth it probably could be on Adult Swim. I have a feeling it's on during normal hours simply to give it a wider audience base. But I digress. The fact is, most of Cartoon Network during the day is filled with one of two types of cartoons-- stupid, and Japanimation (or anime, if you prefer).
The stupid cartoons are of the 'Scooby Doo' type, for the most part. I do not watch these.
The anime..... well, you all know my opinions on that. I won't be stupid and say that all of it is bad, because it isn't all bad. Miyazaki comes to mind as an example of the good stuff. But overwhelming amounts of it are bad, and lots of overwhelmingly bad Japanimation is on Cartoon Network. One startling example that I was unfortunate enough to stumble across was Hamtaro. The main characters are hamsters. I don't know, I didn't watch it for very long. My mind was stunned into horrified inaction for maybe 15 minutes, then I was able to regain control of my faltering synapses and change the channel before any permanent damage was done. In any event, it was pretty bad cartooning.
I had heard, from a number of generally reliable sources, that Adult Swim was quite different and quite good. I made the effort one night to stay up a little and watch it, but it was just more anime, only the cartoon characters were more sexual/violent/apt to swear in violent, sexual, evidently dubbed ways. I was disillusioned.
It turns out that not all of Adult Swim is anime. I had just caught it at a bad time. A good amount of it is taken up with highly bizarre, entirely inexplicable, well-animated, and terribly amusing cartoons. I saw some of them last night, and that's the point that all this crud before was leading up to.
I saw. I liked.
One show involved what seemed to be a giant soft drink, a giant floating side of fries with a goatee, and a giant meatball with a little-kid voice. These things lived next door to a man named Carl who drank lots of beer and was having a problem with elf blood in his aboveground pool. The show appeared to be called Aqua Teens, which I didn't entirely understand, but that's OK, I thought the cartoon was wonderous.
Another show involved a character called Space Ghost, who seemed to be a satire of cartoon superheroes. He had a talk show run by a radioactive man. The music was done by a large praying mantis who played the keyboard and kept telling everyone to Stuff it. Moby was, for unexplained reasons, guest starring on this deranged little cartoon, and it was really him. I was a little startled but much amused.
Another show, called The Brak Show, featured a cat/superhero/idiot named Brak whose mother was a cat thing like him (but in a dress and apron), and whose father was a perfectly normal looking guy from out of a 50s cartoon. It was strange beyond compare. The father got a job in an ice cream store. A robot demanded ice cream. The man shot the ice cream, saying it was going to rob them. Ants in top hats attacked the earth. Then they went ski boating. I dunno, it made a little more sense watching it, but not much more. I loved it.
The last show I watched was slightly more normal than the previous three. It was called Home Movie and was about this kid who makes home movies. He also was forced to golf with his dad. Strange, slightly surreal things happened, but it was more logical than the others. It was still pretty funny. Yes, good show.
In short, I enjoyed it. If you're ever up really late, and Adult Swim is on, and it's one of the days when it's NOT anime, give it a shot. You'll like it. Or you're a fool.