Ren & Stimpy, John Kricfalusi and making every frame count

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This is a continuation of the derailed part of Syra's "writing and cognition" thread. Any replies you wanted to make to posts in that thread that involved background illustrations, John K., and different opinions regarding what makes quality animation should go here so we don't continue to clutter up Syra's thread.

In Matt's last post on the previous thread, he said: ?... two people can have very different opinions. John Kricfalusi has been mentioned here (or maybe on the older forum) in a way that makes him seem kind of like the anti-Peter Chung. He does quality work, I think, but of a very different quality.?

This really piqued my interest. Those are two of my favorite animators and hearing about their differences as well as their similarities sounds fascinating. I think this is a good example of how two artists can be complete opposites and still both produce very interesting work -- in other words, neither of them being "right" or "wrong", just different. If you'd like to elaborate on this I'd be happy to listen.

your hair is good to eat, Friday, 30 June 2006 04:07 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, I seem to remember Peter saying once that he likes to get a story down in writing completely, before he even draws a design for it, and that John is the opposite, building a story through images first. From what I've seen on Mr. Kricfalusi's blog, this would seem to be true. I don't necessarily mind that approach (I find myself kind of in the middle, when I attempt my own projects).

But JK seems to be very strict about what "real" animation is. He's very much into older stuff and traditional, well-done techniques, as Peter seems to be too, but from what I've read, he doesn't seem to think much of the new stuff these days. I wonder what he'd think of Aeon Flux...

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Friday, 30 June 2006 07:26 (eighteen years ago) link

Hehe, after looking at the "Altruists" trailer on the site right now, I've realized another commonality between Peter and JK: neither has qualms about doing a tongue-in-the-mouth shot.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Friday, 30 June 2006 07:43 (eighteen years ago) link

I've met and talked with John K a couple of times over the years.
Rugrats and Ren and Stimpy were two out of the first 3 shows to get picked up by Nickelodeon (Doug was the third). The inside-the-mouth shot was in the Rugrats pilot before I used it in Gravity.

I enjoy a lot of his work, starting with his Mighty Mouse epsiodes produced at Bakshi. There are many ways we are opposites in how we approach animation. But I guess we have some views in common:

A rejection of formulaic drawing (drawing "on-model")-- we value expressiveness more than consistency.

A low opinion of Disney features.

Rod Scribner.

A generally subversive attitude.

Peter Chung, Friday, 30 June 2006 13:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Thanks, Peter. I should have figured you've met each other, with the Nickelodeon connection.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Saturday, 1 July 2006 01:10 (eighteen years ago) link

I loved Ren & Stimpy when I was a kid, as most of us probably did when we saw it. But hearing John K. speak, or reading anything he says about about the state of animation is somewhat sad, because he is so absolutely inflexible about his idolatry of certain animators and animation philosophy and his hatred for everything else. I seriously doubt he would have anything good to say about Aeon, as it would be far too "rigid" in his view.

Also, the shows he has done in the last several years (Ren and Stimpy's Party Cartoon, Ripping Friends) have been terrible. While even the old R&S cartoons have this insane quality to them in their psychology that still makes them watchable, he started resorting more and more to scatological humor and homosexual jokes.

This mail exchange he had with an animation critic (I don't really know anything else about Michael Barrier) is a perfect example of what is wrong with K's mindset, how he talks, and how he resorts by the end to something of a failed personal attack ("let's make a perfect cartoon how YOU would envision it, as a challenge" and "you need to be an animator to understand the acting subtlety of Kirk Douglas and Carroll O'Connor" are somewhat ridiculous).

I find his praise of early Hanna Barbara, but hatred of early Disney work to be ironic as well.

I think much of what John K. has to say is quite insightful and interesting, especially regarding his specific praise of animators and showing examples of their work. I actually agree with the rejection of forced "on-model" consistency. But then eventually he gets into the rhetoric again about how all modern animation and anime is garbage and how he single-handledly revolutionized the industry and on and on. This might have more credence if he'd actually done anything worthwhile recently, but it's unlikely.

Nhex (Nhex), Saturday, 1 July 2006 16:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Well, just breezing through, this line of JK's caught my eye: "I could lecture you for days on subtleties in acting and demonstrate it with my pencil and my body. That's the one thing I will brag that I do better than any animator in history."

I'll agree, he's a bit inflexible at times. But his work works for me, in the end, and makes me laugh.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Sunday, 2 July 2006 01:06 (eighteen years ago) link

Well said, Matt. I don't care if he is a tremendous snob or not, his work is far more important than his attitude and I'm far more interested in hearing about that than "OMG what an azzhole LOL".

your hair is good to eat, Monday, 3 July 2006 09:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Plus, I think it's admirable for an artist to get in touch with his fans. It's something I appreciate of Peter, and John K. does the same on his blog.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Monday, 3 July 2006 10:04 (eighteen years ago) link

JK comes across much more strident and pompous in print - in person, he's very personable and magnanimous. He also seemed to like the LTV AF shorts at the time.

(This thread seems to have ended up being about the role of ego in creativity, so maybe could have stayed in Syra's thread after all... Funny, because to me, JK and most of the recent crop of TV cartoons influenced by him are driven above all else by references to a previous era's TV cartoons. They look like cartoons about other cartoons, not the animators' personal experiences. Sampling.)

Peter Chung, Monday, 3 July 2006 23:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Finally I understand what is meant by sampling. Thank you, Peter.

Barb e (Barb e), Tuesday, 4 July 2006 23:47 (eighteen years ago) link

John K. came to Seattle and gave a lecture at the SAM, and showed some of his unreleased work. I have to admit that when I would read interviews or comments, He definitly came across as a bit of an ego maniac, but after hearing him talk and speaking with him personally a little bit, He's seems very genuine, and really enjoys entertaining people. I think his attitude in print seems like a defensive reaction to criticism.

and to touch on what Peter said with John K. I would say its more then sampling just older cartoons, there seems to be an attachment to 50's era (and earlier pop culture films, music, literature) and I've noticed it with other cartoonists as well, Its as if thats the only time pop culture had any value, which you think would lend itself to a very rigid thinking, as they tend to reject anything "new" as if that alone reduces its value or importance, Japanese animation for instance, and while I would agree that there is a lot of new crap there is some good stuff as well, its just harder to get exposed to good stuff because its not "easy to sell"
for instance:

Voltero, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 04:08 (eighteen years ago) link

What's stranger is that most of the crop of recent cartoons seem to be trying to nostalgically imitate the nostalgic imitations used in Ren and Stimpy... double sampling. Cartoons about cartoons about cartoons.

One of the things I loved about Aeon Flux, right from the start, is that I had absolutely no reference point. Even as a kid, I could truly sense that this was a place that had never existed before, and that drew me in, like memories of a powerful dream. That's what made it a mystical experience for me from the start.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Wednesday, 5 July 2006 05:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Hey, I was just sending that Ohira demo link around to some of my animator friends a few days ago. I noticed his brilliance as soon as I saw his scenes in Megazone 23 Part 2 back in 1986. I've said it before, but here it is again-- see Hakkenden ep. 10 for the ultimate Ohira fix.

Here's a good reference page for information on some of the influential Japanese animators:

The writer's comments regarding the innovations of Japanese animators are unfortunately very insular, as if animation made outside Japan were irrelevant. For example, producing animation in which every part of the movement is drawn by the key animator was pretty common in the old Hollywood theatrical shorts. The position of in-betweener only came about as a means to increase a key animator's output. (And praising the perfect lip-sync achieved in certain scenes in Akira is just plain ridiculous.)

Having worked both in the U.S. and Japanese animation industries, I've noticed how the animators in each culture are extremely knowledgeable about the minutiae of their own industry's history, but almost totally unaware of the individual achievements of artists of the other side. To Japanese animators, most American animation looks the same - and vice versa.

Japanese animators, for all their drawing skill and versatility, have yet to produce anything with the soul and electricity of something like this, animated in 1946:

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 07:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Ah brilliant stuff! Hilarious! I miss animation like that, there's an award winning Tom and Jerry episode of similar brilliance out there, it features lots of piano playing and had me in stitches many times.

Sam Grayson, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 11:58 (eighteen years ago) link

It's funny, I've seen Ohira's work in Innocence, Kill Bill and the Animatrix, and though his scenes were distinctive enough for me to set them apart in my mind, I never connected them to the same person. It's also interesting to see the same movements come out of completely different character designs.

By the way, I'd love to see Ohira and Takeshi Koike do some work on some future Aeon Flux (did I see on that page, Peter, that Koike did some work on the Aeon Flux commercial? I don't think I realized that before.)

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Wednesday, 5 July 2006 12:04 (eighteen years ago) link

For those of you not yet acquainted with Koike, try here.

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Wednesday, 5 July 2006 12:07 (eighteen years ago) link

And am I completely imagining it, or did he do some work on the AF 3rd season intro, too?

Matt Rebholz (Matt Rebholz), Wednesday, 5 July 2006 12:14 (eighteen years ago) link

"Japanese animators, for all their drawing skill and versatility, have yet to produce anything with the soul and electricity of something like this"

Opinions will be opinions.

your hair is good to eat, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 12:23 (eighteen years ago) link

I love FLCL. It definitely has the electricity part. Not so sure about the soul.
It's the Japanese equivalent of the postmodern, pop-referential exercise in animator self-gratification we were talking about above. It's an amazingly animated showcase of homages to the animators' icons of influence. Like Ren and Stimpy, the impression I get is of animators who've spent their entire lives watching cartoons on T.V. Otsuka-era Lupin, Kanada action timing, early Anno, Matsumoto, even some South Park. The hero is, in fact, a TV set with arms and legs.

I guess I'm a bit schizo on the comparisons between American and Japanese animation.
In Japan, I find myself championing the values of "classical" American methods. When conversing with Americans, I'm pushing Morimoto, Koike and Ikuhara. Glad there's both.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 20:33 (eighteen years ago) link

Koike animated 5 seconds (out of 15) for the AF game commercial.
The series intro was done mostly by Shimizu and Nonaka, two of the animation directors at Mook.

When I look at Koike's work, I feel like he's succeeded in creating a style of animation I might have myself if I'd stayed focused on developing myself as an animator. He's taken those same elements that influenced me and pushed them way beyond anything I ever could. I hardly animate anymore personally, preferring to focus on writing, design and direction.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 20:57 (eighteen years ago) link

have you seen Mindgame? its a pretty amazing peice of work...

Voltero, Wednesday, 5 July 2006 21:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, MINDGAME! I saw that film, with no subtitles however. It was still amazing! Granted it was a bit hard to understand what was happening, but the visuals alone in that movie are amzing enough to watch and appreciate. Definitely some of the most innovative animation I've seen come out of Japan, especially on a feature film.

It's sort of like FLCL, but even more extreme...

Antimax (Antimax), Saturday, 8 July 2006 21:48 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...


It's the Japanese equivalent of the postmodern, pop-referential exercise in animator self-gratification

I really really really REALLY get sick of seeing FLCL get dismissed as such.

FLCL is Moby Dick. It's f#%king Ulysses, ferchrissakes!

Drugs A. Money, Friday, 12 September 2008 01:29 (fifteen years ago) link

(To quote the only cultural artifact released in this decade that can match it,--though I'm not sure if FLCL was released in the 90s or the oughts--FLCL has 'more soul than a sock with a hole.')

Drugs A. Money, Friday, 12 September 2008 01:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Dunno about moby dick but ulysses is pretty post-modern and self-gratifying, literally so in some sections.
There was that weird "field guide to whales" chapter in moby dick, but it probably wasn't self-consciously weird for weirdness sake in the same way that ulysses and flcl are.

I don't agree that 'post-modern' and 'pop-referential' ought to be tossed around as terms of abuse, but they are pretty descriptively accurate when applied to FLCL, or even Family Guy.

Philip Nunez, Monday, 15 September 2008 21:43 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

though it's been a while since anyone has posted to this column it's extremely interesting and I hope there continues to be more comments.

I myself have nothing to bring to the table, but I do like to eat.

Barb e., Tuesday, 30 September 2008 05:57 (fifteen years ago) link

The word "self-gratification" is what rankles me, since it implies that FLCL is just self-indulgent nonsense, which is how FLCL is usually dismissed--"it makes no sense, and it's not supposed to." When certain self-styled "experts" refuse to meet something this thought provoking as it, discarding it from the realm of serious thought with an "I love xxxx, but it's hardly on the same level as Mickey Mouse" it gets my ire.

Drugs A. Money, Friday, 3 October 2008 23:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Again, I disagree that "self-gratifying" should constitute a dismissive critique (and why should anyone begrudge a creator who takes pleasure in his work?), but in FLCL's case, how is that not descriptively accurate? The creators of FLCL telegraph their own amusement with their work just as surely as the writers of Family Guy do with theirs. Anyone watching either would be hard-pressed to discern any "serious thought" behind them. Why don't you simply tell us what it is that FLCL is trying to say that everyone has missed?

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 22:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I guess I had to drop in here to say that I find FLCL far from soulless. The Family Guy comparison doesn't hold water for me - sure, they're both fast with lots of referential gags, but there IS a story and cast of characters in FLCL. But I don't know for sure, maybe I just remember my own adolescence in a way that FLCL conjured well for me, emotionally.

Nhex, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 01:28 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah, FLCL, under all the cosmic-ADHD sprawl, is actually a very subtle and psychologically nuanced bildungsroman. As opposed to the secondhand Simpsons pop-culture types in FG, the cast of characters in FLCL is v. unique and believable (on its own terms) and the relationships between them are uncliched and well thought out.

Goofus vs. Gallant (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 19 October 2008 03:22 (fifteen years ago) link

The characters in Family Guy are no doubt derivative. But again, I disagree that simply being derivative is a crime, especially when FLCL's characters are also very much of a mold. There is an entire genre devoted to characters and relationships that are rehashed in FLCL. (This genre is often dismissed as juvenilia [a popular province of bildungsromans], which I think is a little mean-spirited given that it is, in fact, meant to be consumed by young adults.)

I don't think it is possible to elevate FLCL above Family Guy in a literary sense without being inconsistent in your criteria. If you look for psychological depth and subtlety in Family Guy, you can find it. There is certainly a rich vein of Freudian analysis contained in the Stewie character alone. Family Guy is decidedly less ambitious graphically and in terms of length of story arcs, but I've yet to see anyone demonstrate that FLCL is a more sophisticated narrative than Family Guy. I'll grant you that it is a more oblique narrative, but that strikes me as a stylistic quirk rather than evidence of serious thought.

I don't speak Japanese, so maybe there is indeed something subtle and nuanced that is not telegraphed correctly by subtitles -- I invite FLCL fans to explain it for us, Cliffs Notes style -- it is not enough to tell us we have missed something, you need to tell us exactly what it is we missed. (Whether you agree with John K.'s views or not, you must give him props for spending the time to do just that when he champions his own underappreciated faves.)

Philip Nunez, Sunday, 19 October 2008 18:52 (fifteen years ago) link

well I'm certainly no Kricfaulsi, nor would I claim to fact, I'm pretty much a noob when it comes to anime, which is perhaps why I credit FLCL with a certain freshness of approach that it may in fact lack...

and I also would not claim that Family Guy does not have any literary merits at all...certainly there is loads of Freudian symbology (eg. the episode where Peter learns that his son is more 'endowed' than he is)(of course that's an easy example, prhaps more pop-Freudian than Freudian).. And there are def. some individual episodes that are astonishing in their construction and execution (the episode where Brian find out he's in love w/ Lois is particularly well done; psychologically pitch-perfect & as tightly plotted as an Ibsen play).

However, I'd be hard-pressed to find a relationship in Family Guy (or many other cartoons, Japanese or American*) as intricately realized as the one between Naota and Mamimi: she basically molests him, keeping him as a pet, a miniature version of his older brother, doing all the things to him that she wanted to do to (and be done to by) Tasuku,(there has beena little discussion on the Net as to the exact nature of Mamimi and Tasuku's relationship) and while Naota at some level understands this and is made uneasy by it, he can't quite grasp what's going on, he's embarrassed by her but at the same time he can't quite break away. I'm dimly aware that FLCL is a riff on a certain genre of anime, where older women initiate adolescent male protagonists into the adult world of love and sex. But to write off the Naota/Mamimi relationship as just standard for that genre is to perhaps ignore the relationship between Naota and Haruko, which in genre terms are exactly identical (not to mention the question as to why Haruko could succesfully help Naota mature, while Mamimi could not.)(I should also point out that the dictates of genre would probably (I'm not at all sure about this) set up Mami and Haruko as rivals, but in fact that is precisely what they are not.)

Back to my original point, though: much of this admittedly has to do with length. FLCL is a very densely packed complete story told in six not-quite-half-hour segments. With Family Guy, along with the other American cartoons of its genre (Simpsons, South Park, Beavis and Butthead), the Reset button is pushed after every episode, and the characters all return to their default settings (for the most part), so it is pointless to develop characterization, as all developments would be forgotten by the beginning of the next episode. Conversely, in many Japanese anime, the episodes do build on one another, and the creators have years to create the kind of rich and complex relationships between the characters that I am talking about. ButFLCL has only six episodes, so any kind of rich subtext or complexity can only be communicated through foregrounding and implication in the course of getting on with the story. This is something FLCL does exceedingly well, I think. I mean, I was comparing it to novels, specifically, and that's what I meant by it.

*I know Hideaki Anno has been mentioned before. I'm somewhat familiar with his work, but it should be pointed out that FLCL's main creative force, Kazuya Tsurumaki, was Hideaki's assistant, and infact Kazuya has pretty much taken up the mantle of "deep-and-complex teen anime" from Hideaki himself. I think FLCL's relationship to Anno is much deeper than merely just another source for anime references, contrary to what was implied upthread.

goofus vs. gallant (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 28 October 2008 16:38 (fifteen years ago) link

(lots of grammatical errors in that post...sorry)

goofus vs. gallant (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 28 October 2008 16:39 (fifteen years ago) link

Can you point to an interview with the creators? I'm still having trouble believing the literary depth you are describing is intentional rather than something constructed by fans (in the same way I don't believe Family Guy or even Simpsons writers intend their characters to be anything deeper than amusements -- the fact that some characters might lend themselves to scholarly analysis is more by happenstance than design.)

Is there a genre called "deep and complex teen anime"? If this is actually a trend, that would really muddy the waters, because it would be harder to separate genuine creative expression from a faddish stylistic quirk.

Tying this into aeon flux, I have to admit that the voiced episodes had a sort of "soulless" quality, in the sense that the characters didn't seem to be invested with life in the way that Family Guy and Simpsons are. You get the same kind of dead feeling from big budget animations that use big name live-action actors instead of voice actors. This is also true of anime in which characters aren't hyperbolically emoting.

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 8 November 2008 18:44 (fifteen years ago) link

"Can you point to an interview with the creators? I'm still having trouble believing the literary depth you are describing is intentional rather than something constructed by fans (in the same way I don't believe Family Guy or even Simpsons writers intend their characters to be anything deeper than amusements -- the fact that some characters might lend themselves to scholarly analysis is more by happenstance than design.)"

No offense Phil, but I feel this is a very condescending assumption. Are you saying that the creator didn't know what they were doing? or they couldn't possibly have created any subtle meaning or emphasis unless it falls into your own personal perception? I feel that their is a healthy amount of ambiguity in FLCL, and its a strength, much as it is with Aeon Flux. I dont think the story holds your hand or gives a clear path. Yes there are pop culture reference jokes, these are NOT central to the plot or characters.(As opposed to 99% of all family guy jokes, the jokes being the point of the show.)

TO me FLCL is something like a Chris Ware comic or Peanuts by Charles Shutlz, or even Calvin and Hobbs.
It's an existential, coming of age story told in a very non linear fashion with lots of digression.

TO me when I watch it feels as a counter point to Evangelion, (which was also made by Gainax)

In evangelion, which has some strikingly similar characters, has a very specific, very dark, arguement about failure to do the right thing, loneliness the meaning of human existance. It's long and slow and and builds to an apocolyptic despair. Which is directly related to the main characters ineffectiveness.

FLCL hits on some of the same existential droll, while making fun of it (literally), but their is still a pointedness to it. While being similar characters are taken far less seriously. Yet somehow, I feel that I can relate to their experiences. Not wanting to grow up, being confused, being frustrated. Not feeling capable of making the right decisions. That everyone around you is self absorbed and insane. The end as well builds to a apocolyptic realization, but the end is ultimately hopeful.

It's interesting to me that both shows have been described as meta-biography of Gainax by their creators.
What the hell is going on in that place?

Voltero, Monday, 10 November 2008 23:56 (fifteen years ago) link

In Aeon Flux, the ambiguity seems (to me) purposeful, and it is blatant what that purpose is at least enough times that I can give it the benefit of the doubt when its purposes are not always clear.
In this respect, I think the non-dialogued shorts have an advantage, in that this ambiguity is not dependent or hinged on the textures of language.
I do not see evidence of this purpose from FLCL, and I'll grant that my not knowing Japanese or missing certain cultural expertise may be what is at fault.

That it resonates with people, that it is autiobiographical, these attributes do not separate it from Family Guy.
"Not wanting to grow up, being confused, being frustrated. Not feeling capable of making the right decisions. That everyone around you is self absorbed and insane."
This could easily apply to the characters in Family Guy. Let me read something into Family Guy -- there is something deep and very autobiographical about the way it deals with nostalgia that I can't put a finger on. I sincerely doubt this depth is intentional, but I believe it is there. I have no doubt they had those same feelings growing up, and it is in some way embedded in the show, but I can't use that as evidence that Family Guy is more than what it appears to be on the surface. But compare the vocal performances between Family Guy and American Dad (which doesn't have this quality, though it shares many of the same voice actors), and I think you'll see what I mean.

"TO me FLCL is something like a Chris Ware comic or Peanuts by Charles Shutlz, or even Calvin and Hobbs."
These all seem to have an element of melancholy where Family Guy and SImpsons do not. I understand how melancholy is a signifier of depth in our (Western) culture, something that is not to be deployed in media intended for children, so therefore its presence indicates that this is more than just juvenilia. But because of this bias, how can you be sure we are not misreading that presence in FLCL and Evangelion?

From what little I've seen of GAINAX, they seem to be held in the rapture of nostalgia every bit as much as Family Guy, to the point where nostalgia, not melancholy, is their defining element. Can you corroborate this?

Philip Nunez, Friday, 21 November 2008 19:01 (fifteen years ago) link

I rest my case. (sorry I had to do it)


You lost me on the comparison between Family Guy and American Dad. I haven't seen enough of American Dad.

"These all seem to have an element of melancholy where Family Guy and SImpsons do not. I understand how melancholy is a signifier of depth in our (Western) culture, something that is not to be deployed in media intended for children, so therefore its presence indicates that this is more than just juvenilia. But because of this bias, how can you be sure we are not misreading that presence in FLCL and Evangelion?"

I can't be sure, but thats ok, art is open to interpretation (within reason.) AND...

The melancholy isn't what makes it "deep." The characters have interesting (to me, at leatst) desires, goals, and fears that they constantly struggle with in order to overcome the complicated obstacles they have to face, and often times don't handle well, leading to varying consequences, somtimes good, sometimes bad, and personally speaking, this tends to be congruent with my view of the world. That struggle is interesting and complex (to me anyway,) and its made more poignant by the difficulty and conflict of the struggle. It seems very explicit to me.

The Family Guy overall reaching plot only utilizes the characters (except the dog and the baby) to basically tell the same joke OVER and OVER, at least to me. If you want to read into Family Guy, I'm not going to tell you that you can't or that your wrong,
I'm completely ok with it. If you dont get anything out of FLCL or think that its like Family guy thats a completely fair observation. I just felt that it was presumptious and condescending to say that becuase you don't see "it" no one else can.

If your geniunely interested in this, there are lots of articles and interviews captured on the internets for you to peruse. wikipedia has some stuff. but I get the feeling that you aren't.

Voltero, Sunday, 23 November 2008 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I don't think you can have it both ways: to allow for Family Guy to possibly be read as deeply as FLCL, but also take offense at the perception that they are equally shallow. You must more vigorously defend your champion!

You're right that I'm not interested enough to sift through the all internet for evidence in favor of FLCL, but if you cherry-pick the best for me, I'll gladly read through it.

The observation that Family Guy is joke-oriented (and likewise unconcerned with plot or character) misses the mark a little. The bulk of the jokes are not jokes at all (many are intrinsically unfunny), but some form of nostalgia. The jokes are simply pretext to compulsively wallow in it. But look at these early GAINAX animations, and see if you don't see the handiwork of those who are similarly afflicted:

BTW I think these are great (but in a shallow way, ha!)

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 13 December 2008 00:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I dont want it both ways, but I'm not going to tell you how to read or interpret Family Guy or FLCL.

You asked what is it that makes FlCl more than a bunch of flashy japanese pop culture in-jokes and references. I explained to you as I interpreted it, I wasn't denying that its there, but I dont see it as the focus. You either see that and agree or don't.

AND... Its not JUST that family guy is joke oriented.
The pop culture references disguised as jokes are very specific to Family Guy. The jokes themselves are one note, "Remember when,.." . They are never referenced diegetically, and only exist to reference something stupid or silly that existed in american pop culture television. I wouldn't even say that the family guy references are nostalgic, that would imply a liking it or feeling one way or the other, and I wouldn't say that they are enraptured as much as looking for a cheap laugh, its not even parody.

I'm glad that we can both agree that it is good animation.

Voltero, Tuesday, 16 December 2008 19:17 (fifteen years ago) link

FLCL that is.. hehe

Voltero, Tuesday, 16 December 2008 19:18 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah I agree w/Voltero...FG isn't enthralled by pop culture, they're filling it full of bulletholes...

Phillip I think you need to start coming correct yourself...obv episode 5 with the references to Lupin, South Park, John Woo, and Daicon IV is as referential as you say, but besides a few references in ep. 3 to some folk tale-turned-school play starring the Marquis de Carrabas, and a few stray references to Eva and Gundam, where are all the anime references that FLCL must be chock full of?

Hipster Loser-Loser (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 17 December 2008 12:25 (fifteen years ago) link

It's been awhile since I've seen it, but it's not the anime refs per se, just a mashup of introvert boy, crazy alien robot (was the robot an alien? I can't remember), and indie rock, and I guess most of those are staples of anime (swap jpop for indie jrock). And I also remember it being visually chaotic. Anyone else who hasn't seen it in awhile, what do you guys remember?

re FG, by enthralled, I mean the writers/voices are helpless in its grasp, and invoke it compulsively, not that they necessarily have any fondness for it (though I'm pretty sure they do -- I think one of them runs "Robot Chicken").

Philip Nunez, Friday, 19 December 2008 03:13 (fifteen years ago) link

I think your just pushing my buttons now Phil..

Voltero, Friday, 19 December 2008 21:22 (fifteen years ago) link

five years pass...

"Japanese animators, for all their drawing skill and versatility, have yet to produce anything with the soul and electricity of something like this, animated in 1946:";

I know this is a post from 8 years ago and the last time anyone posted here was 5 years ago, but can someone tell me what video that link lead to? The account that uploaded it was apparently terminated so I can't see the piece of animation that Peter Chung himself described as having "soul and electricity." Apologies if it was pointed out somewhere between that post and the last post, but it seemed to veer so off-topic to the point where FLCL and Family Guy of all things took up most of the space here.

Ikon: A Titan from Beyond Imagination, Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:32 (nine years ago) link

Sorry about the huge space there in my previous post. Apparently typing in the link is supposed to display the video to view without going directly to youtube, but seeing as how it's been deleted all we get is a blank gap.

Ikon: A Titan from Beyond Imagination, Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:34 (nine years ago) link

the still image that comes up if you go to the youtube url is daffy duck and porky pig dressed in what look like casey jones hats.

oh, postman hats. Baby Bottleneck

still in question appears about 5:50 in

koogs, Sunday, 3 August 2014 20:55 (nine years ago) link

John K's blog still updated with drawings regularly btw -

StanM, Sunday, 3 August 2014 21:43 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

god the early episodes of this show are so perfect, really holds up

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 13 April 2016 20:37 (eight years ago) link

idg why the vast amount of this thread is not actually about Ren and Stimpy but whatever

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 13 April 2016 20:40 (eight years ago) link

forget it shakey it's ilx

a lad of balls (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 13 April 2016 22:34 (eight years ago) link

four months pass...

Discovered this weekend that Ren's insane monologue from 'Space Madness' was at least partially derived from a similarly-deranged Peter Lorre monologue from Mad Love. I feel like bits of his rant got repurposed into other Ren meltdowns but I can't remember which atm.

Two Kisses and Three Wet Mouths (Old Lunch), Monday, 22 August 2016 17:22 (seven years ago) link

distant memory of ren & stimpy seems to imply that ren's voice was something like peter lorre's too right? especially when he was angry

geometry-stabilized craft (art), Monday, 22 August 2016 17:26 (seven years ago) link

lol the ice cream bar monologue?

socka flocka-jones (man alive), Monday, 22 August 2016 17:27 (seven years ago) link

Ren voice is def based on Peter Lorre!

Οὖτις, Monday, 22 August 2016 17:29 (seven years ago) link

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