Brought To You By The Letters P, B And S

Update: New Lofi comic for 10/8/12! 

PBS is great. Sesame Street is particularly great. As the parent of the young child, I can’t even explain the profound impact that show has had on my daughter and her development. She learned numbers, letters, social concepts like sharing, courtesy, apologizing, honesty, etc. all while being engaged and entertained. Of course my wife and I proactively taught her those subjects and concepts as well, but just think about how much more relatable they were and how much more easily a 2 year old could understand them when we were able to say “You have to share. Remember how Elmo felt when his friend didn’t share?” Sesame Street is not just a TV show. It’s an institution and  an invaluable national resource.

I know Sesame Street, and particularly Big Bird, are the topics being thrown around the media right now, but I can say with 100% certainly that PBS produces the highest quality children’s programming available and THE ONLY children’s programming that consistently entertains and educates my exceptionally bright child. I’ll give you two examples out of the dozens that come to mind. Curious George is focused on problem solving through experimentation and doing. After she watched an episode, she often disappears into her room or our craft area and emerges 30 minutes later with a contraption based on whichever episode she just watched. “Look! I built an automatic kitty feeder just like George!”

Her favorite show right now is Word Girl. It’s about a superhero that uses her vocabulary to defeat villains. In addition to having above average writing for a kids’ show, it is also voice acted by some of the top comedians in the country (Maria Bamford, Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Chris Parnell, etc.) Last week, after watching an episode of Word Girl, she ran into the kitchen, grabbed a pencil and some paper and started writing a play. She wrote pages of lines for each character, assigned my wife and I parts and we sat down as a family and had a table read before bedtime. It was, in a word, adorbs. But more so, she was exercising her creativity because she was inspired by what she had seen on PBS.

Watching these shows makes her brain move in new directions instead of just keeping it subdued for 30 minutes while we cook dinner. Anyone that looks at the minuscule government subsidy that PBS gets and doesn’t see the value (or doesn’t even understand how much it is) probably didn’t watch enough PBS.

COMMENTERS: Any particular memories of Sesame Street as a child or a parent? 

NOTICE TO COMMENTERS: PLEASE do not use this as a forum to preach your politics. I don’t want to know who you’re going to vote for or why. I don’t want to know what you think about the President or the opposition. This site is where I make comics based on my personal opinions. If you want a place to yell opinions at the Internet, go elsewhere.  This spot is already taken. If you chose to ignore this request, your comments will be deleted and you will be banned from commenting. 

House Of Swine And Frog

Fighting Time Lords hoodies are at Sharksplode right now! Wibbly Wobbly Hoodie Warmy! 

Randy from Something*Positive is offering a print of the “The Purring Sea” watercolor he did for this HE guest comic. GO BUY IT!

Speaking of Randy, he, I, David Willis, Danielle Corsetto, Jeph Jaques, Rob Denbleyker and MORE will be at the Dragon’s Lair Webcomic Rampage panel/signing event on December 10th and 11th. It is always a good time. Austin Fancy Bastard should NOT miss it.

HijiNKS ENSUE at Dragons Lair Webcomic Rampage

While I must admit that I viewed it through rainbow connection colored glasses, having grown up with The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies, and basically everything The Henson company put out in the 70’s, 80’s or early 90’s, The Muppets is essentially a perfect movie. When it is funny, it is REALLY funny. The first act as a good LOL at least every 2-3 minutes. Act 2 slows down a bit as we get to the emotional stuff (more of that later ) and act 3 finishes hilariously strong. When I wasn’t laughing, I just had a perma-grin from ear to nostril to nostril to ear. And it wasn’t just that it was funny. It was THE WAY it was funny. There was something genuine about the comedy. Like people of all ages and walks of life would laugh at these jokes because they were just plainly, humanly funny. The comedy was so relatable because it didn’t depend on current trends, or specific references (like HE does ((though HE is for a VERY specific audience)) ). It was universal and timeless.

When things got serious or emotional, it was hard to choke back the tears. When Kermit wonders if anyone really cares about The Muppets any more, you hear the humans behind (or beneath) The Muppets wondering the same thing. When Kermit and Piggy talk about their relationship it doesn’t even seem like a movie (much less one about felt frogs and foam pigs), but rather a real couple trying to figure out if they still need each other.

Jason Siegel and Amy Adams both do a superb job of anchoring the story to reality without getting in the way of the real stars. The humans in the story seem to live in a sort of absurdist reality that straddles the line between Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. It is a world that allows for Muppets to be real people and for song and dance numbers to break out at any time. Speaking of, all of the songs (penned by Flight Of The Conchords’ Bret MacKenzie) are good, and a few of them are great.

The Muppets is a 2 hour thank you to long time Muppet fans and a love letter to Jim Henson and his legacy, while still being accessible to new audiences. If you have kids that aren’t familiar with The Muppets, I would see it once without them to fully enjoy all of the call backs to Muppet history, then again with the whole family. Then see it again, just because it’s great.

Muppet nerd stuff: 

  • The guy that took over Piggy and Fozzy from Frank Oz does a SPOT ON Piggy and a 90% perfect Fozzy. It was a little eerie.
  • This is the first post-Jim Henson Muppet production where I thought Steve Whitmire’s Kermit REALLY sounded like Kermit. His voice was soft, shaky, unconfident and revealed a character who’s had a couple of decades to reflect on his glory days.
  • They digitally removed all the arm rods! I could not stop looking for them.

I hear Frank Oz thinks they didn’t stay true to the characters. I also hear Frank Oz is a bit of a curmudgeonly dick these days. Does he think the later Star Wars movies were true to the characters? Sure Yoda had some lightsaber battles, but basically everything else was horrible. Frank, you passed the porcine gauntlet on 10 years ago. Stop being a cranky old coot and understand that Jim would have loved this movie and been proud of everyone that made it.

Side Note: There was a time in my childhood where all I wanted in the world was to be a Muppeteer. I practiced puppetry for hours at a time, I studied the techniques for performance that Henson had pioneered, I read books about his history and his work… I was obsessed. I saw in The Muppets the as ultimate escape. They were imagination personified in foam and fabric. I still consider Jim Henson to be one of my largest early influences and doubt I would be drawing silly internet cartoons for a living if not for the characters he created.

COMMENTERS: Did you see The Muppets? What did you think? Were you a fan as a kid? Any particular bits of Muppet history that stick out to this day? Pigs In Space? Veterinarian’s Hospital? Nanny’s crazy-ass socks?

It’s Time To Light The Lights

Get your HijiNKS ENSUE Book 2 Preoder on! GO HERE NOW! Over 1/4 of the Ultimate Fancy Editions are already gone!

TEXAS FANCY BASTARDS: Come to Dragon’s Lair Webcomic Rampage in Austin this weekend and hang out with me, David, Danielle, Randy, Jeph, Bill, and  Josh.

Preorder HijiNKS ENSUE Vol 2! Go ahead and make 1000 vagina jokes right now and just get it out of your system. The Beaver? Seriously? They might as well have called it Meet The Vulvas. I watched the trailer, and personally I don’t think running around elbow deep inside the border line of a beaver is the best way to shake his violent, misogynist image. It’s a very mixed metaphor for Mel to be sending. I wonder if Jodie Foster, who’s directing the beaver as well as this movie (ba-dum DUM!) had to explain to Mel that his costar was a puppet and thus couldn’t blow him for the right to share screen time with him. I wonder if that dissuaded him in the least from violating the felt buck teeth right out of that beaver’s head.

Also, the idea that people inside or outside of Hollywood still support Mel Gibson after he came out to the world as a hateful, violent, racist, wife-beating Class-A buttdouche is just appalling. It’s a symptom of the cancer of apathy that is eroding the concience of America. “Well, he didn’t threaten to beat ME in the head with a baseball bat, so gimme two tickets to that Beaver show, one’o those 164 oz. diet sodas, a clawfoot bathtub full’0 butter toppin’ and some popkurns to dip up in it.”

If you want something from the HE Store before Dec 24th, you should read this message from Topatoco:Continue reading