Friday, August 15, 2008

Oddly enough, they are kind of marvelous.

My job is stressful, so when I come home I immediately change into jeans (or, depending on how bad they day was, pajamas) and park it on the couch. I then proceed to channel surf until I'm ready to act like a human being. Obviously, I'm not looking for anything that requires too much thought. No crime procedurals, no trivia-based game shows, no sports or news. I want drivel - pure, simple, brain-rotting drivel. It was during one such evening that, while trolling the dregs of pre-prime time television, I was reeled in by The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.

Okay, no more nautical terms, I swear.

This is the story of Flapjack, a young boy raised by (and inside of) an over-protective whale named Bubbie. One day, they rescue a self-styled "adventurer" named Captain K'nuckles. Flapjack idolizes K'nuckles, and convinces Bubbie to aid them in a quest for Candied Island (pictured below). Pretty standard fair for a cartoon show, right? WRONG.

The beauty of Marvelous Misadventures is its unique humor. Most of it isn't funny "ha ha," more funny "um...what?" For example, on Flapjack's birthday Bubbie presents him with a wrapped gift. When he opens it, we see inside as a heavenly chorus sings, "it's a pencil!" Flapjack laughs maniacally, thanks Bubbie, and uses the pencil to draw a face on his foot. His foot tells him that it wants to go for a swim, and he plunges it into the water. There, his foot meets a fish and they begin to dance a waltz. We pan back up to Flapjack, who is staring into space and humming a romantic tune. And while none these individual things was enough to make me laugh, reflecting back on the sheer absurdity of this scene cracked me up. Even now, writing about it, I've got a huge smile on my face.

It's a pencil!

The absurdity of the trio of main characters is demonstrated visually by their contrast with the dull tones of their home port, Stormalong. Flapjack has blond hair, a red striped shirt and bright blue pants and shoes. K'nuckles face is a dark blue, his nose is orange, and he wears a red hat and coat. Bubbie looks a bit like a giant speech bubble. Just about everyone and everything else else in the series is drawn in a more realistic style (sometimes using stop-motion), in various shades of brown. It's a great cue that, even within their own cartoon world, our heroes are patently ridiculous.

Finding this show was like uncovering buried treasure in my backyard. It has almost approached the level of Appointment Television for me - if it's on, I'll be watching. As Flapjack would say, "ADVENTURE! Nyahahahahaha."

Besides, you know a show is amazing when, six weeks since it first aired, it already has a fansite.


Asia said...

This was my first episode of Flapjack too! I discovered it OnDemand. It reminds me a lot of SpongeBob and Ren N Stimpy (although much milder in this case) in the way it zooms in on things. I'm glad to encounter other fans!

The_toasteR said...

i love this show