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Cartoon Hell #23 – “Crazytown”

April 19, 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.

Because Schizophrenaport was taken.

Because Schizophrenaport was taken.

As a warning, this is in no way a discussion of the one-hit-wonder Crazytown, or their song, “Butterfly”. For that there’s no better explanation of their fall from grace than to look up, “Hurt You So Bad” on Youtube. I’m half tempted to start quoting lyrics, but that would be a digression on top of a digression.

Crazy is a troublesome adjective. Normally when anyone refers to themselves as “crazy” it’s really just affectation code for “annoying”.

Whoa ho, they're all on goofballs!

Whoa ho, they're all on goofballs!

The first shot of Crazytown plays to my suspicions. The sight of people walking on the streets and cars driving on the sidewalk screams, “Oh my, how harmlessly zany!” I fear the levels of wackiness will only increase.

Half off! Do ya get it? Should I explain by repeating the joke in a slow voice?

Half off! Do ya get it? Should I explain by repeating the joke in a slow voice?

A fish drives a car full of water past a store sign stating everything is half off. Yes, that’s right, everything is cut in half. I almost think I could make a cognitive test out of this cartoon that required you to guess the gag.

Who is this brilliant beast?

Who is this brilliant beast?

An ostrich in a top hat is bothered by the uneven step produced by being half off the sidewalk, so in a strangely masochistic gesture he ties on of his legs in a knot. Around this point I begin to feel like I’m listening to a senior citizen feebly attempt to tell a joke they’d just heard. There’s setups, there’s punchlines, but I can almost hear a mid-50’s audience making a few nervous chuckles, wishing the matinee featured a Warner Brothers production instead.

If it was really a "Crazytown", the zoo would contain no animals and sell shoes.

If it was really a "Crazytown", the zoo would contain no animals and sell shoes.

The trolley is worth noting, because the entire cartoon has a severe case of Trolley Music, that wacky traveling instrumentation heavy on flutes and xylophones. The trolley itself is powered by mild zaniness, as is most of the town. It’s a truly irritating green energy.

In the zoo the camera stops on a sign stating, “Don’t Feed the Animals.” It pans down and before it even reaches the animals I’m already guessing lame inversions of the norm, and when I see monkeys feeding peanuts to visitors I lightly sigh, imagining the voice of an elderly woman say, “whoa, that’s pretty crazy!” before taking a sip of coffee from a mug featuring a cat in sunglasses underneath the caption, “Cattitude.”

SPEED BACON!

SPEED BACON!

The pig on the motorcycle makes me happy beyond all reason. Something about his devil-may-care spirit of rebellion as he blasts downhill without a helmet seems like a more interesting cartoon than I know I’m going to continue watching. I feel genuine disappoint when he hits a tree and the paramedics take the motorcycle away on the stretcher instead of him. Yes, I know, you’ve seen that gag before, we all have, virtually every joke in this cartoon wheezed from overuse years before color was introduced.

I've never understood the stork metaphor.

And then the stork jammed you in your mother.

Next we have everyone’s favorite cartoon trope, a stork gag. The stork drops a bundle of joy down a zig-zagging chimney and we discover with a twist that it’s the parents being delivered to the child. Let’s this be a lesson to you, just because it’s ironic doesn’t make it clever.

I'm more concerned about the mail being damp.

I'm more concerned about the mail being damp.

At the Crazytown post office a squid feeds letters into various boxes with names like U.S., BKLYN, and MONGOLIA. I think sometimes people just confuse crazy with stupid. This suspicion is confirmed when the other side is revealed, showing that the chutes all lead into the same bag.

At this point there’s a couple gags I’m not going to even dignify with a description. They’re all a watered down knock off of the old Tex Avery style gag-a-minute cartoons, and none of it works, not a damn moment of it.

Door and window generating paint wouldn't be crazy, just crazy-convenient.

Door and window generating paint wouldn't be crazy, just crazy-convenient.

This joke inspire a tiny bit of amusement. A dog building a house adds doors with “door paint” and windows with, “window paint”. If it can’t be funny, at least it’s visually interesting. The dog prepares the final touch by saying, “A horseshoe for good luck,” before nailing the item into his door that collapses the entire structure. Considering the towns built in nature for kooky reversals, god knows what would happen in Crazytown if you wanted to kill yourself.

They call this kind of a structure googie in case you were wondering.

They call this kind of a structure googie in case you were wondering.

When I saw Crazytown college, I knew exactly how it was going to go down. Presumably the government of Crazytown encourages teenagers to get take out huge loans to cover an overpriced education by assuring them that they’ll have a good enough career upon completion to easily pay off their massive debts. But whoops, they graduate just as the economy collapses. Oh Crazytown, you hold up such an absurd funhouse mirror to reality.

The joke is almost identical to one seen in a previous Cartoon Hell entry starring Little Audrey, where they enter in high style and leave in an old-fashioned janitor outfit. It’s weird to realize an archaic joke was probably played out even when it was new to this film. I also can’t help but notice that the cartoon has veered from crazy to merely cynical.

This is followed up by a golf joke, my most hated of lame joke fallbacks. A scotty dog putts the hole towards the ball instead of vice versa. The premise is dead, but there’s still about a minute and a half of cartoon left, and I keep finding excuses to pause the film, like bathroom breaks, drink refills, changing the cat litter, etc. A sad commentary on a film less than 10 minutes long.

Geepers, that's mildly different.

Geepers, that's mildly different.

Next is a boxing match where the audience fights while the fighters cheer them on, and a race where horses race their owners. I’m not the type of person who sits around trying to second guess his entertainment, but so far I’ve determined half the gags before they’ve been revealed without much effort.

Once more we visit the dog trying to build a house, and I’m thoroughly god damn sick of him telegraphing the setup with loud exclamations like, “Now this should fix it!” We get it, hijinks are going to ensue, shut up.

He flips a switch and water begins pouring out of every electrical outlet.

That's.. that's actually kinda cool.

That's.. that's actually kinda cool.

I know when the firemen show up that they’re going to spray his house with fire, but when it happens the memories of “Fahrenheit 451” come on a lot stronger than I expected.

My mind is wandering away from this film. No, wait, I’m underselling it. My mind is squirming like a wet cat trying to get away from this.

Thus it ends, and the best I can say is at least it ends on fire.

UNPC Moment:

Something inappropriate would have been a welcome relief. This cartoon was irritatingly wholesome for the most part.

Rating: Nearly Unwatchable

This has been quite possibly the most unspeakably lame film I’ve watched in this series so far.

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One comment

  1. It was just one of those you wonder why you ever saw it! Sad it was one of the only few “Harveytoons” that got away from having it’s copyright renewed!



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