The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

The Flintstones
Portions of my brain are dedicated to storing -- and periodically retrieving with no warning -- the theme song from The Flintstones. A really good section, too. I've occasionally forgotten my own phone number, my social security number, my proper place in civilized society. But not for one picosecond have I been able to forget that I will, with the Flintstones, have a yabba-dabba-doo time, whatever that is. I can't help but think that this brainspace would have been better used memorizing the rare earth metals section of the Periodic Table (Atomic Numbers 58-71 and 90-103) or the names of all of Charlie's Angels (Kelly, Sabrina, Jill, Kris, Tiffany, and Julie). As for the show itself, well, a record player that uses a bird's beak as the stylus is only funny the first couple dozen times, you know? C

The Challenge of the Gobots
Playing Herman's Hermits to the Transformers' Beatles wouldn't have been a fun job under the best of circumstances, but this show added insult to ignominity. It featured one of the most pestilential aspects of modern Saturday Morning Cartoondom: Frank Welker's Squeaky Voice.

Don't get me wrong. Frank Welker is a very talented man -- he's provided voices for everyone from Inspector Gadget's Doctor Claw to the Simpsons' Santa's Little Helper. But he has this one voice, his Squeaky Voice, that makes me want to smash the TV and slit my wrists with the shards. It's the voice of "Slimer" from "The Real Ghostbusters." It's the voice of "Uni" from the old "Dungeons and Dragons" series ("Baaaaaaa-Beeeeee!"). And it's the voice of Scooter from "Challenge of the Gobots."

Oddly enough, Welker also played gobs of Transformers. But they weren't squeaky Transformers. D-

Hong Kong Phooey
How could this not be great? It combined cartoon animals, superheroics, and martial arts, an accomplishment unmatched until the Turtles choked the life out of the action figure scene a decade or two later. The Ninja Teens, however, did not feature the voice of Scatman Crothers, more's the pity. Teenage Mutant Scat-Singing Turtles would have been quite a sight to behold. At any rate, Hong Kong Phooey was cool. He kicked things. B+

Wacky Races
That's what I would have called it, too. Pretty much everything Dick Dastardly and Muttley were in (c.f. "Dastardly and Muttley and their Flying Machines" and "Laff-A-Lympics, The") was cool, and they were pretty much the central figures of this one. Sure, there were some standard cartoon archetypes racing alongside them, but aside from Penelope Pitstop and her really very odd lip-mobile, they were individually forgettable. But as a whole, they provided a nice backdrop against which Dick and Muttley could be nefarious. B

The Jetsons
This lacks what limited appeal it once had, given that the original joke was basically "Wow, what wacky things they'll have in the future," and now we have stuff in the Sharper Image catalog that makes The Jetsons look like a frontier museum. Oh, sure, we don't have personal air cars or household robots that sass back, but did George Jetson have Power Flow Insoles or a Bedside White Noise Generator? You see my point. D+

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