Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Absolute Nadir of Animation

January 15th, 2010 · 11 Comments


One of the greatest movie-review slams we’ve come across in recent months is Nathan Rabin’s brutal takedown of I Hate Valentine’s Day, the latest project from My Big, Fat Greek Wedding mastermind Nia Vardalos. The whole pan is full of choice insults, but the apex comes in the kicker: “If the comic strip character Cathy were to make a movie, this would be it.”

We share Rabin’s loathing of Cathy and her strip, which struck us as deeply, almost embarrassingly unfunny even during our grade-school days. And so imagine our mix of horror and glee upon discovering that America’s “favorite” neurotic singeton starred in a made-for-TV animated special back in 1987. Based on the few minutes of alleged comedy available in the clip above, we knew we’d stumbled upon an ideal candidate for Bad Movie Friday. (Yes, we realize that a TV special may not precisely qualify as a “movie,” but cut us some slack.)

All of the lazy “men are like this, women are like this” jokes you know and hate are on display here, as well as dubious notions about the societal worth of women who refuse to settle for obvious duds. That said, we wouldn’t be wholly unopposed to an NC-17-rated update on this material—perhaps what’s missing isn’t necessarily sharper humor, but more explicit eroticism.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • minderbender

    Another aggressively unfunny strip is Garfield, though that one has been mined pretty heavily and is therefore somewhat redeemed. Actually, all the legacy strips (e.g. Beetle Bailey) are pretty horrible. It’s amazing that they rubbed elbows with Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    In the parody department, I’m also a huge fan of Nietzsche Family Circus:

    http://www.losanjealous.com/nfc/

    I’m ashamed to admit that I once shoplifted a “Ziggy” book from a school book fair. (I was about 8 years old.) I remember taking it back home, flipping it open, and thinking, “I went through all of that, for THIS?”

  • scottstev

    Yeah, the mid-80’s were the best (Far Side, Calvin, Bloom County) of times and the worst (too many to mention) of times for comic strips. At least Garfield was the product of an Ad-Man and developed solely for the merchandising potential. Something refreshing about naked ambition. As for “Hi and Lois,” I don’t know what their excuse was.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    Also on my “abysmal” list: Wizard of Id, B.C., Marmaduke.

    I have surprisingly mixed feelings about Andy Capp, though.

  • The Antidote to Cathy

    [...] ← The Absolute Nadir of Animation [...]

  • Jordan

    @Brendan

    How about “For Better or For Worse”?

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan. I hated, hated, HATED “For Better or For Worse.” What got me down about that strip was the preachiness–too much like an afterschool special. I remember this one interminable series the strip had about the perils of underage drinking. Even at an astonishingly tender and impressionable age, I felt like it was beyond heavy-handed.

    There are so many things to love about Canada: Rush, poutine, high-alcohol beer, Robertson Davies. But “For Better or For Worse” is a big strike against our neighbors to the north.

  • Brian Moore

    If you hate FBOFW, then you should definitely read: http://joshreads.com/ , though I’m guessing you already have. :)

  • Davis X. Machina

    BC would be remembered more fondly if its run ended in, say, 1975.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    As an aside, the cartoonist behind B.C. predicted that the world would end in 2010. Take that, Mayans!

    http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/09/local/me-hart9

  • Jordan

    @Brendan

    It’s a little terrifying that B.C. will live on as a glorified sprite comic.

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