If Judge Aaron Bossig ever finds himself in a blender, he hopes he'll be accompanied by tequila and lime juice.
"Joe Cartoon is from Michigan. He is easy to recognize in a crowd due to his tendency towards nakedness. He likes beer. Using the cover of night, Joe frequently visits the zoo and whispers sweet nothings to the underage giraffes. This greatest hits DVD is nothing more than a giant cry for help."—From JoeCartoon's MySpace page
JoeCartoon has been around since the early days of the World Wide Web. Often filed under the "Tasteless Humor" section of many web directories, the Joeman became famous for web-based cartoons featuring cute critters getting killed in creative (and bloody) ways. Lots of blood, lots of foul language, absolutely no point—that's the JoeCartoon way. The most famous cartoon to this day is "Frog Bender 2000." In it, a smartass frog finds himself in a kitchen blender, and the viewer has the option to set the blades to different speeds, all the while the frog insults said viewer like a fat guy in a dunking booth. JoeCartoon: Beyond The Blender is the second DVD collection of JoeToons, this one featuring the stoned insects of "SuperFly" and the further marital quarrels of "Tuh Greenfields."
I first discovered JoeCartoon when I was a college freshman. It was 2:30 in the morning, I was up late and bored, so I started entering random things into a search engine (this is how Comp-Sci majors amuse themselves). JoeCartoon appeared before me, the site luring me in with its crude humor and complete lack of any constructive purpose. The first time I saw that annoying frog go into the blender, I was a fan. The stupid, crass jokes that make up any JoeCartoon feature were enough to make the night slip away. Before I knew it, an hour had passed by.
I'm convinced that JoeCartoon is funniest when viewed under such circumstances.
There is a certain quality about web-based cartoons: they tend to start out as a single project and their sites slowly expand from there. Sometimes, the material has enough potential that it encourages further installments. Other times, the joke can't be made as funny the second time around. JoeCartoon fits into this category. The concept of "Frog in a Blender" is hysterical in its simplicity: take a very obnoxious cartoon frog, stick him in a blender, and give the viewer control over his fate. You know the viewer will eventually puree the digital frog, it's only a matter of when.
JoeCartoon gained great popularity from its initial batch of toons: the frog in a blender, the gerbil in a microwave, and the subsequent adventures of said gerbil became known all over the web. With more people visiting the site, Joe started experimenting with different characters, and in some cases tried to make his JoeToons a little more topical (i.e., "Osama Sissy Fight"). This experimentation was met with mixed results. This is not to detract from the creativity that goes into each JoeToon: I'm merely saying that a lot of the humor is derived from the sheer stupidity. Add a purpose or a plot to Joe and the funny level drops. Some of Joe's least amusing works appeared after the site got big, when Joe was trying to crank out cartoons on a regular basis. In some cases, he tries too hard, and the resulting cartoons had nowhere near the same charm.
Sadly, this DVD does feature a lot of those lesser cartoons. My primary example would be "Amish Joe," a short featuring an orange-skinned man in a hat singing a silly country-western song. At the end, his head explodes. I'm also not overly fond of "Tuh Greenfields," though they're apparently some of the more popular characters on the site. One episode features the wife, Gertrude, shaking a gerbil in a box until he's nothing but a bloody pulp. Another episode consists of nothing but a possum barfing. These cartoons aren't disappointing because they're silly and pointless—they're supposed to be silly and pointless. No, they're disappointing because they're just not funny. It occurs to me that it may have been more fun for Joe to make them than it was for me to watch them. The DVD also contains a section for "Bogus Features," which are just short cartoons and video clips. I didn't find anything worthwhile in them either.
What really makes this disc worthwhile is the "Press 'n Splode" section, which features primo JoeToons such as "Frog Bender 2000" and "The Boss." These cartoons, and others like them, are what made JoeCartoon the site it is today. "The Boss" is a particular favorite, giving the viewer the chance to abuse not only JoeCartoon's gerbil mascot, but an arrogant supervisor figure as well. Perfect after a rough day at work!
Beyond the Blender may not contain the cream of the JoeCartoon crop, but these cartoons are still pretty funny. The picture quality is stunning, which is not surprising since the source material is purely digital. JoeCartoon's scribbles and scrawls look just like they did on your computer monitor. When I can't get online, it's nice having JoeCartoon on disc. Aside from that, I can't find any other advantage to having them on DVD, except that now not only will JoeCartoon waste countless hours of your life, you can pay him for the privilege. JoeCartoon is first and foremost a web cartoon, great for insomniac college kids and bored office workers, but it just doesn't seem like the kind of thing you'd run out and buy. I'd recommend it for avid JoeFans, for more casual viewers, just check out the website.
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