????-??-??- SNAXX & KASH

First off: yes, Nostalgia With KyleTV is still a blog. I have not been killed in a freak narwhal-fishing accident or something. It’s been a busy couple weeks for your good ol’ friend KyleTV, but I’m back in the ring to take on another nostalgic intellectual property. Bring ‘em on. I’ve gotten a lot of requests for this one, because apparently I’m not the only one who watched this fever-dream when it first aired in 1990. I am, of course, talking about the cartoon-animal-police-comedy Snaxx & Kash. I’m tempted to call this the only (or at least the best) cartoon-animal-police-comedy, but at this point in my blogging career, I know better.

In case you missed the boat on this show: Snaxx, a food-loving dog with a lotta heart, and his partner Kash, a smart and self-serving cat who loves money, are partners in the Zoo York City Police Department. They patrol the grimy cityscape of this animal-world fighting crime, learning important lessons and putting a stop to the machinations of the Crocfather and his sinister Gator Gang. The animation on this show is pretty high-budget compared to its contemporaries, but if they’d just allocated a little more money to their research department, they might have found out that crocodiles and alligators are different animals.

The show is pretty episodic. The conflict with the Gator Gang extends over the first two seasons, with the Gators taking a backseat in the third season to the Snake Syndicate, but most the episodes follow their own self-contained stories. Usually, Snaxx & Kash get a case that has to do with some animal we haven’t seen yet, they spend some time in that animal’s part of town solving the case and when it’s over, they come away with some lesson that the animals taught them. The termites teach Snaxx to work hard, the sloths teach Kash to take life easy, stuff like that.

I find this show generally pretty funny. It’s not brilliant, by any means, but it moves at a good clip and the voice-acting is really good. In fact, you’ll probably recognize Kash’s voice actor, Brantford Gil. He was a big name in cartoons from around 1985 until his death in a car crash in ’92, providing voices for (to name a few) Thorus in Death Riders, Prince Dolphinian in Last of the Sea Gods and Jon, the ship’s computer in the first two Navigator 7 movies. Most likely, you recognize the voice from Eldorado Star: The Video Game, in which he pays Godi. You know, that asshole robot who tells you what to do every five freakin’ seconds? Yep, that one.

The main thing that’s wrong/amazing about this show (delete as applicable) is the feverish, seemingly-drug-fuelled animation. Zoo York City looks super-weird. The backgrounds are pretty obviously trying to combine the grit and lurid neon of a real city with the blood-red skies and colourful flora of a jungle. I’d say they succeeded, pretty much, but the result is an eye-aching barrage of colour that must have worried parents across the suburbs that their kids’ vision would turn to shit. As for the characters, they’re drawn in this weird shabby style and they move kinda wrong. It’s really hard to describe if you haven’t seen the show, and it’s not on Youtube because Disney bought out the studio, KidFLight entertainment, in ’96. Otherwise I’d post a video clip. If you saw it, though, you know exactly what I’m rambling about.

Also, the sight gags. Holy God, the sight gags. There’s a lot of time-honoured cartoon slapstick in Snaxx & Kash, i.e. characters running in thin air, popping their eyes out, falling on the ground and turning into pancakes… stuff like that. Snaxx & Kash doesn’t add any new gags to that canon, but they take the gags one step too far every time. There’s a visceral quality when a character’s eyes pop out, to the point that you can see blood veins and optic nerves and stuff. I guess the animators thought this was comedic, but as a kid in a pre-Ren and Stimpy world, it was just creepy. Everything about this show’s aesthetic is bright, physical and a little jarring. It’s hypnotic, in a way.

I feel like I’ve mostly focused on the bad things about Snaxx & Kash. Or, more accurately, that I’ve talked about the weird things about it as if they were bad. That’s not what NWKTV is about. It’s the weird things about a show, game or movie that make it interesting. I watched this show a lot when I was a kid, and its aesthetic probably went a long way to shaping my warped sensibilities. That element of it definitely influenced me more than the moral lessons. The show’s out-of-print, but it didn’t take me long to collect the home-video releases secondhand. At three episodes to a tape, it’s a big investment storage-space-wise, but even watching one tape will give you a better idea of this show’s personality than I can. But you get the main points.

I’ll be back next week with another review. This talk of Brantford Gil makes me want to replay another video game he starred in, Elliptic Quest, and let me tell you, it is worth investigating. Until then, be seeing you.

As Kash would say, “Another day, another case, another… oh, Snaxx!” Cut to Snaxx, eating. Snaxx shrugs. Iris in.

Be Seeing You,