The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Fuck Nostalgia’

Posted by Matt on March 14, 2011

Okay, first thing’s first: I’ve been watching a lot of Teletoon Retro lately (for any American readers who may or may not exist, that would be the rough Canadian equivalent to Cartoon Network’s Boomerang. It started up a year or so ago, and has thus become the object of affection for ironic twentysomethings who don’t want to evolve their entertainment palates past third grade) and have to ask, what’s with my obsession with shitty cartoons? I watch the shit on this channel, and removing the old Looney Tunes shorts and the odd episode of The Real Ghostbusters it really is just a sea of shit, why? And it’s not just this, either. I braved the grating, unfunny Nostalgia Critic just because I kind of enjoy hearing someone talking about these shitty cartoons that I often remember as well. (And before you question why I waste so much of my time, remember that this is the age of multitasking. I am usually coupling these pointless adventures with something far more important, like…I don’t, sorting some files I have alphabetically. Something like that.)

They’re not interesting to think about, other than in a “I can’t believe real, adult people spent hours of their lives producing this, what the fuck”; the vast majority are the definition of pure mediocrity, a wisp of a thing (for whatever reason, animation does not seem to have a large number of fascinatingly/entertainingly-bad oeuvre like live action does; the bad stuff is by and large painfully boring), obviously developed for sugar-addled 7-year-olds who have time to be subliminally advertised to. Or maybe that’s not true….well, not for me. The fact that animation is not limited in its imagery, capable of so many thing, that sort of draws me to it. So…I guess it’s the fantastic stuff that endears to me? Or maybe part of me is secretly one of those dreaded nostalgia-driven nerds, and the dominant rational nerd part just keeps it under wraps most of the time? Who knows.

But yeah, I keep watching this shit. Here’s a list of observations that have developed over this time:

He-Man is really, really, really bad. Like, I think calling it animation might be giving it too much credit. It’s only a few steps above Clutch Cargo. I’m sure the people at Filmation did the best they could with the zero budget they had, but still. We really have had an television animation renaissance once the 80s ended; sure, some stuff is still stiff and ugly, but at least they seem to have enough money/skill to animate scenes where the characters actually interact with each other. (And yet Paul Dini and Bruce Timm would move on from this crap to much better things.)

The Real Ghostbusters is much better than pretty much everything else on the channel in terms of both animation and writing (which isn’t saying much, really); some of the stuff still plays up my folklore/weird monster love. However, it has that weird “Obviously outsourced to Japan” aesthetic that I often find pretty jarring. (And yet J. Michael Straczynski would move on from this okay stuff to become a rather mediocre comic book writer)

-The main difference between the G.I. Joe and Transformers animated spin-off movies? The Joe one is one of the few exceptions to my “animation doesn’t do interestingly-bad” observation from above. Even with just some cursory knowledge of that property, you are led to question every single story decision on display. It’s amazing in its ability to make both fans and people who have never heard of G.I. Joe have no idea what is going on. I still don’t recommend ever watching it, though.
The Transformers movie, on the other hand, is just a slog, with the only point of interest being the way it attracted a bunch of C-Level ‘name’ actors and Orson Welles in his dying days. It’s written almost as if they expect us to actually care about a story with characters named Hot Rod and Ultra Magnus, Weird Al Song Out Of Nowhere or no.

The Raccoons is quintessentially Canadian; who the hell else would think that kids would be interested in watching what is essentially a bog-standard family drama with cartoon animals? Heavy moralizing, a complete lack of excitement…yet this show was on television for 8 fucking years. It looks alright, but man, what the fuck?
Of course the breakout star of the show was the primary antagonist (most of those ironic twentysomethings I mentioned before all know the name Cyril Sneer), and this is of course because the protagonists were so boring that we really do cheer for the unrepentant cartoon capitalist to just bulldoze them all into oblivion. Yes, it’s one of those things.

I swear, one of these days I’ll actually have something worthwhile to write about.

Posted in Idiot Box, Nobody Cares, Observations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on January 29, 2011

Another continuation of an old old post that sucks.

I’ve been watching commercials from children’s programming blocks again. From this, I have come to a new conclusion: advertising fast food to children is vile. The toys, the sugar cereals, the snack foods, and all the other junk you don’t need that clogged the commercial breaks are nowhere near as disagreeable on a most basic level of fast food.

Here’s why: I’m sure most people of my age or older remember a time when going to McDonalds was a big deal. Like, when you were a kid, you wanted to eat there, it was something special. As most people get older, they realize something: McDonalds food, and pretty much all other fast food, is bland and boring. How could I ever be convinced this food was ever even satisfactory? It’s fucking wafer-thin ‘meat’ coasters and microscopic french fries drenched in salt. It really makes you appreciate the thick, juicy, hand-crafted motherfuckers you get at home. Even if you still eat fast food, it’s out of convenience or cheapness, not out of a desire for the food itself. It’s never “Let’s go to Burger King!”, it’s “I need something quick…look, there’s Burger King. That’ll work, I guess”.

So, the food sucks, and it’s the worse thing for your health unless you eat caramel and chocolate-covered steak stacks deep-fried and coated in salt and sugar, so why are kids so obsessed with it? I guess it’s been sweetened quite a bit (the buns especially are very obviously filled with sugar), and when they don’t know any better that draws them in. But that can’t be the only thing. And that leaves the marketing, which came to us primarily through commercials aired during kid shows.

Now, we all know kids are more susceptible to advertising than adults are. They just haven’t had the chance to become savvy, to know when they being marketed to (hell, many adults still haven’t figured that out). And that’s why fast food commercials aimed at kids were so bad, all things considered: they were aiming to get kids to want something that is very definition of something you don’t need, something that essentially has no redeeming qualities. And as far as my anecdotal evidence goes, it worked.

Now the things are far more regulated than before, and you know what? I don’t care. Fuck ’em.

Posted in Observations | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Matt on December 24, 2009

It’s Christmas time once again. Hoo doggy. Now for something completely unrelated.

Next year will see not one, not two, not even three, but even more revivals of forgotten videogame franchises. I mean, a new Lufia could make a degree of sense. But we’re also getting a new Joe & Mac, a new Clay Fighter, and even an HD remix of Toki of all things. Retro revivals are the hip new thing it seems, especially when you’re a company that no longer exists (or might as well not exist), like Data East and Interplay.

Resources are being spent to make a prettier version of that. Seriously.

Now, I will suggest several series that would be unlikely (and completely unwanted) revivals:

Fighter’s Destiny
DD Crew
Captain Skyhawk
Kabuki Quantum fighter
Aero the Acro-Bat
Buck Bumble
Bible Adventures

I don’t really care about these types of things. I mean, a good game is always good (except when it isn’t…time can be a real bitch on one’s accomplishments), so it’s not like they’d improve anything but making another one. That’s why I don’t join in on the hysteria surrounding the fact that Nintendo hasn’t made a new Star Fox or F-Zero for the Wii. While new ones would likely be good, I don’t really care if they make another one; that is, unless they have a good idea for one, one that would either a new take on the series, or is just fun overall. That’s when a sequel really works out.

Remakes are another matter. If there’s an original idea in an older game that can be expanded upon, sure, go for it. While Kid Icarus is the poster boy of games that people ask incessantly and irrationally to be continued, the setting and some of the concepts within it could make for a good modern game (or at least have a different take on Greek myths, a surprisingly sparsely explored background for games, than God of War). But that’s if they can think of a way to make those ideas work, or any good ideas worth adding. If it’s just to keep whiny gamers content, then forget it.

Posted in Gamezzzzz, Videos Ahoy! | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dea Bag

Posted by Matt on September 3, 2009

I found a bunch of videos of Saturday morning commercials on Youtube. On one hand, I do feel a bit of a nostalgic tinge when I see commercials I may recognize (not many on these videos because they’re even older), as it adds to the feeling of the atmosphere of the time. On the other hand, commercials are some of the closest things we have to pure, unadulterated evil on this planet, so it also feels slighty off to get warm, happy memories from them. It also seems slightly off to have people watching these things now, considering that when I was a kid, I always wanted them to end so the show comes back on. I guess evil leaves a lasting impression.

Posted in Idiot Box, NERDS!, Nobody Cares, Observations | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Chaos Magickal Things

Posted by Matt on August 20, 2009

After being slightly involved in another discussion of 80s culture/nostalgia, I have come to a realization. I really don’t know if I should continue to be just annoyed by rampant 80s nostalgia, or whether I should be frightened by it. I mean, there was a reason that decade produced V for Vendetta, Robocop, and They Live. It also reminds me of the most menacing aspects of Seaguy (I hope the collection of the second series comes out soon, BTW).

Onto lighter things, after a packed summer of movie tie-ins (more than I’ve ever seen in one season), 7-11’s newest slurpee accessory is something a little out of left field. The Magic Straw (wish I had pictures, but I don’t) is a fucking wonderful contraption that confuses and bedazzles all. Watch in amazement as you drink from one straw even as it is clearly not the same straw that is in the slurpee itself! Gaze in befuddlement as you slowly (or, if you are not a subhuman, quickly) figure out that obviously there is another straw hidden within the shitty little figure holding the two other straws! And finally, be marveled at the real magic of the straw as it makes your hard-earned money disappear!

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