It’s a Cartoon Friday double feature!

A 1950s family watching TV in an underwater house.

Tune in & float away …

Late at night on MTV, you used to find a pair of Rocky Horror-style psychedelic talking lips muttering strangely or wailing demonically in between some of the strangest cartoons I’ve ever seen.

I’ve loved cartoons as long as I can remember. I adored The Fox & The Hound when I saw it in theaters at three years old and I’ve never become an animation snob. If it’s got a good story, pretty pictures, entertaining characters, and so on, I will watch it whether it’s a kiddie ‘toon, a postmodernist Japanese animation, or a high-brow animated art film for adults.

Even so, I’ve always relished the chance to see the weird, the experimental, and the just plain different. As much as I love Bob’s Burgers, the Fox Sunday style can seem to dominate the landscape, mixed liberally with South Park-style Flash and those terrible robot-voiced ‘roll your own’ cartoons my friends often insist on sharing. It’s always refreshing to see someone create cartoons with a unique, passionate artistic vision.

From 1989 through 1994 MTV showed Liquid Television, an anthology of experimental and unusual animation. Some well known series got their start on LT, from Aeon Flux, a violent dystopian sci-fi adventure, to the low-brow chuckle comedy of Beavis & Butthead. But along with these well-known elements, the show featured shorts from an international community of cartoonists both famous and obscure. A typical episode would contain serialized episodes of longer works, stand-alone pieces, and some indescribable absurdity. According to Wikipedia, Art Spiegelman’s underground comix anthology Raw was a major influence. Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s The Running Manthe subject of a previous Cartoon Friday, appeared on an episode in dubbed form.

The original Liquid Television is out of print and traded instead on Bittorrent and streaming sites, but MTV just brought back Liquid TV as a website and streaming show on Hulu. For our “Science Fiction Double Feature,” you’ll find Season 2, Episode 3 of the classic Liquid Television at the top of this post. Below, you will find the first episode of the new Liquid TV.

What are your favorite cartoons? I’ll use them for future episodes if I can.

 

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