Archive for the ‘anthropomorphic’ category

The POM Worry Monsters…

November 6, 2018

I’m no stranger to Worry Monsters; we’re intimate associates, actually. It’s just that I never imagined them looking quite as they are depicted in commercials for POM Wonderful juices. Managing to look both disturbingly human and grotesquely cute at the same time, these monsters look like rejected prototypes from a Disney/Pixar movie, or perhaps toys for children that you hate. They’re covered in pastel-colored fur, have distorted or exaggerated facial features, and monster appendages like horns and pointy ears. There are scarier monsters in real life American politics, nudge-nudge, wink-wink!

The underlying notion seems to be that as you get older you worry more about your health, so you turn more to things like running in the case of the male profiled, or yoga in the case of the female. But if you drink POM Wonderful juice that boasts ingredients like pomegranate juice, you’ll worry less about your health, and your Worry Monsters won’t be either as bothersome or as potent. The blue furry monster pursuing “Jake” in our commercial is winded, not able to keep up with his running, and the only fear that he can cast to his charge is over chafing. “Julie’s” purple-hued yoga monster bewails the fact that she can’t spend quality time pouring over the Internet with her host over diseases that she might have. These are ineffective, underutilized monsters with issues, you see. Perhaps they need to see Dr. Phil; that might make for memorable viewing…

…one might fantasize about the Mountain Monsters crew plugging one of these critters during a search for Bigfoot; heck, they’d probably wear their hide as a vest to the hoots of their fellows over the pastel shades. And when it comes to inner demons, I’ve stopped fighting with mine…we’re on the same team, now! So eliminate those free radicals, people, and remember to VOTE! It’s never been more important…

Robitussin Honey “Window Bear” Commercial…

November 1, 2018

“Hi Susan!,” greets the anthropomorphic CGI bear cheerily as he rolls back a woman’s kitchen sink window in this Robitussin commercial.  The woman has been coughing, and her cough is visible as a blue spray; drat, mine never is!  In her hand, the woman holds a honey container, appropriately enough one of those molded in the shape of a bear. She has been self-medicating her cough, you see, with honey, a popular home remedy for the ailment.  

“Honey?  I respect that,” comments this genial bear.  “But that cough looks pretty bad!”  He extends a helpful paw to offer a box of Robitussin.  “Try this new Robitussin Honey!”  This is a better bruin; articulate, affable, and helpful.  We cut then to the announcer commentary…“the real honey you love, plus the powerful cough relief you need.”

Then it’s back to the woman and bear again.  “Mind if I root through your trash?,” he asks the woman.  It only seems a fair exchange, after all, and the bear’s been so helpful.  But sadly in this brief 15 second spot, we are not told if she grants permission to this rare bear…

…in my crazed mind, I would like to see a television series that unites a number of commercial animal spokes-creatures, including this bear, Maxwell the pig, and of course the Lactaide “milk that messes with you” cow.  We’ll throw in Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and other guest animals.  It would be just the thing to heal us from the vicious political mid-term election attack ads now dunning us at every commercial interval.  And this bear? – – better than your average politician, hey hey hey hey! – – I’d vote for him!

Animals of Michael Jackson’s “Halloween”

October 22, 2018

Michael Jackson’s Halloween, an animated/CGI special which debuted in 2017, was recently dusted off for the season, airing recently.  Following its first presentation, I had posted about Hay Man, a pumpkin-headed scarecrow voiced by Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), who led a spirited dance of animals to Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, mimicking the King of Pop’s trademark moves to perfection.  For the second airing, I wanted to post about another memorable character, the feline Franklin Stein.

Voiced by Diedrich Bader, Stein is a mad scientist, perhaps with a touch of the Nazi super science thing going on.  He’s got the look, with unkempt hair, a white lab coat, and yellow protective gloves.  Stein even uses a coffee mug labeled, “World’s Greatest Scientist!”  With his slender limbs, fluid moves, and Jacksonian attire Stein is arguably another Michael Jackson variant who works for the villainess Conformity, having devised a machine to (gasp!) destroy music!  But when overcome by the human protagonists, it turns out that Stein isn’t really a bad kitty after all, but just a frustrated musician who plays a mean guitar.  He sends the humans off with his machine, which when hooked up in reverse can summon virtual Michael Jackson, who is able to defeat Conformity in a finale set to the strains of Thriller.

Think what you will of him and his music, but Michael Jackson was someone who liked scary things, and that perhaps makes this oddball family-friendly special appropriate for the season…

 

Vintage Furry…

October 5, 2018

 

 

Back in the halcyon days of my youth, we had Captain Kangaroo, a benign and kindly grandfatherly-like gentleman who sported a haircut like Moe of The Three Stooges, and held sway in a place called The Treasure House.  He is shown in the presence of Mr. Green Jeans (a farmer stereotype), and three of the regular furry cast members, Dancing Bear, Mr. Moose, and Bunny Rabbit.  In their day, they were quite iconic…

Now this was all low tech stuff but could be strangely surreal at times, perhaps a distant echo of the Peewee’s Playhouse that would follow decades later.  I mean, there was even a talking Grandfather Clock that viewers were expected to call to and wake up!  And while his face was incapable of rendering any range of emotion, one wouldn’t want to wake up at night to find Dancing Bear hovering over you.  There’s something creepy and unnatural about that cheap fursuit that makes him look like Yogi Bear on a party drug…

Bob Keeshan the titular host previously was Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody show, and his show ran for almost thirty years from 1955 to 1984…

Kayak TV Commercial “Shark…”

July 22, 2018

 

Imagine performing dentistry on a Great White Shark…now that’s a toothy business!  This shark is reclining on a dental chair, too, although there’s no need to tell him to open wide…his maw gapes enormously, and is full of razor-sharp teeth.  In the Kayak commercial, you can even see the shark’s tail moving slightly.  The attending dentist doesn’t appear too worried about his unusual client, however, just going about business as usual.  An observing guy in the background comments that the dentist appears confident.  A woman also in the background agrees, but adds that he doesn’t appear Kayak confident as she is, with Kayak having searched hundreds of sites for her to find the best flight.  It’s “search one and done,” you see…

Now being offbeat, I fantasize about crossover commercials.  Picture one featuring the Kayak shark, and the Aspen Dental dentist.  “You really should take better care of your teeth,” the Aspen Dentist might lecture the Kayak shark, who perhaps deliberately in spite ate a whole box of Oreos before visiting the dentist.  “Cancel the rest of my appointments for this afternoon!,” our Aspen guy might add before settling undaunted into the task of cleaning the hundreds of teeth before him. Dentistry soldiers on…our unsung heroes.

Or imagine Progressive Insurance’s agent Flo trying to sell insurance to the shark, who would only listen so long before snapping at Flo in frustration.  Cobra-like, Flo would whip safely away before chiding the shark that he didn’t have to snap her head off.  Flo has impressive survival skills, you see, enduring being marooned on a desert island with only a “name your own price” tool in a commercial that recalls a Tom Hanks film…

Tim Burton’s “Dumbo” is Coming!

June 21, 2018


I’ve always loved Tim Burton’s work for his dark, twisted, and even macabre take on things.  When Burton joins with Disney, we tend to get a less saccharine and darker vision of a great story with surreal, frequently animal elements, and so Tim Burton’s upcoming 2019 version of the Disney classic Dumbo promises to be a real treat.

We had last seen Dumbo as a two dimensional cartoon image in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and his upcoming outing will be as a far more realistic CGI elephant that is flawlessly integrated with a stellar live-action cast that includes such diverse talent as Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito.  And yes, the hauntingly sad lullaby Baby Mine from the 1940’s classic will be incorporated, so get those tissues ready for when mother elephant is chained up and separated from her baby…

The flying baby elephant with the endearingly enormous ears will be soaring across a big top circus tent in your neighborhood around March 2019.  He works for peanuts, after all…

 

 

“We Are Gone,” The Terror, Episode 10

May 22, 2018

All good things must come to an end, and so The Terror wrapped up its tenth and final season episode (“We Are Gone”) with more than a bit of Grand Guignol, complete with cannibalism and the Tuunbaq ripping into Hickey and his rebellious men, literally tearing the sadistic psychopath in two before succumbing to its poisonous diet. You are what you eat, after all…

We were given more of a close-up of the Inuit monster in this conclusive episode, his countenance a disturbing mixture of human and bestial elements, almost resembling someone’s crazy old uncle; maybe Uncle Fester of The Addams Family. A “spirit who dresses itself as an animal,” the mythological creature was said to consume not only the flesh but also the soul of its victims. 

Where human flesh eating was concerned, there are suggestions in the historical evidence that some cannibalism occurred in the actual Franklin Expedition, although it was ramped up for horrific effect in the Dan Simmons novel as well as the series adaptation of it. In this television adaptation, surgeon Goodsir poisoned himself unknown to his captors and slit his wrists, his body then becoming a fatal feast for them. Other subtle differences between the book and the screen adaptation occurred as well, and without issuing spoilers I did find the novel’s ending more satisfying. If you were captivated by the televised series, check out the book as well as a really well done and worthwhile horror tale…