Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Toon In With Me

 (MeTV, 2021) When almost every cartoon can be found on Youtube or viewed on demand on a streaming service why would anyone, child or adult, wake up at 6AM to view cartoons on broadcast TV every weekday morning? Well, Svengoolie's home channel has a few answers to that question. First of all, hosts! That one is a puppet does not hurt, and Toony the Tuna may not be as hilarious as Ratso (IM-apparently not so-HO), but he's pretty dang funny. His design may be a little too FAO Schwartz Muppet Shop slick for my tastes, but his fin waves!  More important is the human co-host. Bill the Cartoon Curator is way more regular guy than you would expect from a job historically held by clowns, cowboys and vampires, but the curatorship concept is the key component. If the joke was that the host had little control over the lame cartoon contents, like Krusty or Count Floyd, I’m not sure I would keep watching. But that he (or the expert for whom he is avatar-ing) opens the Old MacDonald-themed episode with "Duck Amuck"  because of one short farm gag in the daffiest duck cartoon is special, as is the ability to present a collection of cartoons featuring incidents of piano teeth (where one's teeth are replaced by crumbling piano keys after being steamrolled by a Steinway). Warner Brothers, Popeye, and Tom and Jerry have so many great cartoons and having them programmed with intelligence and taste is a huge selling point. I'm jealous of little kids just discovering these and I'm thrilled to re-enjoy classics (and remembering with surprising vividness things like Popeye turning around a manhole cover to re-direct Wimpy to his diner is some pleasant deja voodoo). Plus there's fish puns that would make Kid Addotta (Rest In Perch) wince, like "halibut-tosis!" Carp this up and I'll cod-tinue to tuna in!

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