FLAPJACKS: So what are we watching?
FLAPJACKS: Well, I brought back your wok, so I figure I might as well hang out.
MGK: That’s not my wok. That’s a frying pan.
MGK: You had my wok for three years.
FLAPJACKS: Yes, and now we’re watching something. Keep up! What are we watching?
MGK: Animalympics. It’s an old cartoon from when I was a kid.
FLAPJACKS: …why are we watching this?
MGK: I used to watch this all the time when I was six. I remember one time, my parents were going out for the evening, so they took me to the video store and I got it for like the fifth time, but I’d accidentally gotten it in Beta instead of VHS, so my dad actually took me back to get the right one.
FLAPJACKS: That is deeply touching. Your life is a Hallmark card. So why are we watching it?
MGK: Because I’m curious to see how bad, in fact, it actually was.
FLAPJACKS: Fair enough – wait, that announcer sounds like Harry Shearer.
MGK: Bingo! It is Harry Shearer, explaining “Mount Animalympus.”
FLAPJACKS: That sounds dirty.
MGK: There’s probably going to be a lot of that.
FLAPJACKS: So, wait, animals carry the Oly…Animalympic Torch over water? What happens if that seal drops the torch?
MGK: Overthinking it.
FLAPJACKS: Like we’re going to do anything else?
FLAPJACKS: “Featuring the voices of” Gilda Radner, Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer and… some other person!
MGK: This was originally made by NBC as a pair of specials in 1980, which explains the cast. But the summer special never aired because of the Moscow boycott.
FLAPJACKS: Did you know that at the time?
MGK: Yes, because I was a geopolitically-interested six-year-old. No, of course I didn’t know.
FLAPJACKS: …why does the announcer turtle sound like Henry Kissinger?
MGK: I have no idea.
FLAPJACKS: I see Gilda Radner is doing her Baba Wawa voice.
MGK: And Harry Shearer is doing his Kent Brockman voice.
FLAPJACKS: And Gilda Radner does a slightly different voice.
MGK:And Billy Crystal does a bad Howard Cosell impersonation.
FLAPJACKS: And… wait, are they giving us highlights of the movie in advance?
MGK: Padding for the home video market, I think.
FLAPJACKS: That’s just sad.
MGK: A “grazing-room only crowd” at the stadium.
FLAPJACKS: But what about the carnivores? Are they telling us that the Animalympics are herbivore-centric?
MGK: Are you surprised? Herbivores control the animal media, you know. They just want to make a perfectly valid lifestyle choice a crime.
FLAPJACKS: A choice? Ahem. Carnivores were just born that way.
MGK: I stand corrected.
FLAPJACKS: …okay, they really put way too much effort into making sure that rhino’s butt moved in a taut, rhythmic manner.
MGK: Are you bothered?
FLAPJACKS: No. But it’s weird. Wait, why does the “mayor of Animalympic Island” sound like a Richard Nixon impersonation? Did Rich Little need some work that week?
MGK: Dude, that Nixon is nowhere near Rich Little’s. Rich Little does quality Nixon. It’s practically his calling card.
FLAPJACKS: Okay, that sports graphic looked appropriately cheesy. I can believe this was made in 1980.
MGK: “Rene Fromage.” That is the name of the European marathoning goat. “Frenchy McFrance” was already taken, I guess.
FLAPJACKS: Oh, man. This is all gonna be things that bad comedians think kids will find funny, isn’t it?
MGK: This hails from an era where Leonard Maltin was the only man over 25 who would admit he still watched cartoons. This is not going to be sophisticated or clever, I think.
FLAPJACKS: “Kit Mambo” is, I take it, his nemesis in the film.
FLAPJACKS: And again with the ass. Man, these animators were butt-lovers, huh?
MGK: Try not to think about it.
FLAPJACKS: And we’re over to gymnastics. Okay, so this mink is… oh, wait, no, not an athlete, another interviewer. And she’s interviewing another mink.
MGK: Oh, yes, I remember this from when I was a kid. I thought they were ripping off Bugs Bunny even then.
FLAPJACKS: Did you really?
MGK: Probably not, no.
FLAPJACKS: But wait, she visibly fucks up during the routine and still gets a perfect 10? Is this commentary on the Soviet system here?
MGK: Given that the coach is prepared to hang himself if she fails, I suspect so. Subtlety is not what you expect to find here.
FLAPJACKS: And this gymnast is a hippo who hails from “Fatgard,” competing for Europe.
MGK: Why is a hippo competing for Europe? They don’t live in Europe.
FLAPJACKS: Maybe she emigrated. Ever think of that?
MGK: But she’s teaching all those other hippos to swim. Are there German hippos we don’t know about?
FLAPJACKS: It would be just like those Germans to keep a secret hippo community hidden from the rest of the world!
MGK: It would?
FLAPJACKS: I dunno. Wait – the pommel horses at the Animalympics are actual horses?
MGK: Well, the starting gun for the marathon was a bird that they squeezed to squawk, like in The Flintstones.
FLAPJACKS: Yes, but in The Flintstones, humans are still in charge. This use of animals as tools sort of implies a slavery-based system.
MGK: So basically what you’re saying is that the Animalympics are a distraction for the masses? Distracting them from their downtrodden position through sport?
FLAPJACKS: Yes, that’s exactly it. Why is this penguin Japanese?
FLAPJACKS: But he’s Japanese. He’s clearly Japanese. His name is “Kwakimoto.” That is clearly a takeoff from Japanese naming conventions. And he is initially shown in a crowd full of other Japanese penguins waiting for the subway.
MGK: Even so, in the Animalympics there are only five continents competing.
FLAPJACKS: But they’ve already identified athletes from “Asia,” “Eurasia” and “Europe,” along with African and North American athletes.
MGK: There was also a South American anteater competing in the marathon.
FLAPJACKS: Oh my god, did they blow up Australia?
MGK: Well, I don’t –
FLAPJACKS: I bet they did. Those marsupials would be like horrific aliens to these walking, talking animals.
MGK: Can’t we just go back to talking about the racist cariacature in penguin form? Listen! His martial art is called “No-Can-Do!”
FLAPJACKS: Asians love martial arts!
MGK: And Harry Shearer is doubling down on the vaguely racist mock-Asian gibberish. “Me-Washy-You-Facey.” “Say-You-Punky.”
FLAPJACKS: You had horrible taste as a kid.
MGK: It was the early Eighties. Everybody had horrible taste then.
FLAPJACKS: And I note that, after the elephant gymnast wipes out on the uneven bars, the winners in women’s gymnastics are “Eurasia” and “Asia.” My geography theory continues to be supported.
MGK: More racist penguin!
FLAPJACKS: More marathon!
MGK: You know what’s weird about the marathon? The male goat is a very typical, asexual cartoon character, and the female lion is sexualized with distinct feminine curves. It’s honestly kind of creepy if you think about it: this is training kids to accept a double standard for male and female appearance.
FLAPJACKS: Also it’s a goat and a lion. The lion is not attempting to eat the goat.
MGK: There is that.
FLAPJACKS: And in passing, a panda athlete is identified as Yu Fat Ting. This cartoon just keeps getting more and more racist!
MGK: And the tour of the commissary! There are literally big chops of meat just waiting to be eaten by carnivore athletes there. They slaughtered presumably-intelligent animals to do it. This is so fucked up.
FLAPJACKS: Wait, it turns out Animalympic Island is being powered by slave labour!
MGK: Look, we don’t know that those snakes serving as tow cables are slaves. Perhaps they’re fairly compensated. Maybe they’re union.
FLAPJACKS: What type of seniority do you need to avoid being a cable? What do you move up to? Shoelace?
MGK: THAT’S SNAKE-RACIST! Armist? Limbist? Whatever.
FLAPJACKS: Figure skating! And there’s more “Eurasian” athletes. Where does Eurasia end and Asia begin?
MGK: More importantly, why is a salamander marrying a chicken?
FLAPJACKS: They’re in love. Duh.
MGK: …OH MY GOD THIS ANIMAL WORLD HAS AN EQUIVALENT OF “PLAYBOY.” You know what this means? It is standard for denizens of this world to beat off to animals outside their species.
FLAPJACKS: Well, it happens here too.
MGK: But it’s not normal.
FLAPJACKS: Dude, are you going to start making anti-miscegenation comments now?
MGK: They’re actually different species!
FLAPJACKS: And you don’t have any idea that they even do this, you know. Maybe there is porn for every species in this world. Like, “Playdog.” And… “Playgull.” And…
MGK: “Scenthouse.” We’re too good at this. We should stop.
FLAPJACKS: Wait wait wait – the flamingo skating star skates professionally in the “Ice Parades?” Are they saying that the Animalympics doesn’t respect the difference between amateur and professional athletes? Well. I am shocked.
MGK: I’m more trying to figure out how a cobra took third in figure skating. Where does it put on the skate?
FLAPJACKS: Too slow! We have moved on to an alligator doing a John Travolta impersonation!
MGK: Ah, good old Bolt Jenkins.
FLAPJACKS: You remembered this?
MGK: Surprisingly, yes. They’re about to do high jumps of 77 feet.
FLAPJACKS: Man, they aren’t even trying to suspend my disbelief!
MGK: This is a cartoon that can’t quite remember how many continents there are, you know.
FLAPJACKS: But they can remember to play his theme music as he pole vaults 180 feet.
MGK: And then a Wheaties parody before we get a musical montage.
FLAPJACKS: Oh my god, they bothered to do a race-walking bit?
MGK: That pigeon is totally going to out-race-walk that beaver!
FLAPJACKS: These are kind of boring. They couldn’t come up with any gags for the all-skunk relay team?
MGK: Well, that elephant and that… coyote?… are hitting each other with lacrosse sticks rather than play. That’s kind of funny to a kid, right?
FLAPJACKS: Was it?
MGK: I don’t know.
FLAPJACKS: Seriously, they could just keep showing me the race-walkers. That was actually legitimately funny. Because race-walking looks silly – and now they’re back to long takes of waggling anthropomorphized animal butts.
MGK: Okay, is this an equestrian event? Or the equivalent thereof? Because it makes no sense. No sense at all.
FLAPJACKS: They totally need some guy running alongside banging coconuts together.
MGK: And apparently the no-questrian event has a deathtrap in it. That seems sort of cruel.
FLAPJACKS: Dude, they make the competitors do 180-foot pole vaults. The Animalympics depend on death-sports to keep competitors from wondering why herbivores and carnivores aren’t always at war with one another.
MGK: I’m just wondering why the organizers decided to have all the events at the same time. It looks like a lot of athletes are getting hit by hammer-toss hammers.
FLAPJACKS: And now… the 100 meter dash!
MGK: Harry Shearer’s announcer: “Ah, 46 seconds. Not bad for fatso.” Uh, no, that is a terrible time. I’m pretty sure you can do a hundred meters in an electric wheelchair in 46 seconds.
FLAPJACKS: So, competing in the dash, we’ve got an African, a “Eurasian,” Bolt Jenkins – who, I note, is an “American,” and I’m not sure if that means he’s from the Americas or if they think the USA is a continent – and a rabbit from Europe. This whole “five continents” thing still bothers me, because at this point it looks like both South America and Australia have been destroyed.
MGK: And Bolt Jenkins wins the gold medal, and then gives it away to the African runner because the other athlete was “better” than him. Uh, Bolt Jenkins, this is sports. It’s not the Academy Awards. There is no qualitiative discussion going on here. You were faster.
FLAPJACKS: I dunno. That cheetah seems quite happy to get a pity medal. He’s probably thinking “as a stereotypical African, I am probably expected to say something about how this can feed my entire village for a year!”
MGK: Ugh. Back to the marathon!
FLAPJACKS: And the goat and the lion are becoming attracted to one another!
MGK: That must be confusing for the lion to be attracted to what it, let’s face it, her prey.
FLAPJACKS: Yes, I – OH MY GOD A DISCO SEQUENCE?
MGK: Oh, yes, they needed to pad out the time somehow. I mean, come on. Disco. Who doesn’t love disco? After all, this was 1980 so it was totally cutting edge and relevant. Hey, look, it’s the racist penguin again!
FLAPJACKS: Hey, wait! I just saw a team of four platypi! That means Australia isn’t destroyed after all?
MGK: You never know. Maybe they’re refugees.
FLAPJACKS: I never thought of that. Maybe they’re protected by species-rights legislation. A distinct society. They probably can’t get jobs anywhere because they bear live young and then nurse them in pouches.
MGK: And Bolt Jenkins again! In a Travolta-style white disco suit! Just in case you didn’t yet understand that Bolt Jenkins is intended to be a John Travolta parody, it’s another hint for you!
FLAPJACKS: You know what’s interesting? That sort of joke wouldn’t work today.
MGK: I don’t think it worked then.
FLAPJACKS: No, wait, think about it. That joke depends on commonality of celebrity culture. You can get laughs parodying John Travolta in the 1980s because everybody knew Travolta. Can you do it today? Who’s a big enough celebrity that everybody will go “oh, that guy?” Will Smith, maybe? And Will Smith isn’t funny to parody because he’s Will Smith.
MGK: I get your point, but there’s also the important factor that this cartoon impersonation isn’t even remotely funny, so how would we know?
FLAPJACKS: Needs more Rich Little.
MGK: And now we see some soccer, as the Germans – okay, the “Europeans,” but come on, we know they’re the Germans – clean the clocks of the American team from New York. So this is at least realistic.
FLAPJACKS: Incidentally, the fact that they then defeat the “South American Llamas” merely upholds my belief that something is deeply weird here. We’ve been told there are five continents competing, but so far there are teams from South America, “America,” Europe, Asia, Africa and “Eurasia.” Is there some sort of civil war going on in Eurasia? Two breakaway republics?
MGK: Maybe Bolt Jenkins isn’t from “America.” Maybe he’s actually Brazilian. And New York, in Animal World, is in Chile. It could happen.
FLAPJACKS: And we still don’t know about the Aussies.
MGK: Well, they are busy going back to the marathon and the oversexualized lion who is inexplicably falling in love with a goat she should more properly regard as a snack.
FLAPJACKS: Well, the goat clearly lusts after the lion as well. That makes more sense. I would expect many goats have secret desires to sexually humiliate their predators.
MGK: Do you really want to speculate about this? I mean, you’re one step away from hardcore disturbing bronyhood at this point.
FLAPJACKS: Actually, I want to talk about his hallucination/dream sequence. Because, in this sequence, he hallucinates human women which he pointedly avoids, because he is concentrating on the gold medal of course, but still. That suggests that in this world, they knew humans existed at one point.
MGK: My god. I think you have cracked the code.
MGK: No. I was actually more interested in the fact that they depicted him as smoking. I mean, even though he’s French, I would have thought 1980 was late enough that they wouldn’t show cartoons smoking any longer.
FLAPJACKS: OH GOD THE MEDAL HAS TURNED INTO THE SEXY LION AND IT HAS NIPPLES AND EVERYTHING.
MGK: This cartoon just keeps getting more and more disturbing.
FLAPJACKS: How did you not end up a furry if this was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?
MGK: I’m not sure. But regardless: that is one damn demented goat.
FLAPJACKS: Okay, in the slalom skiing, we see competitors from Europe, North America, South America, and Scandinavia. Which is not a continent! My god, what is the situation in Eurasia? Have the Finns convinced the rest of the Nordic countries to go it alone?
MGK: There’s got to be some brutal war going on that we’re missing because we can’t get past Billy Crystal’s godawful “funny” Swedish accent. Billy Crystal: willing to make kids miserable since… well, forever.
FLAPJACKS: It is so bad that we almost missed Kurt Wuffner’s disappearance! After a triumphant victory in the slalom, he has disappeared while climbing a mountain!
MGK: Approximately thirty seconds later, apparently.
FLAPJACKS: This smells fishy. I believe there is foul play afoot. Why would a devoted extreme athlete decide to climb a mountain in between his two primary events? I think this stinks of Eurasian manipulation!
MGK: Certainly. After all, note that Wuffner’s disappearance gives the win to Scandinavia. Presumably the Scandinavians are rebels warring against the European regime, and Eurasia’s central committee seeks to embarrass the EU, which broke away from it, by repeating their rebellion in microcosm – at the Animalympics!
FLAPJACKS: This goes down so many layers it’s scary! But I think I need a break.
MGK: Agreed. There is only so much Billy Crystal “funny voice” schtick one can hande in a day. We’ll finish it tomorrow. After you return my wok.