Monday, June 27, 2016

Favorite Childhood TV Shows: #13-16 (Step By Step, Garfield, Flintstones, DuckTales)

Years It Aired: 1991-1998
Years I Was Into It: 1992-1997 

Years It Aired: 1988-1995
Years I Was Into It: 1988-1991

In the 80s, CBS used to air Garfield specials. There was a Christmas one, a Halloween one, one where Garfield goes to Hollywood, another one where he and Odie and Jon go camping and nearly get eaten by a panther, and a particularly wacky/creepy one titled Garfield: His Nine Lives. (Let's just say some of those lives? Not so kid-friendly! But my brother and I did dearly love it.)

Then came the TV series. And it was great because it was Garfield, and yet it wasn't great because half of the segments were about these other animals on a farm who... I mean... I guess knew Garfield? Somehow? Like, it was established in the specials that Jon's parents lived on a farm, so maybe that's where they lived? I have no idea. But there was a pig and a duck who wore an innertube around his waist and I can't remember who else and... well, I hated them. I really did. The "Friends" segments were something I always had to sit through and tolerate in order to get back to the Garfield parts. The parts that mattered.

Sigh. I miss the heyday of Garfield, back in the day of the show, the specials, and comics that were actually funny. The Garfield comics now have sunk to Ziggy/Marmaduke/Family Circus-level horendousness. They aren't even not funny, they're just... nothing. They're just, like:

Garfield: *sits*
Jon: "Garfield, you are sitting."
Garfield: "Sitting is fun!"

How do you live with yourself, Jim Davis, how?

Years It Aired: 1961-1966
Years I Was Into It: 1984-1987

There are some shows I remember watching at a very young age. This was one of them. I don't think I understood half of what was going on, but what the heck... it was a cartoon, it was colorful, and wacky things tended to happen. I don't remember exactly what time it aired -- maybe in the afternoons on Channel 12? In the 80s, Channel 12 was Portland's go-to station for all things syndicated, family-friendly, and/or delightfully corny.

Some of the things I loved best about the show:

*The theme song... and the end theme song. Remember how Fred tries to put the cat out of the house at night but the cat jumps through the window and puts Fred out instead? I never got tired of seeing that.

*All the goofy gadgets they had, like a dinosaur crane and the telephone receiver that was shaped like an animal horn (though how they never managed to impale themselves on it I will never know.)

*Fred. I loved Fred. He was so mean to Barney though. Maybe it's because Barney had those creepy eyes that were sometimes all black and sometimes Little Orphan Annie-esque. They were eerie. Still, that's not really a valid reason to be mean to someone. Or is it?

*Bam-Bam and Pebbles - the two cutest cartoon babies on TV!

*Betty. She was just so glamorous!

Then came the Flintstones Kids, the TV-movies, the feature film (Rosie O'Donnell as Betty!? NOOOO!). It's been a zoo. I just like the original. Annnd maybe Cocoa Pebbles because those things are good. 

Years It Aired: 1987-1990
Years I Was Into It: 1987-present

OMG DuckTales.

When the pilot movie ("Treasure Of The Golden Suns") aired one evening in 1987, I was there to watch it. And I freaking LOVED it. That movie had adventure, mystique, treasure, humor, action, and most of all, heart. I was in love.

Then DuckTales came to weekday afternoon TV as a series, and every day after school, I made sure I was plunked in front of the TV to see what adventures the Ducks were going to embark on THIS time.

Then it became part of the the Disney Afternoon, airing at 3:30 in our town, between Gummi Bears and Rescue Rangers. But DuckTales was THE BEST.

And the crazy thing is, I STILL LIKE IT! Okay, so I've gone through the three commercially-available DVD sets, and not every episode is pure gold. A few are quite lame. And occasionally they would recycle their plots/conflicts. But the good episodes make up for it. And I will go on record as saying I think Fenton/Gizmoduck is one of the best Superheroes ever.

This summer, Capcom released an updated version of the classic DT NES game called DuckTales Remastered, and they even got most of the original voice actors from the series to play their roles in the game. The game tries to feel like an episode of the series, and in some ways, it almost works. No matter how odd the story may be, it's still fun to pogo around the globe as Uncle Scrooge, collecting treasure and taking the occasional dip in the ol' money bin!

A great show! I miss you, DuckTales...

The above TV show profiles were written between 2011 and 2013 and published on my old website

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