Through out these years the quality of American cartoons has declined at an alarming rate. It is either that or my reluctance to adapt towards the newer generations of cartoons which has lead me to believe that the era of ‘awesome’ cartoons is over. Either way I cooked up this article to pay a small tribute to these cartoons.
1. Swat Kats
Everyone at school always pointed out the sheer amount misspelled words I managed to stuff in a single
sentence. So it was no big surprise when I wrote an essay about – “My favorite TV show”, back when I was in the sixth standard and was awarded a gracious four out of ten, which was way below the class average. The reason I was given for receiving poor grades was – “At least get the name of the TV show your writing about correct. Unbelievable !! you should be sent back to first standard for not knowing how to spell cat”. As it turns out my teacher was wrong, Swat Kats is indeed spelled with a K. Guess Christian and Yvonne Tremblay were bad at spellings too when they came up with the title or they were just fooling around. Aired in 1993 the show went on to become an instant success. The story revolved around Furlong and Jake, two ex-Enforcer pilots who were discharged from their squad after a freak accident which resulted in them crashing their fighter jet into the newly constructed Enforcer Headquarters. However the spirit to protect Megakat city drove them to adapt the aliases T-Bone and Razor and put together Turbokat – a state of art fighter jet which made the enforcer battle vehicles seem utterly incompetent. The show saw a variety of different villains, from the shady Dark Kat to the virtually indestructible Metallikats. Calico Briggs the deputy mayor of Megakat city who also went by the name Callie was the only one who could contact the Swat Kats through a triangular homing device. After a total of 23 episodes the show was finally pulled down in the early 1994. Even though it lasted for only a year it gave rise to a huge fan base and many networks re aired the episodes several times even after it went out of production.
2. Wacky Racers
Calling the characters involved and the contraptions (I don’t really want to call them vehicles) they drove ‘wacky’ is an explicit understatement. With a modest run time of 20 minutes per episode the cartoon redefined the field of Concept Vehicles. The show was originally aired on CBS from 1968 to 1970 with only seventeen episodes. Off course I was non existent during the sixties and seventies so I watched the show on Cartoon Network in the late nineties. The series featured eleven different cars, each with their own wacky modifications and drivers with extremely outrageous personalities. A few of my favorite characters were Dick Dastardly and Muttley driving The Double O, The Gruesome Twosome in the Creepy Coupe 2 and Professor Pat Pending who always reminded me of the crazy professor from “Back to the future”. The theme of all the episodes was stereotyped but the end result was always different. However it always involved Dick Dastardly coming up with some devious plan to devastate the other racers which eventually back fired. Never the less it was fun to watch as the racers overcame the obstacles laid out by the evil master mind and left Muttley chuckling. Even though the cartoon was classified under the racing genre it involved everything from dragon and stone age vehicles to modern shape shifting and super fast contraptions. Hats of to Larz Bourne, Dalton Sandifer, Tom Dagenais and Michael Maltese for writing such a wonderful script for the show.
The concept of a death god has always given rise to some of the best cartoons. The western cultures refer to them as grim reapers who reap a persons life when he or she gets old while the eastern cultures use the word shinigami to refer to them. However The grim adventures of Billy and Mandy look at the concept of a death god from a whole new angle. The series revolves around grim repear who is tricked by Mandy during a limbo game into becoming their slave. The contradicting personalities of Billy and Mandy add humor to the show. I could not help but feel sympathetic towards the grim reaper who is obliged to carry out every single bizarre order given by Mandy. The show was first aired on Cartoon Network on August 24th and was on the network till late 2008. I did not get to watch all the 89 episodes but the ones I did get to watch, I enjoyed them to the fullest. The supporting characters which in this case were Billy’s parents added to the air of dumbness which encapsulated Billy. Just a couple of days back when I was playing portal 2 I could not help but smile as it reminded me of the cosmic rifts created by the grim reaper’s scythe which facilitated Billy and Mandy to visit different planes of existence including but not limited Nirvana, Asgard and Lower Heck (fancy word for hell). The episode also featured various significant historical characters like Abraham Lincoln who is depicted as personal friend of Billy and a reference to the league of nations which in the cartoon goes under the alias of World Police. The show acquired such a huge fan following that it led to the production of three movies – Billy and Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure, Wrath of the spider Queen and Underfist: Halloween Bash.
Definitely there are dozens of more cartoons I would love to talk about here but sadly I am out of time.
All the text used in this post is licensed under Common Creative Incense. The images are property of respective production houses and I do not own them.