June 27th, 2007
|08:28 pm - here, under protest, is beef burgers.|
Remember a few laffs ago when I said the SCTV joke was one of the funniest television jokes about television or whatever?
Well, this Animaniacs short is probably one of the funniest outtake injokes ever. It is a nearly word-for-word re-creation of one of Orson Welles' famous commercial outtakes, where he is supposed to read ad copy for frozen peas, fish fingers, and (under protest) beef burgers, but ends up arguing semantics with the director, wailing and gnashing about how he'd NEVER direct actors that way, and is just plain cranky all the way through. (Someone's gone and made a YouTube "re-enactment of Welles' tantrum; few cusses in there and they mislabel it as the Paul Masson "mwahaaaaaa, the French" outtake, so just turn off your monitor or close your eyes and listen. Actually, the guy performing as Welles there does an amazing job, so watch him at least. He also plays one of the directors, too.)
I remember when the Animaniacs episode first aired, too, and me and my entire cadre of cartoon-watching friends (4:00 pm everyday, Dickinson Hall lounge) had a damn hard time understanding it. This was before we could get ahold of such outtakes, those bootleg bits of ephemera notorious among The Industry (if you say "Cradle them" in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and I'm in the right mood, that will crack my shit up.) These clips have since enjoyed broader exposure thanks to The Internet but at the time, we had no idea what the hell it was about. And if we Sophisticated College Cartoon-Watching Types couldn't get it, surely the actual children in the viewing audience wouldn't either. I believe "Yes, Always!" still ranks as the most cryptic Animaniacs short ever.
But once you've heard Orson's infamous commercial voiceover tantrum and then watch the cartoon, it's damn amazing. The dialogue, the timing, the inflections, everything except for a few pottymouth expressions. Maurice LaMarche, an incredibly talented voice actor and impressionist, used Welles' voice for The Brain, so it's only natural that they thought it'd be hilarious to take such a dig with what, at the time, was a rather well-kept injoke.
Of course, nowadays I'm glad they did it, but back in 1994, I was all bummed out cause we got that instead of a Goodfeathers short ("If you give me one more iota of aggravation, I'm gonna peck open your brainbox and let all the air out.") Or, if we were really good and ate all our vegetables, maybe we coulda instead seen the brilliant parody which fused Apocalypse Now with Jerry Lewis' infamous never-released The Day The Clown Cried (Wakko doing tai chi on the top of a WB studio golf cart while Frank Welker of all people sings "This is the middle... the middle of our story..." is one of the funniest things I've ever seen animated.) The Interbutt had already explained to me the Jerry Lewis bit, so it was all good.
Oh, and adding to the plethora of injokes in the Pinky & The Brain cartoon is the crew that the Brain throws out at the beginning of the piece. Yes, they're caricatures of the Animaniacs producer, writer, voice director, etc. Probably their own voices, too.
LaMarche was also responsible for Welles' voice in both Ed Wood and in the episode of The Critic where Welles shills for "Rosebud Peas ... full of good, green peaness..."
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)|| |
What luck, there's a french fry stuck in my beard.
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)|| |
p.s. Have you seen Orson's _F For Fake_?
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC)|| |
mmm...dial-up curses me, but just wanted to make sure you knew that they're out on DVD. (I got the first 2 volumes of Animaniacs for Christmas.)
Really? Awesome! This may very well be my next set o' DVD purchases once I have exhausted the SCTV library (and my discretionary income for a while.)
Yeah, Animaniacs was pretty much the best thing on television for a long time. I mean, seriously, what a quantum leap from Tiny Toons.
Occasionally I have reason to bring out 'This is ponderous' from the Casey Kasem raveout, but I don't usually refer to the Welles one. I am a fool.
I WANT A GODDAMN CONCERTED EFFORT TO COME OUT OF A RECORD THAT ISN'T A FUCKING UPTEMPO RECORD WHEN I'VE GOT TO TALK ABOUT A FUCKING DOG DYING!
(I wonder if 2Nu's "Ponderous" track was slightly influenced by that.)
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)|| |
I have a promotional copy of that 2Nu album with a "When you PLAY IT, SAY IT" reminder to DJs on the cover. It's got a William Shatner-esque cover of "Spill The Wine" on it for some reason.
There are few things funnier than that Casey Kasem outtake.
I have thought the same thing! In fact, I downloaded that song (back in Napster days) because of its title, for that very reason. I still can't quite tell.
You caught my The Critic reference before I could remind you of it.
Yes! Yes! They're even better when you're dead!
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)|| |
Awesome clip. Once again, you are the man.
Oh man, that was some serious envelope pushin' there. I also recall this old chestnut, vaguely verbatim:
TEACHER: Now Yakko, do you know how to conjugate?
YAKKO: Who, me? I've never even kissed a girl!
TEACHER: No, it's easy. Here, I'll conjugate with you.
YAKKO: Gooodnight, everybody!
I have nothing to say, you've said it all.
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)|| |
I love Maurice LaMarche. I have never laughed harder in my life than at that Critic bit with the frozen peas.
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)|| |
I still can't get past his willingness to use the same running gag in every Futurama commentary (including those where he comments but was never in the episode). Morbo is completely different from the Horrible Gelatinous Blob, who is completely different again from Lrrr of Omicron Persei 8.
|Date:||June 28th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)|| |
Goodfeathers? Really? I've been slowly working my way through the DVDs, savoring each episode like a foil-wrapper chocolate, and I'm at the point where I'm skipping the Goodfeathers. I could use tiwce as much Slappy the Squirrel, though.
I've always enjoyed the Goodfeathers. The West Side Story takeoff ("We want to perch on Scor-se-se's head! Why can't we perch on Scor-se-se's head?") was absolutely brilliant. Slappy was always good for a laugh, and the "Who's On First" routine at Woodstock with Skippy was also great:
SLAPPY: So tell me the name of the band on stage!
SLAPPY: That's what I want to know!
SKIPPY: That's what I'm telling you!
SLAPPY: So Who's on stage?
SLAPPY: Oh! So the name of the band is Yes.
SKIPPY: No, Aunt Slappy, Yes isn't at this concert.
That may be my favorite Slappy cartoon, though BUMBY'S MOM has a high place of honor.
Hey there! Always nice to see a new name in the comments fields.
The Goodfeathers parody does get a bit tiresome, as you can only handle so many Joe Pesci blow-ups (though the DeNiro bird laughing like hell at the violence -- a take on his laughing fit in Cape Fear? -- always gets me good.) But I think those characters hit their peak with the East Side Story musical, and frankly, if they'd finished with that one, it would've been perfect.
But since comedy is based on repetition (because all comedy is based on repetition) it only stands to reason that the recurring characters would keep their same jokes throughout. I liked Rita & Runt all right, but mostly because it was Bernadette Peters voicing Rita, fer crying out loud! Oh, and the fact that they rhymed "Rita and Runt" with "Fontanne and Lunt." Those old-school shout-outs always made me happy. I think I'm still in the Animaniacs FAQ explaining the term "throw a Googie" (though Harpo Marx, who originated the face, called it "Gookie".)
That said, I always hated Mindy and Buttons because I felt bad for poor ol' Buttons. I knew the dynamic was the whole point of the duo, but man, every time Buttons electrocuted, deep-fried, flattened, drowned, and otherwise blew himself up saving Mindy from certain doom, it was always the same thing: "Buttons! You're on the sofa? Bad dog! BAD BAD DOG!"
If this had been a Robert McKimson or Chuck Jones short, Buttons would have eventually stomped back to his doghouse, hung a sign over the door saying "I QUIT!" and triumphantly marched off into the sunset, hobo bag in his mouth. Iris out.
That's three posts in a row that are tangentially related to Orson Welles. Feeling auteurish?