Aug 11, 2009

Is The Nightmare Over? Answer: No, Just Stalled

Previously on Thoughtnami, I talked about how moronic Cartoon Network has become in recent months, especially when it comes to the even more moronic CNReal experiment which has been proven to be a critical failure and the reason the network's ratings have tumbled 29% in primetime, where they're no longer in the top 10, let alone the top 20 in cable networks. This was a few weeks ago. Since that jaw-shattering announcement, Cartoon Network did some soul searching and actually brought some old favorites back to the lineup in marathon form. Ratings bumped up a lot, and they're still doing that.

But you have to wonder what brought that moment of clarity at Cartoon Network. I'm sure something along these lines was said within Techwood in some variation or another:

"Viewers don't like the fact that we crammed ripoffs of Ghost Hunters, Survivorman, Junkyard Wars, and Cash Cab down their collective throats at every open slot we had."

"Those repeats of Slamball didn't help matters much either. I mean for God's sake, we didn't even bother muting whenever the anchors said 'You're watching Slamball on Versus.'"

"Oh come on, they're good. I mean who doesn't like Son of the Mask?"

"Everybody doesn't like Son of the Mask, which is why we got it so cheap from Burbank. The question is what DO kids like?"

"Hey, didn't we have a whole lot of shows kids liked back in the day? This one show with ghosts and demons?"

"The Othersiders?"

"No, no, it had fake ghosts and demons."

"The Othersiders?"

"Dammit, it wasn't The Othersiders! It's this show with kids looking for them. We used to air it a lot."

"Are you sure it's not The Othersiders?"

"Yes, I'm sure it's not The Othersiders. They had a dog scared of everything."

"Courage? I remember we used to air a show called Courage the Scaredy Dog."

"Courage the Cowardly Dog. It's not that. We still air that, kind of. It's a bigger dog. Scooby-Doo! That's it!"

"Aren't we making a movie about that character?"

"Yeah, so let's bring it back."

"But . . . it's so . . . old! It's from the 70s or something. Kids thought Secret Saturdays were from the 70s. That's why we moved it to 8:30 on Saturday mornings."

"That's why? That's stupid. Who are these kids that said that?"

"The same ones who said The Othersiders was the bomb."

"Thought we had a policy against using the word 'bomb' when we refer to anything we do here. Heaven knows we don't need another Boston Invasion. But yeah, put Scooby-Doo back on."

"Kids liked another scary kids show too, Billy and Mandy."

"Put that one back on too! How about something with teen characters. Kids like teen characters. TDI, TDA, 6Teen, and Stoked are doing pretty good."

"How about Class of the Titans?"

"You mean Clash of the Titans, right? Burbank's remaking that movie. Maybe we can run the original one day."

"No I think he means Teen Titans. That show with Robin, the alien girl, the robot brother, the green animal boy, and the goth chick. Loved that one!"

"Actually, I was talking about this show from Canada called Class of the Ti---"

"Alright, we'll bring that back too! Now we need a show with kids being kids. Kids love shows about the kids next door."

"How about Kids Next Door? We actually made that one."

"I remember that one. How about Ed, Edd, and Eddy? That's a good one too."

"Bring them both back."

"Didn't we make a final movie starring that sho--"

"And bring back Tom and Jerry too. I don't know why, but kids like that cat and mouse team chasing each other around."

"How about Dexter's Laboratory?"

"What's that?"

"A show about siblings having fun with experiments. One of their parents is a neat freak, the other is rarely there and works a lot."

"I know that show. That's Johnny Test. That's on every day."

"No, that's Dexter's Lab. Red-headed scientist. Blonde troublemaker."

"Yeah, Johnny Test. We could increase airings of that show too!"

"Hey, what about the Powerpuff Girls?"

"The Powderwhat Whonow?"

"Powerpuff Girls. Big hit for us back in the day. Brought in girls and boys."

"Sorry, before my time. But we could test a few of those episodes one day."

"Excellent. So, we have a plan?"

"Yeah, let's do it! Say, these shows seem interesting."

"They're cartoons. We used to air a lot of them back in the good ol' days."

"You know, they ought to make a network that airs nothing but cartoons."

So, I have to ask, is the nightmare over? Has the madness been eradicated at Cartoon Network returning common sense to the channel? Hardly. They're still pushing the ill-fated live-action agenda with a pair of new shows a week from Wednesday, but at least the live-action smeg is largely concentrated to one slot. And if they become big at any moment, then the madness begins again. They're terminators, and if they have an agenda to put live-action on the Cartoon Network lineup even if there's overwhelming opposition to it, they're going to air them on Cartoon Network. Too bad the entertainment industry awards incompetence rather than punishes it.

Electric Hatred (or If You're Not Hated, You Aren't Doing It Right)

Over on my real site, I talked about how individuals could buy 4Kids Entertainment (who very briefly said that a sale of some kind is in the works this week). Obviously, it hit a nerve with some people. Not because I had made a few suggestions of who should buy it, but rather, heaven forbid, I gave an opinion. Not a negative, evil opinion, but an opinion. It's kind of funny really because when I write, I kind of do it for my amusement.

Yes, I appreciate the readers, the attention, and the admiration of those that found a connection with my words, even if it's for a brief second. But I do what I do because I like to do it. I'm not trying to create any strife or discord, and I don't pollute it with hateful, narrowminded, malicious, and often times libelous statements like this guy does. Every so often I see this one guy's site (I won't link to it because it's terrible), this one insignificant, moronic, insipid little guy that hasn't done anything with their life but get their jollies from hating my very existence, write, if you want to call his scrawlings writing, articles to pretty much libel me and everything I stand for. At least I used to think that's why this boil did it. Now, I think it's because he gets satisfaction and pleasure just from disagreeing with me on anything I write. I say I loathe 4Kids, he loves them. I say I like Cartoon Network (which I don't, at least not these days), he'll say he hates them and anyone who talks positively about them. I say the sky is blue, he'll say it's a lighter shade of purple.

It's a little petty and a little sad as well. I know I've probably given him fodder for tomorrow's rant of the day, but I've realized something. This little maroon that hates my very existence needs me to inspire him to hate. In essence, he's not a bad guy, just misguided, misinformed, self-hating, and lacking focus. I try to befriend him, but I've learned that you can't guide a guy like that. When I'm not around, he tends to ramble on about leaving, and when I come back, so does he. The timing is almost impeccable.

And laughable. I don't and can't hate him, but I do know that he has issues. But still, it reminds me of a song I heard Shelley Duvall sang in live-action version of Popeye. It's a good song, and I just saw a pretty damned good video set to images of The Joker and Harley Quinn. I don't think he like me like Harley loves her puddin', but often times. But I wonder. Just kidding. He's a good sport, and I wish him luck in whatever he's doing over there. Just don't drag me down with ya.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Aug 7, 2009

How John Hughes Changed My Life

To say that I was shocked to hear about yesterday's death of legendary film writer, producer, and director John Hughes would be a massive understatement. Much of my entire childhood was spent watching his movies on cable and that new-fangled thing called VCRs, and the non-conformist, trend-ignoring, path-unfollowing person you see before you (well, the person whose words you're currently reading) was solidified by those lessons learned from those movies. Loved them all. The Breakfast Club. Sixteen Candles. Weird Science. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Uncle Buck. The Great Outdoors. Vacation. Christmas Vacation. Home Alone. Curly Sue.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I think above everything Mr. Hughes ever put his creative input on, it's that movie that pretty much set the standard for the way I want to live my life. I've realized that, in reality, I'm actually more like Cameron, and even today, I'm still like that. I always wanted to be Ferris, and I guess in the end, I ended up being a little of both.

I was a little kid when this movie initially came out in theaters, but when it came on cable, I watched it, even eventually getting it on VHS, one of the first real tapes I remember getting. As a young teen, this movie spoke to me like no other movie had before at the time. The protagonist of the film (Ferris Bueller) wasn't a label, that is, he wasn't a nerd, a geek, a jock, a preppy, a goth, a class clown, a slacker, a drama student, et. al. He was simply Ferris, a guy who pretty much has his life together, or at least had the semblance to realize what life is supposed to be. He doesn't worry, he doesn't panic. He's not trying to get laid or find a girlfriend because, well, he already has a girlfriend.

On the flipside, you had Cameron, Ferris's best friend who constantly worried about every little thing and scared to come out of his bed, let alone doing things like impersonate a friend's father to get her out of school and borrowing his father's car to go on a day-long adventure. Ferris pushed Cameron, even though Cameron didn't want him to, and in the end, he learned from his best friend that if you took life too seriously, you'll spend all your time worrying.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Good advice, and something that stuck to me to this day.

So, Mr. Hughes, danke schön, thank you for all the joy and pain, and thank you for making films that made me realize I'm not odd, strange, and unusual, but rather normal. Thank you.