Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Wacky Deli

A week or so ago, I shared Mr. Enter’s review of the Family Guy episode where Brian gave Stewie herpes. One person commented that perhaps the piss-poor quality of recent episodes was an intentional act of sabotage on the part of Seth McFarlane to get his show cancelled, as he was probably getting sick and tired of producing it and wanted to move on in his career.

This crack theory reminded me of an episode of Rocko’s Modern Life, “Wacky Deli.” In that episode, a famous cartoonist is looking forward to retirement upon ending his long-running cartoon series when the television network commissions him to produce another show. Wanting desperately to retire, he decides to deliberately create a terrible product that is sure to get cancelled—and to do this, he hires Rocko and his friends, who have zero experience creating a television series, to create the cartoon.

The end result is Wacky Deli, a terrible cartoon with poor animation, incoherent storylines, and overall bad editing.

However, instead of getting cancelled, the show actually proves popular with viewers and becomes a big hit. Disillusioned by this success, the cartoonist decides to do everything in his power to sabotage the show and get it cancelled. He exposes the film of one episode and insists on showing it on television. He melts the polar ice caps in order to flood the studio. He even has an entire episode show nothing more than a still image of a jar of mayonnaise.

But alas, despite all of his efforts to sabotage it, the show remains popular and on the air. With a few comforting words from Rocko, the cartoonist is convinced to continue on with the cartoon anyway and invest his talent into making it the best show ever. This inspires him to create a highly-artsy episode set to the Nutcracker ballet. The sad twist of fate is that this is the episode, the one he puts actual effort and talent into, that gets his show cancelled. (A show with quality being snubbed by viewers? Sounds like a sad yet accurate indictment of modern entertainment!)