Tooncrap #3 - The Shnookums & Meat Funny
I know the words, but the title doesn't make any sense.
Written by: Raymond Gallant
I sometimes wonder just what inter-dimensional deity
felt the need to show us some mercy and laid upon us the brilliance of
The Ren and Stimpy Show. Look at the landscape of animated kids
television before Ren and Stimpy, and you can tell that nothing even
tried to walk into the territory that Nickelodeon happily skipped across
by letting the warped mind of John Kricfalusi give the world such a
cartoon that perfectly balanced simple comedic formulas, tinged with
massive quantities of grotesque humor, and a great amount of darkness.
It was most kids' first exposure to such a twisted style of comedy
writing. I still claim that the Spumco era of Ren and Stimpy may be one
of the greatest cartoons of all time.
And I guess a lot of other companies believe that too, since they all
tried so hard to copy it. And that's where I segue into the house of the
By 1994, Disney was trying to beef up their afternoon block with more
variety in shows beyond the one big show a year format. So, by the
1994/1995 block things started to see a shift in more content. First, by
taking the animated classic Aladdin, and turning it into a weekday
series, which wasn't too bad to be honest. At least Aladdin is the type
of film that you could see more adventures that could possibly happen
beyond the movie itself.
Though we can pass on any more singing Gilbert Gottfried.
The 2nd big cartoon was Gargoyles, which was Disney's attempt to do a
more action packed, Batman-esque cartoon, which actually proved to be a
massive success until they completely dropped the ball with "The Goliath
And that leaves us with our induction du jour. Disney was trying
everything fresh and different in terms of going past their norm in
terms of what cartoons they aired, and that includes a cartoon that
imitated that of Ren and Stimpy. I mean, it's an obvious formula to
imitate. Add a cat and a dog, put them in wacky situations, and boom.
The kids will be dumb enough to love it.
And thus Shnookums and Meat were born. The show was created by Bill
Kopp, who would create some other well forgotten cartoons of the 90's
like Mad Jack the Pirate, and Toonsylvania. You know that one Steven
Spielberg cartoon everyone forgets about? Originally, five of the
Shnookums and Meat shorts aired the year prior on Marsupilami. You may
remember them if you're one of the 3 people who actually remember
Marsupilami. In fact, five of the 13 episodes of Shnookums and Meat
featured contain these shorts, proving just how slapdash a lot of this
Though they knew just adding dog and cat kookiness wouldn't keep the
kiddies interested long enough, so they bundled two other cartoons into
the half hour block, and dubbed it the "Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon
Show". That's quite a tasking title. Is it either funny, or a cartoon ,
or a show? Let's find out as we review this thing.
I will open as I always do with talking about the theme song. I will
admit, it's probably the best thing in the whole series. The
Hellecasters give us a surprisingly solid guitar theme that tries its
best to represent the show's manic feel. But it reminds me of a lot of
90's cartoons. Once the awesome theme song ends, you're left watching
So, let's look into the first of the three cartoons of the
aforementioned funny cartoon show by looking at a Shnookums and Meat
short. Clearly if they're the starts of the show, they must have the
strongest segments. Let's look at "Pain in the Brain"
We open the episode with Meat (the dumb dog of the duo) chasing
Shnookums (the smarter cat of the duo) with a stove. This would be funny
if it didn't feel like it takes forever for something funny to happen
with the stove. Meat throws it through a window, which makes the seconds
of precious air time wasted feel all the more worth it. After a bit more
slowness, Shnookums tries to throw a piano down the stairs on to Meat.
But Meat literally pulls the carpet on him, knocking him down too, just
as the duo end up both being smashed by the piano.
The resulting accident LITERALLY knocked their brains out. Of course,
you don't actually see it happen, or really anything more graphic than
holes on their head you barely see much of. It really just looks mostly
like they have Bart Simpson haircuts. They find the brains have slid
into the basement and are covered in bugs and dirt. This is the best
attempt at gross out humor you're getting folks.
They eventually get the dirty, spider-covered brains back, and decide
that they'd better give their noggins a right cleaning before putting
them back in their heads. This just leads to burning some of Meat's
brain. Next up on this montage of literal brain washing, they try the
washing machine, and the dryer. This only ends up shrinking their
brains. But a quick trip to the sink fixes that. Hey, really dumb
conflict resolved with time to spare. Looks like we can end this on a
No, instead we get more brain damage (with no actual sign of effects to
the brain, which honestly would have made the joke funny), as they throw
the brains around, use them as tennis balls, and other such jokes. Meat
even uses Shnookums brain as a clay pigeon and shoots it. Really? I get
this is a comedy montage and all, but one of the brains is destroyed
now, so that conflict should be more screwed up than it already is. But
no, it be more than fine in the next part of this painfully long skit.
Finally the brains become sentient beings and are more than sick of all
this abuse, and decide to go to Vegas. And thus the episode ends with
the two dying since they finally realize that they need a brain to
function at all.
Of course that's not the actual ending. The real ending is that
Shnookums and Meat are sad and depressed while the brains are living it
up in Vegas. The brains eventually get tired of the good life, and
return to the heads of the two morons. But the big joke is they went
into the wrong heads. The end. I'll say my piece on Shnookums and Meat's
shorts in the end, but I will say this early on. The comedy really feels
like it wants to be edgy, but you can really see how a lot of this is
cribbing on Ren and Stimpy, while also being kept from any real
creativity from the stricter Disney.
Next up on Shnookums and Meat is Pith Possum: Super Dynamic Possum of
Tomorrow. In other words a Batman parody. Because, you know, there
weren't enough superhero parodies at the time. Hell, Disney tried that
route with Darkwing Duck and it was a massive success. And let's not
forget that this was 1995, the same time another little cartoon by the
name of The Tick aired. So, our old "buddy" Piss Possum (get it, because
"pith" sounds like "piss". Elbow my ribs!) has some competition. Is it
worthy of holding Tick's spoon? Let's find out as we look at, and I shit
"Phantom Mask of the Dark Blackness of Black"
Get it. It's Batman. The Dark Knight. Every single Pith Possum short
would have a title that added dark, or darkness, or black to it. And it
was funny at first, until you realize, "oh god, that's all they really
got for ideas, huh?"
Pith Possum started his life as an ordinary laboratory possum that was
given a radioactive formula that turned him into a superhero . He has a
secret identity as Peter Possum, who works as copy boy for a local
tabloid . He fights for truth, justice, and killing 8 and a half minutes
of a forgettable 90's cartoon. He protects the people of possum city,
who aren't so much possums, as every other type of woodland creature.
Also, Possum City? That's the best town name you got? You couldn't be
assed to take some time to think of a clever enough pun to make a
forest-based town name better than Possum City? I'll give you a couple
of the top of my head. Metreepolis. Forestopolis. Gotham Cit-tree. Look,
you could have done a tree pun for added punch.
Back to the story. It turns out that the evil villain known as the
Easter Bunny is being let out of the local asylum, since the doctor's
think he's cured. Of course he isn't, as this joker-esque nutbar is out
for revenge. He wants to finally change his cute and cuddly demeanor
into something more monstrous. So he drinks a formula he whipped up,
turning him into a hulking beast.
At the local newspaper, the Weekly World Horsefeather, we meet our
titular possum of piss as Peter Possum, who's got the major hornies for
the only human female in the company named Doris Deer. It's kinda like
Lois Lane, ha. She gets news about the mutant Easter Bunny from the
chief, and goes to investigate, plowing over the easily forgettable
Peter Possum, who also believes it's time to leap into action. Literally
leaping into action as he plummets out the window to much pain.
Yeah, Piss Possum is, well... kind of terrible at his job.
But he does have the help of his trusty sidekick Obadiah. They get their
briefing from a rather moronic gorilla police chief, who pretty much
just tells them that the Easter Bunny intends to rob the Possum City
museum. While that happens, Doris gets herself intentionally captured by
the Bunny to see where he's going.
Of course, when Piss actually tries to battle the bunny, he's easily
trounced. However, he does come up with a logical solution. Just give
the bunny and exploding carrot. The episode ends with Obadiah and Piss
eating the egg minions that worked for the bunny, while we learn from
the narrator that this wasn't the real Easter Bunny. Because you don't
want to scare those kiddies.
I can honestly say this wasn't as bad as Shnookums, but it's also
nothing all that creative either. It uses similar old and boring tropes,
never tries to be edgy or creative, and is really forgettable.
But we're still not dome with this as we have to look at one more
cartoon. We've had a bland cat and dog cartoon, and an even blander
superhero cartoon. What's next, a bland and boring old west serial?
God damn me.
Yes, it's Tex Tinstar: The Best in the West (Hey, that rhymes). And
unlike most Disney cartoons, it actually continues each part of its
story with each episode. Since they're pressed for time, each part is
only about 4 minutes long. And just like everything else, it's really
kinda bland and forgettable. Save for Jeff Bennett using his Johnny
Bravo voice, since it's the closest thing to sounding like a cowboy.
I won't go into detail much, but the main gimmick of the whole "saga" if
you will, is that the evil Wrongo and the wrong riders causing trouble.
Tex and his deputy, a stinky man named Chafe try to stop them, only for
them to get easily beaten and left in some over the top trap. Will Tex
survive? Don't miss our next episode:
Achey Breaky Back
A Fistful of Boring
And that's Shnookums and Meat. And yeah, it's pretty forgettable. I can
see that Bill Kopp was trying, especially with the Shnookums and Meat
shorts. And if the writing was funnier, and Disney wasn't the one behind
the wheel, it could have been a much more fun and creative cartoon. The
show does have some interesting plots and ideas, but they're never
executed with enough comedic writing to make you laugh or want to come
back for more.
And to quote George Harrison, "it's been done". And done better. Ren and
Stimpy's formula was almost like a beautiful fluke. You'd never have
expected something like that to have not only found itself on a
children's television network, but gain the popularity it did... until
Games Animation took over of course. Anyone who tried to emulate that
couldn't get it right. Be it from the network's pressure, or just a lack
And that's all I get from this show. A lack of real originality. It's
not even the K-Mart Ren and Stimpy. More the bargain bin at the local
supermarket variety Ren and Stimpy. It's definitely far from the
crappiest I've seen, but it's certainly not all that amazing. This meat
is quite expired.