Sunday, June 19, 2022

Weird Episodes: Sesame Street #0847

What's very interesting about the internet is that it's been a godsend for finding lost media. Including seemingly long lost pieces of media that were known to exist, either by the word of mouth of those who experienced it when it aired or the rare snippets of information that people were able to get over time. It can always be exciting when a piece of lost media gets found. And I think one of the pieces of media that people were looking for for the longest time was the curious case of Sesame Street Episode 0847. The one with the Wicked Witch of the West.

I don't think I need to go too deep into the history of 1939's The Wizard of Oz. Considered one of the most important film works of all time, and considered by the library of congress as the most seen film of all time. A moderate success at its release and now a film institution, despite the many horrors that befell production. It remains the most successful adaptation of L Frank Baum's original works. And over 35 years later, it was still a part of the collective pop culture consciousness, hence the decision of the Children's Television Workshop to base an episode loosely around the film. Downside is that most of the actors had passed on at that time. But they could still get the Wicked Witch.

An episode centered around the villain of a movie known for multiple accounts of childhood trauma. What could possibly go wrong? 

Apparently it went wrong for Sesame Street as there were complaints from parents that the episode was too scary. That it did actually traumatize some of the preschool audience. As such, the episode was believed to be a banned episode that only aired its one airing on February 10th of 1976, with it turning into merely hearsay for the decades that followed. But as the internet age blossomed, so did more and more findings of the long lost episode. Mostly in the form of production photos featuring Margaret Hamilton in witch regalia on set. But nothing ever surfaced to a public audience. 

That is until June 18th, 2020 when Reddit user sarsaparilla170170 uploaded the entirety of the Wicked Witch segments to R/lostmedia and finally everyone could finally see the lost episode and just how traumatic it really was. And since I do have a tendency to clout chase from time to time, I'm covering it for this edition of Weird Episodes. And while it's generally not weird, at least in terms of Sesame Street, the whole feel of the plot along with, again, featuring the villain of The Wizard of Oz, is at least enough to earn it a full look. So let's review this thing.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Weird Episodes: Garfield and Friends: The Horror Hostess

In the modern age of the internet, the perception of Garfield has always been super weird. Mostly out of freakish, bizarre and unique interpretations of the exploits of Jim Davis. Be is Lasagna Cat or I'm Sorry Jon, it seems that if you want to make something super bizarre, Garfield is the perfect franchise for it. But here's the thing. Garfield has always been weird. The internet community merely adopted the weirdness. Garfield was born in it, molded in it. And I think no part of Garfield lore best exemplified that than Garfield and Friends.

Running from 1988 until 1994, Garfield and Friends was an animated adaptation of not just the titular Garfield, but his friends, as in U.S. Acres, the other Jim Davis cartoon that never really succeeded where Garfield did. Not even an ounce. Honestly, I find people are rough on the U.S. Acres segments as they had their moments and could be just as bizarre as Garfield, even more so at times. You see, instead of just staying to the traditional formula of the Jim Davis comic strips, Garfield and Friends focused much of its comedy on meta humor, fourth wall breaking jokes, self referential gags and even some digs at the general formula of the series itself. Garfield being fat, Jon's life being hell, Odie existing, Nermal being annoying, the standard stuff.

Garfield and Friends was always a wild card. Sometimes you'd have more structured stories closer to the formula of the strips, then you'd have a short with Garfield and Odie joining a knockoff X-Men group and wanting to go stop off at a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon for some pizza. Or then you'd have a short where the entire episode is parodying the David Letterman top ten lists. A definite chaotic feel holding much of the energy from cartoons like Duck Amuck. So, in other words, there's plenty of weird episodes to choose from. But today we're talking about "The Horror Hostess" the two Garfield shorts from the penultimate episode of the series. Why this one? Let's see just why as we review this thing.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Weird Episodes: DuckTales: Allowance Day & TaleSpin: The Time Bandit

Look, I get it. When you're tasked to write for shows with roughly 65 episodes, it can be tricky. You're bound to reuse plot ideas a lot. Your amnesia episode, your clone episode, your size change episode. But more often than not these concepts are given enough to do that sets them apart from other similar ideas. But what if, just once in a blue moon, two cartoons had the exact same plot? And I mean almost down to the letter? 

Well, what perfect item to bring us back with Weird Episodes, because we're talking about TaleSpin and DuckTales. Two shows I did full reviews on many moons ago before I just up and ended up falling out of that. I'm not done with it, hell Bonkers is ready and done but I need to finish Goof Troop, but we'll veer into one more discussion on two shows we already. Until I come back for other weird episodes. What do I mean by the exact same episode. Let's look at both the DuckTales episode "Allowance Day" and TaleSpin's episode "The Time Bandit".