Nicktoons generally have at least one Halloween episode. Doug
, The Mighty B
, SpongeBob SquarePants
and Rocko’s Modern Life
have had one. I hardly need to mention Danny Phantom
in this paragraph.
None of the aforementioned shows can hold a candle to The Angry Beavers‘ late-October 1998 episode, “The Day the World Got Really Screwed Up.” Titular rodents Norbert (Nick Bakay) and Daggett (Richard Steven Horvitz) go trick-or-treating on October 30, in an ill-fated attempt to avoid the Halloween candy rush.
By pure luck, they arrive at the home of their B-movie idol, Oxnard Montalvo. A meteor has crashed on Montalvo’s property. Statues of monsters come to life, Daggett gets pissy and bad things generally happen. Since it’s a Nicktoon, lots of adult-oriented jokes are wadded into the episode.
Tom Kane is great as Montalvo, spewing the most hilariously insipid dialogue imaginable. Kane plays Kane, his voice being one of the most identifiable in cartoons. This is one of Kane’s best-ever roles.
Jonathan Haze, a/k/a Seymour Krelboin from 1960’s The Little Shop of Horrors, voices Mann Servante. Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing) is cast as Toluca Lake. Mission: Impossible‘s Peter Graves has a dual role as narrator and General Warning.
Former Screen Actors Guild president William Schallert voices Dr. Cowtiki, a man with a knack for both science and moving the plot along. Cowtiki is the episode’s authority figure, a default Schallert role. Schallert is about as good as Kane, showing films and blandly explaining pseudoscience.
The best casting has to be John Byner as the alien – yes, Bizarre‘s John Byner. The alien is feeding off reality in order to take over the universe, or something. The alien’s motivations aren’t that clear. It also has the tendency to repeat dialogue.
I have the tendency to repeat dialogue!
The thin joke of a plot is an excuse to show off monster designs. Once possessed by the alien, Servante brings the creatures to life, turning Oxnard Montalvo’s world into a black-and-white reality of madness. Not surprisingly, Montalvo, Cowtiki and Lake don’t live in the real world to begin with.
The Angry Beavers‘ odd sense of humour is amply demonstrated. Redundant dialogue abounds. Toluca Lake sprains her ankle repeatedly, screaming whenever it’s dramatically convenient. The military base has a Kit-Cat clock – at least, a version that won’t get Nickelodeon sued.
This is, without a doubt, the best Angry Beavers episode. It takes one of The Angry Beavers‘ core strengths – the juxtaposition of realistic artwork with cartoon beavers – and runs with it for a half hour. This is to The Angry Beavers what “Toby Danger” is to Freakazoid!
The Angry Beavers is among the last of the great 1990s Nicktoons. AB would be cancelled by Nickelodeon in 2001, in part due to its breaking the fourth wall in one unproduced episode. It’s never a good idea to make fun of the network paying your cheques, doubly so when it’s Nickelodeon and the show specifically states that it’s ending.
More of The Angry Beavers‘ horror film allusions will be mentioned in future GdL articles. They’re a staple of Norbert and Daggett’s viewing habits, the horror parodies being the best parts of the show.
Remember, anything is possible…if it happens.