Character Sundays: Dick Daring from The Replacements

Today’s topic of discussion is Dick Daring, the pseudo Evel Knieval father from the Disney TV show, The Replacements. Of course there’s a reason for this decision, and that’s because today is creator Dan Santat’s birthday! Happy [redacted] Birthday Dan!

Daring resembles the typical cartoonish father figure in that he’s somewhat inept (buying daughter Riley a mule instead of a horse), partially clueless but forever loving towards his family. What makes him stand out though, is his job: being a daredevil.

This sets things up for plenty of jokes as Dick attempts some truly outrageous stunts over the course of the series that, naturally,for the most part fail.

What makes Dick an interesting character is that we can compare him to another cartoon father that is partially clueless but forever loving and that’s Homer Simpson. The big difference between the two though, is that Dick’s character never changed whereas Homer’s character gradually changed over the course of the series. To that end. Dick as a dimwitted character is much more believable than Homer is.

Dick Daring also embodies many of the traits of the so-called man-child. He’s a grown man but sometimes acts like he’s still a kid. There’s nothing wrong with that since Will Farrell made a career out of it, and it does put an interesting twist on the entire family setting as sometimes it’s the kids who appear more mature than him!

Although not an overly complex or conflicted character, Dick Daring does make the perfect addition to a great show. He balances out some of the seriousness with his wild and crazy ways, and he always has a foil in C.A.R.R. the family’s British super smart car.

As far as cartoon fathers go, Dick Daring is about as animated as you can get.

Why Frederator Were Right To Pull The Mathematical Video

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes people make mistakes. which is apparently what happened over on the Adventure Time blog the other day. The show is well known for it’s growing and devoted fan-base that stems from the show’s top quality, it’s quirky and loveable characters, and, most importantly of all, the way the creators, network and studio crafted and actively encouraged the creation of a community around the show.

As part of this, Frederator began putting out two recap video of each episode, one solicited responses from fans, the other contained said responses as art, music, voice messages, etc. The long and the short of the latest video, is that it went out as usual and generated a lot of discussion on the internet before being withdrawn.

The result was that a lot of fans were upset for many reasons, but chief among them is that the felt that Frederator/CN/The Man was somehow censoring some aspect of the show.

This is patently false.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s almost a smack in the face, especially as plenty of it has continued even after an official explanation. Understandably though, emotions do seem to be running a bit high, especially given the subject matter.

However, there is an extremely valid reason that Fred touched on but did not go into detail on, and it’s the one and only reason the video was pulled.

Here’s why he was right to do so.

In a handy coincidence, I’m right in the middle of reading a book called Remix by Lawrence Lessig (of Creative Commons fame).

Remix by Lawrence Lessig coverIt’s a rather fascinating book that I’d encourage you all to read, you can even download it for free.

In it, Lessig discusses his theory of RO culture and RW culture. RO refers to Read-Only and RW refers to ReWrite. The difference is that the former allows the creator more control over what they create and how it’s consumed and the latter extends the right to anyone should they wish to ‘remix’ it into something new.

As far as RO culture goes, right now that means anything on TV, film and radio where the creators intend for it to be seen/read/heard exactly as they originally intended it. RW culture is pretty much everything outside of that that is primarily created by fans.

Adventure Time is a show in the RO tradition. It is meant to be watched the way that Pen Ward, the studio and network intended it to be. Fans are free to create whatever they wish, however that is all done outside of the official channels and is clearly labelled as such.

What the recent Mathematical video did was inadvertently insert part of the RW culture into an RO show. In other words, it took the context of the Princess Bubblegum/Marceline relationship and implied something that Pen Ward and his crew never intended to be the case. Their vision for the show was compromised and that puts things at odds with the goals of RO culture.

Therefore the video had to be pulled because otherwise it could have compromised how the characters and the show are meant to be viewed by the audience.

Fans are still free to imply whatever they wish because they are part of the RW side of things. They create many new and wonderful things but it is clear they are independent of the show. Frederator is part of the production team and they are obligated to follow the vision of the creators, whatever it is.

The decision has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with the nature of the relationship. That is completely irrelevant to the discussion and it isn’t fair to insinuate that the decision was made based on that and that alone.

Even if crew members engage in creating their take on the relationship, unless it is officially sanctioned, then they too are acting as part of the RW culture, in other words, they are acting outside of the RO culture of the show and their art can’t be seen as ‘official’.

Fred and the studio acted completely correctly in pulling the video because the longer it was left up, the more and more it would have compromised the original vision of the creator, Pen Ward and how he wanted everyone to see the characters.

Irregardless of the potential future developments in the show or its characters, pulling the video was the best decision given the circumstances and all the criticism that is being thrown about is completely unwarranted.

A Comic About Toyetic Shows

Via: Potato Farm Girl on Tumblr (click through to embiggen)

Could this comic speak the truth???

Perhaps, but the sad state of affairs that was the cancellation of Symbionic Titan probable had a lot more to do with the kind of show that it is rather than whether or not there were toys made to promote it.

While Princess Bubblegum and Princess Llana are two great characters, it’s not really fair to say that one should have succeed because the other did. They inhabit different worlds in different shows and nary the two shall meet.

 

Sabrina The Teenage Witch Gets An Anime CGI Makeover

Whenever some mentions Sabrina the Teenage Witch to me, I immediately think of the live-action version starring Melissa Joan Hart of Clarissa Explains It All fame. Why not the comic I hear you say? Well, I don’t ever remember even hearing of Archie comics in Ireland so you’ll forgive my apparent ignorance.

Anyway, yesterday (Thursday) the news came through the wires (I guess I can still say that and know that people know what I mean) that the much-loved teenage witch was getting a new TV show for the 21st century. Some of you may remember the previous animated incarnation but as a refresher, here’s Sabrina in comic form and the recent animated version for comparison:

Via: TV tropes

Via: MovieWallpaper.net

Pretty similar eh? It’s all quite sugary and cute. So, it would therefore be appropriate for her to get a quote/unquote update:

Via: Comics Alliance

Now this is just concept art so there’s not much point in putting too much emphasis on it at this point. However, such “updates” have been done dozens of times in the past, I thought we’d seen the last of it as every character know to man got the CGI treatment.

It’s somewhat unfortunate that such an “update” is deemed necessary for Sabrina. I mean, as a character, she’s not supposed to embue any particularly strong niches. She’s not a goth, or a hippie or a straigh-A student but rather just an average teenager, right?

Well someone has decided otherwise and has reckoned that either Sabrina is ripe for a change or has simply decided to cash in on the erstwhile goth/vampie trend.

I must point out though, that I was unaware that Archie comics themselves have run a “manga” version of the comic for a while know, so this news isn’t quite a shock to me as it was when I read it first.

All the same, I’m concerned how this “new” Sabrina will be portrayed, whatever about the large eyes and spikey hair, it just seems so out of character for her to sport a “tattoo” (in quotation marks because its true nature is up for debate). Is she now a rebel or a deviant (no offence to any tattooed folks out there)?

We’ll have to wait and see but this doesn’t really strike me as an attempt at an earnest and promising version of the character so much as an attempt to catch up with the latest trends.

Did I forget to mention she now has a cape now too?

Animation Operations and Supply Chain Management

Apologies for the profoundly boring title. Knock off the ‘animation’ at the front and you pretty much have the class I’m taking right now. It’s basically about operation decision-making within a company and how to manage the supply chain of a business (don’t get too excited, it’s an entry level course).

Therese Trujillo and Eric Robles of the Frederator/Nickelodeon Production fanboy & ChumChum with the show's schedule behind them.

It got me thinking though, when it comes to animation, the supply chain is somewhat flexible yet inflexible at the same time. It’s flexible in that if you have a bunch of great artists who can crack on with the job and churn out exactly what you’re looking for, then you might be able to squeeze things a wee bit and wrap up early. If you run into delays, that sends a shockwave down the rest of the production pipeline.

Right now, we’re looking at shoes and how they are ordered months in advance of the season for which they are intended. Not too different from animation, eh? The interesting thing about the three cases we’re looking at (Crocs, ECCO and New Balance) is that all three take quite a different approach to their manufacturing and supply chain (outsourced but flexible, vertically integrated and some outsourcing but some manufacturing in the US).

Perhaps surprisingly, animation, really has developed supply chain-wise since the hayday of Hollywood. Things have changed dramatically since then, what with the off-shoring of the actual animation in the 70s and all, but we have gradually seen a return to the rather flexible nature of doing everything in-house.

The introduction of Flash certainly helped as it made animating in the US cost-comparable. Secondly, the internet has meant that the cost benefits of off-shoring or outsourcing can be had without sacrificing the immediacy of working in a studio. Daily production can be supervised closely from the other side of the planet without much effort.

My point is that while the animation industry has not seen the kind of seismic changes (such as off-shoring) in quite a few years, there have nonetheless been advances in how animated films and TV shows are created. Increased efficiencies in this area have only lead to better quality content and lowered (relative) production costs. Just something to keep in mind.

The Looney Tunes in: Mixed Nutz

Via: Cartoonatics (Tom Ruegger)

Right now, yes, right now, Tom Ruegger is posting, on his blog, tons of concept and development stuff from a pitch he made to Warner Bros. a few years ago tentatively titled “Mixed Nutz”.

The premise was that the Looney Tune gang would combine with the stars of various Hanna-Barbera cartoons resulting in hilarious and totally improbable situations, such as Yosemite Sam trying to date Wilma Flintstone.

Sadly, it got passed up, but not before Tom did some preliminary show development. He’s currently posting tons of story ideas over on his blog. The posts would be well worth checking out anyway, but even more so in light of the Looney Tunes reboot that Warners went ahead with.