I found this cartoon on what would normally be the shopping channel on a strange Sunday morning. For broadcast television in the U.S., Sunday morning is a deadzone relegated for public affairs and community programming (i.e. religious shows, kiddy-friendly cartoons, talking head news shows). My point: I would be sleeping in instead of flipping through the channels and I would have missed seeing a mini-marathon of this show.
The first thing that caught my attention was the voice of Billy West (an actor prolific in voicing cartoons and who first came to my attention as Stimpy of "The Ren & Stimpy Show"). The second thing that caught my attention was animation style that was reminiscent of 'Ren & Stimpy.' For awhile, I was hoping this was the return of John Kricfalusi to some type of television. I wouldn't call myself a fan of his work, but finding his work on television is like watching the night sky for shooting stars. "Ren & Stimpy" just wasn't the same without his twisted sense of humor. Later, I found out some of the creative team for Poochini worked on some of John K shows. These connections do explain the similar style and tone. But then again, one can find John K's influence in almost every cartoon since Ren & Stimpy.
I was mildly amused with Poochini. It somehow tells the story a family dog's reaction to his odd human family. (Poochini possesses that odd ability to speak in a language the audience understands but his human costars do not.) I didn't catch all the episodes so I lost some of the humor involving the even stranger neighbors. But from what I did see, I can tell the show isn't normal Sunday morning fare.
In one episode, Dad White wants Poochini into a hunting dog. He fails miserably in unseen attempt to take on a bear. So he decides to take Poochini duck hunting. In one scene, Mr. White hides in a pond in order to attack a duck from underwater. He uses a straw to breathe. His plans work to some extent. A duck lands where he's hidden. But the duck does his business in the water and flies off. Mr. White ensuing reaction was of course hilarious.
In a later episode, Poochini catches a TV news report about aliens in the area. Poochini connects the reporter's description of alien behavior to his family. His fears about the family are further confirmed in scenes so gross and warped that I suffered a rare guilty pleasure.
In the final episode of the mini-marathon, Mr. White builds a robot dog as a playmate for Poochini. Poochini sniffs the robot dog. 'Cold,' he says between sniffs. 'Detached.' Poochini decides to hide from this monstrosity especially after the robot dog mechanically does its business and proceeds to eagerly re-ingest whatever it had just expelled. The episode continues building upward to a level of creative storytelling that is sorely missed in Saturday morning cartoons.
After each episode, the audience is treated to helpful maxims about tolerance (and other kiddy mind control). However, I questioned whether children who watched this would be kind and respectful to others or would be off somewhere repeating the show's antics. If it was the latter, I have these words of advice: 'Just Say No To Swallowing and Regurgitating Goldfish.'
At the time of this writing, Billy West is not included in IMDb's credits for this show. In fact, there aren't many names attached in the cast and crew section. There could be a number of valid reasons for it. But I think it's even funnier that the show was distributed 'in every country except the USA, South Africa and Malaysia,' according to ASIFA's May 2000 newsletter. I think it's on DVD somewhere in Germany. I wish my VCR still worked.
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