There's all kinds of possibilities for contenders here. I'd give a nod to both Star Wars tributes -- Family Guy and Robot Chicken -- and South Park definitely stretched their animation style with 'Major Boobage,' but I didn't think the episode was all that good. Aqua Teen Hunger Force had some good episodes this season (personal favorites include the VeggieTales parody and that crazy trilogy that opened the season).
But I've by no means watched all the best in animation this year, so I call out to you, dear readers. Which episodes or shows do you think set the bar or even raised it in this past year? Are The Simpsons out of their prime and not worthy of TVS recognition? How about King of the Hill or American Dad? The new The Mr. Men Show is retro-tastic, simple, but still cleverly awesome! Too many to handle! Help me TVS Readers, you're my only hope!
A few days before an advanced copy of Robot Chicken Season Two arrived in the mail, I had been watching my Mission Hill DVD. For those who don't know, Mission Hill was the creation of Simpsons writers Josh Weinstein and Bill Oakley. It focused on a college graduate named Andy French, living the typical slacker existence of an aimless college grad. The series aired when I myself was an aimless, slacking twentysomething, so I found the series funny, poignant, and often heartbreakingly real.
I realized while watching it that Adult Swim hasn't had a series with that kind of substance in a long time. Series like Baby Blues and Home Movies have been replaced by weird post-modern fare like Aqua Teen Hunger Force* and the works of Tim and Eric, with very little programming left with any real emotion.
And now we return to E! True Hollywood Story -- Optimus Prime.
The early 21st century wasn't kind to the Autobot leader. With revenues from his successful 80's cartoon drying up, the accumulated losses he took from his investments in WorldCom and Enron, and the disaster that was the short-lived game show Autobot or Decepticon, Optimus Prime could barley put a cube of Energon on the table. He tried to get back in television with small bit parts on According to Jim and Still Standing but no one was really watching.
I'm sitting here watching Robot Chicken Star Wars online with video commentary from creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich, and in the opening sequence Green explains how the animators actual animated a real AT-AT toy to duplicate the Imperial Walker scene from The Empire Strikes Back. Green mistakenly refers to it as a Hasbro toy, but as all Star Wars fans know, it was Kenner that made the toys, not Hasbro.
Of course, the fact that I would even know that makes me exactly the sort of Star Wars geek the folks at Robot Chicken were aiming for. I hate to admit I wasn't as floored by the special as I was hoping, and somewhat disappointed to see sequences reused from past episodes, but it was clear, based on the special; the interludes with Green, Senreich and Breckin Meyer; and the aforementioned commentary, that these guys really love Star Wars, and that alone made it worthwhile.
[via Pop Candy]
Before action figures became collectibles that should never, ever be removed from their little plastic bubble packaging boys and girls actually played with them. Sometimes, the adventures that these little characters had were not what they were intended for. In fact, I'm sure that some of these action figures did things that would make a grown man blush.
Boy, howdy! If you don't have the TiVo or DVR (or, for the non-believers, VCR) cleared out by Sunday night you are going to miss a ton of Robot Chicken. In addition to the show's tribute to everything Star Wars premiering on Father's Day evening, the entire Adult Swim schedule will be dedicated to everything Robot Chicken from the beginning of their broadcast schedule till the break of dawn.
It will begin with the 30-minute Star Wars special at 10 pm. The special will then air at the top of each hour until Adult Swim's broadcast day ends at 6 a.m. Monday morning to make room for parent Cartoon Network. At the bottom of each hour Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich will air their favorite episodes.
USA Today has a nice article about Green, Senreich, and the special they created. In it they talk about what they had to go through to get Star Wars creator George Lucas' blessing to create such a special, and to get Lucas to provide his voice in one of the scenes. I wonder if that blessing also extended to another show that Seth is involved with -- Family Guy. I'm sure it's no coincidence that the FOX animated comedy is doing it's own spoof of Star Wars for next season.
Ever since Moral Orel creator Dino Stamatopoulos told me Robot Chicken and LucasFilm were joining forces for a kick ass Star Wars-themed special (Moral Orel and Robot Chicken use the same production space), I've been keeping my eyes peeled for when the special might air. It was originally included on the schedule grid on February 4 at 11:30 p.m., but later that section of the grid was blacked out. Now, it looks likes an episode of Family Guy has taken over that timeslot.
That doesn't necessarily mean the special isn't going to air, and most likely the schedule will change, as it always does. Currently both Moral Orel and Boondocks have reruns listed in March, the month when both of those series are actually supposed to return with new episodes. I've learned not to rely on Adult Swim's schedule too far into the future, for she is a mercurial beast.
In case you didn't read my interview with Dino Stamatopoulos, you may be interested to know that he hepped me to some interesting news about Robot Chicken. Here's what Stamatopoulos, whose show, Moral Orel, shares a production facility with Robot Chicken, had to say:
"We're actually gonna shut down on Friday because Robot Chicken has a special they're doing. I don't know if I'm supposed to say, but I don't give a shit, I'll tell you anyway. LucasFilm saw some of their Star Wars parodies and now they're financing a whole half-hour special that's gonna be played for one of the network's halftime shows for Super Bowl Sunday. So they're building all these Star Wars sets around here. The nerds are creaming in their pants."
So there you go, Robot Chicken fans, a full half-hour of Star Wars-inspired Robot Chicken goodness. This was the first I had heard of such a thing, and I'll let y'all know when I find out more information.
Last week, Adam posted an item about a new Weird Al video done by John Kricfalusi of Ren and Stimpy fame. This week, I draw your attention to a video for the song "Weasel Stomping Day", which is from Al's new album Straight Outta Lynwood (great album, by the way). This video is produced by Seth Green and Mark Senreich, creators and executive producers of the very funny Adult Swim program Robot Chicken.
The video has it all: babes, drinking, family bonding, and plenty of weasels getting stomped by action figures in big hiking boots and viking helmets. And, there's even a few appearances by the Weird Al action figure (accordion sold separately). So, grab your viking helmet, tie on those a@#-kickers, and stomp along with this peppy little video that can be seen after the jump.
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