Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Korean in We Bare Bears

I've been meaning to post about this since it aired. We Bare Bears is a really delightful Cartoon Network show that started this year. It's about three adopted bear brothers: Ice Bear, Grizzly and Panda who navigate living together and being a part of human society. One of their good friends is a young girl named Chloe, who is Korean-American.

chloe sits in a classroom full of diverse college students.

According to a recent Washington Times article, "English isn't (the) main language at home for 21 percent in America." Despite this, it is shockingly rare to hear other languages in kids cartoons, unless it is an educational language cartoon (like Dora the Explorer).

When the three bears visit Chloe's family, we hear them speak Korean. It's isn't translated for the viewer, they use this to set up two different joke. One is for the viewer, like Panda, who doesn't understand Korean. The other is for the viewers, like Chloe and her family, who do. By allowing the joke to be framed both for native and non-native speakers no one is "othered." Everyone get's to be in on an aspect of the joke. It is so refreshing to see a show reflect the actual diversity of our country.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Reblog: Forgotten Christmas Specials

Probably my last 3twins post for a while. Click HERE to support them by reading it on their site : )
Most people fondly remember A Charlie Brown Christmas (recently blogged about here), A Chipmunk Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Now that I've name-dropped the classics, I want to talk about some specials that aren't as well-remembered but are also well worth watching.
1) A Pinky and the Brain Christmas Special
The Brain's most recent plan for world domination involves him and Pinky taking jobs at the North Pole disguised as elves.
I love the show's use of macabre humor targeting adult viewers, while also having lots of visual/slapstick humor for the younger audience. One scene involving the elves being invited to a party by the reindeer at Donner's house gets this quip from Brain: "Somehow, the ides of joining the Donner party is unappealing."
Well-written, comedic, with a sweet message about friendship, this is a fun watch for children and adults alike.
2) Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas
christmas2Community is a live-action sitcom, probably better suited for older children and their parents. In this episode the character Abed has a mental breakdown and believes that everyone has become stop-motion animated. We see the episode through his perspective, and an impromptu intervention by his friends becomes a Christmas Adventure to the North Pole.
This is a wonderful stand-alone episode and also a great introduction to the series. Community is known for having character-based overarching seasonal stories, as well as a majority of episodes parodying a different genre of film.

While a bit of a dark comedy (with each character being picked off along the way, Willy Wonka style), this episode is incredibly heartfelt. One of the things I love about it is how it talks about the different things Christmas means to different people. For some people it is a religious celebration, but for others the spirit of Christmas means something entirely different, and that's okay.
3) A Garfield Christmas
A surprisingly lovely special, considering it's main protagonist can be a bit one-note in the current comics. While featuring a lot of humor, the special's main focus is on Jon's grandmother, and how the holidays can also be a time of grieving, since her husband has passed away.
christmas3Another feel good ending, this cartoon always brings a smile to my face, and makes me remember my own grandma.
4) Will Vinton's Claymation Christmas Special
This gorgeous short is the Fantasia of Christmas specials. Classic Christmas carols are each animated in a unique claymation style. A mix of the comedic and the serious, one of the most breathtaking is Joy to the World, which uses a unique style of painting clay upon glass.
christmas1The songs are hosted by two dinosaurs that introduce the history of each carol, while also having an ongoing comedic bit about what wassailing means. Manages to be both (slightly) educational and (incredibly) entertaining.
5) Ziggy's Gift
This Emmy award winning animated short isn't well-remembered today, but it is well worth adding to your Christmas viewing traditions. There is very little talking, and the short relies on the beautiful, simple artwork to tell its story.
When Ziggy decides to help raise money for those in need by working as a Santa, he unknowingly gets caught up in a scam. Followed by bad luck, and a cop investigating fraudulent Santas, this story shows how caring and kindness can spread Christmas cheer to those in need.

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 : )