Archive for the ‘absurdities’ category

Andrew Marlton, “First Dog on the Moon”

October 3, 2020

  

Andrew Marlton (above) is a satirical cartoonist and more who draws for the Australian-based news publication, The Guardian.  Under his pseudonym First Dog on the Moon he has generated a universe of anthropomorphic cartoon characters that include Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin, the Interpretive Dance Bandicoot, and my personal faves, the Raccoons of the Resistance.  As he deals in many things political, there are themes and presentations in his cartoons that are certain to offend someone, which is perhaps as it should be.  As some of his work deals with Australian politics, it will likely pass over the heads of many if not most Americans, but  Marlton also deals with aspects of American politics through his characters, as well as global issues involving science, the Coronavirus, and the environment.  

 

It’s furry art, and can often be topically relevant and wickedly funny.  Marlton gets his ideas from the news, at other times relating that he goes out to talk to chickens and sheep.  Do give First Dog on the Moon a look…laughing and thinking are always worthwhile activities!

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absorbx Cat Litter Commercial…

August 22, 2020

 

 

Cat litter commercials sell a necessary if somewhat distasteful product for feline fanciers, and leave it to Arm & Hammer to do so memorably!  Those who do not co-habit with cats at least deserve in such a commercial to be entertained, and I haven’t seen anthropomorphic animals portrayed so well in a classic western-gendre setting since the movie Rango, but here the characters are all feline…

Picture a classic western saloon circa 1870, complete with swinging entry doors, period piano music playing, and a cast of stock costumed western character types inside.  Enter the young, slender, white-hatted stranger; instantly the piano music ceases, and all eyes are fixed on the newcomer…will there be trouble?  

Thankfully, no…“This town smells FANTASTIC!,” declares the stranger.  At a nearby poker-type table, we see a trio of felines, on the left a female “Miss Kitty” type, to the right possibly a dandified card-sharp, and between them a large, hoary, black-hatted, black-overcoated alpha cat who looks like he might be trouble.  But no, he arranges a demonstration through the cat-bartender of the litter’s absorbency qualities using “desert-dry” mineral ingredients.  Follow the science, I always say…

Following the demonstration, our appealing white-hatted cat notes that word is going to spread fast.  “Spread it then,” admonishes the dark-hatted cat.  “Go on, git!”  And so the slender stranger does…and the rest will probably be the stuff of western legend…

Perhaps future commercial installments will feature “the Cat With No Name” gunning down purveyors of inferior cat litter, kind of a Clint Eastcat typeand I’d love to see Val Kilmer’s standout Tombstone character translated to Cat Holliday, frontier dentist, card sharp, and quirky gunfighter extraordinary!  

 

Little Caesars “Bear on Skates” 

August 1, 2020



Talking anthropomorphic bears are a part of my world, but for those for whom they are not this Little Caesars commercial could practically serve as a gateway to the furry fandom.  In it, a man sits on a park bench about to dig into some Little Caesars Cheesy Stuffed Crazy Bread and saying that he “must be dreaming.”  At that point, dreams become reality in the figure of a roller skating grizzly bear, complete in yellow shorts and matching head band, and carrying a boom box that he holds to his head. He clearly is quite comfortable on skates, and hints at some awesome moves on them while groovin’ to tunes of the age on his box.  There’s a great 70’s vibe to the bear, for those of us who remember or at least honor the more simple and carefree spirit of those days.  I’ve had far worse dreams, believe me…

The bear tells our bench-sitter that the cheesy stuffed Crazy Bread is a real thing, and that he should try it because it’s delicious!  The bear then moans pleasurably, and back pedals on his skates, presumably back to his own time and space as the commercial winds up.  One wants to follow this furry time traveler; he probably has some great disco moves, kind of like a furry young John Travolta of Saturday Night Fever vintage.

Although I was never much for the double knit polyester fabrics and “leisure suits” of the day, I’ve still got a boom box.  It’s plastic casing is all discolored with age and the tape player doesn’t work, but the radio is doing just fine…and wouldn’t the retro-cool 70’s Bear be a great meme? Don’t worry, this bear’s more into music and moving than maiming.  Maybe he could hang with Rocket Racoon, and listen to Star Lord’s mix tape.- -He’s got it going on, yeah!                                            

 

 

Progressive’s “Motaur: Gym” Commercial…

July 21, 2020

 

There are advantages to being a cybernetic organism.  In addition to being extremely cool, it’s awfully easy to exercise when your lower body machine components are those of a motorcycle; just roll onto a treadmill, and you’re off to the races!  You can even multi-task while you’re on a roll by reading a book.  That’s right, our Progressive motaur isn’t just a pretty face getting his laps in, he’s improving his mind!  We can all learn from this…

In our latest Progressive commercial, as our motaur hums along, he’s approached by a gym rat who tries to remind our man-machine that there’s a thirty-minute limit on the treadmill.  “Tell that to the rain,” counters our motorcycle/man in a fashion which reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Tell it to the hand” line from Terminator 2.  Would you care to argue with a cyborg?  No, I didn’t think so.  Our motaur sets the treadmill faster several times during the commercial, and calmly continues both his reading and his ride… 

Geico’s “Moving House Thing” Commercial

July 13, 2020


Turtles have made inroads into televised advertising, as seen before in a number of episodes of Comcast’s “Slowskys” depicting a turtle family with their technologically-hip son.  Now Progressive insurance has also brought us an anthropomorphic father-and-son turtle duo, who we are shown sunning themselves on a rock overlooking a camper park.  In the near background sits a large motorized camper which piques the younger turtle’s curiosity, prompting him to ask his father about the “moving house thing.”

Turtle-Dad responds that it’s a motor home, a modern invention, to which Junior replies that they’ve carried their houses around with them for “like forever!”   Turtle-Dad chuckles, and then responds that the humans have Geico to cover them if anything goes wrong.  “What could go wrong?,” wonders Junior out loud when a feather drifts down from above.  “Ooh, a feather!” exclaims Junior with child-like wonder.  Looking upwards, Turtle-Dad discerns a vulture sitting in the tree above them.  “Duck, Junior!,” he alerts his son.  Now sharing in the alarm, Junior qualifies his Dad’s response, correcting “That’s no duck, Daddy…that’s a vulture!”

The humans are clueless non-participants in the drama unfolding before them, but I doubt they’d be thrilled to see vultures roosting near their camper; perhaps a Stephen King-esque horror movie is about to begin here.  The turtles as they retreat into their shells will hopefully live to see another day.  They have warm and wonderful human-like eyes and expressions, and make a nice addition to the Geico advertising animal stable that memorably includes an office camel thrilled to see “hump day” arrive…

 

(…tip o’ the pen to Carycomic!)

Progressive’s Motaur “Herd” Commercial…

July 3, 2020

 
Apparently, there are others of his kind…Terrence Terrell’s Motaur, that is!  We had previously seen Progressive’s unlikely motorcycle insurance icon in 2019 as a solitary bio-mechanical being appearing to wondering young humans at an isolated gas station.  In the latest commercial, our Motaur appears with a fully-human companion on a mesa, observing with binoculars at some distance a herd of other Motaurs milling about before them.

As his companion babbles about how amazing it is to see them in the wild, he is shushed by our familiar Motaur who just wishes to become lost in the moment…then we hear motor sounds of the dirt-biking Motaur herd, buzzing about like angry hornets.  They individually do wheelies, accelerate, and bound over the terrain.  Terrence Terrell then raises his front wheel in a salute to his “people.

Viewers may find the commercial cool, creepy, or incomprehensible but it celebrates the close bond between many bikers and their “rides.”  I worry that perhaps these cyborgs have something to do with Skynet, soon to be followed by an imposing black leather-jacketed guy with sunglasses and an Austrian accent. Perhaps we really don’t have to be afraid of the Motaurs as those seen in the field appear strangely generic and not especially menacing…and hey, wouldn’t Don’t Fear the Motaurs be a great comeback song for Blue Oyster Cult?  Bio-mechanical beings just wanna have fun, after all, although if their herd passes through my neighborhood noise ordinances may need to be deployed.

The recurrence of Motaurs continues to pose unanswered and troubling questions for me.  Do they both eat and gas up, or is one act sufficient?  Do they see both doctors and mechanics?   How do they sleep, or do they? Are Motaurs born, assembled, or somehow pieced together in some kind of unspeakable Borg-type lab?  Is there a cross-over into the Transformer world, or would Motaurs be their rivals if not enemies? Do Motaurs reproduce, breed only with their own, and if so, how (now there’s a disquieting thought!)?  Anyhow, untold stories reside here, and inquiring minds want to know…

 

 

Of Anthropomorphic Horse Evolution…

April 30, 2020


Anthropomorphic horses have been on television for longer than one might suspect, perhaps beginning with the quirky but iconic 1960’s sitcom Mr. Ed that featured a talking palomino owned by an architect, Wilbur Post, portrayed by Alan Young. Those shows in turn were inspired by a series of children’s stories written by Walter R. Brooks.  Mr. Ed the horse was portrayed by a gelding named Bamboo Harvester, who was voiced on the series by former western actor Allan Lane.  Ed would only talk in person to Wilbur, although he would at times make phone calls, and be heard often talking to his owner by others, conversations for which Wilbur had constantly to offer false explanations.  The explanation for Ed’s origins as a sentient and articulate equine being was only touched upon once lightly and dismissively in the first episode in which Wilbur expresses his inability to understand the situation.  Ed replies to that confusion, “Don’t try.  It’s bigger than both of us!”  I can live with that, although alien genetic engineering seems to me one possible explanation.  “A horse is a horse, of course, of course…

Light years away was the adult animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman, which ran for six seasons and 77 episodes from 2014 to 2020.  BoJack was essentially an animal-person, equine from the neck up, but with human features below that point.  This presents as a rather disturbing combination at first glance, but it grows on you rather quickly, especially since BoJack is but one of a number of animal-persons of different species coexisting with mundane humans on the series.  BoJack is a middle-aged male whose heyday occurred in the 1990’s with a sitcom called Horsin’ Around.  That show abruptly cancelled, BoJack now seeks to restore his celebrity status in a dark series which satirizes Hollywood but touches on depression, addiction, self-destructive behavior, sexuality, and many other aspects of the human condition.

 

Mr. Ed was essentially a horse who acted like a human, whereas BoJack Horseman was a human who acted like a horse.  As to whether BoJack was Mr. Ed, the former once tweeted, “NO I AM NOT MR ED OPEN YOUR EYES.”  That seems pretty definitive to me…

 

Livin’ Off The Plastic…

April 25, 2020



The other day I went to a drive-up window to buy a lousy $4 ice cream, since in the year of the plague, walk-in much less full restaurant service are but memories.  Reaching the front of the line, I discovered to my chagrin that the establishment wasn’t accepting cash, but only credit or debit cards.  Cash, it would seem, is now considered a “contact point” for the Coronavirus, which can live merrily on a variety of surfaces for hours.

As I fumbled awkwardly for my debit card out of my wallet, the thought surfaced in my mind that these must be terrible times to be Scrooge McDuck.  I mean, that bird would literally go swimming through his cash vaults!  He had, by a Forbes estimate, a net cash worth of over 44 billion dollars. Swimming and burrowing through his money brought this duck pleasure!  He was, by the standards of many, one lucky duck…

Now in these plague years, could Scrooge be considered to have a fatal attraction to money, considering his physicality with it?  With money being considered filthy lucre, does Scrooge McDuck have a death wish, or is he just severely conflicted now about his practices?  Is an intervention needed to save this duck from himself?!  These thoughts eat away at me, terribly.  We may never know the answer to these timely questions, but press on nonetheless.  It is our calling, our mission here… 🐺

 

The Chantix Turkey at the Fair…

April 10, 2020

In the strange world of evolution gone awry inhabited by the Chantix Turkey, we are gradually being introduced to other individuals there, and familiarized with their social activities.  A recent episode takes us to their town fair, a rather folksy event at which our hero is apparently functioning as a worker.  Nice guy or bird that he is, the turkey takes the plunge in a dunk tank before donning an apron, working thereafter at a ring toss game booth (above), a ticket booth, and even a cotton candy stand.  This turkey does it all…

There are some subtle and cute touches in this ad, such as when the titular turkey walks past a fun house mirror, and we get to see his slenderized reflection in the mirror.  It’s a delight to see the turkey’s distinctive walk here, as well as his trademark heel click out of exuberance at kicking the smoking habit.

The turkeys don’t seem to be socially distancing, so they’ve apparently avoided the Coronavirus.  In their friendly and serene world, however, one wonders if the turkeys might someday have to deal with some variant of the avian flu, or perhaps just a hostile invasion by Elmer Fudd wanna-bes…oh the horror, the  horror! 

Oh, and by the way…a Happy Easter, y’all!

“The General Skunk” Commercial

April 3, 2020

                  

      When a woman in a commercial for The General insurance appears about ready to drive a newly-purchased vehicle off a car lot, she is met by the unlikely duo of Shaquille O’Neal and The General, the latter a cartoon pipsqueak in military attire sporting an enormous white moustache.  

        You’re not ready to drive without insurance,” cautions Shaquille.  “That’s as crazy as starting a skunk farm in your backyard!”  The admonition seems to trigger a traumatic memory in the woman. We flash back to an image of her apparently in her yard being advanced upon by over half a dozen skunks.  The woman extends her palms at the advancing skunks in an effort to keep them at bay.  “Easy, Petunia!,” she cries to one, “Back up!,” she beseeches…but her efforts are in vain, as we are shown a fleeting image of the skunks raising their tails, about to spray the woman.

        Flashing back to the present, the woman is now happily engaged in procuring insurance from The General.  “Smell you later,” she says to those bad memories as she departs…