Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Brokeback Mouse

Cartoon Brew is one of our favorite sources for animation news on the web, and a couple of days ago, brewmaster Jerry Beck posted a short compilation of clips that confirmed what many people have suspected for years.

Joe Barbera’s Birthday

Today is approximately the 95th birthday of animation legend Joe Barbera, co-creator of the above-mentioned cat-and-mouse, as well as the Hanna Barbera studio, home of the Flintstones, Jetsons, Scooby Doo and thousands of other cartoon characters. Barbera is one of the last surviving directors from the Golden Age of animation. Mark Evanier has a nice write up here.

South Park conspiracy Theories

Last week, we wrote about the controversy surrounding the battle between South Park and Scientology that saw Isaac Hayes (the voice of Chef) leave the show, and a controversial rerun episode pulled from the schedule. Since that time, there have been more developments, contradicting reports, and conspiracy theories out the wazoo. According to this report, Isaac Hayes suffered a debilitating stroke in January, and is unable to speak. The report further claims that Hayes’ resignation letter was actually written and released without his input by Scientology PR people. Matt Parker and Trey Stone have been accused of asking Comedy Central to pull the repeat of the “Trapped In The Closet” episode as part of a stunt, so that they could say Tom Cruise did it, and get tons of free publicity for the new season of South Park. Finally, there are murmurings that this week’s episode, where they killed Chef, but used old clips of Isaac Hayes voice, was a way that the duo were able to keep paying Hayes, who is reportedly in poor health, and has a new baby to take care of.

All we know for sure is that the “Return Of Chef” episode, where the lovable character joined the “Super Adventure Club,” was brainwashed into becoming a pedophile, and was then killed off, was one of the funniest episodes of South Park in a long time. And it did killer ratings, too.

Next week, we preview ICE AGE 2: The Meltdown