Saturday, January 26, 2008

10 Most Twisted Animated TV Shows

There have been a lot of great TV cartoon series over the decades, but only a few deserve the moniker of “twisted.” Here are our choices for the ten most twisted cartoons on American TV.

10. Space Ghost Coast to Coast. 1994-2004. Imagine an animated late-night talk show where the host is a mostly retired superhero, the house musician is a giant praying mantis, Zorak, the director is an old nemesis, Moltar, and the guests are live action. That’s Space Ghost Coast to Coast - probably more crazy than truly twisted. (The interviews were real, but were done by a cast member that sometimes wore a Space Ghost costume.) Would that there was a real late night superhero talkshow like this. The clip below is from when The Ramones appeared.

9. Futurama. 1999-2003. Futurama has elements of creator Matt Groening’s other creation, The Simpsons, but with a much crazier cast of animated characters, set in the future, and replete with glass-encased heads of current celebrities, megalomaniac robots (Bender), really dumb lead characters (Fry), one-eyed hot chicks (Leela), supersmart but forgetful scientists, very hungry humanoid creatures, lots of celebrity guests, unrequited love and zany plots. The clip below is from Futurama: Bender’s Big Score, which is a full-length feature video from 2007.

8. Aqua Teen Hunger Force. 2000-2006(?). Aqua Teen Hunger Force (ATHF) consists of a bunch of slacker superheroes in the form of a milkshake, a meatball and an order of fries. They first appeared on Space Ghost Coast to Coast, then got their own show. Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad will save the day, if they feel like it.

In real life, Boston was shut down when the ATHF movie was promoted in such way as to make authorities believe there was a bomb scare. Stupidity or brilliant marketing? Or just twisted.

7. Celebrity Deathmatch. 1998-present. Celebrity Deathmatch is a definitely twisted claymation series pitting well-known and lesser-known celebrities against each other. Extremely violent in depiction but surprisingly funny at the same time because of little joke references for each celebrity. The clip below pits Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow against each other.

6. Ripping Friends. 2001-2002. John Kricfalusi outdid himself, graduating from Ren and Stimpy (listed below) to the short-lived but twisted Ripping Friends, about quadruplet superhero brothers of slightly different ages and even different races. When villains appear and logic doesn’t work, it’s ripping time. Brute force and violence wins the day.

5. Robot Chicken. 2005-present. Robot Chicken offers a constant stream of (insane) consciousness claymation and doll/ puppet segments. To wit: raptors (from Jurassic Park) that put on roller blades and do a synchronized disco skate routine around their prey. Or a Big Brother-style reality show featuring a whole bunch of movie psychos including Ghost Face (Scream), Michael Myers (Halloween), Pinhead (Hellraiser). Or violently but nutty spoofs of Star Trek, Star Wars, loads of other movies, and pop culture icons. And so on, ad infinitum. The clip below is a spoof of 2007’s 300 movie.

4. Beavis and Butthead. 1993-1997. Mike Judge made his name with this pair of annoying idiots that nevertheless endeared themselves to so many people. Personally, I prefer Judge’s later effort, King of the Hill, but it’s just not as demented as Beavis and Butthead. Uh huh huh huh. These guys even had their own Celebrity Deathmatch episode (which mixed animation and claymation). Here’s a clip from the classic Vaya Con Cornholio. Long live Beavis’ bunghole.

3. Ren and Stimpy. 1991-1996. John Kricfalusi takes the crown as the most twisted cartoon creator. He first got serious notice from us twisted toon lovers via Ren and Stimpy, about the animated antics of a chihuaha and a cat roommates with a love/hate relationship. Watch any episode of this series and you’ll probably wonder if Kricfalusi spent any time in the nuthouse. Let’s hope this series isn’t autobiographical. Here’s a clip from the “Jerry the Bellybutton Elf” episode.

2. South Park. 1997-present. I wasn’t originally a big fan of this series, epecially when kids started watching and pipsqueaks started being foul-mouthed. But every once in a while, I found myself sneaking a peek at an episode. Kinda like eating a whole big bag of potato chips when I should know better. My all-time favorite episode is when Jesus and Satan have a boxing match. Only a truly twisted mind can create such simultaneously crazy and introspective tales. Pure demented genius. Here’s a montage clip of various fight scenes, set to Disturbed’s Down With the Sickness.

1. Drawn Together. 2004-present. I used to think no one could outdo Kricfalusi, but Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein have done it with the completely demented, totally politically incorrect, sometimes sickening Drawn Together. It’s a Big Brother-like cartoon reality show that spoofs characters from traditional cartoons and comic books. Characters include an insecure, snivelling superhero; a gay elf; a battling; cute Japanese anime monster (who looks a lot like Pikachu); a sexy African-American girl who is part fox and all stereotype; a racist princess; a gluttonous Betty Boop-like character; a pig with a revolting personality (if the others weren’t enough). And there are the obligatory guests from time to time. You’ll either love Drawn Together or you’ll hate it. Here’s a mixed clip, set to Sanitarium by Metallica.

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Lesbian Cuisine [c&h]/SFW

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I Am A Host at The Olive Garden

For about a year, I worked as a host in an Olive Garden restarurant. During that time, I made the following strips. Each strip is completely true, except for people's names, which have been changed so that they don't get mad at me. This comic is not endorsed in any way by The Olive Garden or its parent company, Darden Restaurants. In fact, they don't even know it exists.

Here's a fun fact about Darden Restaurants: Not only do they own The Olive Garden and the comparatively less successful restaurant chains "Smokey Bones" and "Bahama Breeze," but also the seafood behemoth known as "The Red Lobster." Benefits of working for Darden Restaurants include the Darden Dimes program, in which one contributes ten cents from each paycheck, which goes into an emergency fund that is used to assist one's fellow-employees in their times of need.

That's socialism.

Strip 1: Introduction

Strip 2: Dignity

Strip 3: Naming

Strip 4: Wine Samples

Strip 5: "Where's The Mousie?"

Strip 6: Rolling Silverware

Strip 7: History

Strip 8: There's The Rub

Strip 9: Mafia

Strip 10: Reminiscing

Strip 11: Revolution

Strip 12: Dawn

Strip 13: Knock 'em Dead

Strip 14: Martha

Strip 15: Oz

Strip 16: Fence

Strip 17: Coasters

Strip 18: Hack

Strip 19: New Tie

Strip 20: Riesling

Strip 21: Me and the Lord

Strip 22: Tattoo

Strip 23: Memories

Strip 24: Hair Height

Strip 25: The Best Question

Strip 26: End

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Futurama Meets The Simpsons (PIC)

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Arguing With a Believer Is Like Playing Chess (COMIC)

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Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Gallery 1988 (7020 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038) is running an art show through February 1st which features art inspired by the comic creations of Stan Lee. Check out some of my favorites below.

Here are a few photos from

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Cool Stuff: Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

And here are a couple more thanks to

Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

Under The Influence - A Tribute to Stan Lee

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90 Artists Remix Stan Lee's Best Characters

Trippy Re-Interpretations of Stan Lee's Comic Book Characters at Art Show

o9 took a spin through Gallery 1988 and Golden Apple Comics last night in Los Angeles as artists like Ruben Rude, Travis Lampe, Brandon Bird, Patrick Gannon, Misha, Angry Woebots, Jeff McMillan, Sarah Coleman and Daniel Danger paid tribute to Stan "The Man" Lee through reinterpretations of some of his most famous characters. The result was some seriously trippy artwork ranging from X-Men plushies to a sort of wacky Mickey Mouse meets The Hulk on acid painting. Take a look for yourself in the gallery below.

There's a lot more to see -- just click on an image to get to the full gallery.

While the gallery was packed tighter than Emma Frost's pants, next door at Golden Apple artists were signing pieces and doing original sketches for fans, with all proceeds going to The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that helps comic book artists and writers in hard times. Stan Lee came in, flashed his grin around the gallery, flitted over to the comic book shop to sign some items for the charity, and then vanished into the night.

We spoke briefly to artist Sarah Coleman who painted a huge Scarlet Witch piece for the show. Admittedly not a "comic book person" to begin with, Coleman struck out on her own and did a lot of research on Marvel characters before settling on Wanda Maximoff and her magical powers. Although she was quick to point out to us that Wanda's powers "were initially math-based, giving her the ability to affect probability." Rewrites over the past few years have changed her ability from "hex magic" to "chaos magic," and she's now one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe.

So, you do learn something new every day, true believer. We feel like we should have known this and retreated into the night ourselves, but not before shouting "Excelsior!" at several random passers by.

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