Sunday, May 13, 2012

I hate to say it, but it's true.

Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures
Bakshi Productions

I was going to be nice about this subject, but as I'm incredibly cyncial about this thing I'm just going to start off by saying the very first thought in my mind: if I hear yet another animation "expert" praise this thing for "saving us from the American cartoon rut" I'm gonna hurl.

Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse had a simple premise, one that all those idiots reading "rebellious" and "alternative" statements into it fail to accept: he simply got the rights to create a new Mighty Mouse cartoon, hired a group of artists to do so, and simply let them have at it and do whatever they wanted to do. Now this is, of course, the way that cartoons are supposed to be produced in the first place; and it backs up my statements regarding the fact that anything made with artistic honesty, no matter what its quality, will automatically get top bill in the eyes of the public over anything else simply because audiences in this country are starved for it. And unfortunately, it also proves my statements regarding the results of all the interlopers who then jump on the bandwagon, which I briefly discussed here.

Now when it first came out, I was just finishing up high school, and I was just as intrigued by its look as everyone else and learned from it, although I seriously began to outgrow it around mid-'92 or so. But technically speaking, this thing hasn't aged well at all, and it seriously looks threadbare. These days it appears to be an '80s relic more than anything else. But while it is indeed true that it has been monumentally influential, that's the whole problem with the thing in the first place. I never thought I'd say this back then, but after seeing the results now I have no problems with doing so although a part of me pains to do it:

In the end, Bakshi's Mighty Mouse was NOT good for cartoons.

Ever since this thing came out, we've gotten all sorts of glop that ended up transforming the entire North American animation style into ugly, primitive designs, and after it begat junk like The Simpsons and Bakshi's protegee Jon Kricfalusi went off and followed suit afterwards by creating that godawful flash-in-the-pan hit Ren & Stimpy (whose popularity even HE hated), which was basically Mighty Mouse's style taken to its most nauseating extremes, we're never heard the end of it. Now EVERYTHING that gets produced here just HAS to have buttcracks, fart jokes, vomiting and so-called "outrageous" design. And all the beauty and lushness of the North American cartoon has all but been completely destroyed.

Am I blaming Bakshi's Mighty Mouse for all the toilet-humour-ridden sludge we've been forced to put up with in the decades since its creation? Yeah, I pretty much am. These days, you get mocked for doing anything in good taste; I actually had an extremely arrogant woman get after me for creating G-rated cartoons, telling me, "Cartoonists HAVE to put in rude humor and designs in it, otherwise everyone's going to think they're some kind of child molester." It's actually come to THAT, folks. This slop has become so commonplace that people actually believe that it's "the new normal". Is there a more insulting statement than that said woman's comment?

Vastly overrated to Nirvana's Nevermind extremes, this thing has landed us all in hot water and deserves to be forgotten once and for all. Bakshi's intentions were fine and good, but the overall message of "let the artists have their say" was once again grossly misinterpeted and as a result the show ended up completely ruining the North American cartoon. Just completely and thoroughout ruined it. This show is The Yoko Ono Stereotype of the entire North American animation industry. I can't even talk about it anymore, it's too depressing.

(NOTE: The reason I use the term "The Yoko Ono Stereotype" as opposed to just saying "The Yoko Ono" is to make sure it's perfectly understood that I have personally never believed the whole stereotype that she singlehandedly "broke up The Beatles" and am therefore referring to the stereotype itself, not the actual artist.)