It’s Cartoon Friday again!
Tonight’s selection is I Met the Walrus. This is Oscar-nominated short film, much like last week’s selection, animates a real life conversation. In this case, a 5-minute reduction of a 30-minute interview between Jerry Levitan, then 14 years old, and musician John Lennon in 1969. According to the Wikipedia entry, Walrus is a highly recognized work of art:
The film has won many awards including a 2009 Daytime Emmy in the New Approaches, Daytime Entertainment category, Best Animated Short awards for the American Film Institute and the Middle East International Film Festival. … It was also included in the Animation Show of Shows. It was selected to be one of 25 YouTube videos to be part of the first Guggenheim Museum/YouTube Play “A Biennial of Creative Video.”
Bonus: I want to talk a moment about Bob’s Burgers, because it is the best cartoon airing on television today. I haven’t linked to it here before because it is currently airing on a major network — part of FOX’s Sunday animation bloc. At the same time, because it airs with the disappointing modern incarnation of The Simpsons and the often bigoted Family Guy (whose “ironic” racism is usually just racist), I worry that some people have overlooked this brilliantly funny show now in its third and strongest season.
It features H Jon Benjamin and other members of the Home Movies team, previously discussed here at Cartoon Friday, including creator Loren Bouchard. Another key member of the development team, Jim Dauterive, is best known for his work on King of the Hill, a show with some similarities.
Bob’s Burgers is about the Belcher family, who run the titular burger joint in a coastal city. The restaurant brings in barely enough to keep their family afloat, so in addition to being a full time job for Bob (voiced by Benjamin) and his wife Linda (John Roberts, who you may have seen work with Margaret Cho), the three Belcher children are often called into service. The kids are voiced by three more talented comedians, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman, and Dan Mintz. With a cast of almost exclusively experienced stand-up comics and frequent guest stars from that field, it’s not surprising that the show is consistently laugh out loud funny.
What separates it most from other animated family sitcoms is not the talented cast but the way it treats the family. Unlike the darkly comic domestic violence common elsewhere, the Belcher family overflows with genuine love for each other. The comedy comes from their encounters with an outside world that often misunderstands them or would defeat them, except that their close connection and support always leaves them victorious. It might even seem saccharine, if it weren’t genuinely hilarious.
“Mother Daughter Laser Razor,” one of the best episodes of the recent season, is streaming free on Hulu for another three days. But, in three days you’ll be able to watch “Boyz 4 Now” free and I believe it’s one of Bob’s Burgers best episodes ever.
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Photo by Gage Skidmore released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.