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Cartoon Hell #11 – “The Fresh Vegetable Mystery”

January 21, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

Something we can all relate to.

Something we can all relate to.

Some faint hope existed that “The Fresh Vegetable Mystery” wouldn’t consist of vegetables acting out human scenarios and making wretched puns the entire time. Foolish, foolish me. Every director seems to try their hand at the ol’ talking groceries conceit sooner or later. Being an appreciator of cartoons, I’ve seen a fair share, and moments into this film, I found myself saying, “Yes, it’s going to be one of those.”

Do you like vegetable puns? Because this is going to be full of them. And my hatred inspires me to spread it to whoever comes in contact with me. Puns exist to bother others. Try working as many puns into your day as possible and see if a coworker or a loved one doesn’t attempt to stab you.

I’m going to actively highlight every single pun in this damn thing.

All these vegetables will die by your hands.

All these vegetables will die by your hands.

A mother pea zips up her baby peas in their pod, and nearby an onion can’t stand another onion’s bad breath. Because, you see, they’re onions. Nearby a mother carrot wraps the baby carrots under a lettuce leaf in a 14 karat bowl, and as the weight of the terrible play on words hits me head on I feel like I’m looking down a dark, bottomless well calling out to me softly. That’s the moment when the irish potato cop walks out of the potato sack precinct, walks across to a root beer case bar and gets a drink.

Relax kids, it's root beer. Violence is his only vice.

Relax kids, it's root beer. Violence is his only vice.

A pun and a stereotype? It must be my birthday. He even receives this drink at the side entrance on the sly, indicating that he’s a corrupt Irish potato cop.

This is what the arcade crane game is missing, a victim.

This is what the arcade crane game is missing, a victim.

To my surprise, the villain of this piece is genuinely menacing. It’s a sinister black hood with two metal claws that steals children in the night. Granted, vegetable children, but still. The Irish potato cop is awakened by the screams, and gives chase. A note left by the mysterious evil tells the potato to beware. Even after I finished this cartoon I still didn’t understand that. Only a cocky asshole warns his food that he’s coming back.

Or perhaps, considering what follows, it’s an elaborate game of cat and mouse that served as the inspiration for films like “Kiss the Girls”, “Silence of the Lambs”, and to a lesser extent, “Porky’s”. The specter fires rootbeer bottles, drops forks, and sprays the potato with seltzer water, as you can clearly see in the pictures I found too boring to upload.

Starches don't have a good response time.

Starches don't have a good response time.

The creature commits the folly of hiding in the rootbeer bar, and the potato calls out the cavalry, summoning a brute squad of angry, matchstick-baton wielding tubers. Note this moment, it’s where the cartoon loses it’s cuteness and segues into horror.

Drunken, depraved, dangerous produce.

Drunken, depraved, dangerous produce.

They pull a bunch of vegetables out of the bar while beating them about the head with their matchsticks. You know what’s more awesome than puns? Torture puns!

This does not make popcorn, just a mess.

Note for home use: This does not make popcorn, just a mess.

First, a corn cob is put in a toaster and popped when he refuses to talk. Yes, he’s brutally popped to death by the police.

You wouldn't get this joke, it's too refined, like one of those terrible New Yorker comics.

You wouldn't get this joke, it's too refined, like one of those terrible New Yorker comics.

Then two pickled onions are interrogated, and haha, they’re completely inebriated. Oh such a wry play on words.

The key to fresh orange juice is hate and sadism.

The key to fresh orange juice is hate and sadism.

The brutal death squeeze put on the orange just isn’t right. There’s nothing cute or clever about the way it’s animated, that orange looks like it’s fucking suffering. There must be some sort of vegetable  Patriot Act I’m not aware of.

Ain't no Geneva Convention for eggs, ya understand!

Ain't no Geneva Convention for eggs, ya understand!

The best comes when they interrogate the egg on a skillet, and the cops say, “Trying the old shell game, ay? You’ll fry see!” Tto which he responds, “The jokes on you boys! I’m hardboiled!” The head cop fires back with “We’ll make short order of this one!” Then I say, “Fuck fuck fuck, I want to kill them all and stir fry them.” They turn on the heat and the egg screams as he burns.

But the jokes on them, the villain shows up and turns off the light, absconding with the egg and shoving the potatoes in to fry! In the ensuing chase one potato gets mashed in a waffle iron and another gets his back peeled off by a grater. If we were supposed to empathize with these assholes this would be rather gruesome and unsettling.

All sorts of tactics are attempted to catch the vegetable thief. They try to ambush it with spoons and beat it with their matchsticks and even unleash the big guns, an eggbeater. During these shenanigans the head potato uncovers the secret lair hidden behind the vinegar and finds a mousetrap full of carrots.

When the revolution comes....

When the revolution comes....

The the culprits are revealed as a bunch of sneaky mice. They’re captured in a clever ruse involving a fake mousehole and proceed to argue amongst themselves about who botched the job. I don’t know when any of the potatoes had the time to set up a such an elaborate sting, but hey, it’s a little crazy to argue plausibility at this point.

“Are you a man or a mouse ya rat?!” This is one of the last lines of the cartoon. They then continue arguing as the circle wipe closes in. That’s right, we’re ending with a pun.

UNPC Moment:

Is it truly politically incorrect to stereotype the Irish at this point? We have an entire holiday dedicated to celebrating the strong tradition of bigotry towards our wee islander friends. Nevertheless, if that bothers you, this cartoon will bother you.

Rating: Nearly Unwatchable

It wasn’t boring, but I never understood the animator’s need to make us empathize with things we eat or otherwise use. I especially don’t understand why it’s wacky to do terrible things to main characters on that basis. If Woody from “Toy Story” had been torn apart and crushed, audiences wouldn’t find it hilarious just because he’s a toy.

I don’t want to relate to my dinner.

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2 comments

  1. Constant Cartoon Hell makes me happy.


  2. This is the greatest idea ever! I’m in it for the long haul. Don’t disappoint me.

    I got a similar collection a while back, something about “the most un-pc cartoons ever.” This was well before Adult Swim and Liquid Television, however. Needless to say, they are quite tame. And quite awful.



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