Turns out I only have until the 18th to make the dolls, which is freaking me out a bit cause that’s less than a week. Of course, I only discovered this tonight, meaning I wasted the entire day. I did mean to work on the dolls today, but I ended up meandering through the day, doing very little. I’m very talented at that – especially when I have a lot to do. Did manage to organise a few appointments and spend an hour listening to hold music with the gas company, but my own projects ended up being put on the backburner solely because I didn’t have the drive to work on them. I do work best with a close deadline, but too many deadlines coming up at the same time.
So what did I do today? To be honest, the same thing I’ve been doing most of the weekend, and watching AAAHH!!! Real Monsters in marathon sessions. I’ve had most of the episodes for a while, but haven’t watched them in quite some time. However, for some inexplicable reason I found myself wanting to watch it again late last week, and haven’t been able to shake the urge just yet. Might be due to a certain other Monster franchise popping up at the cinema again….
Anyway, at first it was just a few episodes, but starting to wonder if I won’t be satisfied until I can recite the entire series word for word. On the plus side, least I have something to write about today.
Just in case you weren’t a child in the nineties. AAAHH!!! Real Monsters was a Nickelodeon show – but if you lived in the UK, it made up a staple of Channel 4 Sunday morning television, along with a French CGI cartoon called ‘Insektors’ (which I can quite happily rhapsody on about too). I adored this show growing up – there was something about the characters and the humour that appealed to me in ways that only Rugrats managed to top.
The cartoon was about a Monster Academy held inside a dump – where young monsters would go to learn how to scare humans (a plot that Pixar stole and ran with a few years later). The main characters were rabbit-eared Ickis, smelly headless Krumm and candy-cane-with-huge-lips Oblina. As I got older and TV scheduling changed, the show vanished into the ether that was childhood memories.
Then along came Sky…and the Nickelodeon channel. To my delight, what should be showing during a nostalgic moment but a certain monster cartoon. Of course, it was always on quite late at night – the time when kiddies were extracted from the television so the adults could get some time in, but every now and then I managed to sneak/record an episode and help catch up with the whole series. Nowadays I use the Internet like so many others, but giving how much I’m enjoying the series right now I’m going to have to find a way to buy the DVD’s though I hate buying wrong region media – it’s such a pain to find a way to watch it – but doubt they’ll bring them over here so it’s that or nothing.
I just love how much the show still works for me now I’m (sort of) more mature. The humour isn’t exactly adult, but the voices and the characters are still pretty solid. The sheer number of personality quirks Ickis manages to portray in one episode, let alone the full series, is pretty spectacular (his voice actor has to go from arrogant jerk to raving neurotic to panicked coward to commanding leader – often in the span of a few minutes), and Oblina (minus a few obligatory romance episodes for the ‘Chick’) is one of the best female characters in kids cartoons. Krumm I never liked nor disliked – but the teacher (The Gromble) always manages to make me smile no matter what.
I’ve already gone through the obligatory ‘they cancelled this show too soon’ phase in my head, and after watching the several dozen episodes repeatedly I’m actually happy to say that although I wish the series had gotten more episodes, they probably quit while they were ahead. The first season is the best by miles, on the grounds that the writers actually tried to put something resembling an underlying plot (recurring characters and two different series ‘finales’ that are both pretty awesome), an idea that vanished early season 2. The other seasons were generally pretty strong, but the fourth series had some pretty weak episodes. Also had some of my favourites, but had they continued, the lesser plots might have become more common. This way they managed to end somewhat with a bang.
What I’ve always thought was a crying shame though, was that this lesser-known nugget of children’s programming could have been around a lot longer than it was. There were plans to make a movie, but it was decided after the Rugrats got the big screen treatment that any movie featuring these characters would be far too dark for children. Having seen the Rugrats movie (and really, how they managed to make a movie about babies and toddlers dark is nothing short of impressive), can’t say I’d disagree. RM is essentially about monsters scaring people – put that on the big screen in a non-Pixar treatment and wait for the complaints to come in. But what I wouldn’t give to have seen that movie…