Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Crazy Youth: That Time Freakazoid Fought Dr. Mystico and the 4th Wall!

How do you pick just one?

With a ton of Episodes/Segments to choose from in Freakazoid's 2 Seasons, I was pretty torn.  Deep down, I knew that it had to be 'The Island of Dr. Mystico.'  It riffs on Mad Scientist Movies, movies about mutants and even throws a nod to Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Throw in Leonard Maltin and a former Secretary of State & you've got a real winner.  This one sums up the show pretty well, throwing in more 4th Wall breaks than usual and just generally being silly.  To see a glimpse into something that's even better as an Adult than as a kid, read on...
Leonard Maltin introduces the Episode by saying that it's 'one of the most pointless Freakazoid adventures ever made.'  He also explains that it was popular with Critics, until they realized that it wasn't European.

After that, he's abducted by a giant Ape-Man.  No, really.
The 'plot' involves Freakazoid flying all of the show's major criminals- Cave Guy, Longhorn, Candle Jack (who doesn't appear when you type his name...I hope), Cobra Queen and The Lobe- to France, Europe (as they call it).  We don't want them, after all.

It's around this point that they throw in a great Plan 9 homage.  Here's a side-by-side comparison of the infamous 'Boom Mic Shadow' moment.
This show takes nothing serious- which is why I love.  Case in point: Freakazoid tells The Lobe to look out 'the left side of the plane' over the P.A. and suddenly appears on the wing, just to scare him.  Ha.
The titular Dr. Mystico uses an extremely-silly device to cause them to crash on his titular Island.  Just look at that.
The group gets picked off one-by-one by mysterious foes.  That leads to a random aside about...
The Buddy System.  It's stuff like that- plus the monkey footage- that makes me love this show.  You were never quite sure what would happen next.

They actually joked on Commentary for 1 Episode about how a segment had a coherent, straight-forward narrative.  The reason: it was guest-written by Paul Dini.  Classic.
Dr. Mystico finally reveals himself and wants to take some time to savor his victory.  However, Freakazoid has a harsh truth for him.
He explains that he wants to make half-man/half-orangutan mutants to conquer Cleveland...I mean, the World.  With our heroes, Leonard Maltin and Henry Kissinger (I won't SPOIL how) in his clutches, who can stop him?

Well, it's Freakazoid's new Intern, of course.  He shows up with the key to their cell, their messages and some coffee in about ten seconds flat.  Only on Freakazoid, folks.
Our heroes decide to take a stand.  They have great powers and they're going to fight, dammit!
On second thought, never mind.  They just run away instead.

See you in Season 3.  Oh...right.  Never mind.  The End.
Freaking awesome!  Freakazoid was a silly show.  The thing about it was that it was the natural escalation of WB Shows starting with Tiny Toon Adventures.  The shows grew up with my generation and helped us turn into insane adults.  Thanks, Cartoons!  In the 2nd Season, the show transitioned into full-length Episodes, as opposed to three or four short segments.  While I'm torn on that, it does help in cases like this.  The Episode really has 'room to breath' here and let the silliness sink in.  The 4th Wall is smashed to pieces on numerous occasions in this Episode alone.  In one bit, we learn that 'Freakazoid only acts that way for TV.'  Mind you, this is said by his cartoon girlfriend.  Go ahead- rationalize that.  I love that there was a kid's show that referenced Plan 9 From Outer Space (among others) as well.  It's just a nice touch to show that they are not pandering to the lowest common denominator.  If you like wacky stuff, you really need to check this show out.  It's the only show I can think of to break the 4th Wall, teach you basic Norwegian and reference an Ed Wood film.  What do you think, Kissinger?
Up next, Spider-Man graces the segment yet again (it's just that weird!).  The story involves people from the future, Doctor Octopus and the common cold.  Stay tuned...

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