Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kumbaya! Remembering Eek! the Cat

Fifteen years ago this Fall, Savage Steve Holland and Bill Kopp’s Eek! the Cat (soon to be Eek! and the Terrible Thunder Lizards, then Eek! Stravaganza) premiered on FOX Kids (defunct as of 2002, sadly). I was 11 when Eek came on and it was pretty special, with its movie parodies, celebrity voices, self-reflexivity, and sometimes dark sensibility (Eek himself routinely seemed serenely fatalistic and even a bit perverted).

Eek debuted at the tail-end of an era where toy tie-in Saturday ‘toons were still common, if not the (shaky) rule. Fittingly, its playful disregard for Saturday morning comedy conventions often gave it more in common with original, new wave cable cartoons like Doug, Ren & Stimpy, Duckman, Beavis and Butthead, Rocko’s Modern Life than its own network sister shows. In fact, during its run, Eek’s S&P-defying innovation did not go unnoticed by mainstream entertainment press. Here’s a short Entertainment Weekly piece on the show’s hilarious S&P notes.
*Page 3: ''I found the shot of Rambo blowing Santa Claus to bloody smithereens excessively violent. We would like to edit this so we don't see Santa exploding.'' *Page 4: ''Even though it is Eek's fantasy, it will not be acceptable to show the child walking into the surf to commit suicide.''
Eek!'s frequent reformatting occassionally made it hard to find -- and even understand -- (is it just my imagination or did Eek once show up in the Thunderlizards's universe?), but the show's sincerity, strangeness, and refusal to ever talk down to its audience remains permanently in my mind. And for that, my "tween" years are thankful.

Much more about Eek! here and here. Interviews with showrunners here.

1 comment:

Deedee said...

I loved the Terrible Thunderlizards cartoon. Even my dad watched that with me. Wish they'd made more than like 11 episodes.