Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Total Drama Island

TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND premieres on the Cartoon Network today. Originating in Canada it is an animated reality show.

Okay, stop and think about that a moment. An ANIMATED reality show?? Talk about an oxymoron. What’s its companion piece, a scripted improv show?

TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND is essentially SURVIVOR with teens. Wasn’t there like a Hanna-Barbera All-Star show where Huckleberry Hound and Quickdraw McGraw and all the other characters from their various shows got together and had their own Olympics or spent a night in a haunted house or some such thing?

What’s next? An animated version of HOUSE? “Patient Wile E. Coyote has numbness in his joints due to Fibromyalgia.” “No, it’s because he fell 12,000 feet from a cliff.”

It’s bad enough reality shows are staged. The contestants are selected by focus groups. Emotional performances are so heightened that there are catfights over dental floss and complete breakdowns because they didn't write the best Flomax jingle.

In TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND a different member is voted off each week. Why not let the viewers decide? I’ll bet you could get 10,000,000 people easily every week to vote. And not one of them would realize “Hey, this is a cartoon. It takes a year to make one of these episodes. Our votes mean nothing. And shit, it cost me fifty-cents to make the call.”

Uh-ba-dee, uh-ba-dee. uh-ba-dee, that’s all folks!

40 comments:

Bitter Animator said...

Uh-ba-dee? Is that some sort of religious chant? Are you trying to get us to join your cult?

The animation business is in a sorry state at the moment due to changing production methods, creative bankrupcy on the part of those with the money and the worship of Seth MacFarlane, who simply gets by these days on the writing equivalent of a band shouting "anyone here from this town we're in?"

But this isn't the first animated reality show. The last one was cack too.

Bryan said...

Well there is no animated version of House, but Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is like an animated Boston Public. And it's hilarious.

James said...

DRAWN TOGETHER is pretty much an animated "reality" show in terms of format and look.

It helps that it's not a "competition" type reality show though. The voting off thing seems to be a mistake.

The only real reason people watch those shows is for the "real," or at least heightened, human experience.

Doug Walsh said...

Yep, Drawn Together has been doing it for a couple years now. It's essentially "The Real World" but with f'd up versions of Captain America, Link, Betty Boop, Spongebob, Pikachu, and so on and so on.

The first two episodes were funny in a shock-value kind of way, then it just got embarrasing.

Dhppy said...

I think for an animated version of HOUSE, Wile E. Coyote's sign should say "lupus?".

George Glass said...

Drawn Together is actually The Surreal Life with cartoon archetypes. Sometimes funny, and dirty as hell.

This looks okay.

The show with all the Hannah Barbera characters competing was called Laff-a-lympics, and my 7-year old self adored it!

jbryant said...

I work for an animation company. We did a show once about Siegfried and Roy, because the only thing more impressive than a live magic trick is an animated one. ("Wow, how'd they do that?!" "Um, they drew it, dude.")

Like anything, this animated reality show will stand or fall on the quality of its writing. But I can't say I find the premise very promising.

Drawn Together struck me as pretty lame, just easy shock value stuff. Maybe it got better after those first couple episodes, but I wasn't around to find out.

sephim said...

DRAWN TOGETHER got embarrassing? I watched the first damn episode waiting for ONE FUCKING JOKE - it never came.

I heard so many reasons why this was the greatest show on Earth from my up until that particular moment seemingly intelligent friends, but on the plus side it met every one of my expectations based on what I was told.

It was like watching SIX FEET UNDER again.

A. Buck Short said...

Been there, drawn that.
I think I saw one of the original storyboards more than 40 years ago, the Paul Krasner/Wally Wood Disneyland memorial orgy frame in The Realist on the occasion of “the creator’s” passing.

It’s a slippery slope my friends. Next stop on the Cartoon Network, hentai anime.

ebuzzmiller said...

Granted, but all I know is that my 10 year old daughter really enjoyed the show up here and I have to say it wasn't half bad!

Kevin Lehane said...

One of my favourite cartoon shows was DRAWN TOGETHER. Which was a spoof reality show based on a discordant group of cartoon characters. It was feckin hilarious! I think it was on Comedy Central. You should check it out. It's crude at times -- well all the time -- but so, so funny.

Kevin Lehane said...

I should really read the other comments, before I comment. I also end up repeating a point someone else has made before me.

Paul Duca said...

I don't understand...it sounds more like a scripted spoof of reality shows, just not so over the top as DRAWN TOGETHER. After all, it comes from Canada, where people are also not so over the top, so to speak.

Actually, the first animated program that was SUPPOSED to have a reality element celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. One of the many events of 1968 was the debut of THE WACKY RACES, a cartoon about driving competitors (like Penelope Pitstop and Dick Dasterly). As originally conceived, there was to be a live-action game show element as well. Two kids would pick which racer would win a particular race.
However, a concern arose that doing so was too much like gambling aimed at children, so that part was dropped...although the show remained credited as produced by Hanna-Barbera, in association with Heatter-Quigley (the team behind the original HOLLYWOOD SQUARES).

Vermonter17032 said...

Wait, are you telling me that Bugs Bunny wasn't real?! Next you'll be telling me that Pro Wrestling is staged, and Pamela Anderson has implants.

Teenee said...

Yes, there was an show with cartoon character teams competing in sporting events, Scooby Doo's Laugh-A-Lympics.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181941/usercomments

Did You Know? said...

cartoons animation! i really like to watch cartoons. actually, i made many cartoon clips before when i was 15 years old using Flash. But now, all of them were gone.

Todd Kauffman said...

I'm totally gunna judge this show before I see it, that way I can help others make an uninformed decision - just like me and my drone followers.

jbryant said...

todd: I've read Ken's comical post and all the comments, and I don't see where anyone has judged the show without seeing it. The closest thing would be bitter animator's sentence "The last one was cack too." The word "too" does imply a judgement, I suppose. But Ken just riffed on the premise, and most of the comments are talking about previous "animated reality" shows.

H.R. Pufnstuf said...

Whoever just used that picture of me owes me some money!

Doug Walsh said...

Laff-a-Lympics and Wacky Races were two of my favorite childhood cartoon shows. It was always a treat when either of them came on.

I know there's probably not too many gamers on here, but a Wacky Races game was released for the Sega Dreamcast about 6 years ago and it was superb. Completely captured the essence of the cartoon, even looked exactly like the cartoon, and the driving was really fun. I loved hearing that wheezing snicker of Muttley.

Bitter Animator said...

Yeah, that's it JBryant, blame me for the negativity.

jbryant said...

doug: I've almost passed out trying to recreate Muttley's wheezing snicker. Maybe it should have come with one of those "Kids, don't try this at home" warnings.

bitter animator: Somebody's got to take the fall. :)

Keep Reality Real said...

Geez. Ken, you are such a cynic. Reality TV staged? That can't be right, it says "reality" right there in the damn promo...

Did you pay Wiley E. Coyote for the use of his image? Or is it part of that free 17 day window we keep hearing about? Curious SAG minds want to know.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I suppose that rather than be voted off the island they're told, "Biffo, you're being erased."

te said...

Nobody gets Porky right; he's trying to say "the end."

"th...the..th...the...th...that's all, folks!"

Emily RugBurn said...

Talk about worlds colliding. I have worked with several of the people involved in the production of "Total Drama Island" (writers, actors, animators, production staff, etc...). So Ken, if you have any questions, lemme know and I can relay them to the right people.

I haven't seen the show so I can't comment on it, but I thought "Drawn Together" (for the most part, some episodes were definitely sub-par) was High.Larious.

@ paul: "After all, it comes from Canada, where people are also not so over the top, so to speak."

I'm not sure what you're getting at here (I think you just called me lame?), but for your information, Canada has (vastly) different rules and regulations (compared to the US) in regards to content. For example, in the US, parody "falls within the ambit of fair use". In Canada, it does not. The top US-produced animated series ("Family Guy", "The Simpsons", "South Park", etc...) would not exist if the US had the same (dumb) copyright laws as Canada.

So it's not that we are "not so over the top", (believe me, we is!) it's just that we're not able to be if we want to retain the "100% Canadian-made" label and secure all the government funding that comes with it, which is where a near majority of the dough comes from (in the form of provincial tax credits, etc...).

And if Bill C-10 goes through, it's only going to get worse.

John said...

You have to remember with the Cartoon Network execs, these are the same people who decided four years ago to stop running all the old Warner Bros. cartoons in favor of original programming, even though CN is owned by Time-Warner and the company stood to make money off marketing characters who already were successful by keeping them in the public eye. It got so bad Warner Bros. actually pulled the rights to run those cartoons from CN, and are now marketing them to Viacom and Disney for airing on Nickelodeon or one of Disney's kids' channels.

The only thing positive I'll say about CN's latest offering is at least it isn't drawn in nine shades of ugly, as if an edgy drawing style and some fart, piss and poop jokes makes up for putting other things, like funny gags, in the cartoons.

Adam said...

I can't believe nobody has mentioned this yet: this is from the same studio that brought us the excellent and hilarious (and virtually unwatched) Clone High. Look it up sometime or get the DVDs...it's absolutely hysterical. I think the creators used the 'animated reality show' concept to generate the highest amount of irony and ridiculousness possible...I suspect it will be making fun of reality shows, not try to be one.

KEN LEVINE said...

If these guys did CLONE HIGH my hat's off to them. Funniest damn cartoon show I've seen in years.

Find the DVD and get it.

no hopes of offending said...

I'm not bitter, or complaining...but how could you feature a Canadian kids show before you even mentioned the Steven and Chris show on CBC. Or am I that far behind the times...have you already posted it?

Emily RugBurn said...

@ adam: Someone hasn't mentioned it yet because it's not true. Not entirely anyway.

"Clone High" (which was indeed superb) was a Nelvana/MTV co-pro (sorta) and TDI is produced by Elliot Animation. Different creators, different studios (although spitting distance from one another in Toronto), different writers, etc... The two shows share a few production crew members but that's about it.

Alex said...

I wouldn't compare this show with Drawn Together. They may be both playing with the reality show genre but this one is intended for kids. Not as 'edgy'.

I can tell you. I wrote on it. I'm one of those Canadians.

and Ken, I'm also the standup comic you heard on XM radio... and thought was funny. But that material is intended for adults.

KEN LEVINE said...

Alex IS funny. If you have the chance to see him, GO.

Toby said...

'SCTV' did a sketch similar to that "Wile E. Coyote on House' concept (by way of 'Quincy M.E.'). Joe Flaherty played Quincy as a cartoon character coroner and they brought in a flattened 'toon for an autopsy.

Warren Fleece said...

“Hey, this is a cartoon. It takes a year to make one of these episodes"

I have it on good authority that TDI is drawn live.

DAA said...

Adding to what emily rugburn said, may I mention that TDI is a production of Fresh TV Inc, who gives thanks to Elliot Animation for all their help and animation expertise.

JSYK, TDI has gone over very well up here in Canada--mind you, we've got the original un-CN-censored version!--and we're preparing to brace ourselves for TDI's sequel series, sometime later this year or into 2009. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

If you go to Youtube and type in Total Drama Island Theme song in slow motion,Pause when the girl falls out of the outhouse and you will see her pink pantys

Anonymous said...

TDI is a fun show to watch. If you take it seriously. You FAIL!

Anonymous said...

who plays harold

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