Archive for May, 2011

Tony here. Time for your weekly Recap of Cartoon Network’s Monday Night Line-up on the date 05/23/2011. This week the line-up consists of new episodes of  The Amazing World of Gumball, Regular Show, MAD, and The Problem Solverz. Note that this blog defines “Recap” as a short summary of the episode and a brief review/opinion of it, as opposed to the “Bit-By-Bit” recapping style of sites like Minor spoilers below. Let’s get started.

First on The Amazing World of Gumball: In “The Quest”, Anais’ doll is stole on the bus and taken by Tina the Dinosaur, so Gumball and Darwin go to Tina’s house to try and retrieve it. Note that I actually sort of missed a few brief parts due to not paying attention, but overall this was sort of a weaker episode. I still love these characters and I enjoy the sincerity of them–Gumball and Darwin are not mean-spirited; they are genuinely nice, well-meaning people, and that’s what this show is. Well-meaning. And rather hilarious. Not as funny as last week’s, but still a success. I give it a B+. On “The Spoon”, Gumball and Darwin are caught up in a robbery at a gas station, where they are tricked into thinking the robber is a good guy trying to gather money and items for a charity for bald people. This episode was hysterical, about on par with last week’s. Gumball’s dad as surprisingly grown on me–despite being basically a one-note bumbling dad archetype, he’s very amusing and the show knows what to do with him to get a very well-deserved laugh. Gumball’s and Darwin’s genuine childish nature is also something that I appreciate in this show; these feel like real children, and their honest obliviousness and good intentions make them both likable and hilarious. Also of note: the sausage with a mustache? Absolutely amazing. I give it an A.

Then on Regular Show: In “The Night Owl”, Mordecai, Rigby, Muscle Man, and High Five Ghost compete in a radio contest in order to win a car they all agree to share. But the evil nature of the radio host, The Night Owl, begins coming into play and things go a bit, well, irregular (lol horrible puns). Now this is more like it. I admit to being rather disappointed by the last two weeks episodes of RS; they were good, but they just didn’t do it for me. “The Night Owl”, however, was just perfect. Every joke nailed it, and the whole thing was fun, entertaining, and actually quite exciting. It also did what I think the last two episodes did not due–it led with something regular and dissolved into something completely off-the-wall, unpredictable, and insane. That’s the Regular Show way, and it’s what makes the show so fun and entertaining. I give it an A+.

Next on MAD: In “TwiSchool Musical/Avenger Time”, we have sketches parodying Sonic the Hedgehog, High School Musical, and Disney Channel actress Demi Lovato. This was also a major improvement over last week’s episode. While the filler sketches were fine themselves (especially “X For Demi’s”, a parody of For Dummies books and Demi Lovato), the two leading and closing sketches were absolutely spectacular. MAD has done what must be a dozen Twilight parodies already, but this one was definitely their best. The sight gags worked well and the satire itself was amusing. “Avenger Time”, which combined The Avengers with Adventure Time, really worked for me, and for once MAD‘s animation was actually impressive. It was clever and actually very funny. Definitely a great installment. I give it an A.

Finally, on The Problem Solverz: in “Fauxboro”, the guys stumble onto a problem themselves when they notice everyone in town has become mindless robots who don’t wear pants. I have more to say about this episode than I do most TPSz episodes. First off the bat, this was, for the most part, a slight improvement over the rest of the series. This was more insane, loud, and hyper than any episode before it, and this, well, makes it more annoying, but it also means with so much things going on, certain things are bound to be funny. Alfe actually managed to have some actually funny lines in the beginning. And another I thing I must note is that this episode’s plot was actual followable. The core problem of this show, past the bland characters or in-your-face attitude, is the sheer dullness of the plot. The show is impossible to follow because it is so isolating to the audience that it results in disinterest. But this episode’s plot was actually comprehensible, which I give it credit for. Still, that was about it. Plot was dumb and random nonetheless, and the whole thing seemed louder and more uncontrollable. Despite the surprising improvements, this episode was still a piece of Alfe. I give it a D+.

Overall I give this week’s CN Monday line-up an A. Be sure to check the line-up next week, starting at 7:30p.m. on Cartoon Network. And be sure to read more of Toons with Tony with new posts daily.


Tony here. Time for the end-of-the-week Sunday Wrap-Up. It’s here that I look back at the week in animation and say what I thought worked, what I thought failed, and what I thought was the best-of-the-best of week. (Yes, I know, for the EST, it’s not Sunday anymore, but I am a forgetful little shit, so I’m just gonna go by the PST where I get an extra 2 hours. CHEATING IS FUN.) Let’s get started.

On CN Monday, we had new episodes of:

  • The Amazing World of Gumball — A spectacular episode which made this whole night memorable and fun. It got so much crap past the radar it was unbelievable, and the writing is top-notch. Best episode of the night by far. A+.
  • Regular Show —  A good and fun episode supported largely due the absolutely lovable characters on this show. It’s how you can get away with Skips killing Rigby (!) without the entire audience never wanting to look at him again. A-.
  • MAD — A weak episode with a handful of sketches that redeemed it. “Smallville: Turn Off the Clark” gets credit for doing its research and for being genuinely clever. Overall, one of MAD‘s softest outings. B-.
  • The Problem Solverz — This show never improves on its flaws; all it ever does it try and add some positive stuff without actually, you know, removing the bad parts. Problem Solverz remains boring and awful, and I cannot even care about it enough to even bitch about it. Tuxdog is a slightly entertaining character and he was a very small saving grace. F+.

On CN Tuesday, we had new episodes of:

  • Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc — I haven’t been following this show at all and I sort of regret it. A great episode here; surprisingly dark and sporting a very clever Saw vibe. I personally think they need to tone it down with the shipping stuff. It’s a bit in-your-face and unnecessary. Best of the night. A-.
  • The Looney Tunes Show — Weaker than last week’s but still a step in the right direction. It more-or-less succeeds in geling the Looney Tunes characters in a sitcom while maintaining their character traits. I think they totally messed up Yosemite Sam, though; in stead of making the sitcom-ness work around his character, they stripped away his anger and made him just a basic unwanted house guest archetype. The Merrie Melodies was also very disappointing, but a lot of jokes stuck. B+.

On Comedy Central Wednesday, we had a new episode of:

  • South Park — This episode was able to balance satire with random lunacy in classic South Park fashion. Totally off the wall, we had send-ups of annoying depressing Sarah McClachlan commercials, the NCAA, crack babies, The Social Network, and Slash, who may or may not be real. It felt a bit directionless in hindsight, but it was all about pure fun and resulted in a very, very entertaining episode that continues a winning streak for this season. A.

On The Hub Saturday, we had a new episode of:

  • Dan Vs. — Yet another classic installment that places highly in this series’  best episodes. The sight of Not!Dan is, well, completely fucking disturbing and shall haunt my nightmares for weeks to come, but there were so many great jokes and nice character moments that made this a winner. This was one of Dan’s crowning moments, and I actually hope we see more of Not!Dan sometime in the future. A.

So overall, the Best of the Week were:

  1. The Amazing World of Gumball — “The End/The Dress”
  2. Dan Vs. — “Dan”
  3. South Park — “Crack Baby Athletic Association”
  4. Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. — “Escape From Mystery Island”
  5. Regular Show — “Over the Top”

That’s it for me. Once again sorry for the delay, but be sure to continue reading Toons with Tony, which updates regularly almost every day.

Tony here. Time to review the latest episode of The Looney Tunes Show, the latest incarnation of the classic Looney Tunes franchise. The new episode, “Fish and Visitors”, aired on Cartoon Network yesterday, May 24, 2011. I actually was planning on lumping together a review of this with a review of Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. to make a full CN Tuesday Recap, and while I do have a few things to say about this week’s episode of that, I’m still not a well-informed enough fan of that show to properly critique it. Spoilers follow. Let’s get started.

In “Fish and Visitors”, Yosemite Sam moves in next door to Bugs and Daffy and installs solar panels to run the electricity in his home so he can be entirely self-dependent. And of course, thunderstorms start brewing constantly, leaving Sam without power. Bugs, taking to the hospitable neighborly-code-of-conduct, lets him use his and Daffy’s house when his power goes out, despite Daffy’s rational (!) objections. Sam becomes an unwanted house guest and mooch soon, after a long-lasting storm leaves him without power for days.

I consider this sort of a notch down from last week’s phenomenal “Jailbird and Jailbunny”, but nonetheless think of it as a step in the right direction–at least tonally–for this series. The whole premise of this series is “Looney Tunes as a sitcom”, and it is this change that has led people to be so turned off and critical of it since it aired. A big problem is that these characters were not made to be sitcom characters, and so rewriting them as such while still being faithful to their roots is a challenge that requires careful, polished writing. The first two episodes of this show stumbled on that front, but by “Jailbird and Jailbunny” the show seemed to know what it’s doing. This episode did not deliver on the same level comedic-wise as “Jailbird” but reached the same level tonally.“Fish and Visitors” was able to take a sitcom premise and make it gel well with Bugs, Daffy, and company.

Again, the jokes did not land as hard as they should have, or as well as they did last week–the whole thing felt sort of in between episode two and last week’s episode. That’s not to say there weren’t some good jokes all around. The exchange: “I’d hate to be Yosemite Sam right now.”  “I’d hate to be Yosemite Sam ANY time.” was just brilliant, and while the joke was later repeated in the episode in a new way (“Believe me, you won’t like me when I’m hungry.” “I don’t like you NOW.”) it still managed to be funny. Hey, if a joke works, nothing else can really be said.

The plot was a straight-up sitcom plot without any major surprises or twists, but it remained engrossing and entertaining enough to make you, well, give a shit despite the predictability. Yosemite Sam’s portrayal is, meh…hit or miss. They got the anger better in his “Blow My Stake” Merrie Melody a few episodes back, and here he’s more-or-less downgraded to a jerk mooch who never once throws wild tantrums or fires his gone off in fury (and don’t tell me, “Oh, it’s a kids’ show, they can’t do that”–because they’re able to do it in the Looney Tunes reruns which are rated TV-G as opposed to this show’s TV-PG). That was really my only problem with this episode.

Oh, that and the Merrie Melodies cartoon. By no means do I hate this as viciously as practically everyone else on the internet does, but this episode’s short was just lame. The shorts serve no purpose whatsoever and come off as only sporadically-funny, pointless dribble to fill in airtime before the commercial break. This was Henery Hawk’s first appearance in several years and the material he was given–a off-kilter, uncatchy rap song–failed on several levels. I’ve been fine with the previous Merrie Melodies, but this was just flat out weak. Also, it’s really been bothering me that these shorts appear in the middle of the episode. This just literally interrupts the entire flow of things by cutting things off before the commercial does, throwing off the whole timing of the episode. These shorts need to just be at the end of the episode–I’d say put them in the end credits, but Cartoon Network cuts those off. The placement bothers me more than the blandness of the short itself.

Overall, not a bad episode, as it was able to properly blend the characters with sitcom plotting and humor unflinchingly, but it was definitely a notch down from last week. I give it a B+.

Watch The Looney Tunes Show every Tuesday night at 8:00pm on Cartoon Network, and be sure to continue reading Toons with Tony for animation updates and opinions.

Tony here. Time for your weekly Recap of Cartoon Network’s Monday Night Line-up on the date 05/23/2011. This week the line-up consists of new episodes of  The Amazing World of Gumball, Regular Show, MAD, and The Problem Solverz. Note that this blog defines “Recap” as a short summary of the episode and a brief review/opinion of it, as opposed to the “Bit-By-Bit” recapping style of sites like Minor spoilers below. Let’s get started.

First on The Amazing World of Gumball: In “The End”, Gumball and Darwin believe the world is about to end and try to spread the word. While their rational mother and sister laugh it off, their bumbling father believes them and they all take hasty action. This episode was just hysterical throughout. Unlike the dreadfully forced The Problem Solverz, Gumball perfectly nails the straight-up weird randomness style of humor in a manner similar to the painfully underrated My Gym Partner’s a Monkey. The very plot of the episode was very timely, as the hysteria over the faux Rapture occurred just a few days before this episode aired. Loved all of Gumball’s chaotic attempts to make his last day on Earth worthwhile. I give it an A. In “The Dress”, Gumball…well, Gumball runs out of clean clothes and is forced to go to school wearing his mother’s dress…and is mistaken for a new girl…who Darwin subsequently…FALLS IN LOVE FOR.  Jesus. Maurice. Christ. This episode was so fucked up. It was beyond Getting Crap Past the Radar. It was Tyler Durden splicing dog porn into a fucking children’s movie. From the very beginning, we get a blurred-out Gumball schlong walking around and hiding in his father’s shirt, Darwin falling in love with his own brother–and the whole thing is TV-Y7. But oh my God was it so amazingly and hilariously disturbing. I could not stop laughing throughout any of this episode. It was just so mind-boggling insane and messed up…I don’t know how Gumball keeps doing it, but in a short half-hour it is able to outshine nearly every animated show on TV right now. I give it an A+ .

Then on Regular Show: In “Over the Top”, Skips is shocked to find out Rigby is able to defeat him in arm wrestling, surpassing him as reigning arm wrestling champ. But Skips’ attempt to find out how Rigby is beating him goes a bit, well–over the top.  This was a fun episode, and a nice return to lunacy from last week’s “regular” episode. Skips is an interesting character to have as the focus of an episode, and his immortality is brought up once more–this time, with his grappling with death himself (who has one arm much larger than the other, a very dirty joke I hope was intentional and not just my mind being in the gutter) in an arm wrestling match. Also, I loved the title of this episode, a reference to Sylvester Stalone’s arm wrestling movie Over the Top. I give it an A-.

Next, on MAD: In “The Social Netjerk / Smallville: Turn Off the Clark“, sketches include a parody of Thor entitled Jersey Thor, snakes playing a parody of Scrabble, and a spoof of The Social Network that, unlike most of MAD‘s “leading” sketches is just a straight up satire, not combining it with any other media. Despite the potential of that sketch and a few well-adjusted jokes, it was a tad disappointing, as was the rest of the episode, which–starting with a very bland and unfunny opening MAD News announcement–felt weak. Two sketches stood out for me: “Airbender Technical Institute”, a funny mash-up of Avatar: The Last Airbender and ITT Tech, and Smallville: Turn Off the Clark, where Smallville gets revamped by Julie Taymor as a Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark-type musical. I give this sketch special credit for doing its research, and for summing up the disappointing nature of the series as a whole. Still, a weak episode. I give it a B-.

Finally, on The Problematic Seizurez The Problem Solverz: In “Badcat”, Horace, Roba, and Alfe enlist the help of Tux Dog in order to fight a new supervillain, the titular Badcat. I find it difficult to review The Problem Solverz week after week because the show never improves the problems it has–the delirious animation, the ugly character designs, the obnoxious characters, bland voice acting, etc.–but just tries and adds new things to improve it that do not cancel out the negative elements. Tux Dog, for example, is actually an alright character, and scenes with him are actually rather good. But this show is just so nauseating and, frankly, boring. I find it nearly impossible to enjoy this show despite any bright spots in the plot, like the Tux Dog character. I don’t dislike the plot, and I don’t have any plotholes on it, but I just do not care at all what happens. A few jokes land, but The Problem Solverz continues to be uninteresting and ugly. I give it a F+.

Overall I give this week’s CN Monday line-up an A-. Be sure to check the line-up next week, starting at 7:30p.m. on Cartoon Network. And be sure to read more of Toons with Tony with new posts daily.

Tony here. Time for the end-of-the-week Sunday Wrap-Up. It’s here that I look back at the week in animation and say what I thought worked, what I thought failed, and what I thought was the best-of-the-best of week. (Note: Yes, I know, it’s not actually Sunday, but I completely forgot yesterday and didn’t wanna rename the whole recurring post because of one delay. So, sorry for the belatedness.) Let’s get started.

On CN Monday, we had new episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, Regular Show, MAD, and The Problem Solverz. Not the best of nights, as each episode felt slightly below average, but out of all of them, The Amazing World of Gumball proved to be the best, with solid jokes, funny new characters, and some simply outstanding animation.

On CN Tuesday, we had new episodes of Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc and The Looney Tunes Show. Mystery Inc. had some fun with a romance-based,  plot and had some typically sharp animation, but nothing really stood out for me. Best of the night was The Looney Tunes Show, which was definitely the show’s best episode–consistently hilarious and better interpretation of the characters.

On Comedy Central Wednesday, we had the new episode of South Park. This episode was spectacular, and hilarious jokes with a really, really clever satire. Since there was no animated shows before or after it, this was clearly the best animated show of the night. Anyone know if Ugly Americans is on hiatus, season break, or just straight-up canceled? I miss it following SP.

On The Hub Saturday, there was a brand new Dan Vs. This was a very funny episode, with some hilarious verbal-and-visual gags, twisted fantasy sequences, and some interesting character development with Chris and Elise. I’m not entirely sure if I can consider this, or the above Comedy Central Wednesday, actual blocks, but until I work something out I’ll consider them some.

On FOX Sunday’s Animation Domination, there were new episodes of Bob’s Burgers, American Dad!, The Simpsons, and Family Guy. Unfortunately, I missed this week’s Animation Domination, so the only thing I was able to catch was Family Guy‘s “It’s a Trap!” special, which is the third Star Wars parody they’ve done. This was probably the worst of the three–as the opening crawl even addresses, the whole thing felt like the writers had simply given up and decided to throw just about anything together. The result is an uneven special that makes up for a very weak first half with a funnier second half. I give it a B-.

So, overall, the Best of the Week was:

  1. Dan Vs. — “The Fancy Restaurant”
  2. South Park — “T.M.I.”
  3. The Looney Tunes Show — “Jailbird and Jailbunny”
  4. The Amazing World of Gumball — “The Third/The Debt”
  5. Regular Show — “Really Real Wrestling”

That’s it for me. Once again sorry for the delay, but be sure to continue reading Toons with Tony, which updates regularly almost every day (sans a few delays, like this one XD).

Tony here. Time to review Saturday’s episode of Dan Vs. This new episode, “The Fancy Restaurant”, aired Saturday, May 21st, 2011, on The Hub. My apologies on the lateness in this post–I lost track of time and was not able to write this (or the Sunday Wrap-Up) yesterday as I intended. That being said, it is my intention to get this out as soon as possible, and to post the Sunday Wrap-Up later today, despite it not actually being Sunday. Be sure to watch the episode before reading this review, because MAJOR spoilers below.  Let’s get started.

In “The Fancy Restaurant”, Dan is appalled to learn that his favorite sandwich shop has been replaced with a snooty fancy restaurant that–GASP!–does not even sell sandwiches! Naturally, Dan seeks revenge.

This episode spares no seconds on the laughs, opening with a simply outrageous fantasy with Dan and a talking, female sandwich (it’s as weird and hysterical as it sounds). Lots of other funny gags throughout this episode, including Dan constantly thinking the valet is asking for a high five when he sticks his hand out for a tip and the repeat of the opening gag, but twist to feature the sandwich fucking leaving him after an affair. That old Simpsons quote, “You want a realistic, down-to-earth show… that’s completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots?” is something that I think really applies to how this show is able to perfect a low-key, almost realistic world and brim it with over-the-top lunacy and utter insanity.

Also in the mix is some well-done character development and continuity. We get to see Chris and Elise have their own storyline that actually manages to not diverge into Dan’s insanity until well into the second act. The concept of both of them forgetting their own anniversary lead to some genuinely nice and sweet moments for their characters. We also get some callbacks to things like Dan’s love of sandwiches, and some mentions of Dan’s past revenge schemes that ended up ruining Chris and Elise’s previous anniversaries. I shudder to think what “that thing with the nuns” was.

Admittedly, the stuff with the dungeon chefs was a tad confusing and out-there, but I felt it worked as a nice and funny moving point for the story. Some of the characters felt a tad too much like the hobo from “Technology”, but as the episode progressed we got some more individualized personalities and jokes from the group. I especially liked the recurring bit with the one chef slapping another one for incompetency. Pimp-slaps amuse me.

Not much to say on the animation here. I’ve always been impressed with the show’s smooth character designs and crisp, on-the-note storyboarding. The animation itself flows well and it never stilted, but nothing of spectacular note.

This was yet another good episode from this show, packed with hilarious jokes and delivering fully on entertainment. I give it an A.

Be sure to watch Dan Vs. every Saturday night on The Hub at 8:30pm EST, and be sure to keep reading Toons with Tony, which updates practically every day.

Tony here. South Park has been back for its fifteenth season for a few weeks now on Comedy Central, and I’m here to review  the newest episode, “T.M.I”, which aired last night May 18th, 2011. The season thus far has been hurling out good, funny installments thus far, and this episode continues that run. Spoilers below. Let’s get started.

In “T.M.I.”, the South Park Elementary staff posts how much the students have grown based on their physicals, but Cartman mistakes the measurements for a tracking of all the boys’ penis sizes. This enrages Cartman as he convinces all the boys to remeasure themselves so they can repost their actual sizes. This jump-starts a chaotic series of events leading to the formation of the Pissed Off and Angry Party, a group of disgruntled anger-management patients with small dicks.

I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about how weak this season has been so far–especially last week’s “Royal Pudding”–but I must say I disagree. All of the episodes so far are entertaining and quite hysterical, especially last week’s episode and applying again for this week’s one. This was a very funny, classic episode of South Park throughout, delivering on some deliriously clever satire with some hella (“STOP SAYING HELLA, CARTMAN!”) funny gags.

The storyline moved along very well and in classic South Park fashion, building on unexpected, crude storytelling to end up getting a message across. It’s a true testament to Trey and Matt, this episode–when you peel back the layers of jokes and stories, it’s a one-note joke: people like the Tea Party are bitching about everything because they have small dicks. But its the true reveal of this satirical message that leaves the biggest impact, and it’s really quite brilliant. One of the best satires this show has done in years.

Lots of good lines and jokes throughout this episode. Loved the whole bit at the anger management meeting, with caricatures of Tea Party members and disgruntled teenage homeboys complaining about their problems that reveal to be all based on their, well, small dicks. Butters barely appeared in the episode, but every time he did he delivered some hysterical lines, like when Cartman was measuring his penis in the bathroom, but it was “a bit chilly”. “Butters, we can’t do this if your penis is gonna be a shy turtle!” Oh, and loved when the Pissed Off and Angry Party listed their random demands.

This is definitely moving along the season in a good direction. I didn’t like it as much as last week’s “Wedding Pudding”, but it’s pretty damn close. I give it an A.

New episodes of South Park airs every Wednesday on Comedy Central at 10pm EST. Also be sure to continue reading Toons with Tony, with updates practically every day.