Thursday, February 4, 2016
Throwback Thursday: How Freakazoid Predicted Internet Culture
When most people think of Warner Bros. animated television series from the 90s, they usually recall Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, or Tiny Toon Adventures. However, there’s one animated series from that era which, while not completely unknown, is extremely underrated (at least by its own company), and which managed to leave such an impact on young viewers that it had since gained a cult following. I’m talking, of course, about Freakazoid.
If you’re one of the few people who’ve never watched that show (and I feel sorry for you if you never have), Freakazoid was about the comedic supehero alter ego of Dexter Douglas, nerd computer ace, who, as the theme song explains, “went surfing on the internet and was zapped to cyberspace, he turned into the Freakazoid: he's strong and super-quick, he drives the villains crazy 'cause he's a lunatic!”
As the living embodiment of the information super highway, one would assume that such a superhero would be a super-intelligent genius with the ability to think his way through problems; instead, Freakazoid’s a spastic blue weirdo who, when not being easily distracted, manages to annoy his arch nemeses into submission.
If anything, his random and eccentric nature as the physical embodiment of the internet managed to predict the random and eccentric nature of internet culture as it exists today. The show was created in 1995, back when the internet was still in its infancy, and yet, even then, the show managed to predict how completely unpredictable the actual internet would become more than a decade later. You could say that Freakazoid is what you would get if 4Chan and Tumblr had a baby raised by Buzzfeed and mentored by Reddit.
If you want more insight into the sheer cultural prophesy that was Freakazoid, I’d suggest watching this video editorial:
(And yes, I know who made this video. Yes, I know many of you hate his guts. But, listen, I don’t agree with the guy’s politics myself, but dammit if he doesn’t have insightful thoughts and opinions on geek culture and video games—when he’s not munching on Anita Sarkeesian’s carpet as her white knight, that is!)