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 animated 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, a sociopath in the comics, appears as a "nutty" character who is a "friend to the animals", 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.
The Comedian is depicted hopelessly infatuated with Silk Spectre II, when in the graphic novel he was her father and attempted to rape her mother.
Doctor Manhattan, who in the comic exiles himself from Earth having been convinced his presence has given those closest to him cancer, is parodied in the video, being cheerily credited with this as a superpower: "John can give you cancer and can turn into a car". 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.
- Miller, Liz Shannon (6 March 2009). "Weekend Vid Picks: Watchmen Goes Viral". NewTeeVee. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Pepose, David (5 March 2009). "Can Watchmen possibly top this?". Newsarama. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Kohn, Eric (5 March 2009). "Saturday Morning Watchmen". indieWire. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Partridge, Harry (5 March 2009). "Saturday Morning Watchmen". YouTube.com. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Manco, Emanuele (8 March 2009). "Saturday Morning Watchmen" (in Italian). Fantasy Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Goellner, Caleb (6 March 2009). "Saturday Morning ‘Watchmen’ Cartoon — The Stuff Of Alan Moore’s Nightmares?". MTV. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Bartkewicz, Anthony (9 March 2009). "'Watchmen' Reimagined as Kids' Cartoon". Fox WFXT. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Stewart, Ryan (6 March 2009). "Watchmen: The Saturday Morning Cartoon". The Phoenix. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Howells, Sacha (12 March 2009). "The Verdict: Megan Fox Goes Underwater and Tron 2 Spoilers. Plus another lame '80s toy heads to the screen, and Watchmen ... for the kids!". film.com. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
- Dempsey, David (3 March 2009). "Today's webtip: Watch This". FM4. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Moran, Michael (21 July 2009). "Dave Gibbons talks about the Watchmen DVD, and staying out of the water". The Times (via archive.org). Retrieved 10 August 2009.
- Robinson, Tasha. "Who watches the ’80s Watchmen children's cartoon?". AV Club. Retrieved 20 October 2014.