I want you people to know this will NEVER be made public
January 24, 2013 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Dexter's Laboratory was an animated cartoon by Genndy Tartakovsky known for delightful musical numbers (one episode was an 11-minute-long opera) and genre parodies like The Justice Friends and Dial M For Monkey (and more!), but for years there has been talk of a never-aired episode, Dexter's Rude Removal, in which Dexter and his sister Dee Dee turn hilariously foulmouthed. Needless to say, Cartoon Network never aired this episode, and with the exception of one Comic Con showing, it was never shown to an audience – until now. Adult Swim has kindly put Dexter's Rude Removal on YouTube, for all the world to see.
posted by Rory Marinich (55 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
posted by magstheaxe at 8:13 AM on January 24, 2013

There's a thesis in the use of accents in this episode.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:16 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

That was ace. My favourite episode was the 'Dexter and Computress Get Mandark' one, where a kid had sent in a tape of his idea for an episode, and they just animate around it - including baffled looks from the characters at sudden continuity errors. It was basically proto-Axe Cop.
posted by RokkitNite at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2013 [17 favorites]

Yes! Dexter and Computress Get Mandark is terrific. Really, the show had an incredible range.

In retrospect, it's no surprise that the people who made Dexter's Lab went on to create Samurai Jack, which is simply one of the grooviest and best-looking animated shows ever made.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]

'Dexter and Computress Get Mandark' is BRILLIANT. That little kid's Dexter impression! "You are stuuuupid! You are stuuuupid! And do not forget-you are stuuuupid!"
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by Doleful Creature at 8:28 AM on January 24, 2013 [14 favorites]

This episode is ene of the best thing's Craig's done, right up there with marrying Lauren.
posted by radwolf76 at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2013

"Doo doo doo what does this button do?" is our household shorthand chant for "this device is not operating properly/I have no idea what I'm doing."

Also: sage advice.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:34 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Tee! Vee! Puppet Pals!
posted by whuppy at 8:40 AM on January 24, 2013

I enjoyed Dexter's Lab but found this "lost episode" more annoying than funny. Maybe I'm getting cranky in my old age.
posted by asnider at 8:45 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

The sound sync was off for me, which made it difficult to really enjoy. But new Dexter is always good.
posted by immlass at 8:53 AM on January 24, 2013

This doesn't really work for me. I think it's much more interesting when shows aimed at children have to get creative to include more risque stuff. Regular Show (and Rocko's Modern Life before it, holy crap, that show was seedy) has included lots of subtle adult humor, and Adventure Time goes a step further by having a few genuinely mature themes going on. That's a lot more valuable, and gives you something to appreciate as you grow up. We could always do with larger doses of that "grows up with you" quality in children's stories.
posted by byanyothername at 8:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Un-bleeped version.
posted by tighttrousers at 8:58 AM on January 24, 2013 [10 favorites]

Now we just need a little Pinky and the Brain love and the day will be perfect.
posted by Fizz at 9:18 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

You mean there's still a Dexter's Laboratory that I haven't watched repeatedly and nigh-memorized yet? AWESOME!
posted by ardgedee at 9:38 AM on January 24, 2013

Dexter's lab was one of my favorites! Thanks Rory, I doubt I'd have ever seen this if you hadn't posted.
posted by Mister_A at 9:39 AM on January 24, 2013

We could always do with larger doses of that "grows up with you" quality in children's stories.

You've just nailed the problem with everything John Kricfalusi has done post-Nickelodeon. When you lose the leash, you lose the tension and constant boundary-testing that made Ren and Stimpy fun.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:42 AM on January 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

This was amazing and just makes me sad there's no more Dexter's Lab.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now we just need a little Pinky and the Brain love and the day will be perfect.

Yes. And what we really need is an Officail Non-Official MetaFilter Canon of Cartoons Recommended for Proper Childhood Development

I'll start (in alphabetical order):

Adventure Time
Angry Beavers
Batman TAS
Dexter's Laboratory
Johnny Bravo
Looney Tunes (of course)
Powerpuff Girls
Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast
Ren and Stimpy
Rocko's Modern Life
The Tick!
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:48 AM on January 24, 2013 [13 favorites]

Cartoon Planet
posted by whuppy at 9:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Batman Beyond (so shway)
Gravity Falls
posted by brieche at 9:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Harvey Birdman
posted by Fizz at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Adventure Time
Angry Beavers
Batman TAS
Dexter's Laboratory
Johnny Bravo

Looney Tunes (of course)
Powerpuff Girls
Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast
Ren and Stimpy
Rocko's Modern Life

The Tick!

posted by hanov3r at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2013

What sort of Communist doesn't love Freakazoid? It's enough to make you wish Candle Jack really exi
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:25 AM on January 24, 2013 [15 favorites]

omg I have looked for the labretto episode FOREVER. Rory Marinich, I love you.
posted by royalsong at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just here to say I miss this show on a weekly basis.
posted by yerfatma at 10:42 AM on January 24, 2013

Thundarr the Barbarian
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:51 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mysterious Cities of Gold
posted by rainbowbullet at 11:25 AM on January 24, 2013

On the list:
Angry Beavers is overrated. Johnny Bravo has great moments but doesn't often live up to them. Space Ghost Coast to Coast has moments of greatness but is just as often needlessly audience antagonistic, especially later on, and unfortunately gave us the Adult Swim house style.

Freakazoid needs to be included. Earthworm Jim should underrated. Tazmania should be included. Batman: The Animated Series absolutely needs to be included.

Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain both should be included, but have good episodes and bad episodes. (Freakazoid, in retrospect, was more consistently good.)

Adventure Time is too new. But if it's included, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic should be included too (really, the only reason that choice is controversial at all is because it's "supposed" to be for girls). Also Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

On Dexter's Lab:
A number of great shows came out of Cartoon Network's creator-driven animation program. If I were in charge of the network the first thing I'd do is start that thing back up. (And take all live action stuff off the channel, but that's just common sense when your channel is called Cartoon Network.) Dexter's Lab was the first to be really great. You can tell watching the original short (in which Dexter invents a machine that can turn people into animals) that they're on to something there. Creators from that program went out and created shows all over the place: without the Cartoon Cartoon program we wouldn't have Johnny Bravo, Powerpuff Girls, Kids Next Door, Cow and Chicken, several other things, and, believe it or not, Family Guy. (Seth MacFarlane's original version of the concept is clearly recognizable in a couple of shorts he made as Cartoon Cartoons. I can't help but think that version might have been more interesting, in the long run, than most of the things of his that are shown nightly FOR TWO HOURS ON ADULT SWIM.)

By the way, you can sometimes catch some classic CN shows on the revived Cartoon Planet block (some Friday nights -- oh, did I forget to mention Cartoon Planet is back?). Dexter's Lab is in frequent rotation there.
posted by JHarris at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Space Ghost Coast to Coast has moments of greatness but is just as often needlessly audience antagonistic, especially later on

That's the joke.

and unfortunately gave us the Adult Swim house style.

I think I've said this here before, but I'd like Adult Swim more if it were as consistently daring as Space Ghost was. I've always thought most of the Adult Swim shows were too "it's okay, everyone's in on the joke," the Neal Hamburger to Space Ghost's Andy Kaufman.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

And robocop is bleeding is right, Thundarr should be included too, it's the closest we've ever gotten to a bona-fide Conan-style barbarian being on TV, including being more faithful than any show or movie with "Conan" in the title. Alex Toth designed the main characters. JACK KIRBY designed the other characters! (Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears where this fact slips out.)
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on January 24, 2013

Antagonizing your audience can be uproariously funny once in a great while, but it gets old fast. SG:C2C tried to hook a whole show on it, but when the show worked best, IMO, it was the early episodes where they at least tried to hew to the premise, and the genre-shattering jokes were more unexpected.

This is going back some ways, but the Tarzan cartoon they showed in the early 80s has its moments, if you can find it, although not every episode is a winner. It's extremely Filmation, and as the series continued it got weirder (oh, Tarzan's fighting Vikings this week? Now aliens?), but it was approved by the Burroughs estate at least.
posted by JHarris at 11:53 AM on January 24, 2013

JHarris, it was fine with the Burroughs estate because the original Tarzan stories were themselves pretty weird. I'm not sure if he ever fought aliens, but he went to the centre of the earth, and fought a race of people with strange mental powers.

Anyway, for a canonical list of cartoons I would add

the Venture Bros
and Adventure Time totally deserves a place in the GOAT list.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 12:42 PM on January 24, 2013

Except I figure the list is intended for things explicitly for kids. Archer and Venture Bros. would be over their heads at times (when they're not being generally unsuitable).
posted by JHarris at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, as much as I'd love to show Archer and Venture Bros. to my seven-year-olds, I think it would constitute grounds for DCFS to step in.
posted by davejay at 1:04 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

OK, thanks for the link to those musical numbers. I've been attempting to id a Muppets musical guest for years now, and knew he was also on Dexter.

Paul Williams, you'll never torment me again!
posted by endotoxin at 1:13 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Angry Beavers is NOT overrated. It rose far above the original "animal sibling rivalry" premise with absurd interpretations of natural (and sometimes gross) animal biology, an ongoing superhero parody, musical satire totally NOT targeted at the under-13 audience of the late '90s, and other solidly absurdist storylines (when Norbert auditioned to be a Lipizzaner Stallion, a time-travel story based on "knocking you into last week", and the episode where they lost all their fur and were serenaded by a chorus of sheared sheep on the joys of nudity) and characters (the beloved but never-visibly-moving Stump, one of the first cartoon Mexican wrestlers "El Grapadura" (The Stapler) and creepy nature show host Bill Licking), with over-the-top voice performances by Nick Bakay (whose intentional speech affectations to appear sophisticated got weirder as the series ran on) and Richard Steven Horvitz (whose perpetual state of overreaction made him perfect for his later role as Invader Zim).

And, yes, Invader Zim belongs there too. And speaking of Mexican Wrestlers, the short-lived Mucha Lucha deserves some toon love just for having so much fun with only the positive stereotypes. Cow & Chicken's absurd greatness was obscured by the parallel success of Dexter, but it, and it's spinoff I Am Weasel (a heroic weasel with the booming baritone voice of Michael "Worf" Dorn) brought the funny. Another short-lived goody, from way back in 1986, Galaxy High School, created by Chris Columbus after he wrote Gremlins and the Goonies, played the wacky alien card wonderfully while the "big man on earth campus turned intergalactic geek" premise is almost inspirational. And even the Disney Afternoon offerings of that era deserve some love, most obviously, Darkwing Duck. I was old enough to have read some Carl Barks Disney comics so his influence on the original DuckTales was very welcome, but dissipated as the shows propagated, making Darkwing a very pleasant surprise.

Also, if you're going to go all the way back to Looney Tunes, do not forget the first truly classic cartoons made for TV from Jay Ward, Bill Scott and company: Rocky & Bullwinkle, Fractured Fairy Tales, Peabody's Improbable History, Dudley DoRight, George of the Jungle (don't let Brendan Fraser movies blind you to the greatness of the source material - if Looney Tunes can survive, so can Dudley & George), SuperChicken and Tom Slick.

And certainly Batman: the Brave and the Bold. A celebration of Silver Age comics without the Adam West high-camp, but still unafraid to have too much fun with Plasticman, Aquaman, Green Arrow (in constant rivalry with Bats) and one of the most despised characters in DC comics history: Batmite (voiced by Paul Reubens? perfect).

Rocko's Modern Life, too. There were some serious grown-up subtexts in there, like the Bigheads' son who made a TV cartoon based on his disfunctional family (segueing into some meta-satire about the cartoon biz) and how many cartoons had characters get married (Filbert Turtle and hook-handed Dr. Hutchinson)?

There should also be a special place for the first CGI cartoon for TV: Reboot. The strong cast of characters, the in-jokes for the computer-savvy and well-executed action when the producers had to invent things as they went along (and kept missing deadlines for the shows to air). The Canadian-based Mainframe Productions went on to do the least cringe-worthy (IMO) of all the Transformers toons... Beast Wars.

And how could we have such a discussion without including Star Trek: The Animated Series? By far, the best thing Filmation's Prescott, Scheimer and Sutherland ever did. And the ORIGINAL AstroBoy, the seed from which all Anime has grown. Just watch the first episode part 1, part 2 and tell me it's not one of the best half-hours EVER to come out of Japan.

There really have been a lot of great cartoons for kids, if you can get past the Spongebobs, the He-Mans, the Pokemons and the Scooby Doos (and the latest incarnation of that is actually dangerously close to good).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:06 PM on January 24, 2013 [12 favorites]

There is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can't be improved with pizza Daria.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:20 PM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

I will bow to oneswellfoop's opinion on Angry Beavers, he's obviously seen more of it than I have. Other inclusions are great too, I think.
posted by JHarris at 2:22 PM on January 24, 2013

(I could gush about most of the cartoons he mentioned, but don't have time right now. Maybe later, I'll add it to my gushing schedule.)
posted by JHarris at 2:23 PM on January 24, 2013

Ah, I missed the part about child appropriate.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 3:07 PM on January 24, 2013

Later, I'm going to add all the other kid-appropriate cartoons you lovely folks have added to my list and begin my aquisition quest. My kids are still under five so I've got some time...but I WILL create a cartoon shrine for them (and me of course) to receive Important Lessons from.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:35 PM on January 24, 2013

Oh yeah I was going to include Darkwing Duck but didn't want to check my Disney Privelege.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:36 PM on January 24, 2013

There's a thesis in the use of accents in this episode.

No kidding. Interesting that both the Polite Kids and the Rude Kids have non-rhotic accents, though Dee Dee's (Dede's, I guess?), natural accent is rhotic.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:55 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this!

An audio clip of Dexter yelling "This is all your fault" used to be my alarm. On loop.
posted by vidur at 4:24 PM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

There really have been a lot of great cartoons for kids, if you can get past the Spongebobs

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Spongebob may have deteriorated immensely in quality after only a couple of seasons, but some of the tightest "traditional" joke-writing I know came from that show.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:12 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any list of cartoons for proper childhood development that doesn't include Captain Planet and the Planeteers is just plain wrong.
posted by Talez at 7:15 AM on January 25, 2013

Scooby Doos

The first season of those, while cringingly stereotyped by modern standards, was one of the better cartoon staples of my childhood. After that, the decline was rapid.
posted by immlass at 7:35 AM on January 25, 2013

Courage the Cowardly Dog, anyone?
posted by Gordafarin at 7:51 AM on January 25, 2013

Also: Sheep in the Big City.
posted by Gordafarin at 7:52 AM on January 25, 2013

And almost everything on Nickelodeon's KABLAM, but especially Action League Now.
posted by Gordafarin at 7:56 AM on January 25, 2013

Captain Planet: I found it so-so at the time and not a lot has changed my opinion of it. Other than the star power and ecological theme what does it have really? It's not all that distinguishable from a host of other action adventure cartoon shows from the time. The same goes for The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, which was played tons in the early days of Cartoon Network but is utterly forgotten now.

The original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You suffers from bland characters (other than Shaggy and Scooby), poor animation and so-so writing. There are tons of villains in that show that appear to be nigh-omnipotent until the mask is taken off, and the ghostly images are somehow just a projector, and the floating objects are all on strings somehow. It looks better in hindsight because subsequent Scooby shows were even worse. Scooby is still fondly remembered by many though, and this resulted in two notable revivals, the early 2000s series that posited the monsters were real and put the gang into legitimately supernatural situations, and the current Mysteries, Inc. which retains much of the old premise (monsters are all fake, can do anything until the mask is removed and the spectral horror turns out to all be cheap tricks) but employs much better animation, some genuine suspense, and most importantly gives the characters more personality than before (especially Fred; this version of him as an obsessive trap aficionado should become the definitive version of the character).

Courage the Cowardly Dog is one of the better graduates from Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon program. (If any CN show needs to be revived today, it's that.) Even now, a very odd show that wasn't afraid to constantly make unconventional decisions. Even the weaker episodes tend to be very visually interesting.

Sheep in the Big City was a very entertaining show, with a Rocky and Bullwinkle, anything-for-a-joke kind of sensibility. It was also a What A Cartoon graduate, that for some reason never found its audience. It was rapidly moved to late hours on Cartoon Network and left to languish. I seem to remember there being several shows like that from the time; another was Mike, Lu and Ogg.

I didn't get to see much KABLAM.
posted by JHarris at 8:25 AM on January 25, 2013

Yeah, Captain Planet is basically a nostalgia/joke fodder offering. I mean, I loved Jem also, but it was not quality TV and I wouldn't insist my kid watched it or feel like he missed out if he didn't. There are so many better cartoons to watch.

In fact, it is killing me that the Korra Avatar season 1 is not on DVD yet, because he hates watching cartoons online, he likes to hang out on the couch and get into them. But we have no cable, so we have to wait a few more months to watch them together.

Which we have done multiple times with the first Avatar. It is really the best, most detailed and thought-out kid's adventure cartoon I've ever seen. In terms of plot, consistency, beauty, characterization...it is just miles beyond anything else. I can't think of any other kid's show that has a dramatic arc that compares (maybe one of the Batmans? they still seem pretty episodic). The mini-plot about Uncle Iroh grieving over his dead son, Aang's very adult anguish at being asked to kill the bad guy, those are some huge ideas for a kid's show to tackle. And yet they not only managed to consistently be funny, but to highlight how Sokka the non-bender was the comic relief and planner, which made him feel bad, but which turned out to be something none of the superpowered kids could manage without.

I could gush all day, really. I love lots of the other shows mentioned, including Dexter's Lab. Tartakovsky does amazing things with the episodic format and I am always up to watch any of his shows. Since there are not endless Avatar episodes, I might see about getting my kid some Dexter and PowerPuff Girls to watch too.
posted by emjaybee at 7:45 PM on January 25, 2013

Again, Cartoon Planet. Most Friday evenings. Classic Cartoon Network material interspersed with Brak and Zorak doing silly things. Is nice!
posted by JHarris at 2:21 AM on January 26, 2013

Just stumbled across this - the voice recordings of the final, fourth-wall-demolishing episode of Angry Beavers, left unanimated because it went against Nick guidelines to not directly refer to a show ending.

"Wake up and smell the Korean ink & paint!"
posted by Gordafarin at 1:03 PM on January 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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