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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.


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