Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I am Baby Cakes, You are Baby Cakes, We Are the World (NSFW awkward humor)
When artist Brad Neely's short, strange still animations started to appear on Adult Swim, I initially dismissed them as more of the awkward Tim and Eric humor Cartoon Network became so gung-ho about in its "do-we-really-have-to-show-cartoons?" age of weirdness. Tim and Eric has its spastic, approving audience, but I'm not it; Brad Neely, on the other hand, has reeled me in completely.
His humor's awkward, too, of course, and often scatological and (for some reason) Harry Potter and wizard obsessed, but his quirky style and keen observations separate him from the usual "lol!random" Internet 'toons. He's still part of their number, but he defines the form rather than succumbing to its video game and meme simplicities.
Neely's most endearing character is Baby Cakes, a 30+ man-child and struggling musician living with his father. Though the audience is at first meant to laugh at the character's love for alcohol and D&D, his absolute sureness in magic, music, and wizards allows plenty of room for appreciation and love:
It's strange how Baby Cakes is both awkwardly hilarious and able to achieve a point of view of such grace. His philosophy is paradoxically enlightened and blunted by stupidity, fantastically skewed and privately meaningful.
I didn't catch the short lived Super Deluxe while it was airing on television, but caught up online with the adventures of the misguided crew of the fictional China, Illinois. Brad Neely doesn't appear to be producing much in the way of independent animation lately, but if and when he does, I hope he returns to his beloved, child man hero.