Sunday, November 22, 2015

Reblog: Bob's Burgers

I have a new post up at 3twins! Click HERE to read this blog on their site, and support them : )
If my last few posts have been any indication, I love holiday specials, particularly those of the animated variety. Thanksgiving specials, however, tend to be a bit more dodgy then their Halloween and Christmas counterparts. Whether dubbed "historical," retelling the pilgrims' story, or strange cash-ins like Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz, there are a lot of terrible Thanksgiving specials.
Very historical and high quality.
Very historical and high quality.
While there are some cartoons that stand out above the crowd (shout out to the Hey Arnold! Thanksgiving special), there is one show that has consistently given us Thanksgiving cartoons to be thankful for: Bob's Burgers.
Bob's Burgers is part of the Fox cartoon lineup, alongside The Simpsons and Family Guy, but it is a much gentler cartoon. It is a surprisingly family-friendly show with some adult humor tossed in. It also, refreshingly, refrains from the stupid-husband/hot-wife trope we tend to see in sitcoms. 

Bob's Burgers follows the adventures of the Belcher family as they run the family burger joint together.All of the show's Thanksgiving themed episodes have been a wonderful and comedic celebration of the season. So, if you're looking for something fun to watch, check out one of these episodes:
An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal - Season 3
Turkey in a Can - Season 4
Dawn of the Peck - Season 5
And, most importantly, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Source: Featured Image (2015) Bob's Burgers, Season 4, Episode 5, from, via Google Images

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reblog: 5 Stop Motion Movies for Halloween

Another blog post for my friends over at 3twins. Click HERE to view the full article on their site : )

#5: Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, is bored with his life. After stumbling into Christmas Town, Jack becomes obsessed with the holiday and attempts to take it over.
nightmare1Released in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas was not just revolutionary for stop motion as a medium, it received glowing reviews and is still well-loved today. It was originally released under the Touchstone label because Disney feared a negative reception, given it was too dark of a project. It has since, however, become a Disney animation staple, with characters even appearing in the Disney Parks over the Halloween season.
#4: Corpse Bride
Victor, a young Victorian man, accidentally marries the living corpse of a murdered bride.
Corpse Bride is created with a unique style of puppetry stop motion. The main characters have complicated clockwork mechanics that allow the facial expressions to be adjusted within the model. Apparently a painstaking process, the affect is yet a stunning visual experience.
#3: ParaNorman
Norman is a young a boy who can see ghosts. When the town he lives in is attacked by zombies, he and his friends must work together to save the day.
ParaNorman is a stop-motion movie from LAIKA, a small studio willing to take risks. ParaNorman is a great example of risk-taking in everything from the visual choices, to the fact that it features the first out character in an American animated theatrical release. Ever. ParaNorman is a wonderful send off to B horror movies, while still being delightfully appropriate for children.
#2: Curse of the Ware Rabbit
wallice2A feature length Wallace and Gromit film, Curse of the Ware Rabbit tells the story of two friends who must work together to solve the mystery of who or what is attacking the garden, and they must do it before the annual village vegetable growing contest.
Claymation stop motion, this film has a wonderful tactile quality, with visible fingerprints indented from the sculpting process. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Curse of the Ware Rabbit is full of visual punchlines and quick wit.
#1: Coraline
Coraline is a young lonely girl, whose family has recently moved. Coraline has strange dreams about her "other mother" that turn out to be darkly real.
Also produced by LAIKA, Coraline is based on a novel by Neil coraline6Gaiman that bares the same name. As with all the stop motion movies produced by LAIKA, they used 3D printer technology to create the intricate models for the animation. Because it was the first movie this studio had produced, instead of being printed in color (as was the case for their other films), each printed piece had to be carefully hand-painted.

A wonderfully written spooky story, paired with some of the most beautiful animation of any stop motion film, makes this my first choice for Halloween.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Reblog: Five Family Friendly

I was recently a guest blogger for my friends over at 3twins. They have a new game coming out soon, and they have a great blogroll going. I'm so happy to get to be a part of it for the next few months. 

#5: Halloween is Grinch Night
While not as well remembered as the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this "Grinchy" Halloween special came out in 1977 and won an Emmy.grinch1
In Whoville when the sour-sweet wind starts to blow, it means that the Grinch will come terrorize the Whos. The story is  basically about a little Who, Euchariah, who gets lost on the way to the outhouse (no indoor plumbing it seems).grinch2
Euchariah ends up stumbling upon the Grinch on his way to Whoville and decides to distract him so that he won't make it to the town. Full of music, the finale of this short is a wonderfully animated spooky surreal scene of Grinch magic.
CLICK HERE to read the rest : )

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Reblog: Nostalgia Critic Pinky and the Brain

A Pinky and the Brain Halloween Review

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and one of my favorite traditions that I do every year is baking pumpkin seeds and watching the Pinky and the Brain Halloween special. This is a 90's kid nostalgia episode.

For those of you who some how managed to miss Pinky and the Brain, it is a cartoon about a megalomaniac mouse name the Brain who wants to take over the world with his best friend/sidekick Pinky. The theme song summarizes it better then I did:

The Halloween special manages to capture the best parts of the TV show along with a spooky supernatural story-line that ends up involving the Brain in a rhythmic gymnastics competition against the Devil,in literal hell (of course since this is a cartoon, for children, it is referred to as Heck or Hades). Did I mention I love this cartoon?

Pinky and the Brain looking at a contract that the devil is holding. In hellllllll! Or as it is referred to in the cartoon: Heck.
When looking back over the course of the series the Halloween special and the Christmas special are both very interesting looks at Pinky and the Brain's relationship. In both the Brain sacrifices his dreams of world domination for Pinky, but the Halloween special is one of the few episodes where we see the Brain ruling the earth.

In this Halloween special, Pinky sells his soul to the devil so that the Brain can rule the world. Soon, though, the Brain realizes that his life isn't fulfilling without Pinky by his side.

This episode is full of Male Duo tropes. One of the recurring ones is that the Brain has difficulty admitting the importance of his friendship with Pinky. Instead the Brain makes the flimsy excuse that he "doesn't know where the food pellets are" so Pinky will have to come home to show him.

A really wonderful nostalgic episode, I definitely recommend re-watching it this Halloween. If you enjoyed Pinky and the Brain growing up, I think you will surprised how well it stands up to the test of time.

Monday, September 21, 2015

13 Halloween Cartoons with Protagonists of Color

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I'm starting my blogging for the season a little early this year. This is a list of all the Halloween specials I could find that feature a character of color as the primary protagonist. Not included in this list are ensemble shows that might feature a mixed cast of character.

The Fat Albert Halloween Special (1977)

moving image of the Fat Albert gang walking in Halloween customes

Mostly this special just follows the gang's Halloween. Going shopping, going to the movies, going trick-or-treating, maybe getting kidnapped by a scary old lady who live near the the cemetery .(spoiler: she's actually a nice). The animation isn't consistent, but it's decent enough considering it's Filmation, and I have a soft spot for the city background art.

The Proud Family A Hero for Halloween (2002)

Penny Proud is transformed into a Super Hero on Halloween, which is good luck for her family, because it turns out their house is haunted by a ghost. 

Lilo and Stitch: The Series Spooky (2003)

Lilo in a princess dress with an ax in her head. Well, a fake ax. It's part of her Halloween costume. Stitch stand next to her holding his space gun.

Lilo and Stitch are ready to celebrate Halloween. Unfortunately, one of Stitch's cousins appears with the ability to become whatever someone is most afraid of. This episode shows us all the character's fears and calls back to the movie: showing Nani's fear of Lilo being taken away by the state and Stitch's fear of water.

American Dragon: Jake Long Halloween Bash (2005)

Jake Long, just standing there. Kind of boring.

Jake throws a Halloween party, and despite being told not to, he invites both supernatural creatures and humans. Luckily he is able to save the day even with his dragon chi taken away as punishment for his partying.

The Life and Times of Juniper Lee It's the Great Pumpkin, Juniper Lee (2005)

animation of Juniper pulling the wrapping off a mummy

On Halloween all the monster children become human for the night. One child hates being a monster, and so makes a deal that turns all the children human forever (much to the horror of their monster families). Juniper must help reverse the spell.

Emperor's New School The Ysma That Stole Kuzcoween/Monster Masquerade (2006)

kuzco, Kronk and Malina in their school uniforms.

The first story is about Kuzcoween, the Kuzco centered Halloween they celebrate. The second story is about a masquerade ball. Both Kuzco and Kronk want to ask Malina to go with them, but it turns out she has another secret admirer.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Puppetmaster (2007)

While not Halloween-themed, this spooky episode was released as a Halloween special. The team stumble upon a village where people are disappearing. They meet a strange old woman, who appears kindly, but is connected to the dark mystery of the village.

Sanjay and Craig: Tufflips' Tales of Terror (2014)

Tufflips and Huggle Bunny host this Halloween episode, which features 5 short "spooky" tales with Sanjay and Craig. None of the stories are too scary, and range from a sort of Hansel and Gretel meets the Island of Doctor Moreau, to a short about drinking haunted milk. Also, we may or may not learn the secret identity of Huggle Bunny in this episode.

Preschool-targeting Halloween Specials:

Little Bill The Halloween Costume/The Haunted Halloween Party (2000)

Little Bill makes a Halloween Costume, and is scared on Halloween.

Dora The Explorer Boo! (2003)/ Halloween Parade (2011)

In Boo! Dora goes trick-or-treating with Boots. In Halloween Parade Dora helps a monster find a Halloween costume.

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan Ni Hao, Halloween (2008)

Kai-Lan goes trick-or-treating with her friends.

Go, Diego Go Freddie the Fruit Bat Save Halloween (2008)

Freddy the fruit bat helps Diego set up trick-or-treat booths for the animals.

Doc McStuffins Boo-Hoo to You! (2012)

Doc help a little toy ghost learn not to be afraid of the holiday decorations.

Are all of these specials particularly good? No, not all of them. And The Fat Albert Halloween Special and Little Bill are problematic, considering the allegations against creator, Bill Cosby. But there just aren't that many animated Halloween specials with primary protagonists of color, and all the ones I could find were tie-ins to existing TV shows.

If any of you readers have suggestions for cartoons I missed, please comment : )