Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Best Cartoon Which is Good at Making Funny Barbershop Quartet Songs and Which Features a Fat Dad as A Character
Someday, I'll probably get around to pointing out what a huge creative debt Seth MacFarlane, the creator of "Family Guy" owes to "The Critic."
This isn't that day. Today, I'm pointing out how people pretend to think that television is no good and pretend not to watch television (making them either liars or jerks) when in fact everyone worth talking to or knowing does watch television and television is good. Television can teach things, and I'm not talking about obvious things like the alphabet or how easy it is for Taco Bell to completely destroy the fond memories I had of the Modern English song "Melt With You" and instead replace those memories with images of people dripping cheese out of their mouths.
Remember, I'm very much in favor of both advertising and selling out. But even I have limits, and that limit is reached when a song that I thought was among the most romantic songs ever is now permanently linked, in my mind, with cardboard-flavored tacos. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Besides those lessons, television can teach other things, things of value, things like most music prior to 1950 really sucked. I know that every generation tends to think that it's music and art and clothing is best, and that we're constantly improving on the generations before us and making things better -- and I know that the Baby Boomers, despite a complete absence of supporting evidence, really believe that they made things better-- but in some cases, it's not just a belief, it's true. (Not for the Boomers. They didn't improve on anything, and they've been responsible for a lot of terrible things, like the mortgage crisis and tie-dyed shirts.)
I learned that lesson -- that the present really does improve on the past in some cases -- by trying to 'get into' barbershop quartet music after hearing a couple of barbershop quartet-style songs, first on "The Simpsons" and then on "The Crit..." I mean on "Family Guy." I liked those songs, so I went and got a couple of barbershop quartet CDs, thinking that I would find similarly neat, amusing, harmonic songs.
Boy, was I wrong. I got three different CDs and listened to as much of them as I could before concluding that barbershop quartet music mostly stinks. Yet, one of the inserts in the CDs described it as among the most popular music of its day.
So from that, I can conclude that music back in the very olden days (before 2002) was terrible, and also that barbershop quartet music had as its sole virtue the fact that it once existed and now can be used by cartoons to make funny songs, and that I'm glad I live in modern times (2008) in which even if all of our popular music is eventually visually associated with gorditas, at least we don't have to listen to terrible barbershop quartet songs all day long, and the only barbershop quartet songs that we do have available are funny ones on cartoons like The Simpsons and The Cr... did it again: Family Guy. Cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy.
The first up, then, in this Showdown is The Simpsons, which made fun of barbershop quartet music in the song "Baby on Board," by the Be-Sharps -- Homer's barbershop quartet.
I'll get to the actual song in a second. Before that, I just have to say... What the heck is this? I found this while trying to get "Baby On Board" off of Youtube:
You wacky foreigners! Still, that song is pretty cool. I bet it would really make people want to eat a taco.
Here's Baby on Board:
"Baby On Board" has going for it a couple of things: First, I know all the words to it. Second, it makes fun of 80s relics like the "Baby On Board" sign, and that's comedy gold. (Also comedy gold? Co-opting Banya's phrase.) Third, it was first. So The Simpsons has a lot to recommend it in this showdown.
But, listen to Family Critic's barbershop song, the Vasectomy song:
The Critical Family Guy didn't stop at one barbershop quartet song, either -- they did it twice:
So Critic Guy didn't rest on its laurels with just one song, and both of the barbershop quartet songs are scientifically accurate, and also hilarious. Wouldn't the world be a better place if science was more hilarious, more musical, and more accurate?
The Vasectomy song also takes that cool detour right in the middle of the song, which is also very funny. And, the Vasectomy song actually defines irony correctly. Being right twice in one song has to count for something.
Still, Baby On Board was very catchy. I can't make up my mind just on the songs, so I'm going to go to the tie-breaker.
The tie-breaker is this: I watched The Simpson Movie last weekend and I have to say, I was underwhelmed. I thought it had maybe three funny bits in it, and lots and lots of filler. I don't know why they moved to Alaska, also, as that seemed pointless. Plus, the [SPOILER ALERT INVOLVING A CIRCUS TRICK THAT IS APPARENTLY THROWN INTO THE MOVIE AFTER THE REST OF IT IS WRITTEN TO JUSTIFY HOW A CHARACTER LEARNS A TRICK THAT IS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO PERFORM IN ORDER TO SAVE THE DAY, AND WHILE THIS SEEMS TO BE VERY CONFUSING IN SPOILER-ALERT FORM, IT'S NOT IF YOU JUST WATCH THE MOVIE AND THEN COME BACK HERE AND YOU'LL SEE WHAT I MEAN] whole thing about Homer learning to ride a motorcycle around the death globe at the carnival was so obviously tacked-on, because he did it to win a truck, and yet the family had their station wagon, so what did he need to win a truck for? Why couldn't they take their station wagon to Alaska? It's like the writers wanted to have Homer ride a motorcycle around the dome at the end, but needed to justify how Homer would have learned to do that, so they went back and threw in a pointless scene justifying that.
And I watched "The Simpsons Movie" on television, so that's yet another thing television can teach us: That "The Simpsons Movie" was overrated.
Because, then, The Guy Who Has a Family and Is A Critic never made an overrated movie, I'm going to give it the tiebreaker and declare it to be The Best Cartoon Which is Good at Making Funny Barbershop Quartet Songs and Which Features a Fat Dad as A Character.
Click here to see all the other topics I’ve ever discussed!
Showdown September is an entire month of categories in which there are only TWO possible nominees! Categories like
The Best Sneetch
The Best Song From the One/Two Hit Wonder “The Kings” First Single
The Best Show Andy Richter Starred In That Also Had “Andy” In The Title
The Best Man To Claim a World Record Score on Donkey Kong
The Best Song That Talks About Whether The Singer Of The Song Feels Like Dancing Or Not
The Best of Two Freaky Cults Trying to Sell You Something and
The Best Celebrity Who Remains Unspeakably Cool No Matter What He Does.
Children tormented by demons. An old man accidentally killing people. Witches who live hundreds of years and escape from Hell repeatedly. An astronaut drifting through space... these and other great stories can be found only on AfterDark: The scariest things, you CAN'T imagine.