Welcome to the Monday edition of the Daily Cartoon. I’ve even impressed myself with how consistent I’ve been with this so far. Also, keep the suggestions and requests coming. I will get to all of them. Promise.
Before we get going, remember to check out the weekly show, The Car JoeMez Podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have the time to click like on all those episodes or leave a review on iTunes, that would be very much appreciated, so please do that.
Today’s episode was actually a special request by my brother, The Meat Man.
He’s big into the cartoons as well so he requested this right away when he saw what I was doing. Yes, that is his actual high school photo.
Today, we’re watching Gargoyles and I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen an episode of this. This came out in the mid-90s when I was already old enough to be too cool for cartoons so beyond just having never watched it, I literally know nothing about it.
When that happens, though, I just do some handy-dandy research in the ole Google and find out some stuff. What’s cool about this show, though, is that, the more I read, the more interested I was becoming in actually seeing this show. Outside of the actual premise, which – on paper – is whatever, it’s had some incredibly impressive write-ups such as being ranked 45th on IGN’s 2009 list of the Top 100 animated series.
The show ran for 78 episodes from 1994-1997 and received favorable comparisons to Batman: The Animated Series which is pretty big since that Batman series is fucking terrific. I know a lot of uber-Batman people and their Batman is The Animated Series.
This show became known for similar dark tones and complex story and character arcs that helped build the cult following it still enjoys today. It even received my favorite tie-in treatment: an officially licensed video game!
The game, apparently, was your basic side-scroller and had zero relation to show canon, but who knows, I may still look for this now and try to pick it up. Buying up old games of shows and movies that I talk about on the podcast or write about here has become my new thing.
The basic story here is that the Gargoyles are stone by day, and protectors of Scotland by night, but one day they are betrayed by the humans that brought them into existence. Some are killed, the rest, cursed to stay forever in stone until the castle they’re force upon touches the sky or some shit like that.
A thousand years later, a NY billionaire buys their castle and has the Gargoyles moved to Manhattan where the curse breaks and they can begin protecting the people at night again. Supposedly, the writing leans heavily on MacBeth and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream and, since I was that one kid in your high school English class that actually enjoyed reading Shakespeare, I already have a feeling I’m going to be into this and may need to buy DVDs so I can actually really watch it. We’ll see. Maybe I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself.
Anyway, let’s watch a cartoon!
Gargoyles: S.2, E.27: “Golem”
Originally Aired: December 14, 1995
The opening sequence gives us pretty good background on what the general plot of the show is. It’s appreciated.
Early on, I’m not really following everything that’s happening. There’s obviously a significant amount of continuity between episodes so I’m stuck trying to pick it all up. That’s not a bad thing. Hell, I prefer that in all actuality, it’s just that – for the format I’m currently doing – it can make things difficult.
So here’s what I’m currently following:
Goliath is the leader of the Gargoyles. He’s been dealing with a human man named Renard about possibly being able to get back home. I’ll assume the home he refers to is New York since I believe this episode takes place in Prague.
The Golem, which is a Jewish defender of old lore is about to be awoken for the first time in 400 years, but is stolen by a group of mercenaries hired by Renard. For what reason? I don’t yet know.
Just so we’re on the same page, I literally paused the episode about 12 minutes in just to try to recap a bit since I am trying to pay close attention and follow this. So far, I’m a fan of the animation and I totally get the comparisons to Batman: The Animated Series that I mentioned earlier.
OK, back at the ranch…
The Gargoyles and their NYPD friend Elisa Maza get a briefing on what the Golem is and the history behind it. Goliath immediately takes off to go find Renard because he has always known him to be a man of integrity.
When Goliath arrives at Renard’s a ceremony is about to begin. Renard is a frail, old man who is confined to a wheelchair and he has come upon an incantation that will transfer his soul into the body of the Golem allowing him to live again. These rich guys always seem to have a problem facing their mortality. Not like I blame them. If I were rich like that, why would I ever want to die? Hell, I don’t wanna die if I’m poor either.
But I digress…
Goliath is forced back by weaponry and Renard and his assistant complete the spell transferring Renard’s soul into the body of the Golem. Goliath tries to stop him, telling Renard to not choose this path, but Renard – now with the strength of the stone Golem – knocks him out before going on a walk around town to feel what it’s like to have mobility and freedom of motion again.
The Golem returns to the house it was stolen from with the purpose of destroying any book or spell that may contain a way to defeat it. Other gargoyles get tossed aside easily before Goliath is able to jump back into the fray and talk sense into his old friend, Renard.
The Golem/Renard back up with the “what have I done” realization and returns to have the spell reversed and deal with his future as it comes. The Golem is returned to the people who were trying to awake it in the first place so they can use it for its true purpose: defending the citizens of their town from these criminals who have taken too much control.
Renard offers Goliath transportation back to New York for all of the Gargoyles as a thank you for helping him save his soul, but Goliath turns him down because he says they have other business to attend to.
Not something you can just jump into in the middle of like I tried doing here, but I definitely have some takeaways:
- As already stated, I completely see where they get the comparisons to Batman, but it’s not like this is a carbon-copy. It comes from mood and coloring and works very well here
- For not knowing basically anything about this show going in, I still liked it an awful lot. I have a genuine interest in tracking down this series and starting from the beginning.
- The writing feels intelligent, but not like it’s trying to talk down to you. This is not just another paint-by-numbers cartoon. This is actually a quality program.
So those are some quick things I learned from watching this. Obviously, with everything I’ve been watching lately and am trying to watch as time rolls on, it will be hard for me to really give it the time it deserves, but it’s something I’ll definitely move to my list.
If you were a fan of this in the 90s, I totally get why. May be a little much for certain people because of the fantasy elements of it being gargoyles and I know some people just can’t deal with that, but it’s fun, it’s smart. If you’re like me and haven’t seen this before, do yourself a favor and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Thanks for reading.