Sunday, 21 March 2010

Funny Face - The Juice is Loose!

I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, that Renegade Animation seems to be a small percentage in America who still care about creating "real" cartoons these days. Next to creating dozens of adverts/commercials, they've also been responsible for bringing to us (or in this case, the Americans) "Elmo Aardvark", "Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi" and "The Mr Men Show (2008)". Just watching any of these and you can clearly see how wonderfully characterised and fast their animations look, feel and move - despite being animated in Flash, they don't cut corners by simply using "tweening" all the time. They do it with artistic style 8-)

And their latest addition, "Funny Face", brings back old school cartoon humour, slapstick and violence. But as the characters are all fruit, no one really gets hurt (and the only "gore" is fruit juice - yum! XD ).

Ironically, the Funny Face cast started out as mascot characters to market a selection of fruit drinks back in the '70's as an "alternative" to Kool-Aid. These consisted of Goofy Grape, Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry, Jolly Olly Orange, Freckle-Face Strawberry, Loudmouth Lime, Choo-Choo Cherry, Captain Black Cherry and Lefty Lemon.

Originally, Jolly Olly and Choo Choo were created to replace earlier versions of their counterparts - Injun' Orange and Chinese Cherry - which were deemed too racist to be use as advertising products. No different to today's standards then... :P

Truthfully, the only source I knew about the Funny Face cast was by downloading and listening to an old record entitled "Goofy Grape Sings (Awful!)" which had the characters singing a song about one another - all vocals by the Late Great Paul Frees (Ludwig Von Drake, Tigger). And it was sometime in early 2008 that Renegade were granted the chance to bring the characters back as an animated series.

It's almost a shame that not much promotion has been given about this series so far - save for one YouTube "advert" and a string of minute gags on Dailymotion. What I adore about Renegade's technique is, as with "The Mr Men Show", they go for character-driven situations, which has more potential for storytelling than just anvils and snot and screechy voices. Plus, the animation itself is very, very good - and easy too, considering none of the fruits have limbs! ;)

New characters for this series (next to the odd pineapple and watermelon) include Top Banana and Crabby Apple, with Freckleface Strawberry and Choo Choo Cherry typcast as girls. The voices are fantastically funny to add, with I presume the same voice actors who portrayed the Mr Men characters. I can definitely recognise the tons of Joseph J. Terry, Danny Katiana and Susan Balboni for most of the characters.

I seriously hope that more publication of these characters would be widespread in the future - it could be a chance to encourage kids to enjoy more fruit for healthy eating as well as bringing FUN cartoons back on the air again.

For now, though, here's a selection of Funny Face shorts still avaliable on their official Dailymotion Channel. All worth your precious viewing time =)


Up All Night



No comments:

Post a Comment