If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Hello ladies and gentlemen. I am your critic, ChaosJumper, and I do stuff because I want to! Today, we are going to delve further into the mind of Noah Z. Jones which, you recall from my last cartoon show, made Almost Naked Animals. This series is away from Cartoon Network and has gone to the Disney channel, making it the one of two, the other being Phineas and Ferb, cartoons produced from Disney. Will it be an improvement to the creator’s original efforts or will it somehow do the impossible and be considerably worse? Today, we are going to review the cartoon series Fish Hooks.
Our series, Fish Hooks, centers on three teenage fish; Milo, Bea and Oscar who go through the everyday teenage issues we humans coincidentally deal with: whether it’d be acme, picture day or getting a job to pay off debt from the richest kid in the aquarium. From the premise alone, it does seem to be a regular splice of life cartoon with the twist being the characters are fish; however, as I always say, it is the execution that makes everything work, not just the premise. Let’s see if this series makes an acceptable execution to this familiar premise, shall we?
To start off this review, we will begin with the animation and I will start out by saying I like it; however, I don’t like it at the same time. Oh, don’t get me wrong when I say that. The flash animation to this series is solid; the characters move fluently and there are rare hiccups to be seen. To clarify, I am speaking for the character design in that it is the Noah Z Jones character designs I saw in Almost Naked Animals. Even though, with exception of a few, the character’s eyes are in their correct position and no the characters do not look as though they were shaved. The main problem is that it is difficult to tell what kind of animal these characters are most of the time. When looking at what fish these characters are actually depicting, I was shocked because they barely look like fish; they look more like finger designs coincidentally with fins and hair to make look kind of like fish-esque characters. To me, it just shows more evidence to how the character designers don’t know how to draw animals correctly so that they seem plausible in any fashion. Fish Hook has another section of animation where, instead of doing flash, they use paper cutouts to animate the other animals in this series. At times, this does seem to be innovated when they combine it with the flash animated characters; however, it is when looking at the animals they are animating with this style and the way they move their mouths seems is just poorly made. So overall I am leaning more to the positive side to the style of the animation of this series; even though the flash animation character designs aren’t my cup of tea, and the way the paper cutout character’s mouths moves are pretty lazy, I still enjoy the animation and never truly cringe every time I see these characters move.
Next in line into this review, I will discuss the characters themselves; Bea, Oscar and Milo. Bea Goldfishberg; a goldfish is the overdramatic drama queen who believes she is the center of the world. From the village girl accent to the desire to go to the mall to even having a heart attack about how she looks on picture day, Bea is your stereotypical girl with her own problems and her own needs. Then, there is Oscar Fishtooth; the stereotypical nervous kid who is paranoid of everything that comes in close contact with him. He is also the kid that goes “I’m not sure that is a good idea” whenever the characters try to do something unorthodox while he goes along with the crew anyway, knowing that it is a bad idea. Finally there is Milo who is my hate character for the series. I have as much hate for this character as I have hate for Howie from Almost Naked Animals because they are the exact same characters; random, stupid, lazy, unlikable, childish, selfish, annoying, and the list goes on and on and on. Most episodes center on how stupid he acts and we just have to accept the fact that he will not change, with the cast of characters treating him like he is a cool guy; however, he is just an extremely annoying character to have as part of your main central cast. I will not discuss the voice acting for the main cast besides say that they work only to encompass the stereotype rather than trying to take their character even further.
Some of the Reoccurring cast members include Jocktopus, a stereotypical bully played by John Dimaggio, who doesn’t do much besides beating up other students and speaking in third person. Then there is Mr. Baldwin, played by Master Sha. . . I mean Dana Snyder. Seeing Dana in other rolls, this is quite different, at least for me, to see him play a boring strait man like Mr. Baldwin. He’s the teacher for our main cast of characters who I seem to like for his moments where he criticizes the character’s decisions or just for what he says and how he says it. He isn’t one I would say should be the main character of the series, just someone I actually do enjoy seeing whenever he’s on. Other cast members include Randy Pincherson, who says “I am Randy Pincherson!” to end almost every scene he is in, Dr. Frog, played by Kevin McDonald, who is an insane frog teaching a school of fish, and Shellsea “Geet it?” played by Kari Wahlgren, the stereotypical best friend of the stereotypical main character, Bea. Then there is Clamatha whose entire jokes are two things; saying that she is a clam and throwing up pearls. There is a problem for each of these jokes because the first one is just saying what you are with no punch line at all. The second one is just me saying “clams do not work that way!” and the fact that it is a repeated joke makes it that much more predictable every time the series tries to use it.
With this series, you can already tell that this is a regular everyday slice-of-life cartoon with some good actors in the supporting cast. Yes, that is the problem; however, it is more than that. The problem isn’t that the series isn’t trying to make this something different and new but that it is trying so hard in the wrong places. With a slice of life cartoon, there are two things you have to do to make it acceptable to someone like myself; either fills it with as much character development as physically possible or to be as random or nonsensical as physically possible. Fish Hooks tries to be the second of this choice and doesn’t really have any random moments. Yes, there are non-sequesters on occasion; however, it makes the big mistake of repeating itself a second or third time without really going a step further since they want to keep that rating of a slice of life cartoon. This isn’t a problem of Noah Z. Jones but a problem with the production company itself. Disney is either trying way too hard to remake an image of itself it made from the 90 to the early 00’ or knows that it will bring in a crowd because of their Phineas and Ferb property to truly go any further than what is required to turn a generic series into a good one. What this show does is go the Phineas and Ferb route of making forgettable music and pumping up the animation rather than going to what matters; true likability of the characters and making the series above the norm, which does seem possible. As I have always said, it is never about the premise, but the execution and Disney just tries too hard on one side of the execution while it plays by the books with the other with a few twists here and there to give me a chuckle at best.
In a nutshell, Fish Hooks is a simple series that seems to try too hard in making its premise more than it actually is; slice-of-life cartoons with a fishy twist. Instead of actually trying to be innovative in character development or in being random, the series just rolls with the premise and either over do or under do themselves in a bland fashion, making this a mehh’d show to me. Fish Hooks is a series that is defiantly an improvement to its creator’s first work; however, it defiantly could have been something better than what it currently is. This is your critic, ChaosJumper and remember, I do stuff because I want to! Good . . . whatever everybody!
Fish Hooks is a property owned by Walt Disney Studios
Also, to note, I will be doing another cartoon to review before I do Rated A for Awesome. Not because I don't want to do that series but because this cartoon was hard to find and I want to review it ASAP. Thank you for understanding and I'll catch ya later.