Our Official Freakazoid! Appreciation Thread

Well, it seems like I have good support for starting this thread so let’s go!

Of all the “Steven Spielberg Presents” shows that kicked off in the 90’s, Freakazoid! has stuck with me and has only gotten better. I think part of what helped this one age better than Animaniacs or Tiny Toons (both still great shows, of course) is how Freakazoid! was never terribly topical with what it was doing. Animaniacs was referencing Goodfellas and Rain Man, while Freakazoid! was referencing stuff like The Abominable Dr. Phibes or Astro Boy or Glen or Glenda. A lot of what they dug into for referential humor was already unpopular and niche in the mid 90’s.

But I caught this show as a kid of 8 years old when it initially aired and enjoyed its looney tunes silliness. Then when Cartoon Network started airing it, I was in my teenage years and I could more greatly appreciate the fourth wall breaking humor and the hilarious working relationship Freakazoid had with his villains. Later when the DVD sets came out and I picked them up as an adult in my 20’s out of nostalgia, I was blown away by how the show was even funnier to me now and how well it had aged. The interesting circumstances surrounding the shows inception created a feel to it that really helped it seem contemporary with today’s humor. A lot of Freakazoid! seems to predict the style of humor that would flourish on the internet and in current adult animation like Family Guy (obviously I’m referring to style here, not the adult content). Also, being more “cultured” I could really appreciate the niche media references (like Stef’s Plan 9 inspired “That was quite a jolt, Freak!”), and just how funny the voice casting was. The lines and characters are already funny as a kid but when you grow up and realize those words are being spoken by people like Ed Asner, David Warner, and Ricardo Montalban, it only makes it that much funnier.

So who here loves Freakazoid!? What’s your favorite bits, quotes, memories, etc? What’s some fun show trivia? Share whatever you want about this glorious hilarious show!

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Wanna go get a Sno-Cone?

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Do I?!

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runs around making fake whoosh noises

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Just discovered this morning that Freakazoid, Joe the Announcer, and the Lobe showed up in an episode of Teen Titans GO!

If this was indeed produced around 2020, then David Warner would’ve been almost 80 years old. What a good sport he was to come back for this.

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I really enjoyed seeing good old Freak, the Lobe, and even Cosgrove one last time.

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I’ll have to find the rest of the clips. I’m very unfamiliar with Teen Titans GO! and have never seen this before.

EDIT: just saw the Cosgrove clip. That’s the most Asner has ever emoted for that roll, lol!

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(scream)

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I love this show. It feels so ahead of its time now, with so many gags that a lot of viewers won’t get. It’s got that “we’re making this to amuse ourselves, but you can watch it, too” vibe.

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Toby Danger, in my opinion, has never been surpassed as an animated parody. It helps that it not only did they get Don Messick and Frank Welker to do voices, they also got some Hanna-Barbera animators in to work on it!

I obviously love Freakazoid! It’s definitely right up there with the top animated shows ever made. I had the privilege of meeting Jonathan Harris at a convention just before he died and saying I enjoyed his work on Freakazoid! he responded in the most Jonathan Harris way possible, “oh wasn’t that just delightful?”

I guess I also disagree with the consensus on Freakazoid on Teen Titans Go! I like that show, but that was one of the lesser episodes for me. It just didn’t recapture the feel of the original show, it was just an episode of Teen Titans Go! that had some characters from Freakazoid! in it, but doing TTG-style humor, which is similar but not the same. And unfortunately, Paul Rugg had kind of forgotten how to voice the character.

If I were to make one criticism of Freakazoid!, it was to do the music Looney Tunes style, where it sort of works with the physical movements of the characters as much as with the emotion the scene is trying to convey, along with a lot of musical references to other songs. It’s not the worst possible decision, but I think it was done to make it feel more like Animaniacs and it wasn’t necessary.

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From what I understand it started as a serious action show, which is why all the character designs have that Bruce Timm look, but that fell apart somewhere along the line and the powers that be told some of the folks that if they can get scripts out fast enough for a comedy show they can still do it. So they rushed out anything and everything they could think of just to meet an animation deadline and make a show still happen. That’s why the early episodes have such a chaotic sketch show feel to it, why the humor is so unique and niche (there was no time for audience testing or executive feedback) and that’s also why they didn’t bother with an origin story til several episodes in. So essentially, yeah, it was a “write what’s funny to us, who cares what the audience thinks?” sort of situation, which is forever to our benefit.

Something similar happened with The Emperor’s New Groove. Started as something serious and grandiose but fell apart and was salvaged as a comedy in a time frame too brief to allow for much audience and executive based feedback to make it bland. Not coincidentally, I think Emperor’s New Groove is one of the funniest things to ever come out of Disney.

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Oh, it’s definitely not the same as a Freakazoid episode, but it’s still a lot of fun seeing those characters again (and it’s better than the Beetlejuice episode).

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Oh definitely better than the Beetlejuice episode. But worse than the movie, which I thought seriously watered down the humor to attract a more general (and possibly younger) audience.

I guess I would rather have not seen the characters resurrected at all than seen them resurrected with a different type of comedy but the same voices (which, ironically, is a criticism many have of Teen Titans Go! itself).

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The Freakazoid episode (based on clips I watched for the first time this morning) felt like a nice tribute with its heart in the right place. And it’s nice in 2020 to see that someone at the WB remembers the characters.

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I would argue the funniest. And for the reason you state.

Proof that focus grouping is anti-creativity.

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Its heart is definitely in the right place, it just wasn’t especially funny. That was the sin to me.

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Huggbees!

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Let us remember, that without Freakazoid!, we would not have the two most influential concepts in modern television!

And, of course…

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Freakazoid came out my final year of college, so I was more or less the ideal age for it (I believe it would have run longer had it not premiered on a kid’s network). It was an absolute golden age of cartoons, and the two kings of the era were Freakzoid and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Even though I haven’t seen an episode in many, many years, you will often catch me puttering around the house mumbling “Do do do do do do-do, unless something better’s on TV…Do do do do do do-do, Freakazoid, fricasse…”

This is also my segue to mention that I have twice gotten to do jobs for Betty Cohen, the founding President of Cartoon Network, the woman who greenlit SGC2C and was also responsible for bringing Freakazoid back in reruns on CN. Insider info: she has a large picture on the wall behind her desk at home that has Zorak’s circular keyboard in the center, surrounded by dozens of associated characters. Clearly, a career high point!

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Space Ghost Coast 2 Coast is such a watershed moment in the development of the current comedy landscape in America it’s almost hard to put it into words. It’s a brilliant show that still holds up today too, but it’s genuinely difficult to articulate just how much that one show kicked off in the world of entertainment. It is not as recognized or lauded as it should be, really, but chances are if you like literally anything comedic made in the last 20 years, whether it’s a direct influence or not, you can trace at least some of it back to SGC2C.

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