Monday, April 21, 2008

Creative Restrictions in Animation: The Good

I haven't been posting here for over a month, and it's about due time I get to posting something interesting. So here I am to tell you how a network's guidelines can do to a cartoon. You see, the way these restrictions can effect a cartoon depends on both who is the executive producer (or creator) and the crew behind the show...I've found some good things can happen due to network interference. 


For a prime example, let's look at John Kricfalusi. For those who have no idea who he is, he is the creator of a popular 90's cartoon called "Ren and Stimpy". Now, if it wasn't for Nick's rules on cartoons, I pretty much doubt that "Ren and Stimpy" would have been as good. Sure, the animation would be amazing, but the writing would undoubtedly be pretty weak. It's because of Nickelodeon's restrictions that John K. and the Spumco crew were putting so much work into such creative stories. With those restrictions, "Ren and Stimpy" would have been like "Adult Party Cartoon" or "The Goddamn George Liquor Program" (both by John K.). On both of those shows, John had more control, and was able to do the weird and gross stuff he loved. Unfortunately, they both were 'ugly'. In case you don't know what I mean, look at the first George Liquor cartoon: http://www.coldhardflash.com/video/g...r-Episode1.swf. If Nick gave John more control on the original "Ren and Stimpy", we would have gotten something like that...
Another example is Jhonen Vasquez's Invader Zim. Invader Zim was a decent cartoon that was to appeal to an older age group. However, if Jhonen had more control, than it would have become more like his comics. Surreal and dark beyond belief. With Nick's restrictions, Jhonen had to focus more on humor, to make up for what he couldn't do.

5 comments:

MasterK said...

What? You're kidding right? Ren and Stimpy and Invader Zim are both my favorite shows. I agree that there should be some restraint, but in the end, Nick's rules ended up being their downfall. Zim only lasted two seasons, and John K. was fired after two seasons. In the end, the cartoonist should have control. P.S, If you want to be an animator, check out John K's blog if you have not already. Theirs a link on Maxwell Atoms' blog.

Racattack Force said...

No, I'm not kidding. While John K does have amazing animation tips and ideas, some of the work where he has less resistant can end up being pretty weird and gross. I have read his blog, and quite frankly, I do enjoy it. But most of the animation community, both actual workers and fans, agree with my opinion.

MasterK said...

ok, I'll admit it was good that Nick made R&S kid friendly, but never underestimate the power of weirdness. Have you read John's posts on "bland". I agree some things should be appropriate, but not blandified to be like every other show, or worse, become like out of Jimmy's head. Also, are there any cartoons you don't like?

Racattack Force said...

While the first season of OOJH was horrible, and something I avoided like the plague, I found the season (well, most of it) to be pretty enjoyable. Or at least amusing. Anyway, the only cartoon I've seen that I don't like is the "Iron Man" cartoon. I also dislike any episode of a non-music themed cartoon where the characters sing.

MasterK said...

See if you only dislike few cartoons, what's the point of reviewing them. I also hate it when characters burst into song in non musical cartoons, with the exception being Ren and Stimpy because songs like "Lord Loves a Hangin' and Happy Happy Joy Joy" are hillarious. I recently started watching the Nick produced R&S episodes and while they are better than most modern cartoons visually, they are so muck worse than the originals that I can barely stand watching them. So I think there's a balance between too crazy and too tame.

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