Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The short life if The Ripping Friends
The Ripping Friends was an American/Canadian animated television series, created by John Kricfalusi and Jim Smith. The show premiered September 8, 2001 on Fox's Fox Kids children's block, but was cancelled due to the end of the Fox Kids broadcast block in September 2002. Cartoon Network later picked up the show for its Adult Swim programming block. The series occasionally airs in Canada on Teletoon. The series also aired briefly in the UK on the CNX channel.
Kricfalusi and his long-time partner Smith created the Ripping Friends before they created the similar superhero Powdered Toast Man for The Ren and Stimpy Show. After Nickelodeon fired Kricfalusi from The Ren and Stimpy Show in September 1992, he had plans to make a feature film starring the world’s "manliest men." The feature film plan was scrapped, but the characters were used in The Ripping Friends. The Canadian Studios hired to do the layouts used the same poses over and over again, and made the artwork look less like the usual Spümcø style. The Canadian studios hands were tied as there were no style or design agenda. Artists were expected to recreate the atmosphere of an antiquated 1940's production process, while still trying to maintain a schedule. Hastily written scripts and storyboards were provided, further demonstrating the unpreparedness of the production. This generated much criticism, most notably from John Kricfalusi himself. The Ripping Friends lasted for thirteen episodes.
The show centered on a group of four superhuman brothers who attempt to fight crime from their base, RIPCOT (the Really Impressive Prototype City Of (Next) Tuesday): Crag, Rip, Slab, and Chunk, Crag being the leader. Friends of the four include Jimmy The Idiot Boy, a mentally-challenged drooling child, and their foster mother He-Mom (the name speaks for itself). The villains range from the Indigestible Wad (a wad of gum who sucks moisture out of people), to Flathead (an invertebrate in search of a spine), to their own underpants.
Each episode was usually tagged with a short episode which Kricfalusi says was composed of “left overs.” These segments were called “Rip Along with the Ripping Friends” and usually portrayed the Ripping Friends solving the problems of fans. These included: addressing the fact that hot dogs come in packs of 8 and the buns in packs of 12; “ripping” the man who creates insane video game controllers and the man who writes the instructions for them; and finding out why toys no longer come in cereal boxes, among others. In each segment viewers (referred to as "kids") are asked to “rip along” with the action by ripping pieces of paper up in front of the television when coaxed to.
* The Indigestible Wad: A young girl’s wad of chewing gum, that she has been chewing since before she was born, is granted sentience/sapience from a dentist’s x-ray machine. The wad wanders the streets at night, sucking up people’s moisture to sustain himself, turning them into “flavourless” zombies.
* Flathead’s Revenge: When the boys go swimming in the local water hole Chunk finds that he has a flatworm attached to his armpit. After being removed, the flatworm decides to take one of the brothers’ back bones and then wreaks havoc on the town with some of his invertebrate brethren.
* Frictor: Frictor, the master of friction, is created when the brothers' calluses are exposed to radiation. The Ripping Friends eventually track him to the moon.
* Rip’s Shorts: Rip's shorts alter at the molecular level after being thrown into space. The shorts become evil and take control of Jimmy and then Pooperman, causing them to do “evil” things. The other three brothers mobilize to stop the shorts.
* Ovulator: The boys discover that there is a shortage of beef and they send Slab out to rectify the situation, as he is the only one not affected by the lack of beef in his system. He soon discovers that a mad chicken, calling himself the Ovulator, is holding cows hostage.
* Manman and Boyboy: A duo of supposed crime fighters called Manman and Boyboy are wandering around “solving crimes” with flesh coloured accessories. Their brand of crime fighting is soon revealed to be simply putting Boyboy in peril for no good reason. Crag sets out, because he has not had his own episode yet, to foil the duo and save Boyboy by dressing himself up as Man Friend and Jimmy as Boy Pal to save Boyboy.
* Stinky Butt: Citracett, a dictator from "Euroslavia" voiced by Kricfalusi, is banished to the nether regions of the Earth by the Ripping Friends after attempting to destroy it. There, due to some mystical energy, Citracett gains the ability to control his flatulence with destructive results.
* Muscle Magician: Chunk is being made fun of by the other, 36-year-old brothers for only being 35 and a half, and therefore a “kid,” so he runs away and attends a circus performance where he finds a magician who controls people’s muscles. The magician, realizing the potential that Chunk poses, possesses his muscles and has him commit robbery of the many national banks in town.
* Jimmy’s Kidnapped: Citracett and a gorilla (named "Gorilla Friend" in an organ grinder monkey outfit, later "Anaxamander - the Noble Primate" in a "Pericles helmet") kidnap Jimmy the Hapless Idiot Boy after Rip harasses him into running away. The Ripping Friends track him down to find that they are torturing Jimmy so Rip knocks out the gorilla, steals his fur, and infiltrates Citracett’s basement to rescue Jimmy.
* Dr. Jean Poole: The four boys get a lesson on “girls” from He-Mom and, as a final lesson, sets them up on a date with a Dr. Jean Poole. All five of them go out on the date together to the drive in.
* The Man from Next Thursday, Part One: Someone breaks into RIPCOT’s secret vault and steals the Ripping Friends' "perfect" DNA, which he turns into "Riptonite" in order to kill the Ripping brothers. The intruder is revealed to be a man with a thumb protruding from his chest, who claims to be from “next Thursday.”
* The Man from Next Thursday, Part Two: The man from next Thursday relates his plan to his intelligent cat, revealing that his attempts to kill the Ripping Friends is based on revenge; the Ripping Friends ripped off and then re-attached his chest-thumb's nail back on the wrong way, making him a freak in the world of next Thursday.
* Infernal Wedding: Citracett returns with his ministers of war, propaganda and slapping to take over the world. He decides to seduce He-Mom in an effort to get close to, and rid himself of, the Ripping Brothers, eventually asking He-Mom to marry him. The Ripping Brothers must now follow his orders "as if they were [He-Mom's] own".
* In a segment where Rip is asked by a fan to find out why hot dogs come in packs of twelve and hot dog buns come in packs of eight, Rip beats up a male hot dog and a female bun and asks them to “hug.” The hot dog begins to slip inside the bun, and the segment immediately fades to black.