Well, what are you guys waiting for? It’s Dr. Manny Presents!
In my last installment, I ripped on Horrid Henry, no doubt one of my least favorite shows of all time. It’s filled with incorrigible characters, ear-rape, and animation errors that even Sonic Underground would laugh at. I bring that up because of the next subject of this series, Angela Anaconda.
This show is based on a segment on KaBlam! (Remember that show?) The gimmick is that this show tried to imitate cutout animation – the same type used to animate those first two South Park shorts and those Terry Gilliam cartoons, the latter being the one to which the show is closer. I would forgive that had the characters not looked actually worse than they did in the series proper.
The above short is fracking creepy. In it, Angela gives her “boyfriend,” Johnny Abatti, a homemade Valentine card, only for Nanette Manoir (bleh) to give him a store-bought Valentine. A good portion of the episode is a hypothetical revenge scene, much like the later TV show would give us. As you can see, these character designs are piss-poor. Also, Angela hates Nanette solely because Nanette is better than Angela is. That’s… dumb. That’s not how you write a character – there has to be some sort of depth. For example, if Nanette did something to Angela that was extremely personal, and bringing that up would cause embarrassment, then the animosity would probably be justified. As it is, though, it just doesn’t work.
The actual TV show debuted on Fox Kids (remember that?) in 1999. The funny thing is… I actually remember liking that show when I was younger. Didn’t hold a candle to Braceface, though. But looking back all those years later, it’s… eh, not so good.
Off-key singing… Not a good sign.
In all honesty, you would think the creator of Unfabulous and Pepper Ann would know better. That’s right, the creator of Pepper Ann co-created this show and played the title character! In that case, Angela’s a jerk and an Author Avatar. Just what I needed.
So, yeah, most of these episodes center on Angela and her friends in… let’s call them “misadventures.” As is the case with Horrid Henry, we have stereotypes left and right – I already talked about Angela; Nanette Manoir tries to be a French stereotype, but fails miserably. Angela’s friend Gina Lash is a Big Eater and morbidly obese (apologies to morbidly obese people everywhere), while Johnny Abatti (remember him?) is clumsy and half-Italian (apologies to Italians everywhere); his family owns a pizzeria. Angela’s family… Well, I can definitely say that they’re miles better than Henry’s family.
Most episodes of the show include dream sequences by Angela, a good number of which involve her destroying Nanette. Geez! And I thought Henry’s fantasies were disturbing.
Like I said, the show as a whole isn’t all that good. What really turns me off to it is that there was a theatrical short. Yes, you read that right – a short that premiered before Digimon: The Movie in its theatrical and home video release. For those who are curious, Digimon: The Movie was a shoddy attempt by the powers that be to merge three completely different Digimon shorts into one film and edit them so that they form a cohesive (read: crappy) narrative. It was little more than a cash-in and a moviegoers’ trap; those guys were basically shouting, “Hey, Pokémon, we can do a movie, too!” But I digress.
The short begins with Angela and her friends waiting outside the theater to see the movie, only for Nanette and her cronies to butt in. Yeah, Angela may be bad, but I think Nanette comes a close second.
As soon as the theater opens for real, Angela and her friends scramble into the theater in order to find the best seats. After some phoned-in slapstick, Angela finds a seat (to which she beats a stereotype of a black dude) that just so happens to be near where Nanette is sitting. (Contrivance much!?) What’s worse (or better, depending on your opinion), her teacher, Mrs. Brinks, blocks Angela’s view with her unsightly beehive.
Angela, of course, doesn’t take this lightly. Instead of maybe telling Mrs. Brinks to back off, she has a dream sequence where she “digivolves” into a Taichi Yagami (Tai Kamiya) rip-off – she even has his hair and goggles! Oh dear…
It’s not funny because of how lazy this segment actually is, because it’s basically a gigantic Big Lipped Alligator Moment, and because… Well, this scene just does Digimon wrong. I mean, WRONG. Angela and her friends fight against what is not even a Digimon – nope, it’s Nanette piloting a giant robot in Mrs. Brinks’ likeness. Also, why does Gina wear Takeru’s (T.K.) hat, and why does Johnny Abatti (Yeah, he’s referred to by his full name. That’s a running gag.) perform a Deus Ex Machina? Oh, and “Angelamon” defeats the robot with a Hadouken.
And the robot topples on Nanette (off-screen), possibly killing her, while everyone cheers for their so-called “hero.”
And surprise, surprise, Angela and her friends realize that they entered the wrong theater when a different movie starts. The theater is practically empty at this point; even Nanette’s two stooges bail on her, and thus only she and Mrs. Brinks remain. The short ends with Angela screen-bombing Nanette’s movie.
So, that was my review of Angela Anaconda. As I said, it’s only slightly better than Horrid Henry. Why is that? Well, as cheesy and lazy as this show is, at least is has some fracking energy. I will admit, some of the animation looks good, and unlike Horrid Henry, it at least tries. Angela may be a massive Designated Hero, but at least she can only imagine doing those terrible things to Nanette, so it’s actually easier to sympathize with her. And to be fair, the voice acting here isn’t nearly as bad as in Horrid Henry. Other than that, this show is pretty sucky.
If anything, some of the characters designs are kinda nice, and could’ve been really great had there been more effort.
As a whole, it does have a “so-bad-it’s-good” vibe.
The whole show seems to be inspired by the Terry Gilliam shorts. That’s something, right?
The series proper is definitely better than the KaBlam! shorts.
The voice acting is bad, but not as much as in Horrid Henry.
Angela is a sociopath, but not as much as Horrid Henry.
The cutout animation does look nice at times, but for the most part, it comes off as garish and lazy.
The characterization sucks, but not as much as in Horrid Henry.
And on that, Dr. Manny Presents signs off. Stay happy, and have a wild day!
Garfield: The Movie
A Shin-chan movie
Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Ren and Stimpy “Adult Party Cartoon”
If you’re interested in these reviews, leave a comment or send me a note with your suggestions! I’ll reply as fast as I can!