Teletoon Pilot Project Time | Dunce Bucket, Angora Napkin

This is the first of what I hope will be a few reviews concerning the Teletoon Pilot Project.  The Pilot Project, which has currently aired three of its nine pilots, airs every Sunday at 11:30 PM on…well, you can just guess.

Since URBMN is pilot-friendly, I’m attracted to the Teletoon Pilot Project.  I’ve skipped Fugget About It for now, as the review for it was originally bundled with unpublished reviews for The Dating Guy and Archer.  Also, Fugget About It‘s title describes the show perfectly.  I might not get to Fugget About It for a while.

Dunce Bucket (Teletoon: Nunchucks Pilot Inc./Fresh TV Inc., 2009) is one of those shows that assumes twenty one-minute sketches will work just as well as a few normal-length sketches.  Frankly, Dunce Bucket is Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, with added poop jokes and uses of the word “fuck.”  Here come de fucking judge!

Parts of Dunce Bucket are well done.  Shorts like “Fifi and Bobo” could easily become one of those one-or-two-minute shows that used to air on Teletoon Detour.  Of course, “Fifi and Bobo” uses “seal in French sounds like fuck” as the basis for its comedy, but it’s a relatively clever gag taken to a satisfying level.

On the flip side, Dunce Bucket relies on toilet humour much of the time.  That’s what kills Dunce Bucket for me.  A shit joke doesn’t get better when amplified.  If fifty pounds of shit graphically shoots out a clown’s ass, you’d better have a damn good reason for that beyond “…because it’s hilarious.”  Dunce Bucket doesn’t, but hey, clown shit.

Dunce Bucket is a nice try, but Canadian television needs to shoot higher than “nice try.”  I can see spinoffs from Dunce Bucket – I really like “Fifi and Bobo,” and would like to see designer/animator Colin Jack develop those two characters further.  I can’t see Dunce Bucket survive in its original form.

Dunce Bucket should give Teletoon the impetus to launch a Liquid Television-esque series.  Who’s to say such an idea can’t work?  Paying a few animators reasonable amounts for television screenings of their work makes more financial sense than paying Joel Cohen and Greg Lawrence for Crash Canyon.  I mean, seriously, how much animation did Kevin Spencer have?  Five frames?  Kevin Spencer was the anti-cartoon.

I’ve been pimping Angora Napkin (Teletoon: Mugisha Enterprises, 2009) fairly heavily, what with the interviews I’ve done to promote the pilot.  After finally seeing the pilot on October 31, 2010, I really want AN to make series.  It validates the purpose of the Teletoon Pilot Project.

Angora Napkin is reminiscent of Ren & Stimpy.  It takes the Angry Beavers tack of contrasting realistic and cartoony styles.  It even repurposes cub songs from 1992.  This is a good thing.  You’d rather watch Quads! for the fiftieth time?

Beatrice (Alyson Court), Molly (Helen King) and Mallory (no voice actor) are Angora Napkin, a girl group from somewhere in Canada.  Molly’s the smart one, while Beatrice is the ditz.  Mallory is drunk and/or angry, but always silent.  Together, the three get in various low-concept adventures, like being arrested by fish police and fighting off zombies.

Angora Napkin is a real cartoon.  While the animation is limited, Troy Little and Nick Cross go for the best artwork they can.  I’m not sure how much Angora Napkin costs, but it looks good for its budget.  Even the Canadian references are natural, aside from the maple leaf tattoo on Dolphin Boy (Dwayne Hill.)

Angora Napkin is not without its faults.  “Chapter 10: Go Fish” (i.e., the Dolphin Boy segment) drags.  “Go Fish” uses variations of the standard SpongeBob SquarePants “hey look, anthropomorphic fish doing people things” gags.  While “Go Fish” is still funny, it runs out of steam after five minutes.  I will give points for an out-of-place Symbionese Liberation Army reference.

Angora Napkin is clearly the best of the Teletoon Pilot Project cartoons I’ve seen thus far.  Teletoon would be crazy not to greenlight Angora Napkin, but television rarely works on the best-show-wins principle.  Frankly, it’s a minor miracle that Angora Napkin made pilot.  I’m not going to look this gift horse in the mouth, believe me.

C. Archer
Le Social