Crazy Childhood: The Raccoons
More proof that Canadian animation is awesome.
The Raccoons (1985-1992)
Created by: Keven Gillis
If you're complaining about how there's nothing good on TV nowadays, you shouldn't stick in DVD's of your favorite shows that you watched as a kid. You should come to Canada instead! I'm prouldly Canadian, and I'm glad that Canadian channels such as CBC or The Comedy Network don't take off shows that have that essential Canadian feel.
The Red Green Show, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Royal Canadian Air Farce were mainly the Canadian shows that I watched when I was a kid, and reruns are stilling run to this day, so even though I'll probably never see new material again, I can at least cherish the memories and laughs I went through. But while these shows are pure gold, there is one Canadian cartoon that tops all of them. And all it takes is a quiet revisit to the Evergreen Forest....
Aww, look. Someone's beating Smokey The Bear to a pulp."
For those of you who don't know of this show, The Raccoons is a Canadian cartoon in which I think captured the true essence of Canada. Much like Rock & Rule, this show had an American plot and characters, but there are some distinguishing features about it that gives it it's Canadian feel. I never watched the show during it's intial run, but I did watch reruns on CBC and Teletoon years later, and I always loved it. It's got heart, humour, and cheesy 80's music to give it not only the Canadian feel, but that 80's feel, as well.
"All right, Cyril Sneer! Your drug-smuggling operation is done for!"
"Lord, we thank thee for this bountiful feast of KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy's..."
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The series features the adventures of Bert Raccoon and his friends Ralph and Melissa, mostly stopping the forces of the evil aardvark Cyril Sneer and his trio of pig henchmen.
Bert Raccoon (Voiced By Len Carlson)
"Put your hands in the ai-yer!!!"
The main character of the show. Usually sees himself as an adventurer, but only when he gets into all sorts of trouble.
Though Bert is a likable character, being a kid at heart with huge determination, I was kinda bothered by his weird nose. Did he get it in a fatal accident or something?
Ralph and Melissa Raccoon (Voiced by Bob Dermer and Linda Dermer/Susan Roman)
"OK, who should tell everyone that Broo was run over by a Chevy?"
A married couple who are Bert's best friends.
I always found these two to be uninteresting as a kid, because they usually were advisors to Bert to help him go in the right direction when all I wanted to see was Bert get into crazy antics. For some reason, Ralph Raccoon always reminded me of Orson Pig from Garfield And Friends. Why?
PLEEEEASE don't imagine what the children would look like.
How do these two characters from two completely different shows possibly come to my mind? Perhaps it was the voice or the characters were both quiet and left the antics to the other characters. But I'd take Orson Pig anyday over a raccoon that wears a white scarf anyday. Why does he wear that scarf?
Cyril Sneer (Voiced by Michael Magee)
The main villian of the show. Did anyone think that he sounded like McLeach from The Rescuers Down Under?
That aside, Cyril Sneer is a very effective villian. Originally in the television specials that aired before the show's run, Cyril was more of a darker character, attempting to cut down all the trees in Evergreen forest for profit, and even tried to rule the earth. In the series, he grew to be less sinister and more sympathetic every now and then, sometimes considered to be an anti-hero.
Nevertheless, whenever he's more of a bad guy, he's still over the top and really fun to watch. If I had revisited this show eariler, I would've definately added him to my Top 10 Animated Non-Disney Villians list.
Just one question...am I supposed to believe that he's supposed to be an aardvark? He looks like a mixture between a Pink Elephant from Dumbo and Squidward from SpongeBob! At least he looks more like an aardvark than Arthur.
Seperated from birth?
Cedric Sneer (Voiced by Marvin Goldhar)
"Hey! My eye's stuck!"
Cyril's son and Bert's best friend.
A nerdy, yet good-hearted son who's afraid of facing his dad and is the best friend of a weirdo who's young at heart and hangs out with that friend to give him guidance and company.
Did I just describe me?
The Pigs (Voiced by Nick Nichols, Keith Hampshire
and Len Carlson)
Everyone is always wondering what are the names of these pigs, but as a kid, and even now, I never will care about the names of the pigs. Besides, they all look the same, and it'll be a major bitch to just remember the name of Pig #1.
Anyways, these porkers basically hand around Cyril to help him out with his schemes. But they usually ruin them instead of make them better. Isn't that always the case?
Schaeffer (Voiced by Carl Banas) and Broo
Whoops! The cameraman's on the wrong side (Sorry about the lame picture, it was the only good quality picture I could find.)!
The two dogs of the forest. He and Broo (who is more dog-like and never speaks) also live with the humans of the show we'll get to later. Schaeffer usually helps out with the Raccoons whenever there's trouble brooing---I mean, brewing.
When I was a kid, I never saw the episodes with the humans, so I thought Schaeffer was just a character who strangely had a sheepdog for a pet. But that would've been stupid, wouldn't it?
Forest Ranger Dan, Julie, and Tommy (Voiced by Murray Chicley, Vanessa Lindores, and Noam Zyblerman)
The humans of the show, and probably the only thing I hate about this show.
They never met up with the Raccoons at all (from the episodes that I've seen), and the only reason they're in the show is that their family pets are Schaeffer and Broo, but they usually sneak away from the them just to hang out with the Raccoons. Usually whenever the humans are on-screen, it's like reading the sappiest and piss-poor Hallmark you've ever read, stretched out to about 4-5 minutes.
And by the way, how come the ranger NEVER finds out what these characters are up to? Did he never notice Cyril's mansion at all or a freakin' raccoon that wore red and yellow sweater?
Sophia Tutu (Voiced by Sharon Lewis)
"Sorry if I purposely bumped you and potentially broke your nose for good. Wanna go out?"
Like the humans, she really doesn't serve much of a purpose in the show. She's just there just to say "That's terrible!" or "That's wonderful!" Even Princess Toadstool in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, who made her carrer getting kidnapped, served somewhat of a purpose!
And those are all the main characters that I remember from the show. There are several characters that were introduced later in the show, like Lisa and Bentley Raccoon, but I never saw much of them or any of the other later characters when I was a kid. No point in talking about characters I barely know about.
Filmation's The Odd Couple, this fall on NBC!
Greetings from the Hundred Acre Wood!
WHAT'S BAD ABOUT IT?
See Ranger Dan, Julie, & Tommy, and Sophie Tutu, and that's pretty much it.
WHAT'S GOOD ABOUT IT?
The animation is surprisingly decent, considering what animation was like in the 80's (I'm pointing at you, He-Man.). Most cartoons back then were always being sent overseas, which meant the quality could vary from time to time. The Raccoons was animated right in good ol' Canada. Characters actually have swift and smooth movements, though there's the occasional character who stays stiff and only his head moves.
The show also includes songs that are usually used during a montage. To be honest, these songs could've been potential to be radio hits during the 80's. They range from soft and heart-warming to boppy and hard to get out of your head. My personal favorites include "Run With Us" and "All Life Long", which were sung by one of the main cast members Lisa Lougheed, who went on to release a soundteack consisting of the songs from the show.
Finally, the best episodes are the heart-warming ones. And it's actually not done in a way that's too sappy. One of the better sentimental moments in the show would be in one of my favorite episodes Join The Club, starring later addition to the show Lisa Raccoon (Lougheed).
An inspiration for furries everywhere!
So what does the episodes start off with? BERT RACCOON CATCHING LISA SMOKING!!!
That's right. A show full of innocence and heart-warming goodness suddenly decides to go down the PSA route and give us an anti-drug episode. But with that said, it's just your run-of-the-mill PSA where Lisa must decide to stop smoking or be part of the cool crowd.
While that's going on, Cyril Sneer attempts to get into a golf club run by his scaly adversary Mr. Knox. In order to get into the club, he must win a round of golf and perform an act of initiation. Let's hope it's not watching Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.
Yeah, because the first three went SO good!
Anyways, Cyril does win the game of golf, but must perform the task of trashing his own son's clubhouse to the ground, because it's considered to be an eye-sore by the golf club. Of course, Cyril doesn't do it, but later catches up with Lisa and tells her about the dangers of smoking. Yeah, I'm not kidding. Cyril Sneer, who has attempted to cut down every tree in the Evergreen Forest, and even tried to RULE THE WORLD...is now telling one of his adversaries about something that he already does.
Personally, I would've preferred Matt Foley.
"Oh, snap. The cops are pulling me over. They must know what's in the trunk!"
"Oh God, was another raccoon REALLY necessary in this show?"
For those of you addicted to potato chips, just remember that THIS COULD BE YOU!
The Raccoons is one of my all-time favorite shows. It has cool animation, likable characters, good story-telling for kids, and some very catchy songs. If you haven't catched this show as a kid, all 60 episodes are available to watch on Youtube, which is pure awesomeness. Give it a try and see for yourself that Canada has given us more than Roick & Rule.