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12/8/08
Animated Edibles

You will never guess what I did this Saturday morning. I stayed in bed and watched cartoons. It was a serious flashback to 20 years ago. Kind of.

I didn’t really set out specifically to watch cartoons. It just kind of happened by accident. It was one of those rare Saturday mornings where the planets aligned and Tony had to go to work, and the cats decided to let me sleep in, and I had nothing planned to do until later that day. Plus it was cold outside of my toasty electric blanket, so instead of dragging myself up, I snuggled down into the blankets and flipped on the TV. I guess we had been watching CBS last, because that was the channel that it was on when I hit the power button. And lo and behold, there were cartoons.

We do not have little people in our house, so cartoons have not really graced our television with any regularity. So I was not at all prepared for just how weird cartoons had become. In my day, we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Rescue Rangers, and Duck Tales and The Adventures of My Little Pony, and that was good solid cartoon programming. Now? These cartoons are just bizarre. Completely and totally bizarre. And normally I would have hit the guide button and found a Landscaper’s Challenge or Design on A Dime, but the story lines were so odd that I couldn’t turn away. It was like a car crash.

The cartoon in question (which I would have shut off, but the absurdity of it stopped me dead in my tracks) was about (I kid you not) tiny crime-fighting bits of…sushi. Yes. Sushi. Crime-fighting specially prepared raw seafood. Which definitely proves that the cartoon creators were smoking something REALLY potent when they thought of this one.

Actually, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were supposed to be sushi at all if the name of the show hadn’t been The Sushi Pack. They looked more like different colored blobs if you ask me. There was a pink blob with ears like crab claws, and a blue blob that had several arms like an octopus or squid or something, and a green blob that was apparently supposed to be Wasabi sauce, but I have no idea what the other blobs were supposed to be. (They were introduced, but my eyes had glazed over and my brain was leaking out of my ears and onto the floor, so I didn’t catch them). Anyway, the story begins with the sushi blobs discussing doing some modifications on their crustacean-shaped helicopter. The pink blob wants to make it more Feng shui (do kids even know what this means? Can the average 4 year old now redecorate a room to channel my chi into a more positive climate?), the blue blob wants to do something else, and the green blob (for reasons never explained) wants to make the helicopter look like a giant flying bathtub.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, a very large LARGE woman whose southern accent more than suggests that this is supposed to be an evil Paula Deen, is monologuing about how much she hates the Sushi Crew. (I can’t say that I’m a fan of raw fish either, but this woman really needs to get over it.) Alas, instead of doing something positive like making an appointment with her therapist to work out her food-related anger issues, she sets about creating an evil gang of fried foods to fight with the sushi crew. (I know. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse). She goes over to her deep fryer, and in the evil voice reserved specifically for bad guys, rants as she tosses a chicken nugget, a corn dog, a ball of mozzarella (hey! I think to myself, this is looking promising! I’m getting hungry!), some ketchup (fried ketchup?) and a dash of something very clearly labeled as “toxic poison” into the oil. The result is a huge explosion, and when the smoke clears, tiny brown blobs with legs and angry looking eyes. The bad guy fried foods all speak with distinct Southern accents, making me believe that there are some culturally disparaging undertones here. As expected, the rival food gangs meet up, and a “food fight” ensues, although not with any violence. The majority of the fight consisted of both food groups standing around, frowning aggressively at each other. (Remember the good old days when Jerry would drop a piano on Tom’s head? Those days are loooong gone). At the fight climax, some of the sushi gang threw yellow stuff (spicy mustard perhaps?) but it didn’t appear to do any damage…I’m guessing the Cartoon Violence Police are behind that one.

I’m assuming that the Sushi Pack eventually wins, but I’m not sure because I was able to snap myself out of the animated sushi-induced stupor and throw myself at the power button of the TV right as the sushi began an important lesson on compromising about the helicopter designs instead of focusing on their differences. I’m not sure how, but this in some way ties into the battle with the fried food.

Now, I am fully aware that I am not the target audience here, but seriously? Crime-fighting sushi? Have we really exhausted every other idea for a cartoon? On the one hand, I’m glad they tried to think of something more original than your standard suspiciously diverse group of kids with special secret powers to fly/shoot fire/talk to animals/cause earthquakes/turn into dragons/cars/dinosaurs/ninjas and are trying to save the world from your typical evil bad guys with legions of bad guy armies and complete with secret lair. On the other hand…it’s a show about two inch tall pieces of raw fish. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or deeply disturbed. Maybe it's just me and my antiquated notions on proper cartoon heroes, but despite the obvious moral lesson on teamwork and compromise, the sushi blobs scare me.

And I think I need some comfort in the form of fried foods.

2 comments:

Erin said...

ROFL!!! I have never heard of this crackhead cartoon! Speaking of people on crack, the cartoon that I absolutely CANNOT stand that my girls are thrilled to watch...In the Night Garden. I'm pretty sure the creators were smoking something pretty crazy when they came up with it. There is nothing in the show to actually learn or make my children smarter in any way. They have made up a plethora of words that are pure nonsense (ninky nonks and mickamackamoo!?!?) and they spit. They SPIT!!! My girls think it's hilarious, but I'd rather pull out my nose hairs one by one and then move onto toenails, than watch that horrid show. :)

rediscovery said...

I remember the good old days of Saturday cartoons . . . Garfield & Friends, Loony Tunes, then over to live action for Saved By the Bell! Sadly, those days are gone. But you should have flipped to NBC for some Veggie Tales or 3-2-1 Penguins! Now those are worth your time.