Tony here. Time for your weekly Recap of Cartoon Network’s Monday Night Line-up on the date 05/16/2011. This week the line-up consists of The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time (repeat), 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 TelevisionWithoutPity.com.

First on The Amazing World of Gumball: In “The Third”, Gumball believes he and Darwin need to add a third person to their group. After sifting through their choices, they end up adding Tobias, a rich kid who charges the two $20 to be their friend and ends up hogging all of Darwin’s time. There was some nice character development with Darwin and Gumball’s brotherly friendship, and a lot of great gags involving Adrien the balloon. I give it an A. In “The Debt”, Gumball thinks Mr. Robinson has saved his life, and is determined to pay back to him. Set up as a cliched, run-0f-the-mill ’70s sitcom plot, this actually turns into a much more entertaining set-up as we see a lot of focus on Mr. Robinson’s attempt to but on his final stage performance. This episode really delivers due to the show’s simply astonishing animation. Though the character designs are basic, the show is crazy ambitious, mixing traditional animation with stop-motion and CGI on live-action backdrops. The CGI is possibly the most impressive–the animators do an astonishing job capturing the feel of puppetry in the animation of Robinson and his family. Lots of good jokes in here, too. I give it an A-.

Adventure Time was a repeat this week.

Then on Regular Show: In “Really Real Wrestling”, Mordecai and Rigby discover Pops has a ticket to go see Really Real Wrestling, which is basically¬† just WWE with mutants. Unfortunately, while: performing their own wrestling moves, they end up hurting Pops’ back and forcing him to stay in bed. But naturally, Mordecai and Rigby (and Pops unknown to them) sneak out to see the show anyways. The plot isn’t as extreme as most RS episodes, and actually borders on predictable, but the jokes are clever. I was, however, sort of disappointed, considering Pops is the show’s most consistently funny character, and this episode failed to deliver on some much-desired Pops lines. I give it a B.

Next, MAD: In “Pooh Grit / Not-a-Fan-a-Montana”, sketches include a parody of True Grit with Winnie the Pooh characters cast as characters, a talk show with Cobra the Commander from G.I. Joe, amongst others. This episode featured a surprising amount of strong sketches. In a faux commercial, a combination of Big League Chew gum and Pokemon, entitled “Big League PikaChew”, is advertised; combining a funny pun with some genuine shock humor, this was an admittedly disturbing segway. My favorite of the night was likely the Bob the Builder/Handy Mandy “clash”, where Bob the Builder calls out Mandy for ripping off his show. “Oooh, you just got built!” “Not-a-Fan-a-Montana” was also spectacular; though a Hannah Montana is not a particularly timely subject, but the idea of Miley Cyrus being overshadowed by the rise of Justin Bieber certainly is. Lots of nice ridiculous twists in this one. MAD‘s not about structure or cleverness, but with a lot of pop-culture references zooming along every second, lots of stuff are bound to stick, like in this episode. I give it an A-.

Finally, we have The Problem Solverz: in “Mayan Ice Cream Caper”, the Problem Solverz are called upon to stop the destruction of an ice cream factory by the hands of the owner. Horace falls in love with the owner’s daughter, which mixes things up as the true purpose of the destruction attempt is questioned. Coming to no surprise, I despise this show. Flashing colors and hollow surrealism make this show just impossible to follow and desperately intolerable. This episode delivers the same old same old, as the annoying characters scream their lines in their grating voices and the plots run into the ground with predictability and pointlessness. Granted some lines stick (such as Alfe’s, who is 99% of the time completely intolerable, “SQUIRREL CHEEKS!” gag), but it only amounts to a chuckle. I give it a D-.

Overall I give this week’s CN Monday line-up a B+. 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 each week.

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