The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. This video is an exploration and appreciation of two remarkable shows with equally remarkably anti-war messages. The way war is depicted in the media is often mixed at best and unhealthy at worst.
But “The Dragon Prince” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” dared to offer a different perspective. They don’t just explore the more damaging, less obvious aspects of war. They do so in a way that perfectly complements their respective stories. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my first video about “Daria” and was based on an earlier article I wrote a number of years back. I reworked it a bit to make for a better video. I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Depending on the response, I may make more “Daria” videos. Enjoy!
Every now and then, some news comes along that is so incredible and so exciting that words simply fail to convey the joy I feel. I could spend hours on end on multiple blog posts trying to do justice to those feelings and it would still fall short.
Just a couple days ago, some news came about with Disney’s annual Disney Plus Day that just filled my heart and soul with omega level joy. I’m still buzzing from it, so I’ll just say it outright.
Seriously, this is the kind of news you have to shake your head several times to be sure that it’s real. I’ve since lost track of how many times I’ve pinched myself or slapped my own face, on the off-chance that this is a dream. I’m now convinced that this is the real deal. The same X-Men cartoon that got me into X-Men and comics, in general, is coming back in all it’s 90s glory.
Now, rest assured I will be following this story. Before I wrote this, I began work on a script for a video on my YouTube channel. I have every intention of making that video a priority. It should cover the full breadth of my reaction, as well as my hopes and dreams for this series.
However, even before I could fully process my excitement, some assholes and whiny grifters began making content of their own. I won’t give their names or link to their content, but they’re the same assholes who whine about everything being “political” or “woke” or just plain “Too different/diverse for my liking.”
First off, fuck these people. Fuck them to the end of the multiverse.
Second, the very fact they’re whining about X-Men being “political” is definitive proof that they don’t know shit about X-Men or why this show was so groundbreaking. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who noticed that. On Twitter, stuff like this began popping up the day after the announcement.
Now, make no mistake. This sort of thing does nothing to temper my joy and excitement for this announcement. However, I’m already expecting asshole grifters like this to whine as loudly as the internet will allow, harping on everything they deem too ”political” for their liking.
They’ve done that with every franchise for the past six years and I don’t expect them to stop. Grifters will never stop, so long as there’s a grift to be maintained.
For that reason, I want to make one statement to these assholes and anyone who might take them seriously. Brace yourself because this might be a distressing revelation for some of you. It’s simply this.
X-Men was ALWAYS political.
I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor, but it’s true. Take it from someone who has been following X-Men since Clinton Administration. As a franchise, a concept, and a narrative, it was always political to begin with.
It’s not about some handsome square-jawed demigod coming down to Earth and saving the day. It’s about people born different, using their extraordinary powers to find their place in a world that hates and fears them. It was always about minorities and their struggles. It was always about civil rights and social issues.
Now, I don’t expect this revelation to stop asshole grifters from doing plenty of grifting. I know the second someone in this show says something about social justice, racism, bigotry, or anything else that might offend you’re typical racist asshole, grifters are going to melt with the force of a trillion snowflakes. It’ll be infuriating and pathetic, but it will happen.
Never-the-less, I will NOT let that stop me from getting excited about this show, nor will I let it undermine everything I love about X-Men. This show is coming back in all its 90s glory and I, for one, am eager to celebrate!
Stay tuned for a more comprehensive reaction on my YouTube channel. In the meantime, let’s all just take a moment to appreciate this moment and the catchy opening theme that we’ll be humming until 2023.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my first video about a show I discovered on Netflix called “The Dragon Prince.” It’s very likely it won’t be the last because this show has captured my heart in all the right ways. There are many things that make it great, but one of the best happens to involve romance. Given my fondness for romance and writing romantic stories, that definitely adds to the appeal.
In this particular video, I highlight and celebrate how the show’s main romantic sub-plot involving Callum and Rayla raised he bar for love stories everywhere. Seriously, if you’re a romance fan, this show is worth watching just for that. Hopefully, this video helps make that case. Enjoy!
When it comes to season finales, most TV shows are hit-or-miss. More often than not, we get more misses than hits. That’s to be expected. Capping off a season of any show, no matter how acclaimed or celebrated it might be, is exceedingly hard. There’s bound to be a sizable portion of fans who don’t care for it.
When a finale does turn out to be a hit, though, it’s all the more precious. Most of us can count on one hand how many genuinely incredible finales we’ve seen over the years. Some shows are better at it than others and even they’re not always consistent.
Then, there’s “Rick and Morty.” Between its colorful fanbase and unique approach to adult animation, it’s one of those rare shows that dares to raise the bar in unexpected ways. It can be obscenely absurd one minute and genuinely heartfelt the next. You just don’t know what you’re going to get, but you often find yourself wanting more.
I’ve praised this show before for is eclectic insights on everything from romance to nihilism. I’ll probably praise it again in the future for its uncanny ability to raise the bar for absurdity, insight, and pickle-based humor. I consider myself a big fan of the show and the events of Season 5 only made me a bigger fan.
Now, I know I haven’t touched on “Rick and Morty” that much since Season 5 began. A while back, I did post my overall reaction to the Season 4 finale and the intrigue it offered. The underlying theme of that season seemed to revolve around Rick gradually losing control over his family and his ability to manipulate Beth, Morty, Summer, and even Jerry.
Relative to previous seasons, this was a major shift. For the first three seasons of the show, we got used to seeing Rick being nigh-invincible in his ability to control a situation. It seemed like nothing anyone did, including his family, could hope to escape is influence.
Then, after Jerry came back into the picture, it seemed to unravel. We saw Rick becoming more and more vulnerable. He could no longer hold his own against big time threats. It all came to ahead when Space Beth returned in “Star Mort: Rickturn of the Jerri.” This episode established clearly that Rick, as brilliant and capable as he is, cannot handle everything by himself.
While I thought that finale was good, I didn’t think it was great, especially compared to the dramatic finale we got at the end of Season 2. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the Season 5 finale. That’s the main reason why I didn’t speculate on it or post my reactions to the various episodes leading up to it.
I was tempted. Believe me.
This season had some incredibly memorable episodes. Between giant incest babies and replicants, “Rick and Morty” once again pushed the envelope, as only it could. However, it was the finale that made this season one of the most memorable to date. A big part of what made it so impactful was how it finally confirmed the details of Rick’s backstory.
It played out in a recorded memory that had some elements from “The Rickshank Rickdemption,” but we were led to believe that was mostly fabricated. Now, we know the truth and it’s actually a lot more tragic than we thought.
In case you haven’t seen it, here is what Morty saw of Rick’s story when it played out in his mind.
There’s no way around it. This revelation about Rick’s history has a lot of implications. Suddenly, Rick’s behavior and outlook on life throughout the course of this show has a whole new context to it. This is one of those scenes that can completely change the way you watch previous episodes.
Now, we know what makes this Rick, also known as Rick C-137, unique within a vast multiverse full of Ricks. He was once similar to the many Ricks like him. He was a super-genius capable of creating his portal gun to traverse the multiverse. Many other Ricks walked this same path.
Then, another Rick entered the picture. He offers him a chance to join other Ricks, explore the multiverse, and become godlike in his abilities. However, he rejects that offer, choosing instead to remain close to his wife and daughter. That’s not a trivial decision in the grand scheme of things.
The bigger picture implies that no other Rick has walked this path. They all freely abandon their families and their home universe in order to join this unique segment of the multiverse where they reign supreme. Together, these Ricks ensure that they remain at the top of the pecking order.
Then, this one Rick dares to defy that.
He dares to go against what everyone else does.
Unfortunately, he pays a price for that choice. It costs him his family.
Once again, we see a more emotional side of Rick. We see that this version of Rick that we’ve been following since Season One really did love his family. He really did opt to eschew the multiverse in exchange for a simple life with Beth and Diane. However, the rest of the Ricks couldn’t have that.
It leaves him broken, angry, jaded, and driven. Suddenly, his animosity towards other Ricks and the role he played in various interstellar wars has greater meaning. The same could be said with the general callousness and reckless disregard he often displays towards Morty and his family.
It’s not that he doesn’t care on some levels. The flashbacks make clear that he clearly does. However, no matter how much or how little he cares, they’re not the same as the family he lost. He never even found the Rick who killed them. It’s easy to see how that could break a man, even one as smart and capable as Rick Sanchez.
On top of how this re-contextualizes everything that has happened in the past, it has larger implications for the future. The finale ended with Morty opting to help his Rick and reject “evil” Morty’s offer to join him in venturing to a part of the multiverse where Rick isn’t the smartest being. It’s eerily similar to the decision Rick himself made, choosing his family over a chance at greater power.
This effectively gives new importance to Rick and Morty’s connection. Back in Season One, we’re led to believe Rick only hangs around Morty because Morty’s brainwaves block Rick’s from the various other multiverse threats that constantly seek him out. That might have been true to some extent, but this flashback offers greater insight into why he’s such a threat.
Whereas Season 4 made clear that Rick is vulnerable when he has nobody supporting him, Season 5 also makes clear that he’s still capable of so much chaos. After losing his family, he will cross lines that even other Ricks won’t cross. He’s willing to hurt himself and others to get what he wants because he’s already lost everything.
This opens the door for many more upheavals in future seasons. The Rick who killed his family is still out there. “Evil” Morty is now in a part of the multiverse where beings stronger than Rick exist. What happens if one of those beings finds their way back to Rick? What happens if “Evil” Morty is further broken by his journey?
I keep putting “Evil” Morty in quotes because this finale also accomplished something critical in that part of story. At this point, I don’t think it’s fair to call this Morty evil. He’s just sick of Rick and sick of living in a universe where he’s constantly manipulated by Ricks like him. All he wants to do is escape. If that means sacrificing other Ricks and Mortys in the process, so be it.
That final scene is ominous, but intriguing in so many ways. It leads me to wonder where this will take Rick in his never-ending struggle to maintain what little control he has over is world, his family, and all those around him. This finale reminded us that, despite all his genius and know-how, he tends to lose control easily. When he has no support from Morty or his family, losing control seems inevitable.
Even with all these revelations, Rick is still an asshole. There’s no getting around that. However, he’s now an asshole we can understand on a level that wasn’t possible until this finale. His various struggles and myriad of issues are far from over.
I has left me more excited and intrigued for the future of “Rick and Morty” than ever before. I know it may be a while before we get any details on Season 6, but after this finale, I’m willing to be patient.
To everyone else out there who saw the finale and Rick’s confirmed backstory, what do you think? How do you see Rick and Morty’s story playing out from here? Let me know in the comments.
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s my full review of season one of “Invincible,” an animated series based on a comic series by Robert Kirkman of the same name. In a year where comic fans have been spoiled by great shows like “WandaVision” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” this show offers something different. At the same time, it offers a unique story that fits perfectly with the current cultural zeitgeist. I explain why in this video while also just celebrating my love for this show. Enjoy!
Depending on who you ask, we either live in a golden age of television or a deepening dark age. The rise of streaming media and the decline of traditional TV models has completely changed how Hollywood does business. Some say it’s a good thing. Some say it’ll lead to the utter destruction of the entertainment industry, as we know it.
Is it shamelessly desperate in the never-ending fight for more eyeballs and subscribes? Yes, it is.
Is most of it utterly forgettable and completely unfit for the current media landscape? For the most part, it is.
That’s exactly why “The Animaniacs” reboot is such a wonderfully refreshing achievement. It’s doesn’t just bring back a beloved show that many kids in the 90s, myself included, grew up watching. It perfectly captures the spirit of that show while still embracing a modern aesthetic that fits perfectly in 2020.
It helps that this show didn’t try to completely reinvent itself. It brought back the original voice actors for Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. It didn’t significantly change the theme song, the comedic style, or the overall structure of the show. The only noticeable changes were updated animation and a more contemporary setting.
Everything else is as zany, irreverent, and meta as you remember. It’s the same style long-time fans grew to love in the mid-1990s. Remarkably, that style works just as well 22 years later.
A big appeal to that style is just how self-aware the show is of its absurdities. The Warner Brothers, and the Warner Sister, know who and what they are in the grand scheme of things. They gleefully mock, tease, and joke about anything and anyone that crosses their path.
Some of that humor is more mature than a simple pie in the face. Other times, it’s as simple as Dot hitting her brothers with an oversized mallet. Both brands of humor are still funny and cartoonishly over-the-top.
It’s the kind of humor that works for kids and adults alike. That was a big part of what made the original show so popular and endearing. In watching this reboot, I still found myself laughing hysterically at times.
My inner 90s kid and my full-fledged adult delighted in the same jokes and gags. It never felt like my love of the old show was being exploited or mocked. It just felt like a fresh influx of zany comedy that I had missed for 22 years.
Even the Warners acknowledge in the first episode that the world has changed. The type of humor they did in the 90s just won’t land like it once did. That doesn’t stop them from making plenty of 90s reference, but that’s not the sole source of appeal. It’s just a small part of it.
No matter the era, “The Animaniacs” works by sticking to a simple formula. Put Yakko, Wakko, and Dot in a strange situation, be it the gods of Olympus or in search of a donut thief. Then, let them be their zany selves as they encounter various characters and obstacles along the way. The comedy just naturally emerges from there.
This reboot did not radically change that formula, both for the Warners and for Pinky and the Brain. It just updated the dates and settings while not avoiding the many ways the world has changed.
There are hipster douche-bags running donut shops.
There are self-importance CEOs who don’t give a damn about anything other than profits and themselves.
There are assholes who take up way too much space in a movie theater.
Some of these things existed in the 1990s too, but they’re more relevant to current pop culture trends. “The Animaniacs” gleefully and hilariously rides those waves.
That’s not to say that all the jokes land. Not every episode is perfect. Some jokes just don’t land and not every musical number is as memorable as Yakko’s famous countries of the world song. There are still many more hits than misses. I argue their song about reboots is the best of the bunch.
Now, you could say a lot about how relevant “The Animaniacs” is in this current era of adult animation. There’s no doubt the landscape is very different than what it was during the 1990s. This show was part of its own golden era in the 1990s, but that era is long gone.
These days, adult animation is dominated by shows like “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty.” Those shows still utilize comedy, but their brand of humor is a lot darker, built largely on the increasingly cynical trends that have been unfolding since the early 2000s.
I don’t deny that the kids who grew up watching the original Animaniacs weren’t nearly as jaded as kids today. Even before the awfulness of 2020, generations of kids and adults alike have seen a steady decline in hope for the future. Given that kind of attitude, it’s a lot harder for that zany style of comedy to land.
However, “The Animaniacs” reboot finds a way. It resists the urge to fall into the same dark traps as many other failed reboots. It doesn’t try to be “Bojack Horseman” or “Rick and Morty.” It just tries to be the same Animaniacs we know and love.
That’s what makes it work.
That’s what makes it funny.
That’s what makes it totally insaney, even in a year as insane as this.
That’s exactly why I love it and highly recommend it to anyone with a Hulu subscription.
We live in a strange era of reboots, re-launches, and revivals. It’s brought out a lot of mixed feelings and extreme reactions from fans of all stripes. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people are just completely indifferent.
Regardless of how you feel about it, there’s no escaping it. The rise of streaming media and the public’s endless appetite for new content makes it as inevitable as death, taxes, and Thanos. We’ve no one to blame for this trend but ourselves is what I’m saying.
It doesn’t always go well. In fact, there have been more misses than hits. Just as fans of “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” and “Roseanne.” However, some franchises are just more conducive to reboots/revivals more than others. That brings me to the latest revival effort by Hulu for a zany show called “Animaniacs.”
Now, if you were a kid or pre-teen in the 90s, there’s a very good chance you grew up watching this show. It debuted during the apex of 90s era cartoons. Alongside classic Marvel cartoons like “X-Men” and “Spider-Man,” as well as heavy-hitters like “Power Rangers,” this show epitomized wacky, goofy cartoon antics to the utmost.
Personally, I have many fond memories of this show. It was one of my favorite shows to watch when I was a kid. It was even one of those rare cartoons I could still appreciate as I got older. Teenagers could watch this show and still laugh at the jokes, alongside young kids. Some jokes were surprisingly mature.
Of all the 90s shows in need of a rivial, “Animaniacs” is probably the best suited. It’s style of comedy and antics might actually work better today than it did in the 90s. When Hulu released a trailer for the upcoming revival, I became even more convinced.
We need this show.
The world needs a little zaniness.
It needs it like it needs an anvil to the head right now.
I’ve watched the trailer at least 100 times and it still puts a smile on my face. Here it is in case you still haven’t seen it.
Now, I need to preface this by saying this encounter is one of the high points of my adult life. I had a chance to meet Mr. Paulsen, as well as Jess Harnell and Tess MacNeille, who voiced Wakko and Dot respectively, at New York Comic Con.
Having made many trips to New York Comic Coon, which I’ve documented before, I can attest that getting in line to meet celebrities of this caliber can be harrowing. The voice actors for “Animaniacs” are among the top of the heap in terms of the voice acting hierarchy. Just getting in line to meet them required a significant effort.
That meant getting to the Jacob Javits Convention Center extra early and essentially making a beeline to the celebrity booths as soon as the doors opened. Even then, it still took a while to get to these three amazing human beings.
It was still worth the effort. However, my effort included a zany twist that just made it that much more special.
In an zany fluke of luck, I just happened to get in line in front of this girl who dressed up in this amazing costume of Dot. I wish I could find the picture of it, but I cannot overstate how amazingly adorable it was. I knew as soon as she stood behind me that I was not going to be the center of Mr. Paulsen’s attention.
I was proven correct.
Shortly before the booth opened, Mr. Paulsen himself came walking out to greet the crowd. Jess and Tess were with him. We all cheered, our inner 90s kids going crazy. Then, knowing this girl’s costume was special, I tried pointing her out to Mr. Paulsen as he walked by.
It didn’t take long for him to notice. As soon as he saw this girl’s costume, his face lit up in a way that would’ve made any cartoon character from any era proud. He immediately started talking like Yakko and greeted the girl.
Yes, by the way. He greeted her by saying “Hello Nurse!”
Keep in mind, I’m standing right next to her. Mr. Paulsen is within arm’s reach of me. I came hoping for an autograph and to express my gratitude, but seeing him react to that girl’s costume felt like something so much more. The love he had for the characters and the show really revealed itself.
You just don’t get that from most celebrities, be they athletes, celebrity chefs, or voice actors. Just being there, seeing Mr. Paulsen react to the love of the fans and these characters, was such an experience. I must have smiled for a good hour or so after that.
While that girl was definitely the star of the show, I still managed to get my picture and an autograph from Mr. Paulsen. I tried to put into words how much I appreciated his work. I’m not going to lie. My voice cracked somewhat while talking to him. I probably sounded like an idiot. He still never stopped smiling.
He, Jess, and Tess were just so wonderful on so many levels. They took the time to talk to fans. At one point, Mr. Paulsen even sung his famous countries of the world song with a fan who claimed he could sing it faster. Seeing and hearing that was a spectacle in and of itself. I wish I could put into words how amazing it was. I don’t think I can.
That’s one of the many cherished memories I have of New York Comic Con. Now that “Animaniacs” is coming back, I find myself recalling it regularly. It still brings a smile to my face.
To Mr. Paulsen, as well as Jess and Tess, I doubt he’ll ever read this. I’ll still say it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Thank you for being so awesome that day.
Thank you for bring so many insaney, zany voices to this world.
Countless kids in the 90s and countless more kids today will be forever grateful for it.
The following is another video for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. Once again, it focuses on “F is for Family.” I know it’s a show I’ve talked about a lot, even on my burgeoning YouTube channel. I’d hoped to post something like this earlier, but I had to delay it a few times to ensure it had the necessary polish. I think it’s finally ready.
Please let me know what you think. Just be warned, some of the topics in this video are going to make you want to put someone through a fucking wall. Enjoy!