Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CROSSTOPIX #2 - Part 2 of 3

Welcome back to this week's CrossTopix! Once again, we're here this week with Rhodrick Magsino and Robin Poppert of Little Brass Bird! In this part, we discuss many different aspects of childhood and animation including old cartoons vs. new cartoons, our favorite toys from childhood, and the best animated musicians! :DRead Part 1 of This Week - The Cross X-amine with Little Brass Bird -

4. Sometimes you hear people say "the cartoons when I was a kid are so much better than the ones kids have today!" What is your opinion of some of today’s programs in comparison to the ones that you had as a child? (Conversation isn’t restricted to animated series for kids.)

STVO: This is a tough topic…. On one side, we have some decent modern series today: The Cleveland Show (yes I said it), Super Jail, Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Spectacular Spider-Man, and then great animated movies from Pixar, 9 (the rag doll movie, not the other), and others. We do get some garbage like 12 oz. Mouse, My Gym Partner is a Monkey, and Hoodwinked (it’s actually getting a sequel?!?!?!) In the 90s, we had some solid gems like the best seasons of The Simpsons, Batman: The Animated Series, etc. but we did get plenty of garbage like Free Willy: The Animated Series and The Jungle Cubs (from Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlene!) I could go to the other decades and say the same exact things as I did with those two decades. Overall I believe it’s neutral in every decade. We all grow up and some things appeal to us, some don’t.

To wrap things up, one of my favorite eras of cartoons was on Cartoon Network was from 1998 to 2004. The channel had a good mix of newer shows (at the time, Dexter’s Lab, Jonny Bravo, etc.), classic shows (Flintstones, Jetsons, etc.), anime (DBZ, Yu Yu Hakusho, etc.) and Adult Swim programming (Brak Show, Sealab 2021, classic ATHF.) Now the channel is airing live-action children reality shows and less entertaining new originals. They’re trying very hard to be like Nickelodeon and Disney Channel (yet not even coming close to them in ratings.) As for an era of animated television that was real bad, take a look at the 1970s. More crap than quality shows. Don’t believe me? Look up The Robonic Stooges, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Devlin, and The Pebbles and Bam-Bam Show on Youtube. Honestly, back then if you came up with an idea, it was a cartoon, and could be produced real fast, it would likely be picked up by Hannah-Barbera!

CharlieCat: Well I do miss the days of Ren & Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, and Ahhh, Real Monsters! What Nickelodeon has on now is just weird. I know that sounds like a contradiction, due to the fact the previous shows I mentioned were definitely no strangers to weirdness, but there was a method to their madness and it was fun weird not scary weird. Sponge Bob Square Pants frightens me. Seriously, I don't get it and he and his crew are disturbing.

As for other kid shows, of today, none really come to mind. I don't know what's on for kids these days. I used to get up early Saturday mornings for X-Men, Spiderman, G. I. Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I even enjoyed Barney and Lambchop, oh, and good ole' Pee Wee's Playhouse. I think kids of today are getting cheated, as even previous generations had great kids’ cartoons that are still a joy to watch today, such as Looney Toones, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, etc.

Robin: Well it seems now that pretty much any show that appeared during the 1980’s is now being made in to a movie: Jem, Smufs (I know, it began in the 1970’s), He-Man, Garfield, and so forth. So, that could be a sign right there.

The cheese from the PSA-like cartoons of the 70’s, 80’s and early 1990’s may be gone but the cheese is still there. Sometimes it does feel as if the shows for children these days are a bit lame and simple. Also just not as clever. I’m not sure if this is because networks don’t feel as if children cannot handle themes we were exposed to in cartoons from our era. (Boy I feel old) I mean even the Care Bears had bad guys in their show!

Side note: I really enjoy how everyone is up at arms about Cookie Monster promoting healthy eating as if he just started this. Do your research! This began in the 1980’s with his “Healthy Food” skit ala’ Run DMC. I think 1980’s Sesame Street is better then what they have now (they limited their age range to a point where I don’t think as many parents or older children watch it) Also, I dislike Rosa, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby!

Rhodrick: Watching cartoons as a child has certainly inspired me to do many of the things I do now. As story-telling and animation evolve, I try not to be bias about what’s new. Let us not forget that every generation of animation has its fair share of good and bad shows. Some shows have stuck with me my entire life like: Robotech, Mighty Max and Darkwing Duck. However, there are many shows that I have quickly forgotten over time and I’m sure that is also the case now a day. Most cartoons now (very much like it was 20 years ago) are generic, dumbed-down and more “lazy” than “stylized”. But just like 20 years ago there are real gems hidden in the masses of current cartoon lineups (example: Samurai Jack, Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Futurama) and when these shows are watched they will be remembered for decades. One clear-cut difference of today’s cartoons is the politically correctness of their content, which has done both good and bad. In the end, I wouldn’t say shows are “better” or “worse” today but rather they are evolving.

5. What were some of your favorite toys growing up? Are there any toys currently on the market that you think you'd like if you were a child now?

STVO: Like any kid in the mid-80s, I loved my TMNT, He-Man, Ghostbusters, and G.I. Joes just like the average kid. Now to break away from that mold, some of my other favorite action figures included WWF figures, Captain Bucky O’Hare, Toxic Crusaders, and heck, even Captain Planet! With the exception of the WWF figures, I usually had all of them join different teams to feud in the ultimate good vs. evil (though surprisingly I would remember odd pairings like Leonardo of the Ninja Turtles would be a bad guy and I’d have a bad guy Ninja Turtles character known as Slash fight on the good side.) The WWF figures I kept strictly with each other as I would have classic matches of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior vs. Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, etc. Yokozuna and Undertaker were some nice additions and I always loved having battle royales with them for the world title.

For today’s toys, I’m not so sure. I see too many card games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon as opposed to my beloved action figures (though there are still plenty of them out there!) Two toys I don’t remember having as a kid that I see them have now are the Spider-Man web shooters and the Incredible Hulk/Thing giant hands!! I would have loved to have those, especially the web shooter!

CharlieCat: You could never go wrong with Legos! Haha. Oh, to be a kid again. As I walk past the kids toys sections these days I find nothing appealing that makes the inner child in me scream, “I want, I want, I WANT!” My favorite toys, however, were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and G. I. Joe action figures. Hours upon hours of fun. The turtles had awesome designs and just a cool cast of characters to collect from. G. I. Joe's were awesome for their very flexible bodies so you could really have an awesomely coordinated fight! I miss my toys. :( Haha.

Robin: I loved the typical girl toys: My Little Ponies (We changed one of their names to “Star Trek” I love TNG!) Fairy Tails, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Beanie Babies, Littlest Pet Shop, Purr-tenders and Care Bears. We were also very crafty and played with homemade Play-Dough, crayons, school supplies, and pretzel dough that we would bake). We also made up games and roller skated.

But of my all-time favorites was my Pound Puppy “Barkers;” he used to bark but my mom hates toys that make noise so she cut out the voice box so his name was a bit ironic. I have a strong pull to toys that instill the notion of adopting animals is the right thing to do. It was a wonderful and complete concept. Well lots of toys from that time had a story or background for the child to get interested in if they wanted. Or they could still leave it up to their imagination.

Most of my childhood my younger brother wasn’t around, but we did make his GI Joes date our Barbies! Ken wasn’t that cute. Sorry I love toys so much!! I think if I was a child today I would like Zhu Shu pets, also YooHoo & friends. Lots of the interactive games look amazing like the Fisher –Price Smart Cycle Extreme. The kid tough digital cameras are pretty awesome as well!

Rhodrick: As a somewhat troubled child, I was infatuated with Robots and cartoon violence! I had all the metal and plastic Voltron toys, the original Optimus Prime, and a vast collection of the original Spawn figures… which are all broken now. Toys back then were pretty awesome like when Matchbox took on the Robotech series and made a mouth foaming one-foot tall transforming SDF-1! A lot of the toys today have been designed to prevent choking hazards, which can jip you out of cool little accessories/extras. However, I do like how companies have re-vamped old toys like the new and improved light sabers! Awesome! Since today’s toys can be so high-tech and giving, I think having them could easily spoil my imagination and me.

6.What is the best animated band/singer of all-time? Answers may include fictional bands of Alvin and the Chipmunks/Deathklok/Jem/Jabberjaw and the Neptunes, a band that uses the animated medium: The Gorillaz, or you can state a band that may have appeared in an episode of a television show or movie like Green Day’s appearance in The Simpsons Movie or Danzig on Aqua Teen Hunger Force? If it’s a real band, be sure to state what movie/show they were on.

STVO: Took me a little time to figure this one out, but music in animation is a beautiful thing, be it guest stars or fictional characters. One of my favorite music artists happens to be a young rapper named PaRappa the Rapper! I love him and his paper thin like environments, I also enjoy the catchy tunes in all his video games (I have the soundtrack to the first video game on my iPod.) I haven’t forgotten his spin-off series with a young rocker named UmJammer Lammy! She knows how to wail on guitar! :D A fictional character from South Park past known as Chef we all know was voiced by Isaac Hayes. I really enjoyed his songs and his character a lot, he did really crack me up when he was on the show. The Simpsons had lots of great appearances: The Ramones wishing Mr. Burns a happy birthday and death to him, Red Hot Chilli Peppers helping Krusty the Klown get his television show back, and let’s not forget HomerPalooza with the Smashing Pumpkins, Cypress Hill, Peter Frampton, and Sonic Youth! Now if you want something different, check out the anime Nerima Daikon Brothers. There are two brothers and their female cousin who all often sing funny and dirty songs in addition to baring some very similar resemblance to the Warner Bros. and their Warner sister Dot (aka The Animaniacs.)

CharlieCat: Gotta love Les Claypool at the beginning of South Park while doing the theme song. I did really like the episode of The Simpsons where a bunch of bands were on for that music festival (bands were: The Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill, and Peter Frampton) and Homer became part of the freak show, taking cannonballs to the stomach. Ouch! The ending was great where Homer inadvertently got the Pumpkins to put their depression aside and realize they were young and rich. Woohooo!

Robin: Well here are my top four favorite animated bands: The Archie’s, The Beatles, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Jem.

A lot of these are for bizarre reasons and goofy personal reasons. I grew up reading The Archie’s and the other comics under that company. Their songs were made in to albums and they sold like hot cakes. The Beatles cartoon (it was a real show not a movie) it is so offensive and just wonderful. They randomly break out into songs that semi-relate to the plot. It is stylized in a Rocky and Bullwinkle animation.

I have to say Alvin and the Chipmunks (1980’s version) as those are songs and “music videos” that have stuck with me throughout the years. When I think of Billy Joel, the Alvin voice is the one that pops into my head first. Jem I started to watch later in life and when I thought about the 1980’s growing up and how I wish my life was I wish I was Jem. She instilled the cheesy morals but made it seem cool. She lived a double life; she was wonderful to her starlight girls. Jem moved products: dolls, tapes, and clothes. Her show ended too soon. However I am unhappy about the upcoming Jem movie. I don’t think it needed to be done.

Rhodrick: I’m torn with this question because my choice is both best and worst. My choice would have to be Lynn Minmay (Ling Mingmei in Japanese) from Robotech: Macross Saga (Or MACROSS). Hear me out first!! Her voice was the key element to taking down the ENTIRE ZENTRADI SPACE ARMADA!! These are the same aliens that eliminated 99% of the human race in a single blow. These are the same aliens who stood 50 feet tall and were scientifically manufactured for war for millions of years. I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

What’s the down side of Minmay, you ask? She’s the loudest, whiniest ego-maniacal b**** from h3ll!!! She has absolutely no consideration for the people closest to her, she sings the same damn songs every time and even fooled around with her uptight actor Jehovah’s witness cousin! Oh, and she thinks each year has thirteen Junes… A small price to pay to save the world I guess.


Great Conversations Everyone! We hope you all enjoyed reading them!! Tune in Friday for CrossACTION! In the meantime please comment on this page or log on to the Facebook Fanpage.

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