18 August 2010

The Long Halloween: Summer

Welcome once again to Norwegian Morning Wood's year-long look at the Universe's Greatest Television Holiday Specials. Now, August was pretty tough so I may have cheated a bit. Unfortunately I couldn't find any good Ramadan Specials from American TV so here's one of my favourite Summer Specials. Yep, just Summer in general. Hey, it's a good Holiday. Probably the best Holiday. This is also a tough season to find TV Specials in because typically there's no new Network Shows during the Summer Months. So I kind of cheated again. Today I bring you Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. The whole damn 2-hour Epic is on YouTube right here:




Pretty Legendary. Now, this was originally a Direct-to-VHS release in 1992 but was later split up into four episodes and shown on Television, not unlike the recent Futurama Movies. So this got on TV eventually, that's my rationale.

Now really this is more requisite viewing during late June or otherwise the Beginning of Summer, but since the film covers the entire breadth of Summer it's fine to catch it anytime. There's so much of this that really captures the Summer Spirit. You've got the horrendous Family Vacation from Hell, Awkward Summer Romances, Amusement Parks, Supersoakers and Mine Cart Races. What, you never had dangerous Mine Cart Races as a kid? Plucky sums it up best in the first five minutes: "Three months of non-constructive down time!" You really can't sum up the season any better.

There are admittedly about 17 different plots going on at once here, but the Buster/Babs/Byron trip to the Deliverance South and Pluck and Hampton's Miserable Journey to Happy World Land really shine. With the latter storyline, the writers really actually captured accurately what it's like traveling with a strange family. There's always weird quirks and things you find on the road or living with people you thought were your best friends. Now, the Pig Family is absolutely bonkers but that's neither here nor there. The mad Hitchhiker is pretty ridiculous and the trip is straight out of Hell, even if things like Ninja Slugs tend to date the video. Yes, unbelievably this VHS is somehow dated.

Great constant Sexual Tension between Buster and Babs. You know behind the scenes they were screwing like...well like Rabbits. Their journey is pretty nonsensical, Buster's arc is almost the B-Story to Plucky's cross-country travels. That's what makes this feature unique, not unlike Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) which focused more on Daffy than Bugs. That's because really with the cool laid back version of Bugs, Daffy is a much more interesting character. The same principle is at work here.

Tiny Toons was always cool because it wasn't composed of simply younger versions of the Classic Icons, nor was it the sons and daughters of Icons. Tiny Toons instead featured Spiritual Successors, which allowed for much greater character liberty and distinction. The show worked as just about anything, from the landmark Very Special "One Beer" to this fantastic, meditated and entertaining episode. Breathtaking shit.

So as you can tell, I'm a fan of this show from childhood to present, re-watching some episodes are still pretty refreshing (hopefully this is not just intense nostalgia), but really, How I Spent My Vacation has everything a Summer Special or really a Summer needs. Wonderful. Wonderful times. We've got one more of these to make it round the year - stay tuned!

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