Saturday, October 29, 2016

HALLOWEEN: Two by Tim Burton

I was watching The Nightmare Before Christmas this morning on Freeform. That used to be one of my favorite movies, until the internet and a marketing onslaught made me real sick of it, real fast. Hanging around on Tumblr, for example, in its early days, every day was pretty much terrible 90s sitcoms, Mean Girls (a movie I used to love but that I'm so sick of seeing referenced, quoted, giffed, and used a style guide without the movie's sense of satire that I'll never watch again), and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Too bad those True 90s Kidz weren't around back when Tim Burton movies were actually good. It was nice seeing Nightmare again--turns out I'm ready to love it once more (and I still remember all of the lyrics from repeat listens to the CD every Halloween to Christmas) (side note: damn, Henry Selick is a good director, and I like all of his films, even Monkeybone)--and it put me in mind of his 1982 short/love letter to horror and Vincent Price, Vincent. I posted that short here back in 2005 or 2006, but it's long gone, so I found this video.

This is sort of fan created double feature of Vincent and Tim Burton's other 1982 short, Hansel & Gretel, a very weird, very low-budget, neatly-designed live action short that aired twice on the (very new) Disney Channel in 1983 at Halloween. It's not necessarily a lost treasure, but it is a fascinating early work. So here's a little something for Halloween weekend.

(And to the user that made this: I love you for using the Disney Channel Studio Showcase bumpers and the nighttime sign-off. Made my day, for real.)

Friday, October 28, 2016


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Muppet Babies Are Coming Back and That's... Nice

After some rumblings late last week, it was officially announced that a new Muppet Babies series is coming to Disney Junior in 2018.

Don't get me wrong, Muppet Babies was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid, and it still amuses me when I watch one on YouTube. It was a damn good show. But I see people on other websites getting excited about the triumphant return of a childhood favorite and I start to feel like this is going to be like nearly every other Muppet project of the last 20+ years: I can already feel the whine pieces described as criticism of entitled Muppet fans.

Let's be realistic: this show is on Disney Junior, and the target audience is 4-7 year-olds. Not 40 year-olds. I'm relatively sure this isn't going to be a reboot in the style of the earlier show, but something more in the vein of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, where the characters talk to the audience and make little kids feel like they're participating in adventures just for them. I mean, maybe it'll be more like Sofia the First, where it's a straight adventure cartoon but clearly meant for little children. I'm sure it will be a quality product, but I really expect it's going to be made for children.

This is the problem with being a Muppet fan in the 21st century--every announcement of a new project brings me joy (there are still Muppet things being made!) but brings with it the anticipation of yet another outpouring of pointless internet rage. And the rage this time will be because it's a Muppet show aimed at kids and not at people my age who weirdly think they own the Muppets.

It's hard to be optimistic about new versions of old things at my age, not because they aren't made for me anymore, but because of the people my age and a bit older who wallow in their confused disappointment, with a lack of perspective and an unwillingness to comprehend that maybe kids today deserve their own Star Wars. Maybe you're supposed to have outgrown your perceived ownership of something.

So, honestly, I think a Muppet Babies aimed at young children is a fantastic idea; I don't care if it's made for me, because I like the idea that a generation of young children might get introduced to the Muppets at a young age and discover what's so great about them. If the recent TV series and movies are any indication, teenagers don't really relate to the Muppets anymore and my generation is incredibly resistant to any changes in tone, so why not just go for kids who don't have a preconceived idea of the characters?

I don't know, I'm rambling because I'm just anticipating have to read all of that nonsense about who "owns" what pop culture whatever. I fetishize my childhood enjoyments as much as any other Gen-Xer, but it's just so damn exhausting watching my aging generation write about how their identities are under attack.

HALLOWEEN: A Final Round of Ruth Morehead Art

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, Becca!

My lovely wife and I are both 40 now. Not quite sure how it happened, but I'm going to try and make sure Becca has a great day, in spite of her biggest handicap, which is having me for a husband.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Muppet Monday

When I was a kid, Muppet Magazine was one of my three favorite magazines to beg my Mom to buy when we went to the grocery store. (The other two were Starlog and MAD.) This story, "Little Swamp of Horrors," comes to us from the Fall 1986 issue. Written by Jay Itzkowitz and drawn by Jon McIntosh, it's a fun little Halloween tale, even if the end is basically stolen from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Song of the Week: "Tribute"

This is not the greatest blog post in the world. This is just a tribute.

HALLOWEEN: Tumblr Finds IV