South Park Is Tackling COVID in New Hourlong Special Episode

South Park Special COVID-19
(Comedy Central)

After 23-years, South Park has finally found a topic worthy of if its first hour-long episode: COVID-19. The iconic Comedy Central show is airing an hour-long pandemic special on September 30th and the coronavirus and life in 2020 will be skewered in a way only Trey Parker and Matt Stone can.

South Park has ably tackled apocalyptic and depressing stories before, injecting them with a cathartic amount of laughter. Their brand isn’t for everyone, and some people seem utterly intent on never laughing again, but for adults who like jokes, this is going to be a very funny special. We’ve seen COVID humor in 30 Rock and Parks and Rec pandemic specials, but those were limited by the format. This…will be something much greater.

Here’s the full episode description: “Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.”

The preview shows Randy trying to take advantage of the pandemic, Cartman afraid he might be forced back to school, and Kyle doing his best to practice social distancing. It also shows a classroom with masked kids in plexiglass dividers with a detective as their new teacher.

There’s no official word on the premiere for the show’s 24th season, but the pandemic special promises to be one for the pantheon. The “Pandemic Special” airs September 30th at 8:00 p.m. on Comedy Central and will be available to HBO Max viewers the next day.

Hulu Shares Behind-the-Scenes Footage of November’s Animaniacs Return

Animaniacs Behind the Scenes
(Twitter/Huli)

Of all the reboots and remakes and reimaginings and sequels and prequels and legacyquels that have bubbled up over the past few years, few are as universally approved of as the forthcoming Animaniacs relaunch.

Ever since it was announced, the internet has been nothing sort of delighted at the news that the irreverent, pop-culture saturated cartoon from the 90s was coming back. And animation is the one type of Hollywood production that was able to soldier on despite the pandemic and the quarantine and 2020 in general.

As we’ve previously shared, the new episodes feature the entire original cast, including Rob Paulsen, the voice behind Yakko and Pinky, of the beloved Pinky and the Brain.

The new series debuts in November, but yesterday, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the original show, Hulu released some teaser footage, complete with a behind-the-scenes look at the current production.

The footage was tweeted out with the caption: “Happy Birthday Animaniacs. To celebrate the 27th anniversary of the original series premiere, we’re giving you a special behind-the-scenes look of your favorite voice cast at work. Stream brand new Animaniacs on November 20th, only on Hulu.”
Check out the footage below and get ready for November 20th!

X-Files Coming Back To TV – as an Animated Comedy?

X-Files Animated
(20th Century Fox)

For years now, we’ve watched as Hollywood cannibalized itself, taking old movies and TV shows and turning them into new TV shows and movies. They adapt books, reboot trilogies, make new sequels; they’ll try anything to recapture the magic – and the profits – of something that was previously successful. There are few properties that haven’t been revamped, including the classic 90s sci-fi drama The X-Files.

Not only did the show stay on the air too long, attempting to continue after star David Duchovny left, they also tried to convert its television success to movie money, with a handful of movies that had diminishing returns. Then they brought the show back, to even worse returns, and the franchise seemed like it was done. But apparently not!

Fox is attempting to bring it back again, this time as an animated comedy called “The X-Files: Albuquerque” that is currently in development. Animation is one area that is able to circumvent COVID-19 complications because you don’t need to actors on set when all they’re doing is recording their lines. The man behind The X-Files, Chris Carter, is on board as executive producer, and the series will reportedly cover mysteries that were too out there for even Mulder and Scully.

Speaking of Mulder and Scully, neither Duchovny nor his co-star Gillian Anderson are thus far involved with the new show, with Anderson flat-out stating she was done with the character after the poorly-received season 10 and 11 revivals a few years ago.

But Chris Carter isn’t done and said so at the time.

“I think that certainly The X-Files has more life in it, there are more stories to tell, with Gillian or without,” said Carter. “I’m sorry to see her go, I’ve never actually considered doing this show without her, so is this the end? It’s the end of something, I don’t know if it’s the beginning of something new. But certainly we will have to all put our heads together and figure out where to go from here.”

It seems like he’s found a way to keep his franchise alive! We’ll see if even the show’s diehard fans are down for a cartoon version.

Far Side Creator Gary Larson Releases First New Comics in 25 Years

Gary Larson New Stuff
(Getty/Denver Post)

2020 already feels like a satire of itself, but there’s one key element missing – the cartoonish, offbeat, often animal-centered humor that only cartoonist Gary Larson can provide. The Far Side comics ran from December 31, 1979, to January 1, 1995 at which point the beloved cartoonist decided to retire. That is, until now. Much to the delight of his fans who have been subsisting on 25-year-old material, Larson added a New Stuff section to The Far Side website.

The website reads, “I don’t want to mislead anyone here. This corner of the website—“New Stuff”—is not a resurrection of The Far Side daily cartoons. (Well, not exactly, anyway—like the proverbial tiger and its stripes, I’m pretty much stuck with my sense of humor. Aren’t we all?).” Larson goes on to say that he became exhausted of the deadline-oriented process of cartoon creation. The only time the cartoonist has taken on a drawing project since has been Christmastime, where he would draw a holiday card from himself and his wife. After years of frustration with his perpetually clogged pen, Larson discovered digital art using a tablet – and his inspiration, along with his passion for drawing, returned.

So now, fortunately for us, we get to join Larson as he dives into the world of digital art. We are invited to watch as he experiments with a new medium, and we will be gifted an array of new content. There is no timed schedule for the release of Larson’s new comics because as he stated, the formerly schedule-driven artist is enjoying the freedom of drawing for the sake of drawing.

Fans are ecstatic, obviously.

And so are we. Welcome back, Gary – you could not have chosen a better time.

The Smurfs Are Making a Triumphant Return to TV in CG

Smurfs Return
(Amazon)

When we were little kids, my brother loved The Smurfs. He had tons of the little blue figurines all over his bedroom. What a weirdo!

Remember the Smurfs? The tiny blue creatures that each had names corresponding to their personalities, like the seven dwarfs? And they were constantly being threatened by Gargamel and his cat Azrael, who hates the Smurfs for some reason?

It doesn’t matter if you remember them or not, because they’re coming back, in CG form!

Viacom is partnering with the French company that owns the Smurfs to create a new CG-animated series featuring Papa Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Hefty Smurf, Jokey Smurf, Smurfette, and more.

Pam Kaufman, President, ViacomCBS Consumer Products, explained why she’s bringing the little blue creatures back:

“The Smurfs is an iconic global franchise that has resonated with audiences for decades. By partnering with LAFIG, we are able to join our creative forces to bring an all-new line of consumer products across multiple categories to consumers, along with a fresh and original animated series.”

The show will be on Nickelodeon, and, based on her comments, will no doubt spawn a ton of merchandise. My brother had a ton of the little blue figures. I can’t wait to send this to him and laugh about his weird obsession.

The Smurfs originated as a Dutch comic strip in the 50s but exploded into the mainstream with a Saturday morning cartoon in the early 80s, which leaves me with one question: does this mean we’re gonna get The Snorks back too? Weren’t The Snorks just an underwater version of The Smurfs?

Fine, that’s two questions, but I honestly can’t remember. I’m in my 40s, get off my back!

Schoolhouse Rock Is Coming to Disney+

Schoolhouse Rock Disney+
(Disney+)

At some point over the past few decades, politics became pop culture. When I was growing up, smack-dab in the middle of the Reagan era, I was blissfully oblivious to most of the goings-on, at least until I got into high school and college. I don’t think most kids have that luxury anymore, thanks to the internet and social media, TV channels devoted to news and politics 24/7, and politicians themselves becoming celebrities, playing the sax on Arsenio Hall, and hosting reality TV shows before becoming president.

Politics has become entertainment – and thanks to the pandemic and quarantine, education has become largely virtual – which makes this a perfect time for Schoolhouse Rock to return and remind kids of the importance behind the pomp and circumstance.

Schoolhouse Rock is an animated TV series that originated in the 70s. It used catchy musical sequences to teach kids about the logistics of democracy, as well as other foundational lessons in grammar, history, and the like. With everyone being forced to learn via screens these days, Schoolhouse Rock’s debut on Disney+ this summer – the first season will be available to stream on June 19th – couldn’t come at a better time.

The series is fun and educational, and for 40-somethings like me, it’s a real blast from the past. If you remember any of these, it’s probably the incredibly catchy song about how a bill becomes law (embedded below). I can still remember the words, and the lesson behind it, which is a testament to the power of the show.

I can’t wait to show it to my kids, and relive my youth. You can still sign up for Disney+ for $6.99/month or $69.99/year.

Disney+ Opens the “Fury Files” on Marvel’s Heroes and Villains

(Marvel Entertainment)

In case 50 hours of MCU movies didn’t dig deep enough into your favorite Marvel heroes, Disney+ has got you covered. Beginning May 15th, you will be able to check out the streaming platform’s newest animated series, Fury Files, which will unlock Nick Fury’s secret files on some of the most popular Marvel heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, and more. The show will enjoy a fun combination of animation and motion comic art and will land just one week before the debut of Marvel’s Future Avengers second season.

The man himself will be voiced by Fury VO veteran Chi McBride who has lent his talents as the world’s most secretive S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to shows like Ultimate Spider-ManHulk, and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Avengers Assemble.

We are very curious about what’s in the Tony Stark file, for starters. Besides some gross stuff which Disney+ probably won’t get into, there’s a whole world of wealth that can be explored of which the movies haven’t even scratched the surface. But what the hell could squeaky-clean Cap possibly hide that wouldn’t make for a boring episode of television? Did he say “shit” once? Because we would actually be very down to watch 30 minutes of Steve Rogers get more increasingly angry at something and the last line of the show is just him screaming, “Shit!” Credits.

Marvel Entertainment released an official synopsis with this to say: “Fury Files drops on Disney+ on Friday, May 15, and you shouldn’t be surprised that Nick Fury has files on every single Marvel Super Hero. Fury Files gives viewers top-secret access to S.H.I.E.L.D. intel on key Marvel heroes and villains. All of this is told by none other than the mysterious Fury, bringing together a mix of animation and motion comic art! Looking to download a bunch of information about every single hero? Fury’s got you covered.”

Disney has figured out a way to take all of our time and money so we will definitely be sitting down the second this drops. And we’ll like it, too. Bring it on!

You can sign up for Disney+ for $6.99/month or $69.99/year.

Internet Debates Whether Goofy is a Cow or a Dog, For Some Reason

Is Goofy a Cow?
(Disney)

The quarantine has left us all with a lot of free time. No sports to watch, no events to attend, no bars to visit, no restaurants to eat at; we’re all forced to sit inside and pass the time the way our forefathers did. With streaming services and board games.

For some people, all this free time is a boon. It allows for the learning of a new language or a new skill. It offers the freedom to finally finish that novel, or redecorate the sunroom. And it lets us ponder the mysteries of the universe.

Like whether Goofy is a dog or a cow.

I’d like to say that this is what the quarantine has done to us – after all, Twitter is currently aflame with arguments over this issue – but the debate originated years ago, thanks to this bizarre article claiming that the true origins of the iconic Disney character were part of a cover-up.

Snopes already debunked their claims – thank god, because I don’t know about you, but I can’t live in a world in which there’s confusion about Goofy – but that hasn’t stopped social media obviously. When have facts ever had anything to do with social media?

People will believe anything:

Thankfully, some good people are fighting for truth while the debate rages on:

This woman tried to argue against the cow theory but also sort of thinks Goofy is a human man?

It’s enough to make your head spin! Thankfully someone went to the ultimate authority: Wikipedia.

Debate over. Until someone goes to Wikipedia and alters it because there are no facts anymore. I don’t care what Goofy is, I’m just happy we’re all using our time productively.

Simpsons Predicted Coronavirus, New Rick and Morty Somehow References It

Simpsons and Rick and Morty Coronavirus
(Twitter/didgeridougrou/NasserAlFarsii/ Disney/Adult Swim)

The Simpsons is well known for having an eerie prescience about the world. Granted, the animated satire has been running for over 20 years, and when you’re poking fun at two decades of sacred cows, you’re bound to get a few predictions right. But their track record, from a Trump presidency to a Siegfried and Roy lion attack, is pretty impressive. There’s even a new clip floating around purporting to show another prediction about our problems in 2020: COVID-19 and Murder Hornets.

But now they may have a new challenger, and this one didn’t have to wait years for their prediction to come true.

Rick and Morty recently returned to finish out its fifth season, and when the latest episode aired, viewers were astounded by what appeared to be a reference to the coronavirus.

“Never Ricking Morty” aired Sunday night and includes a line about the current situation we find ourselves in: locked at home, unable to go anywhere or buy anything. Morty says he wants to buy a train and Rick responds angrily: “Buy another one, Morty! Consume, Morty! Nobody’s out there shopping with this f***ing virus!”

Twitter was stunned, especially since the lead time for animated series is quite long, meaning the episode had been created months earlier.

Obviously, the reference was added late in the production cycle, as one of the benefits of animated shows is the ability to add new dialogue to a previously animated scene. After all, it’s not like the actors need to be onset. They’re cartoons!

Still, it was a jarring moment for viewers, more used to outlandish science-fiction than seemingly psychic predictions!

WOWZERS! Inspector Gadget Theme in 8 Cello Parts Played by one Musician

(Youtube / Samara Ginsberg / Lexington Broadcast Services Company)

Fair warning: you’re about to have the Inspector Gadget theme song stuck in your head for no less than one (1) week.

Playing one cello is impressive as it is. Two cellos? Even more so. Three cellos? Okay, okay, settle down. No one likes a showoff. Four? Four cellos? Well, now you’re practically begging for hand cramps. Five cellos? Seriously? Hey, save some cellos for the rest of us, pal. Six? Six. Six cellos. We are truly through the looking glass. Seven cellos? Well, that just leaves… oh. Oh no. You couldn’t…

EIGHT CELLOS?

Samara Ginsberg is a super talented cellist who recently broke down the Inspector Gadget theme song into eight distinct parts for cello, recorded her one-woman octet, and the end result is magnificent. She was even able to reproduce the screeching police siren sound effects at the beginning!

Listen to and hum along with Samara’s haunting rendition of this iconic tune right here:

Go go Gadget musical chops, am I right?

Mom Makes Most of Quarantine With Incredible Sidewalk Chalk Art

Casey Drake Sidewalk Art
(Instagram/caseydrakemakes)

We’re all doing the best to cope with this unprecedented spell of boredom in our own little ways. Some people are making shot-by-shot recreations of terrible 80s music videos, while others have crafted a parody trailer for The Mandalorian.

But Casey Drake, an immensely talented mom from Orlando, Florida, is reframing the situation as an opportunity to make art that spreads cheer to the world outside. Her canvass? The sidewalk.

Here she is hard at work on a rendition of C3-PO and R2D2.

Some serve as helpful reminders. This Dorothy, for example.

(Instagram/caseydrakemakes)

Also, this Batman.

(Instagram / caseydrakemakes)

She depicts classic Disney characters living their best lives.

(Instagram / caseydrakemakes)

A major theme is toilet paper, so naturally, we get Doc Brown delivering his iconic catchphrase from Back to the Future.

(Instagram / caseydrakemakes)

Our personal favorite is this hilariously slanderous depiction of Joe Exotic from Netflix’s true crime miniseries, Tiger King.

(Instagram / caseydrakemakes)

Currently, she’s working her way through the 5 Stages of Quarantine, as portrayed by characters from Pixar’s Inside Out.

(Instagram / caseydrakemakes)

We’re truly stoked to see what immaculate sidewalk art Casey comes up with next. Make sure to follow her at caseydrakemakes on Instagram!

HBO Max Previews Elmo’s New Talk Show, Looney Tunes and More

HBO Launch Lineup
(YouTube/HBO Max)

Netflix just released its May lineup, but maybe you’ve seen it all? Bored with Hulu? Done with Prime? Had enough of Frozen 2 and the rest of Disney+? Have you already burned through HBO’s 500+ hours of free content? Well have no fear, HBO Max is on the way!

The new streaming platform from the cable channel once known as Home Box Office has been in the works for a while, snagging such high-profile properties as The Big Bang Theory, Fresh Prince, and Friends, as well as the highly anticipated Friends reunion special. But the platform isn’t just going to show us stuff we’ve seen before; they have a whole bunch of new shows to premiere, and those premieres are coming soon!

HBO Max launches on May 27th, with new shows featuring everyone from Anna Kendrick to Elmo to Bugs Bunny, and everything from ballroom dancing to Def Jam to DIY crafting.

Here are a few glimpses of some of the new stuff HBO Max will be streaming into your living room, including everything you expect: tons of movies, tons of shows.

Looney Tunes:

The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo:

Here’s a teaser for the full lineup:

On the Record:

Love Life:

Scoob! to Skip Theaters and go Straight to Video on Demand

Scoob!
(Warner Bros)

This quarantine ain’t no joke.

We’re deep into this thing, and though we all have access to dozens of streaming platforms full of an infinite amount of movies and TV shows, not to mention books, and music, and board games, we still want more. And the people who want the most are either our kids, or us, because we’re so desperate to keep our kids occupied and out of our hair, and off of our Zoom calls!

Fraggle Rock is coming back, The Princess Bride is coming soon, and Trolls World Tour debuted last weekend, completely skipping movie theaters and arriving on our TVs just in the nick of time. Another movie that’s skipping a theatrical run to help parents in our time of need is the latest version of Scooby-Doo, this one fully animated, and featuring a bit of a new take on the popular cartoon.

Here’s the synopsis: “With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever — a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global dog-pocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone could have imagined.”

The early trailers showcased a bit of an origin story, with audiences getting a glimpse at Shaggy and Scooby-Doo’s first meeting, and it sounds like those early days of their relationship may be important. We’ll all be able to find out next month.

Scoob! will skip cineplexes and arrive on demand on May 15th, the same date it was meant to arrive in theaters. Instead, it will be streaming, available to rent for $20 to rent and to buy for $25.

“While we’re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, we’re navigating new, unprecedented times which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content,” Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff said in a statement. “We know fans are eager to see Scoob and we’re delighted we can deliver this feel-good movie for families to enjoy while they’re home together.”

So our parents. Let’s face it, this quarantine would probably be a breeze, if not for those meddling kids!