• bchismire

Freakazoid

Remember back in the good old days when we would always watch Saturday morning cartoons every time they came on? I remember watching Pokémon and Digimon all the time, and they were some of the staples of my childhood. OK, so I didn't watch them on Saturday mornings, per se, but it still counts. Well, one of the shows that was originally overlooked but is thankfully continuing to get more attention is Freakazoid, an immensely humorous satire of the superhero genre. It came complete with jabs at what it found to be ridiculous, varieties of skits, and clever references to 1990s pop culture. One skit I remember was when Freakazoid was sucked into a tornado which also happened to be a time vortex, and he got sucked in over and over to the point that it morphed into a self-proclaimed TV show parody of Quantum Leap called ‘Quantum Freak.’ And the time periods to which Freakazoid was transported? They're really just spoofs of iconic scenes from classic movies.


For a satirical superhero show, however, it came with a surprisingly memorable ensemble cast of supporting characters and supervillains to accompany the title character. Among them are The Lobe, a mad scientist with a giant brain for a head, Cave Guy, a caveman who was strong, tough, and also, for someone like him, smart and well spoken (“I subscribed to the New Yorker,” as he said), He-who-must-not-be-named - oh, what the heck; Candle Jack - Cobra Queen, who I somehow still feel was Freakazoid's version of Catwoman, Longhorn, a muscular Texan minotaur, and Fanboy, who was, well, just the over-the-top geeky fan boy. Of course, let's not forget Cosgrove (voiced by Ed Asner), the normal, local police officer who would always have notified Freakazoid about all the chaos that happened on the scene... but not before inviting him to join him on a daily casual event (a walk in the park, a walk through the fair, a tour of the museum, the aquarium, you name it) just as it happened. And speaking of normal, I should also address Freakazoid (the character)’s background. He was really just a high school aged geeky teenager named Dexter Douglas, who lived with his family: his parents, his pet cat, and his jerky older brother Duncan. It all started when he was surfing on the Internet - and I should remind you, this was all back in the mid 90s - and was suddenly transported into cyberspace because of a code made up of random letters, numbers, and symbols that he unknowingly and accurately typed up, and a microchip that he used for his computer. The chip, by extension, was what granted Dexter the powers to turn into Freakazoid, who, I might add, was a wacky character with all kinds of wild and crazy hijinks. This specific event caught the attention of two more memorable characters: Guttierez, who knew of the microchip's hidden treasures and wanted the powers of Freakazoid all to himself, and Stephanie, a blonde haired fellow high school student who had a huge crush on Freakazoid, but did not know he was also local geek Dexter. ALL of these characters left impressions on me due to their comedic pizzazz and how much they added to the show’s satirical superhero themes.


It was also interesting to see how the show played out lengthwise. The first season, when it was all about hijinks and 90s pop culture, was set up as a grouping of 3 7-minute skits per episode, much like its fellow competitor, Animaniacs (which was one of the popular animated TV shows of the 90s). While the second season still had the whimsical humor and side jabs that the show was known for, the episodes were extended to a full 22 minutes. I found this to be a blessing and a curse; a blessing because this allowed for more story development to unfold for the characters and even action so that it could make the show feel more like a legit superhero show, and a curse because it took away some of the creative zaniness that was all over the place in the first season. At the end of season two, some of the creators and fans were disappointed over the fact that this wasn't picked up for a third season, and I can understand why. It had a ton of comedic potential to go on for plenty more episodes to dazzle its fans with, but its ratings just kept getting batted over and over by the ratings of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain (another 90s cartoon with a strong cult following).


Ah, well. Let's just be happy we have 24 half-hour episodes of pure undiluted hilarity. This is a goofy, wacky show, it is one of those shows that prove just how much quality can outweigh quantity, and it's encouraging to see it get the attention it deserves. I guarantee you, it’ll be worth your 12 hours.


I also added a clip of the show for you to see. It's short, but it should give you the general idea of what the show is like in a nutshell.

https://youtu.be/UzO_SKAX3zA






Originally published on Facebook, July 1, 2017

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