Freakazoid! Will give your brain a chocolate coating
It’s no coincidence that “Freakazoid!” felt as improvised as it did. On the DVD special features, Dini, Rugg and Tom Ruegger explained that the show was produced under a very tight deadline and much of Frakazoid’s dialogue was improvised by Rugg. The creators didn’t ponder whether or not a studio would approve, or whether an audience would find it appealing. The creators were just trying to make each other laugh, and what made them laugh was the surreality, the old musicals, and the movie references they’d seen the day they taped: the line from “Pull da string ” by Freakazoid was taken from “Ed Wood”, a film released a few months before the premiere of the show. In special features, Rugg admitted that their humor was perhaps a little alienating. “And if there’s one thing little kids love, he says, “It’s references to ‘Hello, Dolly’.”
When it came time to do a second season, Warner Bros. insisted that the fun reign a bit and that the series be devoted to full 30-minute episodes instead of 20 shorts. One would assume that meant more sanity, but Dini, Ruegger and co. found plenty of ways to get the kookiness flowing. The presence of Jonathan Harris certainly helped. Unfortunately, it was too strange to live. Children didn’t agree with his humor, and stoned middle schoolers didn’t buy the advertised children’s toys. “Frekazoid!” was canceled after two seasons.
A few years later, in 2001, the Cartoon Network would launch a bizarre block of late-night programming under the Adult Swim banner. “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” — the finest piece of dadaist pop entertainment ever produced — led a pack that included “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “Sealab 2021” and “The Venture Bros.” The footprints of “Freakazoid!” are all over Adult Swim, and there’s no doubt that WB’s antics have led to more and weirder bullshit being produced.
“Frekazoid!” wasn’t too weird as he was a few years ahead of his time. It was a superhero show that functioned as a media commentary, a slapstick playground, and a pop culture library. Nothing will ever match its heights. It’s a show for the ages.