Not-so-Top Cartoons: Boo Boo Runs Wild

 

John Kricfalusi is one of my idols. His famous Ren & Stimpy Show was a creative revolution in cartoons. Not only was the animation top-notch, the material was both edgy and over-the-edge at the same time. I can’t believe how much he got away with back in 1991.

Kricfalusi’s style is one-of-a-kind: his timing is a little more plodding than that of most directors. His beats flow slowly, and they give his cartoons an awkward, unsettling rhythm, like a song with an uncommon meter. The humor in his work isn’t built on traditional setup/punchline gags, but on outrageous takes, extreme (and usually gruesome) close-ups, and uncomfortable, high-pressure scenarios. When you laugh at a John K. cartoon, you laugh because you can’t believe what these cartoon characters are actually doing.

With Boo Boo Runs Wild, Kricfalusi delivers his vision of a Yogi Bear cartoon (though he calls it a “Ranger Smith Cartoon”). As expected, it’s odd, vivid, and pretty gross. When Ranger Smith’s myriad of rules separate Boo Boo from his favorite bear-type activities, the little guy snaps. He decides to forgo his anthropomorphism in favor of true bear behavior, which includes growling, loping on all fours, tearing at tree bark, and drooling all over everything. Yogi doesn’t understand Boo Boo’s rebellion, but Yogi’s girlfriend Cindy finds it quite attractive, and joins in the devolution.

It’s a pretty good premise, and I love the old-school backgrounds and classic Hanna-Barbera theme music. I also love Kricfalusi’s voice acting as Boo Boo, but I have to say this isn’t the man’s best work as a director. It drags on too long. There are too many scenes of too little value, which I would call “filler” if the animation wasn’t so good. You can only watch Boo Boo and Cindy growling and tonguing each other for so long before you say, “Okay, I get it already.”

So why am I writing about it here? Well, the climax of the cartoon is a surprisingly dramatic fistfight between Yogi and Smith, and it’s just gorgeously animated. The mixture of exaggerated MMA moves with silly, stock cartoon sound effects is brilliant. I also love the choice of background music, though I have no idea what it’s called (if anyone knows, please tell me). Sadly, when the episode aired on television, the fight scene was truncated for some reason. So, I’ve included a clip of the complete fight for you to enjoy.

 

What is the name of that production music?! I want it. Anyway, I still have great affection for Mr. Kricfalusi’s animation, so you should expect to see more of it here, and presented more positively.

 

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Author: lisvender

Writer and animator in Central California.

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