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Let's Watch Yo Yogi

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There's really no way to properly describe how much I like old animation. Regardless of where it comes from, I'm either drawn in by campiness or by how hard it triggers a nostalgic reflex...I mean, hell, I can still find love for The Humanoid, and it's usually considered one of the worst OVAs ever. At least it had the coffee-addicted African-American guy played by Michael Dobson.
I was honestly surprised to learn that Yo Yogi is one of the worst non-pornographic cartoons I've ever seen, maybe because it was too radical for me. Apparently I'm supposed to spell the title like Yo! Yogi, but the exclamation mark implies I'm excited to see it.
A bit of a backstory...this abominable piece of mucus was produced in 1991 for NBC's Saturday morning lineup, which contained memorable hits like Wish Kid, which was Fairly Odd Parents but with Macaulay Culkin and a magic glove, and Space Cats, about ugly cat puppets in space. Yo Yogi managed to be the last cartoon made for the lineup and the last Yogi Bear cartoon, so it holds the honour of murdering two things at once. The only way I could watch an episode was if it had added commentary by a group named Will and the Jerks.
If I had to describe it quickly, it's about teenaged Yogi Bear and friends hanging out at a mall and solving mysteries, except everybody talks and looks like they've stepped out of 1988. Somebody had all the episodes on Youtube earlier this year, but the uploader realized he was a grown man using his life to upload episodes of Yo! Yogi and deleted his account. Some people will tell you this cartoon is great, but soon after you'll find they have deviantART accounts and have art of their furry self-insert making out with a Hanna-Barbera character. They'll probably also fervently believe Snagglepuss is heterosexual.
It's going to hurt. I'm warning you.
If there's any justice in this world, Sindy McKay is currently flipping burgers.
Let's go with the remaining two episodes online, both of which are about ten minutes long. My friend and I got forty-nine seconds into Mellow Fellow without heckling before we felt physically pained. Her four-year-old brother, however, watched the whole thing very seriously, so maybe Yo Yogi is like Candle Cove. Except instead of adults seeing static while kids see a disturbing puppet show, adults see a stupid Hanna Barbera cartoon while kids see an in-depth documentary on how to kill their parents.
You may notice that Yogi and the gang are dressed like they're doing a group cosplay as a bowl of Fruit Loops. That's because kids dressed like that when the committee behind this show completed their market research years before the nineties.
Huck slowly realizes that he has been designated as the group assmonkey.
We open at the mall lost and found, where Huckleberry Hound's bastardized teen version "Huck" is answering six phones while his asshole friends watch TV. He's told to keep his shit down by Snagglepuss's clone "Snag", and while the classic Snagglepuss is my bro, Snag is just a dickish shell of his former self. He minces, "Could youuu please hold it dooowwwn? I'm tryin' a' watch my favourite showww." Huck does the Canadian thing and apologizes for nothing, and then starts juggling the phones to work in a bad pun.
The guys run off to "veg out", leaving Cindi Bear to tell Huck to stand up for himself, but she really doesn't have the courtesy to untangle the poor bastard before going to eat. On the plus side, she's voiced by Kath Soucie, so her share of the show won't hurt so much.
After everybody leaves, a gorilla couple come in, the wife bawling and the husband soon ripping the phones off of Huck. Their son is missing and they want a group of teenagers to go look for him, instead of going to the police. There's a reward or something, so Huck goes out into the mall, singing an awful rendition of "Clementine". The shot of him singing is pointless, too, as it's nothing but a transition scene that happens to have the sound of a diarrhetic train crash imposed over it.
Muttley was the most in-character cast member of the show, however.
Huck, whose name I keep absentmindedly mistyping as "Fuck", runs into "Dickie" Dastardly harassing some kid with a lollipop. Asking them if they've seen a giant monkey proves futile until the reward is mentioned, and from there, Huck sees the gorilla enter a shop. Huck goes in but the gorilla picks him up under his arm. Let me just tell you that this show is boring, and I'm having an easier time just explaining loosely what happens.
Snag, how do you even make that shape with your mouth?
We cut to The Picnic Basket, which is Yogi's favourite eatery, a little restaurant with a giant-ass fiberglass picnic basket on the roof. Boo-Boo points out that Yogi's eating a disproportionate amount of food (i.e. why do you need eight apples and two baguettes), and he says he's growing. Snag pretty much calls him a fat fuck and throws in a free camp hand swish, and Yogi counteracts with, "Aw, chill out, Snag, don't be a bore."
I'm kinda happy Daws Butler was dead by 1991 so he wouldn't have to read that out loud.
This isn't an in-between frame. Cindi looked like that for about three seconds.
Cindi brings up that Yogi treats Huck like shit, but Yogi's more focused on figuring out how to eat sixteen pieces of fruit without dying.
Let me point out that the animation for the series is pretty cheap and sometimes painfully off-model. Nearly all of the main kids look stoned as hell, which would explain Yogi's extreme munchies. The only exception is Snag, maybe because he always goes home to watch Fame while the others have their scheduled daily smoke-out. This maybe places Snag into the category of Characters I Least Want To Shank, which isn't to say Snagglepuss wouldn't slap the kid for being a little turd.
Meanwhile, Penisey Dastardly wants to catch the gorilla for the reward, and he and Huck chase it through a fitness centre. This goes on for way longer than it should, and elsewhere, Yogi is too busy eating a sandwich to notice that Huck is passing over on a chair lift in a banana costume.
Here's proof that it really is happening, just in case you thought I was drunk.
Yogi also calls him a "mellow fellow", obviously just to throw in a title drop.
So, uh, Huck almost gets eaten in the costume (vore? ) but then shit happens and Cockie Dastardly catches the gorilla in a net. It starts crying, so Huck puts on a bandana and fights Phallusy Dastardly with his "Huck Fu", but he pulls down a yellow screen so the viewer doesn't watch him tie Dickie into a bow. Wow, there's really no way to phrase that without it sounding filthy.
They bring the couple back their giant-ass baby, and...hey, where the hell were you, Yogi? You basically sat by while Huck almost died in a banana costume.
Ah, I see what they were busy with. Everybody went over to Yogi's basement to drop acid.
The moral of this episode is apparently not to lose your shit, even if your friends are using you to do their chores and someone's kidapping a gorilla. Shafty Dastardly is still tied in a bow at the end, and Yogi eats a banana after laughing like "yehehahahee". The end.
Boku no Yogi
I have one more episode to sit my ass through, entitled "To Tell The Truth, Forsooth", and judging by the fruity faux Shakespeare title, it's going to involve Snag. This comment really tells me what to expect:
I'm gonna die.

How can a fifteen-year-old lift an anvil, anyway?
The episode starts in the lost and found office, where Officer Smith - Ranger Smith as a zitty young security guard - is mad because he can't find his walkie-talkie and Yogi is too baked to give an effort in helping him. Smith goes to open a storage locker, but Huck flatly tells him, "I wouldn't open that if I were you."
But where would the wacky hijinks be if people listened to each other in this show?
A crapton of stuff falls out on Smith, and he calls everybody to attention, which brings up a piece of dialogue that I actually felt some genuine amusement from:
Smith: "This place is a disaster! I couldn't even find my own mother in here!"
Boo-Boo: "You lost your mother?"
With that one-tenth of a laugh out of the way, Smith tells everybody to take an item from the pile of shit at his feet and find the proper owner. Yogi takes this as an opportunity to make puns while he hands things off, including passing barbells to Cindi and saying she can "handle this weighty little problem". I'm sorry, but isn't that a huge stretch for a joke? Why am I questioning a Hanna-Barbera production?
Probably still on the acid from last episode.
Just as Yogi notices that Snag isn't nearby to be forced into chores, Snag lisps into the room with a fishbowl on his head and claims he's busy being a spaceman. Yogi seems pretty polite about telling him to cut it out and do some work, so Snag says while jumping, "I'm motivated! I'm matriculated! I'm ready, even!" I don't think you're using "matriculate" the right way, Snag, and your jumping sounds like WHOOOOII WHEEEEOOP.
What really bugs me is how he's written to have every sentence include an instance of "even" or "Murgatroid" to make sure you don't forget what he's supposed to be. He's more soulless and carelessly mass produced than a Chicken McNugget.
At least they didn't call him Shakespuss, or some other godawful furry pun.
But back to this santorum glob of a story...Yogi gives Snag a bust statue of a furry William Shakespeare to take back to an antique store, because apparently Snag always "wanted to get a-head."
Bob Kushell and Steve Smith each currently owe apologies to my eardrums for recklessly letting them touch that bad pun.
Shakespeare looks as enthusiastic as I am.
Snag is so excited that he calls for Murgatroid, and prepares to exit stage left before Smith comes by and warns him that the statue is "one of a kind". Just because it's rare doesn't necessarily mean it's worth something (I could make a pig out of an eraser and thumbtacks that would be one of a kind), but Smith calls Snag a "flighty feline", which is totally how people casually talk.
Snag takes the statue and ascends into a length adjective-packed sentence that ends with "even", and it happens again a few seconds later. At first I was excited he had his own episode, but then I realized he talked like somebody's moron friend trying to impersonate Snagglepuss while constantly throwing in his vocal schticks just so the gay guy in the room wouldn't think he was being directly insulted.
Try watching his 1962 Cocoa Krispies ad, and you'll notice he ends a sentence with "even" exactly twice. Not a single Murgatroid, even!* His charm in the original cartoons came from how he was campy as hell, but talked and act like a normal person that happened to be a flamboyant and neon-coloured mountain lion.
Now both the British and the Japanese can feel uncomfortable together.
Snag is walking through the mall and talking to the statue head when he notices the above movie playing. Hold on, everybody step back, let me get this out of my system...
Snagglepuss: "Heavens to Uwe Boll! What is this cinematic traaash? This looks like a trainwreck, an assault on the sensesss, even!"
Snag seems pretty damn happy to see this thing, so he tells the statue head that it'll enjoy it too, and goes into the theatre. A nearby clock transitions and implies that he was in there for exactly four hours before he exits without the statue. He goes to buy ice cream but realizes his camp ass forgot the statue, and when it's not in the theatre, he decides to tell everybody at the club that it was stolen. He goes to get fake clues while making these weird "mmmh ooooh!" noises that could totally be misconstrued inappropriately.
He waits for the group to come by an alley, as he sets out the evidence before knocking himself unconscious with a...plunger. The gang finds him and he immediately starts talking about being ambushed, and I can't tell if he's a horrible actor or if he just sounds the same as he did in the previous scene.
The group looks over the random crap that's been strewn around and immediately decides to see if Dickie Dastardly is to blame, and this is done by gluing the stray boot on the ground in his path to see if it fits him. Somehow it works, maybe because the boot changed designs. They go tell Smith while Snag quietly loses his shit, and Smith declares the situation "nothing to sneeze at" while holding the hankerchief.
They notice Dickie (I'm so bored I'm not making more dick jokes) Dastardly charging a kid a dollar to ride the elevator, this being the same kid with the lollipop from the other episode, except he's switched races. Smith arrests him, and Yogi somehow decides that Dickie might have been set up. Snag decides to regurgitate words to keep his nerves down:
Snag: "But what if they didn't do it on purpose already?"
How does that sentence even make sense?
Snag sits at a bench while Yogi goes off to play Detective Conan, and indulges in a weird daydream where he's in court. There's a giant Judge Yogi, the witness is a talking Shakespeare statue, and the jury is fifteen identical Snags. Everybody starts screaming "GUILTY! GUILTY!" while Dream Snag is chased around by a gavel with fangs. Then it turns out Snag was reacting to this hallucination in real time, and goes off to prove Dickie innocent.
Yogi's browsin' around when he sees an optometrist named Mr. Myopic, whom was probably introduced in another equally-ass episode, putting out a glasses model that is clearly the statue. Yogi takes it and walks off without really explaining why, prompting the optometrist to go, "Now I see it, now I don't." Usually if you put this many puns into a cartoon, you have to write the network an apology letter enclosed with a doctor's statement about your missing dick.
Snag runs in while they're questioning Dickie and confesses, but then Yogi shows up with the statue. Yogi walks all the way in the room and everybody but Snag and Smith go "YO YOGI!" in unison, which is the thing they sadly do almost every episode.
Cindi asks whose D.D. hankerchief it could be, and then--
Doggie Daddy just walks into the room and half-yells the above right as he crosses the doorway, so either he saw the group outside with it, or can identify initials from across a room, or has just been thrown in to tie up useless loose ends.
The boot's explanation was that it was One Size Fits All, but nobody knows whose it is, so Snag claims, "I'll always tell the truth, forsooth! Fifthsooth, even!" And then the statue winks.
Man, they're even recycling jokes now. I've heard the "fifthsooth" line in maybe two Snagglepuss shorts and all over the place in The Funky Phantom, which was the heartwarming story of a ghostly revolutionary war soldier who became the "pet" of three dumbass teens who solved mysteries Scooby Doo style in a dune buggy, and the ghost had Daws Butler's unaltered Snagglepuss voice. Seriously, when he comes out of the clock at about 0:28 and says, "The spirit of 1776, even!" it's too late to hear anything else.
For that matter, when those kids come into the house, how come the first thing they do is fuck with the clock?
Here's the winking statue so we're all uncomfortable.
If you liked this show as a kid, I highly insist that you avoid trying to watch it again, and if you like it now, I suggest you watch many non-Hanna-Barbera cartoons right away. Hot sauce enemas are less irritating than Yo Yogi. I can't think of a damn redeeming thing about it, and that's seriously hard when looking at old cartoons. I didn't like a single character, the writing brought me genuine pain, and the whole story fumbled around loudly and uselessly, like an armless Michelle Bachman. I want to find the Korean slave children who were forced to animate this and apologize to them.
The worst part about reviewing this was knowing that I had a brand new copy of Kate Beaton's "Hark! A Vagrant" that I was putting off from reading so I could finish this article. I actually had to take regular breaks from watching it because it actually made me feel terrible. I should never seriously consider flying Chief Chujo Style into Cartoon Network's building just to make sure this could never be released on DVD.
It's a sixteen-episode monolith of death, hell-bent on the annihilation of humankind, time, and all matter. But there's only one way to watch it, and that's with Will and the Jerks.
*I ended it with "even" right before I noticed the awful joke involved, and then chose to leave it in anyway. Call the damn, I don't give a cops.

All written material here is 2007-2011 Fauna Crawford, along with any images identified as such. All other copyrights belong to their respective owners and creators. Permission is required to use any original material from this site.