Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Episodes Are Best Episodes

Who remembers back when The Simpsons Halloween episode was like, the coolest thing? Back when all shows obeyed a narrative structure, and characters had to actually stay in character? I have a pet theory that classically TV shows had Christmas episodes and Halloween episodes and those were the two opportunities for the writers to go nuts: introduce mystical stuff, kill characters, have Santa Claus, Christmas miracles, It's a Wonderful Life parody episodes, etc. And then it would all go back to normal the next week.

And that's true from The Honeymooners to The Flintstones, Facts of Life, Saved by the Bell, Friends, etc.

And then come Family Guy (which I hate) and South Park (which I love), and the whole game changes. These shows both abandon the artifice of maintaining steady character traits, because it's more fun to see their points of view and intelligence switch episode to episode, and embrace cartoony logic as the rule for their shows' universes, because it expands the parameters of what the shows can tackle. But now every episode turns into a free-for-all. It's telling that The Simpsons get to kill or disfigure a character once a year, and South Park gets to once an episode.

And of course this so popular that it echoes back to other shows, on The Simpsons Homer gets to be a savant when it's comedically convenient, 30 Rock gets to treat humans like cartoons (again, love the show), and Community umm...exists.

Not that this is all bad, in fact it's kind of awesome. We've mastered straight narrative and now demand self-aware programing. But still, makes me remember how cool and new it was to see Bart play a raven to James Earl Jone's narration.

Oh, and the drawing isn't strictly for Halloween. I'm actually attending a Werewolf Bar-Mitzvah tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Hey Sam it's Rob your old roommate.

I stumbled your blog off fb and I thought your drawing of Mads Mikkelsen was really cool especially how you combined ink with photoshop or is it painter?

Anyways, I'm surprised to hear that you hate family guy. I thought you loved that show. Oh well, at least you came to your senses. For me, I find family guy is pretty funny, but there isn't much animation in it, which is a trend with most "modern animation."

I agree and disagree that holiday specials allow writers to go nuts with their characters because sometimes the morals of that holiday can easily limit the creativity of the gags. For instance, the Flinstones' Christmas was shit. But then again, holiday specials can definitely be awesome especially the simpsons' treehouse of horrors. My favorite treehouse horror episodes were the earlier ones mainly because I felt the animators went berserk with certain scenes like this one, HomerShiningTake

Words can't describe that. Well hope alls well and I'm glad that I've found this blog, gives me sometime to look at when I'm bored.

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