Prime Time Cartoon Lovers
Best Tapes-for Toddlers and 'Tweens
good news for grown-up viewers who mourn the onset of summer reruns.
Make that great news. The Cartoon Network has launched its second
annual "Cartoon Summer," featuring new episodes of
"Johnny Bravo," "Ed, Edd n Eddy,"
the phenomenally-popular "The Powerpuff Girls," "Dexter's
Laboratory," "Courage the Cowardly Dog" and "I
Where are the cartoon stars of tomorrow coming from? Between June
9 and Aug. 27, Cartoon Network will premiere each Friday night at
9 (ET) a new cartoon vying for a shot on the network's fall 2001 schedule.
Viewers can vote for their favorites during "Voice Your Choice
Weekend," a 52-hour marathon that runs from Aug. 25-27.
I caught three of the 11 pilot episodes available for preview and
cast my vote for Maxwell Atoms's "The Grim Adventures of Billy
and Mandy," which premiered June 9, but will be repeated
in August. The set-up recalls "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey,"
as the Grim Reaper arrives at the home of clueless Billy ("Are
you Santa?") to take his decrepit hamster, Mr. Snuggles. But
he is foiled by the unflappable Mandy, who challenges the skeletal
Reaper to a contest. "If you win," agrees the Reaper, "I'll
be your best friend forever."
Less likely to succeed is Chris Savino's "Foe Paws,"
debuting July 7. The odd coupling of a good-hearted dog and a snide,
supercilious cat is not new. What's new is putting them in the home
of an over-bearing Italian woman who dubs them Rollo and Vivian, dresses
them accordingly and makes them "act human." It gets some
cheap laughs out of the woman's outrage that her new "children"
are "naked," but like films based on "Saturday Night
Live" sketches, some things are best left at seven minutes.
More ready for prime time is "Uncle Gus: For the Love of Monkeys,"
which premieres July 14. Stuart Pankin (who voiced Earl Sinclair in
the late, lamented "Dinosaurs!") is the voice of the hapless,
unemployed Uncle Gus, who shares a trailer with a horse named Flapjack
(voiced by "SCTV's" Dave Thomas) and his rotund, freckle-faced
nephew Beeyolus, who is given to breaking out in song (there's a pitch
meeting I would have loved to attend).
They find themselves in "a vexing predicament" when Gus's
attempts to reunite with his lost love, a "monkey scientist,"
find him pitted against Dwayne the gorilla to determine who will be
dominant male and "king of the monkeys."
Other promising debuts: "Trevor!" about an imaginative
boy whose notebook doodles come to life (June 23); the self-explanatory
"Lucky Lydia" (July 21); "Longhair and Doubledome"
about two intellectual, but inept cavemen (July 28) and "Sheep
in the Big City," which is said to be "heavily narrated
in the style of 'Rocky and Bullwinkle,' and is already scheduled to
premiere as a half-hour series in November.
lives with his family in Highland Park, Illinois, and writes about
entertainment for national magazines.
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