If I were asked to list my favorite animated comedies (a difficult task for me since it’s my favorite toon genre), Steven Speilberg Presents Freakazoid! is an easy choice for my top 5.
Served up by the best of what Warner Bros Animation had to offer at the time in terms of writing, voice acting, music, and production quality, Freakazoid! was full of zaniness and comedic absurdity and chock full of TV/movie spoofs and pop culture references. And I couldn’t get enough of it. Unfortunately, the series failed to catch on with a wider audience other than core fans of WB animated comedies, and it was canceled all too soon.
If for some reason you aren’t familiar with Freakazoid!, imagine the original Looney Tunes shorts as a superhero spoof and you’ll get the idea. And as an introduction to the show, here’s a clip from Warner Home Video’s YouTube Channel with a scene from Season 2 (“Dexter’s Date”).
And if you’re already a Freakazoid! fan and haven’t yet bought your copy of Season 2 on DVD (released on April 21st), what the freak are you waiting for?
And on that note, I must mention that unfortunately you won’t be able to find a copy at your local Wal-Mart. I tried buying it there the day of the release and was rather surprised that it wasn’t stocked. The 2nd volume of Tiny Toons Adventures (which released the same day) was there, but no sign of Freakazoid!.
I thought perhaps it was some sort of accidental oversight, so I asked an associate to do an inventory search on it, and on the screen in big, bold letters were the words “NOT IN STORES — online only.”
This is a very unfortunate loss for Warner Home Video because they’ve already pulled future titles due to poor sales of previous releases. The final season of Animaniacs being released on DVD is in jeopardy for this very reason.
So I encourage… nay, command my fellow Freakazoid fans out there to go forth and purchase this product (and the latest volume of Tiny Toons as well) — not just because it’s a great show that you’ll want to watch again and again, but because if sales don’t meet or exceed WHV’s expectations, other notable animated titles from the Time-Warner vaults may never be released.
Now, moving forward, Jim Hill Media’s Nancy Stadler has published an interview with Paul Rugg (voice of Freazazoid) to coincide with Tuesday’s DVD release.
The article is technically more of an overview of the TV series than it is an interview, but Paul does share some remembrances and insight into the show’s production:
“I have a real soft spot in my heart for Freakazoid!. We had so much freedom back then. We didn’t have to worry about any corporate interference. Our only concern was with making a really funny show. That was the only rule on Freakazoid!: ‘Is it funny?’ Because if something was funny, then it stayed in the show. The whole ethos of Freakazoid! was that this series wasn’t about the story, but – rather — about the telling. And how many silly things you could add in along the way.”
Paul is also featured on the DVD’s bonus materials, as is John P. McCann, who not only served as series writer but also provided the voice of Dexter’s dad, Douglas Douglas.
I just recently discovered Paul’s official blog — Froynlaven! — which he started in January 2009. And the night I found it in a Google search, I ended up staying awake until 4am reading his archived posts, and laughing so hard the entire time that my ribs hurt the next day. It’s quite possibly the most entertaining blog I’ve ever read.
(McCann has a great blog as well: Write Enough.)
And if you don’t do anything else today, you need to watch Paul’s video about “Confidence” — trust me, it’s that important.
And speaking of video, in recent months Paul also started a YouTube Channel [link: boxtops76] where he has been offering clips from his stint as the live-action comedic pseudo-educational host “Manny The Uncanny” on Disney’s One Saturday Morning.