Archive for the ‘anthropomorphic’ category

“The Masked Singer,” American Edition…

January 3, 2019

Aha, I just knew that we were going to be able to sneak some compelling furry images and characters onto mainstream television soon, and with The Masked Singer on Fox (- -how appropriate!), our time may have finally come in 2019!

 

Now for those of you not in the know, The Masked Singer is a new reality show (for the U.S., anyways) in which celebrity contestants perform and compete entirely clad in costume head-to-toe, concealing their identity. Most often those costumes are of animals, monsters, or other fantastic life forms with the contestant’s group of twelve including among others a unicorn, a deer, a hippo, a French poodle, a pineapple-man, a lion, and my personal fave, a rabbit! For the first night, six contestants competed on a paired basis, with the lesser voted contestant of each match-up relegated to the bottom three, and the weakest of that group unmasked and sent home. Victors in the matches included a Peacock winning over a Hippo, a Unicorn beating a “Monster,” and a Lion defeating a Deer. The Hippo, a real-life football athlete, ranked lowest and was sent home.

 

The show kind of blends American Idol with The Gong Show by way of a furry convention. Some of the costumes are elaborate and impressive, and dependent on their individual gifts and the bulk of their outfit some of the contestants incorporate a little choreography into their stage presentations. All of the contestants are supposedly well-known figures in music, comedy, or athletics, and the identity of each will ultimately be revealed as the weaning-out process continues. Popular in Asia and originating in South Korea, the American version of The Masked Singer is certainly different, even if it’s not for everyone…

Mucinex Mr. Mucus vs. Gorilla…

January 2, 2019

It’s hard to think of a less appealing figure in a commercial than Mr. Mucus.  We’ve seen bodily organs with minds of their own such as the Myrbetriq bladder and the Halos stomach, but this guy is a bodily product, for crying out loud, basically animated phlegm! He’s even a revolting green color, so we think less than kindly of him, and basically want him gone, ASAP; it isn’t easy being green, as Kermit the Frog observed, and Kermit had redemptive qualities. The repulsiveness of Mr. Mucus is why we are glad to see some insult or harm come to him, and will remember any product that can further that end. You’ll never see stuffed likenesses of Mr. Mucus flying off store shelves.- –  It’s snot gonna happen, ahem!  (laughs maniacally)

The brief ad begins with a man asking his wife where her cough is. The woman responds that she’s fine because she took Mucinex DM, which sent the cough far away. – – How far away? We are then shown Mr. Mucus in the jungle, complete with a safari jacket and pith helmet. Coming across a gorilla, he asks the ape if he’s seen a nice woman with a cough, to which the simian responds Hulk-like by smashing Mucus-boy with a mighty fist that sends him flying swiftly out of sight.  No tears are shed on Mr. Mucus…sad!

Mucinex DM, the voiceover then tells us, releases swiftly and lasts 12 hours, not 4, leaving Mr. Mucus to bungle in the jungle…”Well, that’s alright by me.” (Jethro Tull).

(“I’ll write on your tombstone, I thank you for dinner/This game that we animals play is a winner.” —Jethro Tull, Bungle In The Jungle)

 

 

Stan Against Evil…

November 25, 2018


A comedy-horror series is a rare and wonderful thing, especially if it’s done well.  If you’ve missed this gem, you may want to check out Stan Against Evil, now in its third season on the IFC network.  The show takes place in the fictional New Hampshire town of Willard’s Mill, which was the site of witch burnings in the late 17th century.  As a result of that history, strange and creepy supernatural things continue to emerge there which are dealt with by the town’s former sheriff, Stan Miller (John C. McGinley) and it’s current one, Evie Barrett (Janet Varney).

Now Stan Miller is a delight as an aging, cynical, slovenly antihero who just wants to be left alone, but can’t even manage to do that! Teamed reluctantly with the young and beautiful woman who is his successor, Stan is pressed into service to battle legions of demonic monsters that include witches, vampires, evil puppets, and even a were-pony! Although he’d much rather be drinking and watching television, Stan uses traditional and improvised weaponry to devastating effect, repeatedly bludgeoning for example a large winged skeleton-bird wraith creature (at right) with a shovel until it moves no more .- – You gotta love this guy! 

 The show parodies horror in a loving fashion, and manages nods to The X-Files and other traditions from which it has drawn.  I’m glad to see something like this still in active production…long may its demonic beasties thrive!

 

 

Animals and Thanksgiving Parades…

November 22, 2018

Being a big fan of Halloween, I love images of early Thanksgiving parades because they had balloons and floats back then that were, well, creepy! Animals have had a long association with Thanksgiving Day parades since their inception, with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade beginning in 1924 and including live animals, many of them actually borrowed from the Central Park Zoo for the occasion.

The early Thanksgiving Day parades often had a circus orientation, and hence the animal elements. Actual lions, tigers, and bears were trucked down city streets, traumatizing them and causing the elicitation of roars and growls that frightened observing children. Wisely, the use of living animals was abandoned after a few years, with animal balloons and floats substituted, together with some great vintage cartoonish stuff that was rather surreal. Felix the Cat was an early parade favorite.

In the 1930’s, Macy’s actually released their balloons at the end of the parade for a few years, with rewards of $25 offered for their return, a princely sum in depression-era America. Macy’s wasn’t the only Thanksgiving Day parade on the block, either, with Newark, New Jersey having memorable ones as well as other cities in diverse locations.

So while you enjoy that traditional Thanksgiving feast, remember those poor souls who marched, danced, and performed in frigid twenty-some degree weather this year in parts of America dressed among other things as fried eggs and sticks of butter. As I said, I like my holidays surreal, which makes them and family easier to take…

 

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…