I finally got around to watching Spaceballs the Animated Series and I wish I hadn’t. I know I shouldn’t have gone into an animated series based on a movie with any expectations at all but I had faith in Mel Brooks to provide quality entertainment, despite the form.
Boy, was I silly to expect that.
Spaceballs the Animated Series if 15 episodes of boob and Jew jokes strewn about in poorly constructed parodies of other shows/movies. For those of you not in the know, Spaceballs the Movie is 96 minutes of boob and Jew jokes strewn about in a well-constructed Star Wars (amongst others) parody. But a concept that worked so well for the movie is abused in the cartoon series. If I had a nickel for every time they closed in on Vespa’s bouncy bosom or whenever Yogurt said something Yiddish for the sake of saying something in Yiddish, at least there would have been a point to sit through each painful episode. And to add to the boob and Jew jokes, a third -ene was added to President Skroob’s entourage (Darlene was added to the duo of Marlene and Charlene) and Yogurt now has a very, very, very Jewish wife.
The first two episodes basically reboot the movie, stripping it of it’s best jokes and creating a shell upon which a motley cast of voice actors proceed to butcher any hope of having respectable careers again. The sad part is that Daphne Zuniga and Joan Rivers actually reprise their roles for this garbage. Not that I’m a particularly big fan of Joan Rivers but, really, she does one thing right in her career and this was her reward? Yeesh. Thankfully, Rick Moranis is smart enough to avoid an animated series based on one of his most iconic roles. The downside is that you’re subjected to someone who is NOT Rick Moranis who doesn’t even make an attempt to even catch the nuances of what made Dark Helmet such a fantastic villain.
There is a bright spot in casting Tino Insana as Barf. It’s as though Tino is channeling the late John Candy from the beyond. The voice is spot on. I was actually pretty impressed.
The end of the second episode deviates from the film (aside from the fact that it’s awful) in the fact that it isn’t revealed that Lonestar is a prince. Instead, Prince Valium rejects Vespa for leaving him at the altar, leaving her to a fate of remaining unmarried forever. She vows to date no one but Lonestar, since she can’t get married. Lonestar vows not to date anyone but Vespa, but I’m not entirely sure why. They never really declare their love for one another or anything.
The other 13 episodes are just one bad parody after another. No franchise is safe: Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings all brutally attacked in Mel Brooks’ attempt to see if he can make everything better with boob and Jew jokes. Barf even becomes Spider-Mawg in an episode. He is bitten by a radioactive spider and his intense gas allows him to belch up webbing and stick to walls for some reason. Barf and Vespa compete to become the next Druidian Idol. And every character has a blow-up doll version of himself somewhere. Oh! And apparently the Schwarz now functions like a Lantern ring rather than like a lightsaber or like the Force.
Maybe if Spaceballs had acted as a continuation of the movies. What would Vespa and Lonestar’s life together be like? What if Skroob and Dark Helmet came back after Druidia for revenge? Or, if you wanted to explore the universe, why not use an entirely different cast of characters to explore the universe? Or at least cleverly parody other sci-fi movies or shows? Don’t jam your characters into even more unlikely scenarios just for a cheap joke. It made all the characters very unlikeable and just tarnished an otherwise good name in comedy.