Monday, March 14, 2011

Jabberjaw: The Complete Series Review

Scooby Doo were rock stars of the cartoon world, so it comes as no surprise that people would try and replicate that chemistry with similar configurations. Speed Buggy was one, telling the tale of a little self aware car traveling from race to race with his three human friends, picking up detective work along the way. Of course, today, we know full well that Speed Buggy was less a Johnny 5 and more an early agent of Skynet, so he was destroyed in the early 90's preemptively. Odder still is the tale of the creature called Jabberjaw! This show is more like The Jetsons meet Scooby Doo with a helping of Josie and the Pussycats tossed in to create the UBERTOON!!

"The year is 2076 and Jabberjaw is the star of the Neptunes, a teenage rock group. In his spare time, Jabberjaw, along with teens Biffy, Shelly, Bubbles and Clamhead, fight deep sea crime. But its tough down there for a shark. Jabberjaw must also contend with the robot force of “Shark Ejectors,” guards who prevent sharks from entering into underwater cities. All he wants is a little respect!" 2076 is clearly a future where the polar ice caps have melted and we are under water. GLOBAL WARMING!! YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED!! The Neptunes cram into a tiny future under-water-car and travel from gig to gig and upon arrival, get caught up in nefarious shenanigans that require them to help save the local populace. Not one member of the crew is spectacularly smart, but as a group, they manage to catch the bad guys. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a giant shark who can walk on land, breathe air and speak, even if he is cursed with the voice and ticks of Curly from the Three Stooges.

How Jabber got this way is not revealed, but we see some evidence that there MAY have been other, more violent land sharks before him, as every city is patrolled by shark ejector robots even though there are "normal" sharks swimming around outside that can't breathe air. (P.S. real sharks in the future growl like jaguars. It's a FACT!) The future is also packed with somewhat backward technology like a stenography device that takes down a customer's food order but writes it down on paper for you...with a pen. They've also got a machine that mops the floor, but you have to be the mop. Seems like things we Americans would make, and so totally believable. Maybe it's the "Idiocracy" future and they use electrolytes to power everything! It's what plants crave, you know.

Jabberjaw follows the typical format for mystery cartoons of its time, with the kids and their odd pal getting into trouble, trying to solve a crime with all the action culminating in an awkward musical number that plays while our heroes run in circles and flail their arms, ever pursued by a never ending supply of bald henchmen working for water themed ultra baddies. The story lines are simple enough for a 10 year old to follow, but little ones may be left scratching their heads at the machines used and plot lines that may be a bit too advanced for them. Those older than 10 will probably find the whole thing stale and remedial compared to the speed and random oddness of most modern cartoons. Then again, once we get into the teenage years, this cartoon may be so insane as to be cool, so there's hope! The ideal target for this set is you, the 20 to 40 yr old geek sitting among friends with tall drinks in hand. Hell, the subject matter seems created by those partaking of controlled substances, so get into the spirit and enjoy some Jabberjaw this weekend!

Catch the tidal wave of adventure, music and laughter in this 4-Disc, 16-Episode Series Collection, available at the WB Shop now!

NOTE: Some years back, Cartoon Network aired a series of music videos based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon lineup, one of which was a new take on Jabberjaw putting the "smart shark" in a struggling punk band with his human buddies. This idea is AMAZING and should be revived immediately for a live action movie; a cross between the Scooby Doo and Josie and the Pussycats films. Tell me this doesn't rule...

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