Friday, July 25, 2014

Turtle Talk Episode 13: Interview with Andrew Farago

In this episode, Patricia and Kevin interviews author/museum curator Andrew Farago about his new book Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Patricia's Florida Supercon Experience 2014

Hey everyone, Patricia here. Last Sunday, I went to Florida Supercon 2014 at The Miami Beach Convention Center. As some of you recall, last year I went to Florida Supercon at the Miami Airport Convention Center. If you want to know how that went, click here to read my experience of that event. So with that said, how did my experience for this year's con go? Let's find out.

The Miami Beach Convention Center was so much bigger and roomier than the Miami Airport Convention Center. Last year, I felt constricted, hot, and claustrophobic due to the smaller main hall with over many vendors and 40,000 plus attendees walking around. This year, with the expanded, AC rooms, it felt more comfortable and more relaxing. There were some special media guests that showed up this year that I was more than excited to meet up with. Here are the people I met.

Caroll Spinney and his wife Debra Spinney

Like most people, I grew up with Sesame Street. I would recall as a kid watching Sesame Street in the morning watching my favorite characters such as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Bert and Ernie, and more. So, I was even more thrilled to meet up with the man who was a big impact of many people's childhoods. Caroll and Debra were wonderful people who answered some of my questions about working on Sesame Street, meeting with Cheryl Blaylock recently, Caroll's recent documentary I Am Big Bird, and telling him that I'm acquainted with Caseen Gaines, the author of Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse. Interesting thing to note, they're both huge fans of Pee-wee's Playhouse. That's beyond awesome! Here's my autograph of Caroll.

Bill Farmer

Bill Farmer has been the current voice of Goofy and Pluto for over 25 years. He is also the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on Robot Chicken, Foghorn Leghorn and Sylvester the Cat on Space Jam, and currently is Doc on the new Disney Junior cartoon The 7Ds. He was a great guy who talked to me about being Goofy, The 7Ds, and even told me he started recording as Goofy for Kingdom Hearts III a few days ago. He was an amazing man with a great sense of humor. He even did the Goofy voice for me when greeting me. I was so gleefully joyous when he did that. Growing up with Goof Troop, A Goofy Movie, An Extremely Goofy Movie, and House of Mouse, it was an incredible experience to meet Bill. Here's my autograph of Bill.

Rodger Bumpass

Rodger is mostly known for voicing Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants. However, he's also known for voicing Toxie in Toxic Crusaders, Professor Membrane in Invader Zim, Dr. Light in Teen Titans, and Dr. Anrak from Heavy Metal. Here's my autograph of Rodger on my Invader Zim DVDs alongside Richard Horvitz and Rikki Simons.

Rodger Bumpass was a really cool guy, but the highlight meeting him were the two teenage boys that were getting their autographs from him while I was waiting for my turn. One of the boys, who was dressed as the blue Scout from Team Fortress 2, told Rodger about that when he was an orphan, his earliest and happiest memories growing up was watching SpongeBob SquarePants. The other teenage boy, who seemed to be friends with the blue Scout, also mentioned about classic episodes of SpongeBob such as "Band Geeks". Rodger was very pleased hearing these stories. This moment reminded me of the two teenage boys I saw meeting with Veronica Taylor telling her about their memories growing up with Pokemon last year. Afterwards, I went over to Rodger's Q&A.

It was probably my favorite panel of the con. There were so many people at this con, both little kids and adults. I saw between the two teenage boys and a teenage girl with her 9-year-old brother. Rodger came by answering many questions and doing his Squidward voice. Some of them include what were his favorite episodes, the upcoming SpongeBob movie, and more. He even answered some of my questions regarding about working on Invader Zim and Toxic Crusaders. But my favorite moment in the panel were the people saying quotes from the shows for Rodger to answer in his Squidward voice. Some of them include "Are you finish with those errands?", "Is mayonnaise an instrument?", and "You like Krabby Patties, don't you Squidward?". Looking at the happy, laughing faces, it showed me how big the impact that SpongeBob has left in all of them. It's hard to remember how influential SpongeBob was since it's running longer than it should have with the newer episodes being either mediocre or awful. However, not ONE person brought up ANY questions or comments about Squidward being tortured in the later episodes. Everyone was talking about classic episodes from Seasons 1-3 like "Dying for Pie", "Bank Geeks", "One Bite", "SB-129", and "Help Wanted". I saw that the love of SpongeBob is still as strong as ever.

Next, I met up with Roger Cook, who was a director for a lot of Hanna Barbera and Filmation cartoons. Afterwards, I caught up with the people I met at Florida Supercon last year such as Rikki Simons and Richard Horvitz from Invader Zim and Lloyd Kaufman, the president of Tromaville. They're still great people and it was wonderful to meet up with them again. After that, I met Ernie Hudson, the actor who played as Winston from Ghostbusters. While I didn't have the funds to have a picture or autograph of Ernie, I did tell him how much Ghostbusters meant to me. He smiled and gave me a hug. Now I can say that I received a hug from a Ghostbuster. After that, I went to the big voice acting panel ran by William Salyers, the voice of Rigby from Regular Show, Dana Synder, the voice of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Bill Farmer, Richard Horvitz, and Rikki Simons. It was a ton of fun hearing the questions from the audience and the witty answers from the voice actors. After the panel, I met with William and Dana and got their pictures with them for free. 

Afterwards, I went to a Pokemon trivia question panel, a video game room, a classic arcade and pinball room, and saw all the cool vendors full of toys, comic books, t-shirts, and more. Then, I headed home having to go to work the next day. Overall, I had an amazing time at this year's Florida Supercon. Not sure if I'll go back next year, but who knows. But I'm hoping to go to a special event coming this October at New York City. More details about it another time. 

That's all for now. Old School Lane will be taking a short hiatus soon due to moving to a new apartment. But, I should have a new episode of Turtle Talk and Casual Chats up soon. Plus, I'm busy with the Re-Open Nickelodeon Studios Facebook page doing a miniseries called Nicksmissal discussing about all the rejected Nickelodeon pilots and concepts that were never picked up. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the first episode down below.

Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Top 5 Nickelodeon Burger Joints That Should Be Open To The Public

Happy 4th of July, everyone! In honor of an actual Krusty Krab opening soon, Patricia lists on 5 more burger restaurants that she would like to see open to the public. What burger joints from Nickelodeon would you like to see open in real life? Post down in the comments down below.

To know more information on the Krusty Krab restaurant in Palestine, click here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: The Mighty B!

Before I begin today's review, I want to talk about a little pilot from a show that was brought over to Nickelodeon. It was called The Modifyers. 

Created by Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor, who previously worked on The Ren & Stimpy Show, The Modifyers is about a double agent named Agent Xero who is a member of an organization called The Modifyers. Their main goal is to take down the main villain known as Baron Vain. Reccardi and Naylor presented this pilot to Nickelodeon back in 2007, however they rejected it due to a rumor stating that Nickelodeon didn't want a cartoon featuring a female protagonist. Looking back at the previous Nicktoons that has had a female protagonist, I can slightly understand why they rejected The Modifyers. I've already discussed numerous times about how underwhelming and dull The Wild Thornberrys was and how Eliza Thornberry was an awful protagonist using her power to talk to animals to make their situations worse. As Told by Ginger was a Nicktoon that, while it broke new ground for cartoons by creating story arcs, discussing about serious topics, and had the characters change and grow throughout the series, never became a huge hit due to moving to the Nicktoons Network around Season 3 and is currently the least talked about Klasky Csupo Nicktoon. My Life with a Teenage Robot also broke new ground implicating action into a Nicktoon and also having change and growth in the characters throughout the series. However, it was overshadowed by The Fairly OddParents, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and many other Nickelodeon shows at the time and was the shortest lasting Nicktoon out of the Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts lasting for only 40 episodes. 

The previous Nicktoons and Nickelodeon shows I've reviewed so far in the mid 2000's have been mediocre and forgettable with the exception of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Plus, I think The Modifyers would have been the start of having cartoons starring female protagonists again with The Powerpuff Girls and Kim Possible having ended at that point. With that said, Nickelodeon did feature a cartoon with a female protagonist called The Mighty B! which debuted on April 26, 2008. 

The show is about a Beescout named Bessie Higgenbottom who does everything she can to earn every badge for the Beescouts. Bessie is in the same Beescout group alongside two other girls named Portia (voiced by Grey DeLisle) and Gwen (voiced by Jessica DiCicco) who she respects a lot. However, Portia and Gwen don't like Bessie and do whatever they can to sabotage and humiliate her. However, due to luck and enthusiasm from Bessie, they always fail on their goals. Along the way, she does crazy and wacky adventures alongside her brother Benjamin (voiced by Andy Richter), her best friend Penny (voiced by Dannah Phirman), and her dog Happy (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker). 

The show was created by couple Eric Wiese and Cynthia True and Amy Poehler. Eric Wiese is mostly known for being a writer and storyboard artist of SpongeBob SquarePants while Cynthia True is mostly known for being a writer and script coordinator of Johnny Test, Danny Phantom, and The Fairly Oddparents. As for Amy Poehler, she's mostly known for her work on Saturday Night Life and Parks and Recreations. The inspirations for Bessie were an amalgamation of a character she performed in the comedy troupes Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade and her character Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreations. 

With that said, the show lasted for 2 seasons ending its run on June 12, 2011. When it premiered, there were positive reviews from both critics and viewers. While watching it, I did get a SpongeBob vibe from The Mighty B!, however, it was more post-movie SpongeBob, not pre-movie SpongeBob. Well, okay, it's not that horrible, but it's still not very good. While the animation is very well done, everything else is a train wreck. The characters are mostly annoying or cliched, the everyday scenarios are basic, and the humor is very hit and miss. It can range from face-paced jokes to extremely random humor and it barely works. I was left scratching my head in most of the jokes. It seems that they are trying way too hard to make people laugh with its random nonsense. In the end, it's random nonsense and nothing else. 

Plus, The Mighty B! at times felt like a marketable product with the focus on Amy Poehler. Going back to the critics' reviews on The Mighty B!, almost every single one of them mostly mentioned Amy Poehler and little else. There were barely any mentions of Eric Wiese or Cynthia True. They were more like a footnote compared to Amy Poehler. Since Parks and Recreations was a popular show and The Mighty B! debuted on the same day as Baby Mama which starred Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, I felt that they just should have called it The Amy Poehler Show. It doesn't have its own legs to stand on without Amy Poehler. 

In my opinion, I felt that Nickelodeon should have picked up The Modifyers instead of The Mighty B! I felt that The Modifyers would have had the potential to be an amazing Nicktoon. While the humor is very dry, the animation was gorgeous and very colorful, the characters were diverse and likable, and the concept was unique and charming. If The Modifyers would have been picked up as a Nicktoon, I think that Nickelodeon would have started climbing out of its doldrums. However, due to most likely marketable reasons, they decided to pick up The Mighty B! instead. At the end of the day, it's one of the most disappointing Nicktoons that has ever aired. It felt too much like a SpongeBob clone mixed with Amy Poehler and not like an original Nicktoon. As a standalone show, it's mostly forgettable. I don't recommend checking it out.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.