15 thoughts on “Animated Vikings and Foul-Mouthed Rats

  1. Just wondering … why are so many comic strip characters left-handed? I notice that Stephan (the character) is, as is [spoiler alert!!!!] the diary-keeping Viking. This applies to other strips, as well.

  2. Thank-you, sir. The voices are growing on me. Guard duck and crocs have always been great.

  3. all the voices are perfect except for the crocs. the crocs SUCK!! they should sound stupid, because they ARE stupid! then the broken accent makes sense!

  4. Funny you should say that, because the croc voice was the one voice from these videos that I really liked. I never cared for the crocs much, but somehow they’re actually somewhat amusing when I hear them in that voice.

    The one that bugs me is Goat. Why does he sound like the november guy on the Geico ads?

  5. That was meant to be “voiceover”, not “november”. Stupid autocorrect.

  6. yes, but the crocs have to sound stupid, thus the accent makes sense. that way, a pearls newcomer who watches these animations can say, “oh, i see. these crocs are stupid”, but if they sound like they do, the newcomers will be lost on their strange accent.
    ps. goat sounds like that because he should sound smart, though i am not sure why they picked that voice…

  7. Stephen, I apologize for the digression here, but I have to thank you thank you THANK YOU for the wonderful new special “Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown”. I got it thru Netflix a couple of days ago, and I’ve watched it 4 times already.

    What a joy to see the Peanuts characters drawn and animated in a style that matches the charm and idiosyncracy of the source material. It’s so wonderful to see Linus, Lucy, Charlie Brown and the gang emote in the sensitive, human and humorous style that their original creator blessed them with. I have to confess to you that I am not much of a fan of the Lee Mendelson Peanuts specials, beyond the first three. After those, I think Mendelson departed from Schulz’s style and drew and animated the characters in a much broader, looser and (to me) less appealing way. After awhile I stopped watching the specials altogether, because I no longer recognized those characters (I’m sorry to say that I felt the same way about the strip in its latter years; I wish sometimes that Schulz had pulled a Bill Watterson and decided to retire while the strip was at its peak and he still had something to say).

    But you have undone all of the harm and rid the strip of all of the cobwebs and rust. “Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown” proves what can happen to a property when people with taste, wit, heart and artistry take care of it. Bear with me, if you will, while I list some of your most outstanding achievements below:

    1. The drawing. The characters no longer look awkward, scribbly and ugly (sorry, Mr. Mendelson). They look like minimalist but expressive little cartoon children brought to life under the pen of a genial genius. And as a result…the characters are endearingly real. They seemed like actual living beings who had feelings I could identify with, who had weaknesses with which I could sympathize and laugh at, and who actually seem to have relationships with each other. The way you handled the byplay with Linus and Lucy, for instance, was brilliant. Lucy’s actions as she attempted to break Linus’ blanket habit did not seem to me to be the result of mere bossiness, but seemed also the actions of an overbearing but caring sister. Linus’ gradual deterioration was heartrending, yet it was clear that the poor kid really could use some intervention, justifying Lucy’s exasperated concern. These things came across in Schulz’s strip, but never in any of the Mendelson specials I remember. In them, Lucy was just mean and loud and Linus was wussy. NOT the way I saw them in the strip at all (or at least, not very much).

    2. The animation: Superb. Lots of flow, grace, use of position and expression, not just stiff poses that either barely emote or writhe all over the screen. I found myself laughing at your special more than I ever laughed at…well, we’ve been there already. How refreshing to see accomplished animation applied with restraint and charm. And it perfectly expanded upon the indications of movement found in the strip. Virtuoso performances from all of the animators. Bravo! Bravo!

    3. The script. I loved the way you formed a story from the bits and pieces of strips that you used. Instead of making her mean, mean mean, you gave Lucy a clear motivation for her outbursts: her unsuccessful pursuit of the manic-obsessive Schroeder. He’d blow her off, she’d limp home, and then lash out at her poor little brother. She *was* mean at times, but never so mean that I stopped liking her. Never so mean that she stopped being human. Lucy’s easy to overdo, it seems to me, and you handled her just right. I really liked the scene where Linus confides to her that he outfoxed his grandma with a decoy dishtowel. Her little grin (as if she couldn’t help herself) at that was delightful, and once again, helped make her human.

    And kudos to you for bringing back neglected characters like Shermy, Patty, Violet and Pig-Pen, and giving them a chance to shine. They were allowed to fade as the strip went on, and they were sorely missed. And THANK YOU for NOT including Peppermint Patty and Marcie, and for restricting Woodstock to a small cameo. They kind of took over the strip near the end of its run, and speaking for myself, became tiresome rather quickly. And speaking of taking over the strip…

    4. Snoopy. Your special allowed me to like the pooch for the first time in years. When, in the strip and specials, he became fully bipedal and began playing golf and writing novels, I pretty much lost interest in him. To me, the real charm and humor of Snoopy had to do with the incongruity of an ordinary-looking neighborhood dog having deep thoughts and a rich fantasy life. But that only works if the “dog” element is in play, and sadly, Snoopy ceased to be a dog altogether in the strip’s latter days and in most of the specials. He became much too human. THANK YOU for restoring him to his quasi-canine state. And NOT letting him take over the special as he sadly did the strip.

    5. The voices. They all sound like the original voices in pitch – Charlie Brown’s is deeper than the rest, Linus’ is a bit tremulous, Sally’s is young and sweet, Lucy’s is sharp and sarcastic – yet I have to say that the voice *acting* in your special outdoes all of the others. The voice acting didn’t sound like a kid reading lines off a script. They sounded, well…sincere, in the best Schulzian meaning of that term. Completely and totally authentic. I hope you get to make another special soon – partly so that the wonderful kids who voiced the first one don’t outgrow their roles!

    Sorry to take up so much bandwidth, but I had to let you know how impressed and happy I am with your special, and I wanted to let you know exactly why. Truly, I can’t say ENOUGH good things about it, but I’ve taken up enough space, I guess, and can only add: PLEASE MAKE MORE.

    Your fan,
    (who loves Pearls Before Swine too!)

  8. Like I said, I used to hear the crocs in a generic “stupid” voice, and I never cared much for their strips. Lately I’ve been substituting the voice from these videos, and they’re just funnier this way. Good call on the part of the voice actors. I don’t think anyone will have much trouble figuring out that the crocs are dumb — heck, just look at the things they do and say. It doesn’t need to be so blatant.

    Which is really the problem with Goat’s voice. I get that it’s supposed to sound smart. But it doesn’t. It just sounds pompous. If Goat were the kind of character who is always standing on a soapbox and trying to convert everyone to his way of thinking, then that would be an appropriate voice. But he’s not really. He’s smarter than the rest of the cast, but is generally willing to leave them alone, and would rather just enjoy his coffee in peace. I would have given him the voice of a soft-spoken introvert, since that’s essentially what his character is.

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