Ed, Edd, n Eddy Review Second Draft
By Ryan Funes/ Funie (subject to change)
Hello, and welcome back to the corner, folks! Summer's here, and with that comes all the great memories I had of during my younger years. All of those summer dog days are coming back to me: Eating candy the size of my head, plotting to make cash by conning other kids, and beating others to a paraplegic pulp for getting me mad. Yeah, those were the good'ol days
Oh wait, those weren't my days. Mine were spent up in Duluth and camping out near a lake. No, these summer memories belong to a cartoon that's special brand of fun and chaos embedded itself in Cartoon Network history, as today we scam our way into Ed, Edd, n Eddy.
(Queue intro and possible song to go with. Intro song needs thought put into it. Possibly Impression That I Get. Or, possibly queue animation with the show's theme music in the background.)
For those who whistled along to that catchy tune, you know that it is none other than Ed, Edd, n Eddy, the show about three teens and their misadventures through summer. Ed, Edd, n Eddy was, like many shows I watched, special in that when summer came along you knew that it was the time to watch funny hi-jinks and gratuitous candy eating while enjoying great cartoon action. The 6 season spanning show even trailed out of summer and into fall, winter, and spring but it never mattered because of how much memorable fun it gave us. So with the dog days here I say it's as best a time to look back on the show that made even the most boring summer day enjoyable, so let's bite into Ed, Edd, n Eddy.
The origins of the three teens start way back in the 90's when creator Danny Antonucci, after getting onto the animation scene with his short Lupo the Butcher (be warned of that short) and The Brothers Grunt, wanted to pitch a new show idea to Nickelodeon. Nick liked the idea, but unfortunately made the unwise decision of wanting full creative control, and as such Danny took away his project. It wouldn't be the first time Nickelodeon screwed the pooch on a new show concept. *couch* Adventure Time *cough*.
But, thankfully the great savior Cartoon Network stepped in and gave the show a fighting chance, and after showing a few episodes the show hit off and became very popular in the years to come.
The show itself had a fairly simple concept: three misfit teens with similar names go around their cul-de-sac during the summer and make mischief among the neighboring kids while trying to enact money scams, fit in with the others, eat gigantic jawbreakers, and smash stuff up.
Our main characters were the Eds, comprised, first, of Eddy, the hot-shot, narcissistic leader of the group whose greed would inspire the money schemes the series was prone to. Then we had Double D, named for the two d's in his name, who was the brains of the group and moral compass. And then there was Ed, one of the most unpredictable characters you will ever see, thanks in part to his non-sequiter personality. Here's a sample: (queue samples of Ed's total randomness). (Insert possible reference to how insane he seems.)
The victims of the Ed's scams were the other kids who lived in the cul-de-sac. Among them were Kevin, the local jock who loves his bike as much as he loves to call the Eds "dorks". Then there was also Jimmy and Sarah; Jimmy being a sensitive, girlish boy, and Sarah being a loudmouthed demon-child who would beat on the Eds the most using her hidden gorilla strength. (Queue shot of her crushing Nazz with a car in school). 10 year olds are messed up.
The characters get even odder with Johnny, the loner of the neighborhood whose best friend is an inanimate board of wood named Plank. And yes, everyone acknowledges the piece of oak as a person. It's actually kind of funny like this when you see Plank foil the Ed's plans occasionally and even run for king of the cul-de-sac. All hail to king Plank the Stoic! Plank aside, Johnny himself was weird enough with his weird obsession, like climbing trees, for some reason, and being his own superhero. (Insert possible superhero joke)
The final two were Nazz and Rolf. Miss Nazz Van Bartonschmeer was your stereotypical "unattainable love interest" and she really wasn't any more than that. But Rolf was way more than that as he was the wacky foreign guy of the group. Think a kid version of Fez. (Insert funny Fez clip).
Shockingly he made for a weirder character than Johnny since he had many freaky traditions, like praising a witch at the center of the earth, wearing a sea cucumber suit, and bartering on poles; Yep, definitely Canadian.
Finally, we have Lee, Marie, and May Kanker. They were the big bullies that no one messed with and all had a crush on the Eds. They constantly schemed to get in the Eds pants and would usually succeed near the end of an episode they were featured in. You always had to wonder what torturous things the Eds had to suffer through behind those closed doors, like having a girl that likes you, wants to talk feelings, and wants to take you shopping. Buhhuhuh. (In cringing tone).
When all these character combined you had Ed, Edd, n Eddy, but just the Eds scamming these colorful side characters wasn't what people loved the most; Well, partly. I will admit that the schemes the Eds made up were clever from time to time, usually utilizing makeshift technology from household items that would make the Kids Next Door ask them to be their arms dealers. But I think it was other elements to the show that gave the cartoon its identity.
The general tone was what I thought to be the strong point of Ed, Edd, n Eddy. The show was exceptionally well animated, using cel-animation to make the characters twist and contort to the animators will. With this in mind the characters were really fun to watch and see get mad and flip their lid. Remember that clip of Sarah smashing Nazz with a car? Yeah, all the better thanks to the cartoony animation. The violence and animation just gave a fun and consequence free tone to the whole show, helped by the constant breaking of the fourth wall. (Insert clip of fourth wall breaking.)
It feels like the creators knew that this was a cartoon and just had fun experimenting with what they could do and get away with, like innuendo. (Insert sextant clip from the movie, or the magazine bit). And I think it really mattered in the end.
The music and sound also helped along with tone. The music normally used piano and trumpet to give an everyday feel to the show, as if the actions of said characters were what they did all the time. But while the music sounded very normal, the sound effects were just plain weird. Every action and sound in the show sounds like an insane asylum being shaken by an earthquake. (Insert sample of sound effects). You gotta admit, that's pretty confusing when just smacking something can make a doorbell so- ( a fly drops on my shoulder, I smack it, and a doorbell sound gets made.) Huh? I wonder who that could be. ( I check the door. No one there. I return) Well, that was weird.
Yeah, the sound effects were weird but they accented the violence in the show in such a way that you could really feel people getting smacked around and stuff getting broken, and no other show that I know of has used this approach to its sound effects, so I have to say kudos. The voices were also great as the main cast of Matt Hill, Tony Sampson, and Samuel Vincent did great jobs of portraying each personality of the characters. Voice actors for other characters like Kathleen Barr, Peter Kelamis, and Tabitha St. Germain did fine enough jobs as well for their characters, even if Nazz went through about three voice actresses. And before people start to point out and get all on me, yes, Flim and Rarity were in this. There's your pony reference for the day. Although I do find it interesting that Double D would eventually become the scam-artist.
The tone, music, and sounds of the show were what made Ed, Edd, n Eddy fun from beginning to end, but beyond that was the territory of the concept and writing itself. The show was mostly written by Danny Antonucci and most plots concerned a plot or scheme the Eds would make to get quarters to buy jawbreaker or try to fit in with the kids. The regular scams and interactions with the characters were fine enough and made for some funny moments in the show's run, however, I always like to look deeper into these kinds of shows and dig around for insider info, and looky here at what I found.
On a deeper look, the show Ed, Edd, n Eddy was created by Danny Antonucci as a portrayal of what summer was like for him. The setting of the series was set in a seemingly perpetual summer and the kids were actually people from Danny's past, like the Kanker sisters were based on some boy crazy girls from the school he went to and Johnny was based on a quiet loner kid from his block who carried a plank of wood around with him. (Live action pause) Did he live in Narnia? Actually, the Eds are all based off of Antonucci's own personality, like Eddy is his loudmouthed, attention grabbing side, Double D is his perfectionistic, obsessive-compulsive side, and Ed is his dysfunctional but care-free side, living in his own little world. Could Ed, Edd, n Eddy possibly be one man's journey into his own psyche? Nah, it just puts a little of the creator into the show and gives good characters to bounce off of. Other aesthetic choices in the show also relate to this apparent nostalgia for the creator's summers, like the colored tongues of the Eds reflects the candy he would eat all the time, and probably the biggest aspect this covers is the lack of parents. Apparently Danny Antonucci lived a magical fairy land where parents were a rarity, so he got rid of the parents in his show. We never actually see them but are alluded that they are out to work all the time. A clever way to keep your cast level low, even though it has led to weird fan theories that the kids are all in purgatory. Geez, guys talk about over analyzing a cartoon. Oh, wait.
I still think that this summer nostalgia element makes the show feel more genuine, like it isn't just a bunch of fun comedy between teens but is also a look back on ones man's days as a kid, with an animated twist of course. Needless to say, it added much to the show along with its humor during its run.
Now the question arises of how well the show stood over time. As I said, the show was good even outside of summer, as it was literally a timeless show, sort of. Because, you see, by season five of the series a decision was made that changed the whole feel of the series: the characters returned to school. (dun dun dun!)
And boy did this take this series into a weird direction, as opposed to the direction it already was in. Danny Antonucci made the weird decision of changing the setting to a middle school environment. I get that sometimes creators want to go in different directions with their works and change up settings, but this does not usually transition well; I mean, just look at The Suite Life and where that went. (Toilet flushing clip)
But looking back, this really wasn't that great of a move. The bizarre thing was that, since all of the characters are now in a usually heavily populated environment, they never showed any other students in the school. This caused a lot of confusion for me and possibly many others as I saw the principle cast roam the halls of Peach Creek Middle School and see no other kids running around. Maybe it's a small town, I don't know. But wait, why are Jimmy and Sarah here? They're like ten! (Queue Futurama clip "That just raises further questions!")
I respect that Danny just wanted to change the show up a bit, having switched to digital animation from this point on no less, but in my opinion it didn't work out too well. The summer environment was what gave some appearance of sense to the show. An empty school just mixes up things. It seemed like the decision was made just to put characters in more varied positions and to give more options to write about. But the thing is that the school environment seemed a little throw away for some episodes that could have just as well been done in summer.
This setting was used for many of the final episodes, but this doesn't exactly mean that the charm of the series was gone. Yeah, it wasn't summer anymore, but the Eds still scammed, the kids still fought, and it had at least some good, and even touching, moments. It still continued up until the Cartoon Network event The Best Day Edder, where every episode of the Eds was shown leading up to the final episode. And then they made another alien themed episode after that for an event, which lead to making the final final episode of the series; Kind of a wonky finale there. But even when the episodes stopped, on November 8, 2009, the original creators released on Cartoon Network America Ed, Edd, n Eddy's Big Picture Show, which finally gave some good closure on the series.
The movie plot concerned the Eds having finally crossed the line with one of their scams and every kid on the block is calling for their blood. With nowhere to go, they decide to find Eddy's brother. One of the big defining pieces of Eddy's character in the series was that he had a successful brother in the cul-de-sac when he was younger. As such, the Eds would commonly do stuff in the series like look for Eddy's brother's hidden treasure, lie to the kids to say that he was coming back, to their fear, and look for his box of "magazines". You know what I'm talking about. So the movie revolved around the Eds finding Eddy's cool brother, trekking across the land on an adventure, fooling around and avoiding the neighborhood kids along the way.
The movie itself was actually pretty good. All of the original cast and creators returned on the project and made a movie that finally gave some pretty sweet hearted closure on the series. (queue clip of Double D talking about how many episodes they did from the movie)
To end things off, Ed, Edd, n Eddy more than proved its worth as a Cartoon Cartoon classic. Its cartoonish slapstick, humor, and overall presentation made for great entertainment for the young kids it appealed to. I am glad to have watched all of it as it went from cel to digital, and from summer to school, from up to down. So to you all, if you're ever in the mood to see teens grovel for jawbreakers and do imaginative antics during the summer days, then give Ed, Edd, n Eddy a look-see and get your cartoon urge craved. I'm Funie, telling you all to go outside, play in the sun, and chomp into a jawbreaker for some fun. (takes bite into jawbreaker, wince in pain, "What is the point of these things existence!"