December 12th, 2007


Invader ZIM: A Classic Cartoon

They say that Nickelodeon was looking for a cartoon aimed at their Older Demographic, and so in 2001, Invader ZIM was born.

This pre-dated Cartoon Network's Adult Swim by half a year, so you really couldn't say the market was clamoring for an adult-oriented children's cartoon (as opposed to an adult-oriented adult cartoon like the film 'Heavy Metal' or anything you'd find on MTV back in the day or Comedy Central today). In fact, given the time frame, it's difficult to see why they'd want to market to adults at all, since Nick has always prided itself on being the only network for Kids.

Marketing cartoons to adults is stupid anyway. If an adult latches on to a child's cartoon, it's almost certainly by accident and in spite of the childishness of the show itself. See: Spongebob Squarepants. EVERYONE freakin' loves that guy, but it's not like Nickelodeon's airing it at 11pm so adults have an alternative to Daily Show repeats. They air it in prime kid time and the adults just have to adjust or catch it on one of its millions and millions of re-runs.

That having been said, I'm kind of surprised Invader ZIM didn't make it as a kid's show; it strikes me as something I would've fawned over as a 10 year old. I mean, for Christ's sake, Ren & Stimpy was at the core of their Saturday Morning Lineup! Looking back at some of the themes and gags, you're telling me a 10 year old mind can fully comprehend what's really going on in 'Space Madness'?

Invader ZIM reminds me in a lot of ways to Ren & Stimpy. You've got the diminutive little asshole alien bound for world domination through antisocial tendencies and a general distaste for the pit-i-ful HUmans; and you've got Ren, the diminutive little asshole chihuahua bound for fame and glory and awesome pecs. Zim has his lovable, good-natured foil in G.I.R. and Ren has his Stimpson J. Cat. The social dynamic between the main characters and those surrounding them are fairly similar as well, with the bulk of the Earthly population being bumbling morons who are merely fodder for the main characters' whims.

The obvious differences lie in animation style (ZIM tending toward that slick Anime style without being too over the top; think Boondocks, since both creators started out in comics) and overall storyline. That is, Zim actually HAS a storyline, while R&S lean towards those classic Bugs Bunny types of one-offs, only more perverse and with far more boogers.

The worst thing you can do to a show is shift its timeslot; especially on cable and ESPECIALLY when you're a children's network and kids have the memory retention of a squirrel. If the fans can't find the show, then they won't watch; and if potential fans can't find the show, they'll never know it existed until its 27 episodes are packaged on a DVD set seven and a half years after the fact.

But, some things just weren't meant to be. I mean, it's not like ZIM had a block of popular like-minded cartoons coming out with it. It was on an island out there while Ren & Stimpy had Rugrats and Doug all joining the Nicktoons fray at the same time in the early 90s.

I will say this, the best children's cartoons are those that appeal greatly to adults. I felt that way when I was 10 and it's still true. Invader ZIM followed a long line, from Ren & Stimpy and Rocco's Modern Life and Animaniacs and Eek The Cat and Life With Louie and The Real Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Transformers and anything made by Warner Brothers before the 1960s. You don't NEED to be an adult to enjoy those shows, which I did, but in being an adult, you can look back on these shows and realize they did something special while all the G.I. Joes and Alvin & The Chipmunks and any of the myriad of bastard Walt Disney spinoffs failed miserably.

A classic cartoon will always withstand the passage of time and keep well-preserved long after childhood whimsy has passed you by.
Don't Hassle the Hoff

After The Fantasy Grieving Period

There are no two more heartbreaking words a fantasy football owner can see staring back at him from his computer screen than "Consolation Bracket."

Sunday saw my team's bid for a birth into the 4-team playoffs end in the most anticlimactic of fashions: losing to Konstantin as he racked up an insurmountable point total; indeed, probably the most points that have been scored all year, though I'm too depressed to go through and check the weeks. In that regard, there's little I can really second-guess about my week 14 roster. Yeah, starting Furrey over Plaxico was probably not the way to go, but considering Plax's ankle and the fact that Philly in the past has handled him pretty well, coupled with Furrey's elevated status as the Number 2 receiver for a Detroit offense I assumed would be passing about 60 times vs. Dallas and the fact that only a year ago Furrey put up a 10-catch, 200 yard game (whenever I know somebody's capable of putting up big numbers, I like to keep them around and play them when in a bind), I'll stand behind that decision. I'll also stand behind the trade that brought the semi-injured Plaxico to my team even though I could've held out for T.O., because the guys I sent away were both injured within a week.

And motherfucker, I got more quality weeks out of Reggie Bush than Jake did out of LenDale White, who wasn't even in his LINEUP until Lynch went down!

And as far as the Colston/Welker debate goes, when two teams are pass-happy, I'll take the Number 1 option over the Number 2 option any day. Plus, Welker gets lost in the offense too many times; for every 40-point week, he has an equal amount of 10-point weeks.

No, really, I'm okay with the things that happened to me this season; the only thing that's left to second-guess is my Fantasy Draft and you know what, it is what it is. I drafted the players I drafted, certain things didn't go my way ---

Brees starting off shitty,
Chicago's defense never once dominated,
Cecille Benson never should've been drafted,
Passed on The Adrian Peterson because I bought into some bogus preseason injury concerns,
Chambers never became that receiver I needed when Trent Green decided to play like Trent Green (from the sideline, with a concussion),
My top two picks only had one week where both put up dominant numbers at the same time,

--- and there you go. Left off the playoff roster once again. Am I wiser for it? Probably not, when am I EVER wiser for ANYTHING? It's all too much of a crapshoot when you get right down to it. Sure, Brees and Palmer have thrown for well over 3,000 yards with three games to go, but their turnover ratios are sucking my will to live, and that's just not something you can predict. Who would've thought Chicago and Baltimore's defenses would've been so ineffective while Seattle's would kick so much ass? Who figured The Adrian Peterson would have more rushing yards and nearly as many TDs as LDT, especially since he's only been the featured back for half the season or so? And that doesn't even begin to bring into account all the injuries that have bitten more teams in the ass than I can count. None of these things you can predict from year to year, you just have to use your best judgment and hope for the best.

Yeah, I'm disappointed, but that goes away. I'm like a father who lost his wife in a car crash or something, I have to keep it together for the kids. The Kids being my alternate fantasy football team which just had a bye week in the other league's 3-week playoffs (and scored 135 points for its trouble, which is good considering 150 is just about the max I've seen scored). Here's to single parenthood and the new, ugly, unemployed wife who walks with a limp and has one boob that sags lower than the other.

Her name is Consolation Bracket, and she's bringing me to drinking and spousal abuse on a nightly basis.
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