Saturday Morning Watchmen
Saturday Morning Watchmen is a Newgrounds and YouTube viral video published on March 5, 2009, the day before the release of the live-action Watchmen film. The video parodies the DC Comics limited series Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, claiming to be a clip from a 1980s Saturday morning cartoon based on the series. The video was animated, written, composed and sung by Harry Partridge and voiced by Partridge, Joshua Tomar, and Hans Van Harken. It pokes fun at the tendency of the campy nature of 1980s animation to sanitize superheroes and other violent themes. It features many of the mainstays of 1980s cartoon films, like catchy rock themes, and references to the openings of Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jem, The Legend of Zelda, and Scooby-Doo. On the Newgrounds site, Partridge stated the video "combines two huge passions of mine, one being the comic genius that is Alan Moore and the other being kids' programming from the late '80s, which I would say is my biggest animation inspiration."
Saturday Morning Watchmen is styled after the opening sequences of 1980s Saturday morning cartoons. The video begins with Ozymandias calling the Watchmen to stop the "Reds" from polluting a lake. The video then introduces the various Watchmen as comrades and lovable crime fighters. The characters dance, eat pizza, and teach lessons like saying no to drugs and getting to bed on time. A rock theme song plays, and the team unites in front of a logo at the clip's end.
The short film claims to be a 1980s television version of Watchmen, and features Rorschach, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre II, The Comedian, Doctor Manhattan, Nite Owl II, Bubastis the genetically engineered red and black-striped lynx, and the giant space-squid from the comics. Concepts like Ozymandias' television room and Nite Owl's hovercraft also appear in the video. However, many of the comic's concepts appear reversed, a slight at the sanitation of '80s programming. Nite Owl, a troubled and timid man in the comics, is portrayed as a carefree leader who "loves to party down". Rorschach appears as a "nutty" character who is a "friend to the animals", and is shown petting a pair of German Shepherds, in contrast to the graphic novel, where he kills the two dogs with a meat cleaver after finding a kidnapped girl may have been fed to them. In addition, it depicts the Comedian as trying to charm Silk Spectre II to get a kiss, when in the graphic novel he was her father and attempted to rape her Mother. Doctor Manhattan, who exiles himself from Earth onto Mars and later Andromeda, due to the belief that him being made of pure energy, and being created in a nuclear reactor is giving those closest to him cancer is parodied in the video, instead having the superpowers to "give you cancer and [he] can turn into a car" (the latter being a reference to his ability for manipulating matter). The sequence features several copies of Dr. Manhattan in bed, being read a story by Silk Spectre; in the comic, Dr. Manhattan multiplies while having sex with Laurie in a misguided attempt to satisfy her sexually. The video also changes the comic's opening scene, having Ozymandias save The Comedian from falling out of a window rather than throwing him to his death.
1980s cartoon elements
The video features numerous elements of '80s Saturday morning cartoons, including an opening rock theme song and a sanitization of dark themes and characters. It also mocks the commercial nature that led cartoons to contain cheap animation and play off the popularity of established work.
Dave Gibbons, artist for the Watchmen series, commented that he had seen the video and "loved it", remarking "The thing is, obviously they're having fun with it but the way it was done, you know that the person really cared about what they were doing…really knew Watchmen in detail." The AV Club rated the video highly, writing that "for fans of the graphic novel who grew up on Saturday-morning TV in the '80s, this is a) pretty damn funny, and b) a reminder of just how crappy all those shows we profess to love so dearly really were."
- "Husbands and Knives", an episode of The Simpsons featuring the videobox for a fictional cartoon called Watchmen Babies in V for Vacation.
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