I Know I’m Late To the Party, but Yeah, ‘Bluey’ Really Is Awesome

Introduction to Bluey
(Ludo Studio)

Up until a month ago, the only things I had heard about regarding ‘Bluey’ came exclusively from one of my dads’ groups on Facebook.  The subject of ‘Bluey’ wouldn’t pop-up often, but when it did, the comments section would explode.  The guys would go off and discuss the details of their favorite episodes and how their kids would go to bed and they’d just sit there and watch ‘Bluey’ by themselves or with their significant other.  I was completely out of the loop.  The only kids show I had ever watched the odd time without my children was “The Amazing World of Gumball”, so I was curious.  What was the big deal with ‘Bluey’?

My wife and I have three kids.  Our youngest (who is 10 months) is constantly on the move and trying to pull things off of tables.  He will only find the time to sit down and give us a bit of solace if we watch ‘The Wiggles’ with him.  This was fine… for a while.  After roughly three days of “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy”, I had reached my breaking point. I was going to breakdown and curl up into the fetal position if I had to watch the other three Wiggles try to wake up Lachy with the power of singing for the 800th time.  Luckily, as fate would have it, ‘Bluey’ popped up during a conversation and I was told that I should check it out.  I didn’t hesitate.

For those who haven’t watched it, ‘Bluey’ is about, well, Bluey!  She’s an Australian puppy who gets up to all sorts of mischief with her sister Bingo, her dad Bandit, and her mom Chilli.  Each episode is around 7 minutes in length, which means you’ll fly through them fairly quickly.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this show that keeps my youngest son so entranced.  It might be the catchy theme song or the bright and colorful animation that pops off the screen.  He might not understand what’s going on but who cares, he loves it.  What I personally love about ‘Bluey’ though, is how it normalizes dads being at home.  Bandit is the one playing all sorts of games with his two daughters while mom heads out for some time to herself.  As a dad who spent time at home with his kids even before the pandemic, I love this kind of thing.  He shares the dishes and laundry duties with Chilli as well.   The show casts aside the tired stereotypes of mom doing the housework and dad going to work.

(Ludo Studio/seduff)

The other thing I enjoy about the show is Bandit & Chilli usually let out a reluctant sigh whenever Bluey & Bingo ask them to play.  As a parent, I’m sure we can all agree we’ve done this at some point.  I love playing with my kids, but if I can just sit back and let them do their thing while I catch my breath, even better.  Bandit & Chilli’s attitude is a refreshing change for a children’s show.  Of course, they still end up saying yes to playing with their kids, but it’s a realistic take on parenthood that always makes me laugh.  I never realized I’d have so much in common with a couple of animated dogs. Everything is equal in Bluey’s household, but it’s usually Bandit who’s the one getting up to all sorts of hilarious shenanigans.  Whether he’s playing make-believe or working for his kids, he’s always having fun with them.  One of my favorites is an episode where Bandit pretends he’s a magical crane game.  If the girls do chores around the house, they earn “Dollar Bucks” (money) to spend on the crane game.  It seems fun at first, but each time the kids pay to play, Bandit drops the toy “they” latched onto back into the toy pile so he can get his kids to do extra chores around the house.  It’s so genius I might have to try it sometime.

While there’s plenty of humor adults will enjoy, there are certain episodes that even my 11 and 8-year-olds enjoy watching it.  The flossing grandma’s episode is a big hit in our household.

‘Bluey’ has its funny moments, but it also pulls at your heartstrings.  One episode called ‘Copycat’ deals with death and how a child might cope with it.  It sounds harsh, but it’s handled extremely well.  Most kids’ programs shy away from this topic, so I commend ‘Bluey’ for actually having the guts to write an episode around this touchy subject.

All 52 episodes of ‘Bluey’ Season 1 are currently streaming on Disney+  (a season 2 is apparently releasing this July), so if you’ve been on the fence about checking it out, give it a shot.  I think you and your kids will be pleasantly surprised.  I’m also pretty sure that if you do, your family will start referring to money as “Dollar Bucks”.

I know I’m late to the party, but yeah, ‘Bluey’ really is as awesome as everyone says it is.

PBS Teams Up with Apple TV+ to Air Charlie Brown Holiday Specials

Charlie Brown Specials
(Apple)

When it comes to movies and TV, Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick. Halloween has tons of movies you can watch all Spooktober long, and Christmas movies dominate cable and streaming services from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.

Thanksgiving has Planes, Trains and Automobiles and not much else! Unless you count the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, which, despite being the third-best Charlie Brown special (Christmas and Halloween again!).

I remember loving it when I was a kid, and my kids definitely count it every year – there’s still something special about a holiday-themed TV episode! – but this year it seemed like they weren’t even going to get to watch it, because Apple TV+ snapped up the rights to the Charlie Brown specials and pulled them from network TV.

Despite having aired on ABC and CBS for decades, it seemed like their run was over, and any Peanuts fans without an Apple TV+ subscription was going to be out of luck.

Thankfully, someone at Apple had a change of heart, and Apple teamed up with PBS to air the Thanksgiving special on Sunday night. And if you missed it, you can watch it for free on Apple TV+ from 11/25 to 11/27.

Even better, you can catch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on PBS on December 13th, and catch that free on Apple TV+ from 12/11 to 12/13.

I won’t lie, I don’t totally get the appeal of these specials. They’re sort of depressing and not all that funny unless you like watching Snoopy pretend to be a fighter pilot. But they are nostalgic, and there’s something to be said for that.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s great that Apple and PBS found a way to make it happen. Even though I’m not a fan, I can’t pretend the holidays are the same without Peanuts!

Tom and Jerry Get Animated in New Live-Action Movie

Trailer for new Tom & Jerry
(YouTube/Warner Brothers Pictures)

When I was a kid, Tom and Jerry were huge.

The cartoon cat and mouse, or mouse and cat (I still don’t know!), were a staple of Saturday morning cartoons. The pair of enemies, constantly trying to outwit, outlast, and outthink each other, were as famous as cartoons get. So famous that they inspired the show-within-a-show of the most famous cartoon of the past 30 years.

The Simpsons‘ insanely homicidal Itchy and Scratchy were a direct commentary on the violence in those Tom and Jerry cartoons. And nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find a little kid, or even a college student, who knows who they are.

But that may be about to change. There’s a new Tom and Jerry movie coming out, and sure, the mix of animation and live-action (it worked for Space Jam) makes it look like a Paula Abdul video, but Rob Delaney and Michael Pena are in it, and he’s funny! Maybe it will be good! Regardless, maybe our kids will like it!

The plot revolves around Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse) moving to the big city, where Jerry moves into a hotel and the hotel hires Tom to exterminate him. Lizzo is on the soundtrack.

Enjoy:

Disney+ Debuts New Trailer for Classic X-Men Cartoon Along With All Five Seasons

X-Men Animated Series New Trailer Disney+
(YouTube/Disney Plus)

Since the 2008 release of Iron Man, Marvel Studios has dominated box offices with 23 game-changing movies and counting. Before there was Robert Downey Jr.’s badass Iron Man or Chadwick Boseman’s unforgettable Black Panther, there was Fox Kids Network’s classic animated series.

Saturday mornings were already the absolute best time to be a kid, plopping down in front of the TV with a bowl of Sugar-O’s and the whole weekend ahead of you. From 1992-1997, it was also a time to get lost in the Marvel universe with the X-Men animated series. For five glorious years and 76 unforgettable episodes, the series cemented X-Men in our hearts forever.

For those lucky and committed enough to own the series on DVD, you’ve been able to enjoy perhaps the best version of X-Men ever created uninterrupted. For the rest of us, there’s been no (respectable) way to watch the nostalgic series, save for the episodes we watched so many times we could essentially watch them on-demand if we closed our eyes. That is, until now.

Disney+ is quickly making a name for itself as the streaming service that brings us back to simpler times. Though you can stream some incredible original content like The Mandalorian, Disney+ is also the home of nostalgia. You can watch classics like the 1973 Schoolhouse Rock series, the 1987 version of DuckTales, the OG Mighty Ducks, and now, the X-Men animated series.

All five action-packed seasons are available on Disney+ now, and to celebrate, Disney released a more modern version of the show’s trailer. The new trailer still contains the same wonderfully grainy animation, but the brand new transitions and added graphics give the whole thing a more contemporary vibe.

As if being able to watch the quintessential Marvel series isn’t enough good news, rumors are circulating that Disney+ may take things one step further and continue the series where it left off. I know we’ve come a long way since the 90s in terms of animation, but if the rumors turn out to be true, hopefully, they can find a way to make sure the character’s lips absolutely don’t match up with the dialogue. Something about the puppet vibe really adds to the 90s ambiance.

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!