Monday, December 21, 2015

That Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 21: Freakazoid "Normadeus"

“Normadeus,” Season 2, Episode 11 (series finale), 1997

How does getting sucked into cyberspace turn someone into a blue-skinned, red-longjohned Jerry Lewis analog? Who cares! It was the ’90s, no one understood computers yet, and Warner Bros. animation had built an entire cottage industry around new cartoons with old-Hollywood gags (Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, etc.).

For its come-too-soon finale after only 24 episodes, Kids WB’s Freakazoid pulled out all the stops with a huge celebrity guest: America’s No. 2 TV carpenter Norm Abram! (Kids, ask your parents, then wait patiently while they try to recall who that is because it’s been so long since This Old House was a going concern.)

Jealous of Abram’s craftsmanship and unable to duplicate it, big-brained villain the Lobe is driven mad and committed to a sanitarium in an opening sequence intended to parody the movie Amadeus. He then has his goons kidnap the master carpenter so he can build a giant wooden horn the frequency of which will destroy our hero.

To celebrate his pending victory, the Lobe invites over all the other villains from the show and holds a raffle to determine who will get to deliver the killing blow, literally, to a strung-up Freakazoid. That honor falls to Gutierrez, the Ricardo Montalban-esque villain from the very first episode. Before he can do that, however, Abram frees himself and lets Freakazoid loose with a box cutter (You won’t see that in a post-9/11 cartoon!). The two then team up to punch, kick and hurl the baddies away. Because Norm Abram apparently can do that in addition to installing a spiral staircase in your foyer.

The series ends with some safety tips from Norm and an all-cast singalong of “We’ll Meet Again,” the same song Stephen Colbert used to close out The Colbert Report. Satisfying. And ridiculous.

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