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Culinary cartoons and big babies?

I'm curiously impressed by the feast of food-centric cartoons currently being served up. For example, a Calabasas, California-based company called Arief International has two delicious-sounding series on offer: Frooties, 'amusing stories about a group of lively tropical fruits,' and The New...
March 1, 2001

I’m curiously impressed by the feast of food-centric cartoons currently being served up. For example, a Calabasas, California-based company called Arief International has two delicious-sounding series on offer: Frooties, ‘amusing stories about a group of lively tropical fruits,’ and The New Yokies, ‘about a family of eggs and the enchanted way they live.’ Who knew the secret life of food was so rich in story arcs?

Japan’s Enoki Films has 50 animated half hours devoted to Tomato Man and the Knights of the Salad Table. The knights consist of Banana Man, Mama Letus (sic), Rocky Potato, Carrot Ninja, Sweety Lemon and Bella Pepper. Will kids really want to eat veggies after watching this?

If that isn’t vegetarian enough for you, France’s Dargaud-Marina was hawking a half-hour special called Spud and the Vegetable Garden. It follows the heroic efforts of a potato (as if you didn’t know) to save his vegetable friends from the soup factory.

Animators are always looking for offbeat biological phenomena to turn into cartoon superstars. With Osmosis Jones due later this year, Germs (from Quebec’s Germ Productions) doesn’t seem so silly at first glance. But the goofy premise about two guys who are turned into half-men/half-supergerms doesn’t strike me as a show that will spread.

Rock `n Soul is the most twisted concept I’ve run across. This series, about biracial Siamese twins-one a white surfer dude, the other a ‘soul brother’-hypes itself as ‘animation’s next level of originality! A hip trip through kid subculture!’ Biracial Siamese twins? Have these people ever seen Catdog? Did Tomato Man slip them some mushrooms?

Remember the Nickelodeon series Arrrgh! Real Monsters? Well Sextant International is selling Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show. Cute furry animals and the Devil in an animated skit-com, which I guess is aimed at adults, but you’d never know from the one-sheet.

But that’s not half as weird as Mr. Baby from EM.TV. The character design is a direct rip-off of Baby Herman from Roger Rabbit, and the nonsensical premise is this: ‘Mr. Baby is an ordinary baby, the one big difference being the fact that he is a giant and leads the life of an adult. Mr. Baby goes to work each day, loses his job quite frequently because he messes everything up, and dates his girlfriend after work. The giant baby is the absolute center of attention throughout the city-milk tanks are waiting to feed him, and several teams are on standby to change the 200-pound diapers.’

Ordinary baby? If I pitched this to Fox Family, they’d throw me out with the bathwater! If you like babies, why not try Sony Wonder’s Mega-Babies, who drool, slobber and battle opponents with ‘turbo fart missiles and projectile vomiting.’ Good clean wholesome fun for the small fry.

When the Mega-Babies grow up, they might become Extreme Zombies, a new animated series in development from Animated Entertainment UK, which is based on a series of kids bedroom posters. These skeletal sports stars (Stinger, Mondo, Zak, Dex and Sparks) are role models for boys in the same way Calista Flockhart is for girls.

Maybe we should all sit back, relax, and eat some vegetables.

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