I believe this Feature is way overdue. If anyone is a regular visitor of the site, or have at least skimmed it once or twice, you'll know how Chad and I feel about the Donkey Kong Country cartoon show that aired (and still does air in some parts) a while back ago. So instead of listing what we feel is wrong with it again, I thought I'd recount the days surrounding the Donkey Kong Country cartoon show, and then create my own version (albeit w/o visuals) for you to stroke softly. Welcome to Recounting The Donkey Kong Country Cartoon Show: How It Terrorized My Virgin Senses And Caused Me To Bake My Head In A Creepy Crawler Oven.
I first heard, or read, about the Donkey Kong Country cartoon show (for the rest of the Feature referred to as Lord Harry) in my TV Guide. I believe my cable was out at the time, and I decided if I couldn't watch television I'd read about television. Skimming all the channel listings, Saturday to be more specific, I was floored when I saw the words "Donkey Kong Country" listed for early afternoon. Literally all of time stopped for me at the moment, and for a brilliant second in the ongoing saga of our lives I knew the meaning of existence. The exciting part was I had no idea Lord Harry was coming, and only discovered it through reading the TV listings days in advance. While it aired in Canada earlier (having no idea at the time about that aspect), this would be the US debut. I knew I hadn't missed any episodes, because Saturday was also the day the Family Channel (which deserves several canings in itself for such classics as Big Brother Jake and Maniac Mansion) became the Fox Family Channel (who have since then have become a conduit for bad teenager culture and the Olsen Twins). So needless to say I was thrilled. Remembering the classic Nintendo cartoons of my childhood, I figured I had nothing to fear about Lord Harry. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was rather good considering what it was, and despite the gripe I always had at the time about how the bad guys from Super Mario Bros. 2 worked for Bowser in the show (Mario games since then have adapted to this as well, leaving behind the anti-hero of my NES days named Wart), it was fairly accurate. The Zelda cartoon that aired on Fridays in-between the horrible live action Mario stuff was also pretty well done. None of the cartoons were completely accurate, but at least they captured the spirit of the games.
I remember that Saturday quite clearly. Having no idea what Lord Harry looked like, I watched the Family Channel from early in the morning all the way up to the show's debut, trying to catch any glimpses of on-air promos for it. That didn't happen up the Family Channel-Fox Family Channel change over occurred, and they had one large clip package illustrating all the fine programming Fox was now bringing to the washed up cable network. While brief, I did manage to see some computer animated Kremlings and a very quick shot of Diddy and Donkey. I was thrilled at the time. Looking back on the moment, I should have been more thrilled at the shots of Pee-Wee Herman they showed.
A few hours passed, and finally the moment of truth arrived. Lord Harry arrived. I turned my VCR to record and let the magic happen. I was treated to a lame opening theme song, complete with a poor attempt at a buzzword built in (banana slamma). I figured, "Hey, it's just the opening credits. No big deal, right?" Well, what followed did nothing to reassure me. One huge error was Fox Family not airing the first episode of Lord Harry as the debut show. Instead the plucked a random show from their archives to introduce the US to their little monstrosity they acquired. At once they started talking about the all powerful Crystal Coconut as if we at home should KNOW what they were rambling about. The icing on the cake was when they broke out in song for the first time. It was rather discouraging to see Lord Harry suck that bad. Again, I'm not going to go into all the errors they made on it (because why waste time complaining again that they couldn't even get the location right?), so let's just move on (in case you were wondering, the one that was aired that day had something to do with the Crystal Coconut turning Diddy invisible).
The bad aftertaste it left in my mouth stays to this day. While the aftertaste does get annoying, it has let me think about what I would have done differently to Lord Harry. Now I could go on all day, taking up our entire server, telling you how I could have made Lord Harry a decent viewing experience. Instead I'll make it interesting for myself to pretend I could change five things about it; no more, no less.
Five Things I Would Have Done Differently If I Were French And Worked On Lord Harry
5: Replace all my French co-workers with people who have actually played a Donkey Kong Country game.
4: Hire talented voice actors/actresses. The folks who did the voices for the English-dubbed version of Lord Harry were terrible. They overacted each character (probably because of the fact they were talking animals), making each one seem fake and lifeless. Look at Garfield and Friends. That show had talking animals up the wazoo, yet each voice let you know everything you needed to know about the character in question. Garfield was lethargic. Wade the duck was a coward. Roy the rooster was a cocky sumbitch. The voice actors/actresses didn't need to be loud or flashy to catch the low-attention spans of children. Instead they opted for a low-key method, making each character seem like they were alive.
3 Ditch the Crystal Coconut. The best kid shows of the passed fifteen years have never revolved around the exact same plot each and every episode. For example, look at the Real Ghostbusters. While they had to bust ghosts in every episode, their supernatural advisaries were always different who wanted different things. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is another example. While the show was hardly a storytelling masterpiece, the bad guys always had a different scheme with evil different evil intentions every week. On Lord Harry, the writers decided to create some mystical ball to let them coast through each and every episode. As an aspriring writer, that makes me sick. Not only that, but if this ball had more power than God, why didn't the Kongs just wish away all their problems? It was a horrible plot device, that coconut was.
2: A better soundtrack. One of the things that made the original DKC was the soundtrack that made you feel like you were part of the environment. The crap they used on Lord Harry was just like the voices: frantic. Nothing exciting, nothing that made a particular scene more interesting. Just frantic. I'm also going to lump in the songs they always broke out into on Lord Harry as well. That was a terrible idea, as the audience they were marketing it to would have no interest in a musical cartoon (Lord Harry was an adventure/stop the bad guys show, albeit a poor one). So in review, I would have added better music and no singing to keep the audience interested in what they were watching.
1: Finally, I would have only used characters from the games. Not only that, but I would also keep a tight lid on what characters were featured. In Lord Harry, Dixie would be in some episodes as a major player and then just vanish in a few more. My personal selection for the only characters to be in it would be Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, Cranky, Funky, Candy, Rambi, and K. Rool (w/an army of drones, but not the Klump/Krusha characters like in Lord Harry). Also keep in mind that the characters I would feature would be taken directly from the games, and not have the personality of a fingernail.
So that's basically it. There were tons of problems with the damned Lord Harry, but I believe if those five things would have been done, it would have been right up there with the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Instead, it sits right next to Captain N: The Game Master and the Street Figher movie as one of the worst video game based productions known to man.
Note: No French men were harmed in the making of this Feature. That's a damn shame.
A SirSlush2 Duction