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Spaceballs: The Animated Series
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2008

Format: TV
By:   Mel Brooks (seriously)
Genre:   Sci-fi comedy
Review Date:   October 03, 2008
RevSF Rating:   4/10 (What Is This?)

"I'm a sithee, too!" -- Skroob

I love Spaceballs. It's no Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, but it's right up there for me. I saw it when it came out in 1987, when making fun of sci-fi wasn't something everybody did. The puns were brutal. But the actors were master-class comedians, and they sold every line. Brooks did every other genre, it was sci-fi's turn.

My favorite thing about it is John Candy and Rick Moranis. I stayed up late Saturday nights to watch them on SCTV. When the SCTV crew started appearing in Hollywood movies, I felt like they were my guys. Everybody else found out John Candy was funny, but I knew it already.

Like Brooks' other flicks, Spaceballs is quotable in the extreme. The Mega-Maid. Major Asshole. I have an answer when anyone asks if I "found anything yet."

I wasn't jonesing for more. The funny people in the movie did plenty of other funny things. But I was pretty tickled to hear of a Spaceballs cartoon series. I dared to hope that it'd be what Barf suggested in the movie, Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money. I also hoped it would be good like The Real Ghostbusters. I was naive. So, so naive.

A sign of hope was actors from the movie doing their characters' voices: Joan Rivers is Dot Matrix, Daphne Zuniga is Princess Vespa, and Mel Brooks himself plays Skroob and Yogurt. John Candy is no longer upon the Earthly plane, but the voice actor of Barf does an exact impression. He's happy, I'm sure, that there is a market for John Candy impressionists.

Unfortunately, the actors' voices need funny things to say in order to be funny. And here, they got nothin'.

The show isn't a kiddified version. Well, it's infantile. But that's not the same. There are bleeped words, boobie jokes, and one scene of Dark Helmet doin' it. But it's not gross, it's dorky. It's Dora the Explorer compared to anything on Adult Swim.

Which would be OK, if only it was funny.

It's a 30-minute show. The episodes so far are "Grand Theft Starship," "Lord of the Onion Ring," "Revenge of the Sithee," and "Your-Assic Park."

Those titles should have told me something. Like, "steel yourself."

Each episode is a parody of the movie slapassedly satired in the title, with jokes about steroids and video game addiction. The movie told old, bad jokes, too, but in a harmless way, letting us know we were all in on it.

But the cartoon strains desperately to sell the jokes as if they were good, including: Barf must dip the Onion Ring in a river of sauce. Lone Star likes playing a video game. Dark Helmet's name is Panickin Crybaby.

The movie is on DVD, and so is SCTV. I go there now to console myself. That's what I said three dunes ago.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness Joe Crowe, going right past the altar, heading down the ramp and out the door.

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