Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2015 Day 5: Sealab 2021, "Bizarro"

Sealab 2021
Season 2, Episode 6: “Bizarro,” 2002

Dan Says: 

When Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block started back in 2000, much of its programming was dedicated to repurposing old Hanna-Barbera animation, via Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, The Brak Show and this early work about an incompetent underwater marine research unit from the animation team that would eventually bring us FX’s Archer.

In this episode, art for which mimics the cover to Uncanny X-Men #100, Sealab is under attack by doppelgangers from the Bizarro dimension. They don’t speak in inconsistent opposites like the Superman foe, but they do use the word “Bizarro” a lot, like Smurfs use the word “Smurf.” They claim to be after a Destructo-Beam (or maybe diamonds?), but as Capt. Murphy protests, “We don’t have any damn beans!”

The Bizarros don’t pose any real threat to Sealab. Bizarro Stormy shoots his own head off, Bizarro Debbie interrogates her victims via sex, and Bizarro Quinn is a turtle-headed bird creature that hatches from an egg and doesn’t do much but hop around and utter the most “Bizarros” of anyone. He also drops the floating head of Bizarro Sparks on the ground, shattering its protective jar, then proceeds to poor salt on it and declare, “Bizarro! I’m helping! I’m helping you!” Then the whole Bizarro squad accidentally hypnotize themselves using Bizarro-Vision and get tricked into leaving.

It’s 11 minutes of rapid-fire dumbness, but that’s exactly what Adult Swim excelled in back in the early 2000s, and it’s easily the most memorable episode of the series, next to that one where Hesh turns into a giant-headed monster.

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