Skip to main content

Oscar's Oasis Rules!


The crew from Oscar's Oasis.

My children and their best friend have just introduced me to a cartoon show they all adore, Oscar's Oasis (available to stream on Netflix) - a French-South Korean series of very distinctive shorts that riff on the frenetic pace, ambience and non-verbal humor of Chuck Jones' classic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons, but bring a whole new energy and contemporary rhythm to the always-chaotic and hilarious proceedings.



Oscar from Oscar's Oasis.

As in the Roadrunner cartoons, food (and water or other refreshment) is the focus here. The setting is a desert - drawn, as Wikipedia points out, from elements of the Sahara, Kalahari and North American deserts.

As Oscar the lizard struggles to find and consume desperately-needed vittles, he is thwarted - and very occasionally assisted for a brief time - by a chaotic, equally determined trio consisting of Popy, a fennec fox, Buck, a vulture, and Harchi, a hyena, whose communal vehicle - and sometimes weapon - of choice is an old shopping cart.


A wonderful source of inspiration: Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

The humor is entirely visual, perfectly-timed and - in a nice intertextual (to quote a friend:) nod to Road Runner - includes classic "suspended gravity" moments, in which various characters are momentarily frozen in mid-air, usually above a long fall from a cliff, just long enough to appreciate the horror of what lies below.



Chickens figure prominently in Oscar's Oasis - and they are BAAAD!

Beautifully produced by TeamTO and Tuba Entertainment, with a distinctive and highly pleasing style of 3D computer animation and a minimal, nicely-judged music track, Oscar's Oasis is well worth checking out. 

Although far more child-friendly than the truly wild and insane (but completely unforgettable) world of John Kricfalusi's inspired The Ren & Stimpy Show - which I loved in the 1990s - Oscar's humor reminds me of the zoned-out joy I experienced watching Ren and Stimpy (kind of like Laurel & Hardy on acid - with a little Peter Lorre thrown in), and although lizard tongues are stretched mercilessly and whole torsos burned to a frazzle, for once I have no hesitation letting our media-wary children watch and enjoy.


Ren & Stimpy - Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The High Tower Apartments and The Long Goodbye

This beautiful apartment complex in Los Angeles is called the Hightower or High Tower Complex (the High Tower name refers to the central elevator, I believe), and was designed in 1935-1936 by architect Carl Kay - and made famous in 1973 by my favorite film, Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (see Why I Love Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye).


Although Altman used the building as Philip Marlowe's apartment in his somewhat post-modern Long Goodbye (the film plays with references to Old Hollywood and opens and closes with the song, Hooray For Hollywood), the building has another direct connection to Raymond Chandler.


It was apparently the inspiration for Chandler in his book, The High Window (the first Chandler novel I ever read), in which Chandler describes the residence of Philip Marlowe as being on the cliffs above High Tower Drive in a building with a fancy elevator tower. (Thanks to the Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter webpage for that.) 


This ph…

Andrew Hale and Sade

On Thursday evening, we saw our longtime friend Andrew Hale perform with Sade at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, in one of the most beautifully conceived and produced concert performances I have ever seen.

Sade is a rare musician, in that she and the band only write, record and tour every eight to ten years, so that in a very real sense you can measure your life by her.

The band's music is always fresh and always newly conceived - for their previous album, Lovers Rock, they stripped everything down musically to a minimalist sound and banished the saxophone that had been so much a part of Sade's heavily soul- and jazz-influenced style.


The latest album, Soldier of Love, released in 2010, is one of the most tender, moving collections of songs yet, from the astonishingly beautiful Morning Bird, which features exquisite keyboards from Andrew, to the soulful, retro, return-of-the-sax melodies of In Another Time, and the deeply touching, reggae-influenced charm of Babyfather - a partic…

Wong Kar-Wai Compares In The Mood For Love to Hitchcock's Vertigo

Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love is an incomparable film, beautiful in the way music is beautiful. You can enjoy it for its narrative or you can enjoy favorite passages, over and over again. It is one of my go-to films, for reflection, meditation and sheer pleasure.

The quote below, provided by youmightfindyourself on Tumblr, is a fascinating allusion from Wong Kar-Wai, comparing In The Mood For Love to Vertigo. They are both unforgettable films.





Wong Kar-Wai states he was very influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo while making this film, and compares Tony Leung’s film character to James Stewart’s:

“The role of Tony in the film reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s in Vertigo. There is a dark side to this character. I think it’s very interesting that most of the audience prefers to think that this is a very innocent relationship. These are the good guys, because their spouses are the first ones to be unfaithful and they refuse to be. Nobody sees any darkness in these characters – a…