I started another podcast!
Voice actor, singer, nerd Toren Atkinson explores everything in the known universe, but not alphabetically. Occasionally explicit.
This year the theme for my annual Saturday Morning Cartoon Party was… Dungeons and Dragons! I included cartoons in which the characters played D&D (in some version or another) but also some cartoons that were set in a fantasy world similar to D&D (Visionaries, Gummi Bears, Korgoth of Barbaria). It’s a long list and there were actually some cartoons on theme that I didn’t include due to time constraints (Voltron “Monsters and Mana”; My Little Pony “Dungeons & Discord”
Here’s the final schedule:
- Here’s the cereal buffet!
At about the halfway point I did trivia. Here are the questions – how did you do???
- In the Dexter’s Laboratory episode “D&DD”, Dexter’s character is Hodo the Furry Footed Burrower. To what D&D race is this a reference?
2. In the Futurama episode “How Hermes Requisitioned his Groove Back” which iconic D&D monster guarded a corridor in the Central Bureaucracy Headquarters?
3. In the episode “Mazes & Mutants” the ninja turtles LARP in the sewer tunnels, perhaps an homage to which 1982 movie starring Tom Hanks?
4. The classes of the children in the D&D cartoon are: ranger, barbarian, magician, thief, cavalier and acrobat. Only one of these is a class that’s available to play in the Basic Set of D&D (1977). Name that class.
5. IN the D&D cartoon, Venger has a sycophantic servant. The type of creature and the name it goes by are the same two words. What are they?
6. In the Adventure Time episode “Dungeon” Finn comes across an ooze that resembles which classic 6-sided monster from D&D?
7. In the Simpsons episode “Home Goes to College” Homer plays D&D with his new geek friends. His character was slain by what creature/race?
VOICE ACTOR SECTION:
8. In the 2012 TMNT series, Raphael is voiced by an actor who famously played a hobbit on the silver screen. a) Who is the actor? AND b) What is the name of the hobbit?
9. In Futurama episode #216 “anthology of interest 1” which creator of D&D guest starred?
10. Zummi Gummi is voiced by Paul Winchell, He is better known for voicing which cartoon tiger?
11. Eric the Cavalier was voiced by Donny Most, who is best known for playing “Ralph Malf” on which live action TV sitcom?
12. Brendan Small co-created Home Movies. he went on to create and provide voice and music for which cartoon series featuring the heavy metal band “Dethklok”?
13. Name the comedian who guested on the premiere of Harmonquest who also voiced Mr Peanutbutter on Bojack Horseman, Deputy mayor Cunningham on Bob’s Burgers, and Gladstone Gander on the new Ducktales.
14. This actor voiced Uni and Tiamat in the D&D cartoon, but also voiced Elminster and Korax in the Baldur’s Gate video game. Who dis?
Hint: he is probably the most prolific voice actor in cartoon history – his most recent imdb role is in the 2020 film Scoob
Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game that went on to become a short-lived saturday morning cartoon. What is the name?
In Stranger Things season 1, what is the name they give the monster which they borrow from the D&D game they’re playing
- 3MAZES AND MONSTERS
- SHADOW DEMON
- GELATINOUS CUBE
- A: SEAN ASTIN; B: SAMWISE GAMGEE
- GARY GYGAX
- HAPPY DAYS
- PAUL F TOMPKINS
- FRANK WELKER
- TIE BREAKERS Dirk the Daring, Princess Daphne and the evil dragon Singe are characters in a 1983 arcade game DRAGON’S LAIR
- In Stranger Things season 1, the monster name which they borrow from D&D: DEMOGORGON
So there’s a thing that happens very often with superhero movies, TV shows, cartoons, and even comics. I’m sure it happens with Harry Potter fiction too, or anything where there’s special powers involved.
The writers forget what the powers do. This is especially problematic with very powerful characters like Martian Manhunter. I remember distinctly watching some episode of one of the Justice League cartoons and thought “If Martian Manhunter had remembered that he can go intangible, this fight would be over by now.”
THOSE PESKY INFINITY STONES
This is a pretty big issue with the Infinity Gauntlet. Now, your average movie-goer likely doesn’t really know what the six Infinity Gems do, and they barely explore that in the film. I’m a huge nerd and I’m not even clear on this. Sure we could both look it up, but let me take a guess: (1) the space stone allows teleportation; (2) the time stone allows you to manipulate time (this one is actually well illustrated); (3) the reality stone allows you to change reality; (4) the mind stone lets you control minds (illustrated in the first Avengers film); (5) the soul stone…???; (6) the power stone…allows you beat the Hulk???
So let’s agree to set aside the “it’s just a show, you should really just relax” mentality, and dig in to the tiny nerdy minutia like a good writer should!
it’s inferred that Thanos is a very powerful entity even without the Infinity Stones, so we don’t really know how much of his power is innate and what comes from the stones. But that’s not a dealbreaker for me.
But those Infinity Stones…oh those Infinity Stones. Given their special powers, there seemed to be a lot of super-brawling that didn’t need to take place for Thanos to fulfill his mission. Sure, they were very entertaining super-brawls, but it seemed to me that Thanos had a very specific task that was all-important to him, and he wouldn’t waste time smacking down some Avengers/Guardians/etc even if it did “bring a smile to his face” (note this line from the trailer didn’t appear in the film).
YOU FORGOT YOU COULD CHANGE REALITY
It’s established I think earlier than halfway through the film that Thanos can use the Reality Stone to turn matter, including people, into ribbons or blocks or bubbles. And yet there are melees that occur subsequently where Thanos opts to hurl moons at the heroes rather than simply willing them into inoffensive vapor. Why? He didn’t think of it? He didn’t want to? Is the most dangerous Avengers villain actually just kind of a dummy or easily distracted?
TELEPORT YOUR ENEMY AWAY
And what about the space stone’s teleportation ability? If I’m fighting Iron Man, and for some reason I don’t want to turn him into bubbles, why not teleport him away to the edge of the universe?
And speaking of teleportation, let’s talk about Dr Strange’s magical gates. He uses one early in the movie and it cuts off the arm of one of the minions. So we know it can do that. If I’m Dr. Strange and I’ve got Mantis keeping Thanos is a groggy state, why not use the magical gateway to cut off his gauntlet-wielding arm? Or better yet, his head? Or is this him keeping to his Hippocratic oath? Failing that, why not plop a portal underneath Thanos and send him to wherever he sent Loki in Thor: Ragnarok? That seemed to work. Sure, Thanos could bring himself back, but it could give the heroes a few critical, game-changing seconds in a life-or-death situation.
It is good move on the writers’ part that the Mind Stone was saved for last, otherwise I would be complaining that there wasn’t enough mass mind control throughout the movie. Iron Man and Dr Strange giving you trouble? Make them fight each other with mind control!
ATOMIZE THE AVENGERS AND THEN GET THE STONES
Another thing that bothered me…just a little bit…was this: Thanos knew who Tony Stark was, that’s stated in the film. He knew, I’m sure, that Stark was responsible for the failure of the invasion of Earth (from the first Avengers film.) So if you’ve got a giant spaceship, or a fleet of giant spaceships, presumably you have nuclear technology. We had it in the 50’s for heaven’s sake. So if you think the Avengers are going to be a thorn in your side, why not nuke them? You could beam a bomb down to Dr. Strange’s sanctorum or just have a guy walk up with a briefcase. Same thing with the Avengers compound or wherever the two Infinity Stones are on earth…and then collect the stones from the debris. Sure, I know, there are many reasons this idea might not work (protective spells on the sanctorum, for example, even though Hulk smashed through the roof no problem), but my point is, at least explore the possibility of obliterating the Infinity Stone carriers from a distance and then collecting the stones, rather than sending a couple guys for a big ol’ donnybrook. Yeah, it’s not as gripping to watch as a movie audience member, but it bears consideration, no?
NOBODY’S REALLY DEAD
The last, and most majorest of the major gripes, is killing off characters that we know are coming back. EVERYBODY KNOWS that there’s going to be another Spider-Man film and another Black Panther film. What, you’re going to have these movies without the main characters? No. So why oh why would you kill off Spidey and Panthery in Infinity War? People say that the ending of A:IW is ballsy, but this move undercuts the ballsiness in a major way, so much so that I have a hard time believing that even the characters killed by methods other than the gauntlet are going to stay dead. Sure they could make Guardians of the Galaxy 3 without Gamora, but I would be very VERY surprised if that happens, given the way they handled Thanos winning the day.
Now, I know that Avengers: Infinity War is actually only half of the story, and we’ve got the conclusion coming up in a year, so maybe, just maybe, all my gripes will be addressed and it will all make sense. I guess we will all just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, I will re-read my Spider-Ham comics and hope he appears in Avengers 4.
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UNIMATRIX ZERO PART 2
Oh snap you think that Tuvok, B’elanna aknd Janeway are borgified but they still have their individuality thanks to the Doctor! The queen threatens to destroy the entire borg collective which for some reason makes Janeway worried for a second. Seven kisses her literal dream man. 5/10
All the wee borgs are taken away to live their lives except Icheb. Then Seven’s important borg bit fails and she will die if they don’t get a replacement from some other borg. Dead drones don’t work so Icheb gives up his, which he of course can get along without because he’s immature or something. 6.7/10
I thought B’elanna and Tom were already married but I guess not, so Tom proposes just when B’Elanna thinks it’s not going to work out between them because Tom loves racing more than her. 6/10
Some ridiculous Maquis Bajoran mind control expert did a number on Tuvok years ago and now he’s spreading his mind control to all the Maquis on board until they mutiny and take over Voyager. It’s the Manchurian Candidate in space! Also we learn that there have been Bolians on board, I guess they were hiding for 7 years. 5.5/10
The Doctor is stolen and ends up in a hospital that gives medicine that could cure fatal disease lower class to the upper class that merely extends their lives. The Doctor is on ethically shaky ground when he breaks the rules to … 8/10
Deanna Troi sets up Lt. Barclay on a date. But before that, an evil, cleavage-sporting dabo girl working with the Ferengi appropriates Barclay’s hologram that he sent to Voyager, so that the Ferengi can get Seven’s nanoprobes via a “geodesic fold” which will kill the crew. Kim eats green pie at the end. A bit anticlimactic but not bad. 7/10.
BODY AND SOUL
Doctor in Seven’s Body 7/10
Kim commands an alien vessel 5/10
FLESH AND BLOOD
Holograms revenge against hirogen 7/10
Oh no! Another space cloud! This time it causes different parts of the ship to exist in various time periods, and only Chakotay can pass through. It’s like a clip show from previous seasons but he interacts with them. Also we get to see Voyager in the future with a grown up Naomi Wildman, which we know will never come true because of what happens in the series finale. Not bad at all, really! 7.3/10
B’Elanna is pregnant and she wants to make the baby non-Klingon because of daddy issues. 8/10
prisoner is cured 7.5/10
Klingons in the delta quadrant, of course they meet Voyager, why not? It’s all part of a Klingon prophecy, so that works out. Tom accepts a bat’leth duel and Neelix gets laid. 6/10
Janeway makes a mini Federation to get out of the void 7/10
Crew abducted, the Doctor becomes a command program. Janeway falls in love. 7/10
Seven neglects her duties and gets it on with holo-Chakotay. 6.5/10
In a rehash of “Q Who” a Q has to learn how to be a decent entity by becoming human. 7/10
so long! /10
For episode 1 critique – click here
Due to unpopular demand, I’m going ahead with episode 2 joke critiques and other observations for The Orville.
Time to explain the Laughometer
Make sense? O on the left, full guffaw on the right. Chortles and full laughs in between.
Here’s a promo scene to start us off:
Let’s take a closer look at episode 2, “Command Performance”
20th/21st century reference #1… at the 7 second mark!
Bortas, the straight man, tries to understand Mercer’s relationship with Kermit the frog. This works! 3 full chortles. One point though – Mercer says Kermit “always keeps his cool in a crisis…” – I’m not sure if that’s part of a joke but it took a moment for me to realize that’s not even remotely true:
And the audience breathes a sigh of relief. Mercer makes a couple of bad egg jokes. The real puzzler is, how could he not know the basic details of his second officer’s species?
Bortas leaves and now Mercer wants to eat eggs. This joke works. 3 Chortles. Doing better than episode one so far!
Really? I mean I get that the Orville is crewed by “everymen” but come on. 0 chortles, 2 head shakes.
This is not a joke note, but to me the ship looks perfectly fine when Commander Grayson comments otherwise. A little plasma venting into space would have fixed that scene.
A viewer question: why is it “weird” that the other ship scans the Orville? In space etiquette is that a rude thing to do? Or wouldn’t it just be standard procedure whenever two spaceships meet? If it wasn’t by now, it should be after the end of this episode.
20th Century reference tally: 2. Also, barely amusing. 1 chortle.
Two butt jokes in 3 minutes! 1 chortle. I will note at this point though that I am so glad this show has video transmission and not holograms.
Because Grayson is going to visit with her ex-parents-in-law, she decides to replicate a cannabis edible for herself. One half a chortle, I guess? Maybe there’s a payoff down the line with this?
Okay, remember in the last episode when I said I’m waiting for Isaac to show his superior intelligence? Here’s a scene that leaves me still waiting. The captain told him to scan the ship. Did he do it? Was there any unusual result? He never gave the captain a report of any kind. Seems important, especially since the other vehicle scanning them was declared “weird.”
I like this. 1.4 laughs.
And then she barfed. That’s fine, serves the story. 2 chortles, because the sound effect was good.
The two commanding officers were kidnapped, leaving Alara in command, which she isn’t suited for. I like this line and this kind of humour. The timing wasn’t spot on but a full 3 chortles. Also Alara has eyebrows this episode, did you notice?
20th Century reference tally: 3
20th Century reference tally: 4!
Captain Ed “Top of His Class” Mercer tries to force open some doors with his shoulder. 0 chortles.
Even the aliens are blue collar North Americans.
I’ll say it again – great design and makeup on this show!
Isaac uses his superior intellect to analyze and use the alien technology to project a holographic image over the ship. As he should. And now the Planetary Union has ship holographic technology which they will remember to use in subsequent episodes when it would be very useful…right?
20th Century reference tally: 5
I’m surprised they didn’t go for a scene where Mercer goes to the bathroom to take a pee and the aliens are watching him and he can’t go because he’s got a shy bladder.
Hands up if the domestic bickering on this show is something you look forward to.
Good. 3 full chortles.
The “euthanasia sweep” from the super advanced species is a few lasers that don’t even target the living creatures. STUPID! How about sucking out all the air, or poison gas that floods the entire apartment, or a disintegration wall, or incinerating temperatures?
Elvis Presley’s last words. 20th Century reference tally: 6!
20th Century reference tally: 7
Reality television joke: 1 chortle.
Bortas’ egg hatches – and it’s a female. IMPOSSIBLE?!?!
Summing up, there was no payoff to the pot brownie.
At some point I’d like to do a little more analysis on Mercer compared with other douchey/unqualified command officers in space. Interested?
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When last we left our heroes…
Mercer runs over the blobby character voiced by Norm McDonald. Sure, why not? 1.0 laughs
Mercer throws a hissy fit at his commander. Not sure if this is supposed to be funny so I won’t give it a rating on the humorometer.
Malloy demonstrates his maturity and professionalism. 0.0 laughs.
Isaac, despite being a living computer and superior to humans, doesn’t know what the word “suck” means, so the crew has to explain that to it. 0.0 laughs.
Time for a tiff between the two divorcees.
Yes, he’s over it, that’s why he threw a hissy fit at the Admiral.
Grayson explains that her infidelity was a mistake, but now she’s going to correct it by becoming Mercer’s second-in-command! Makes sense right?
The first 20th century reference in the show, not bad for the pilot! 0.0 laughs. Does he call all blue aliens Papa Smurf?
Here we finally have a mention of what I was wondering about. Couples counselling! They needed it! I’m confused, though, why wouldn’t he call his wife’s brother-in-law simply “my brother?” And so I guess he dismissed the entire idea of counselling because they couldn’t come to an agreement on a suitable counsellor? Anyway….
A little bathroom humour to lighten the mood. 0.2 chortles.
Not a terrible joke. 0.9 chortles.
In this shot we see a dog licking itself. This will be fine and amusing, as long as nobody calls attention to it and explains the humour!
Damn. So close!
Here’s a thing I like abuot this series. No transporter beams! Just shuttles. Thumbs up. I wish that Star Trek: Enterprise had stuck with this concept.
A little passive-aggressive showmanship by Captain Mercer. 0.3 chortles just for the language.
I liked the delivery on this joke. 3 chortles!
The scientist explains they have a quantum field generator that affects time. They accelerate the age of a banana before the captain’s eyes. But this man who is described as “smart” and “top of his class” by other characters has no idea what he’s looking at. Joke rating: 0.9 chortles.
No rests are given to the passive-aggression.
Just a hard science thought – inside the bubble her head is aging rapidly (100 years within seconds), but outside her body ages normally. Is her body delivering blood and carbs and other chemicals that her brain needs for 100 years? If not, then she should die – to us – instantly, rather than screaming inside the quantum bubble for 100 years.
Aliens attack, but the crew just wants to get off work. 1.75 laughs.
The whole pizza party gag is spot-on. One full guffaw! Possibly the best jokes of the show.
The bad aliens come down to get the device. Hey, bad aliens! Make sure you destroy the Union shuttle that’s sitting there! Or sabotage it! Or be waiting on board when the crew returns!
Nice. Makes sense and we never see this sort of thing in sci-fi shows or TV shows in general. 1.2 laughs.
Again, the design department is rocking it. The makeup in this show is better than any Trek series. Yes I will go that far!
Ok soldiers, when in a firefight make sure you stand out in the open!
Malloy demonstrates his piloting prowess by “hugging the donkey.” I don’t know why it’s called hugging the donkey but that’s perfectly fine. 0.9 chortles
The commanding officer is insecure about his abilities. 0.3 chortles.
here we establish that Alara can do super-leaps, at least on Earth-like planets. Let’s keep this in mind for the future episode where she doesn’t do a super-leap when it would otherwise solve a problem.
So bad. 0.0 laughs.
Aha! The krill DID infiltrate the Union shuttle. But only one soldier? And he plans to take the device AFTER they all get into the shuttle? Weird.
Helmsman Malloy executes a whacky maneuver that he says will never work….and I believe him! Even if he did manage to get the hangar bay to line up with the out-of-control shuttle while he was “hugging the donkey” – at that speed the shuttle should be destroyed. But…it’s only a show, I should really just relax.
1 chortle for this joke. But more importantly, who is hugging the donkey while Malley abandons his control panel to deliver the line?
Great! 1.9 laughs!
Mercer has had a rough day. Also – they still use “friggin'” in the future!
Okay…how intensely stupid does he think the krill commander is? Surely the krill will send over an inspection team to recover the device themselves, because there’s no way they would trust a remote-controlled shuttle which will CLEARLY contain some kind of bomb.
Wait, what’s this? The two senior officers are working well together, perhaps even re-forging their bond in this crisis situation?
Tree gets big! Sure, apart from the idiotic decisions of the krill, this is a fine resolution to the time device story. And the joke gets a full 1 out of 3 chortles from me.
The debriefing, interrupted by the space welder guy. 3/3 chortles (not a full laugh)
Mercer relents his whining and sees the value of having Grayson on board. But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll see more infantile outbursts when things stop going his way in the next episode.
Just a re-affirmation here that Mercer is considered to be smart. Remember all the smart things he did this episode?
In conclusion, my main problems with this episode are:
- The infantile humour, which is out of place in an otherwise serious homage to Trek, and with very few exceptions doesn’t land. Compare this to Red Dwarf, which is a comedy series in space. It works because nothing about the show takes itself seriously.
- Mercer is totally unfit for command and does not show any of the intelligence the rest of the cast expresses on his behalf.
- The complete lack of awareness both by the Admiral and Commander Grayson that putting two ex-spouses in command together would severely compromise the safety of the ship and crew on any delicate or dangerous missions. But hey, it’s a comedy show, right? …Right?
As I said, there are good points to this show. It’s fun, the production values are set to 10, and it’s light (in contrast to the actual new Star Trek series which is the darker than the darkest mirror universe episodes from Deep Space Nine).
My only other quibble with the show is that the lighting is very bright overall especially on the Orville itself. It’s preferable to being dark of course, but it’s presently at the point of being a monotone wash, which makes the visuals a bit boring.
Also, I am very thankful there is no laugh track.
Thanks for reading this far! I didn’t think you would. Want me to do this for episodes 2 and beyond? Let me know and why not support me on Patreon?
Hi, I’m Toren, a Star Trek nerd.
Despite the sour taste that Seth McFarlane’s projects tend to leave in my mouth-brain, it turns out that I care about this show. I didn’t expect to like it based on the trailers, but despite the sophomoric humour — which I feel does not fit in with this clearly Star Trek homology and weakens the overall experience — there is a lot about The Orville that makes it worth watching.
Let’s explore, shall we? Episode 1: “Old Wounds”
In this episode Captain Mercer (Seth McFarlane) walks in on his wife Kelly (Adrienne Palicki) having sex with an alien. He is upset about this and goes into a downward spiral for a year until his now ex-wife (spoiler) arranges for his command of a vessel on which she will serve as second-in-command, in a perverse manipulation both on a personal and professional level.
Ejaculation joke! Rating: 0.5 chortles. I found the “chirp” sound that follows to be better, at a rating of 1.0 chuckles.
Not a joke – but a character observation about Captain Mercer. Sure, I get it. – he’s upset, so he doesn’t want to talk at the moment. But it’s apparent in this pilot that he has no interest working through his relationship. Which is just the kind of guy he is. Does this make him a sympathetic character? Sure, his wife “cheated” on him, but does he ever try to do the right thing? Stay tuned…
The visuals in this show are very good for the most part. Kudos to the design department!
I choose this moment to illustrate that Mercer is not qualified to be the captain of a Union ship.
The marbles not minds joke! Not bad, I give this a full 3 chortles – not yet a full laugh.
This line tells us that Mercer is very smart. Right?
3 minutes, 34 seconds in: First dick joke (if you don’t count the forehead ejaculation scene)
The ogre is super friendly. An amusing joke – 1.0 laughs.
To illustrate that helmsman Gordon Malloy is a roguish chap, he tricks the ogre and beheads him. 0.1 laughs.
Malloy also drinks beer while he’s flying a shuttle. The joke falls flat but there is charisma in the delivery.
The music in this show is excellent and kind of catchy. Another positive mark for the show in general.
Lt. Alara is young, inexperienced and super strong. If I was casting this show, I would have cast her even younger, like maybe 13 or 14. I think that would have made the contrast more ripe for comedy, and then the writers (McFarlane) would have to come up with jokes that steer clear of sexism, which I think would be a nice challenge for them/him.
Slightly amusing. 0.1 laughs I guess?
If the entire species is male, then there is no female and there is no male, because there is no gender differentiation. Are they hermaphroditic like banana slugs? If they lay eggs (we are shown later that they do) then rather than male, wouldn’t they all be female just like whiptail lizards?
This one gets 0.0 on the humorometer.
It’s the acting on this joke that gets it 2.0 chuckles.
I note that the doctor has a degree in psychology because Mercer and Commander Grayson really need a qualified counsellor if they are going to work together in a professional relationship on a Union starship. In fact, if any Trekesque series needed a Counsellor Troi, this one does much more so than Star Trek: The Next Generation. What are the policies on crew fraternization on Union ships, and more importantly, the mental fitness of a commander who has an extremely volatile relationship with his second in command? Are we to believe that the Union would send this ship on important missions while the two highest officers have a dysfunctional if not hostile relationship?
A testicle joke! 0.1 chortles.
I want to point out that Isaac is supposed to be “objectively superior” to humans. Sure, it’s his own claim and nobody else’s, but let’s put a pin in this and come back to it in a future show.
Lt. Malloy has a little fun with navigator John Lamarr. 0.0 laughs.
Minor Quibble Department: Am I the only one who thinks that the bridge is too large?
Again, great visual effects on this show. Really nice.
Delivery on this joke is excellent. 2.0 laughs!
Continued (and concluded) in PART TWO – click here!
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