The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is an interesting series, which I liked as a kid and recently got back into. It had some good voice talent (Long John Baldry being the standout, but the whole cast was pretty funny), and the amount of names you recognize looking at the storyboard credits is incredible-- Milton Knight, Mike Fontanelli, Eddie Fitzgerald, Owen Fitzgerald, Howie Post, Vincent Waller and more. It's a who's-who of amazing animation talent.
Unfortunately, the actual episodes were rather inconsistent. Sometimes the writing was unbelievably poor, using the most tired, unfunny jokes you can think of. Other times, it was a magnificent blend of non-sequitur gags, incongruity, and cartooniness. You may have seen the Nostalgia Critic's review of this series, in which he criticized it heavily for its absurdity. I agree with his analysis, but not his opinion-- I love it for all the reasons he hates it. I think if you like extreme over-the-top cartoons in the vein of Bob Clampett, Tex Avery or John Kricfalusi, you might find something to like in this series. According to Milton Knight, the storyboard artists were encouraged to add their own gags and change the script, and this often comes through in the show.
In the aforementioned Nostalgia Critic review, two gags he specifically hated were the one where Grounder blows on his hand to turn it into a pumpkin, and where Scratch pulls a string and his hand turns into a beautiful hedgehog girl. I think these are hilarious moments. "Scratch needs to bring out a distraction for Sonic. So his hand turns into an inflatable hedgehog woman. Okay, what happens next?"
To really enjoy it, you have to look at it in the same way as a cartoon like "the Great Piggy Bank Robbery," where everything is funny that you accept the fact that everything happening is impossi--
Anyway, the animation was about as hit-or-miss as the writing, due to it being outsourced. Sometimes the characters were distorted in funny, creative ways for a specific purpose, and other times they just weren't drawn very well. In at least a few episodes of AoStH, there was a gratuitious use of smears in the animation, to the point where every head-turn or slight arm movement is smeared. We're talking even beyond "Dover Boys" levels. I love smears, but you don't need them for every little movement. But it might have been done to save money on in-betweens, rather than for aesthetic reasons. It only shows up in a handful of episodes.
Anyway, the end result of all this is that, for me at least, the show is always entertaining or fascinating on some level, intentionally or not. For example, here are some of my favourite scenes from an episode I saw recently, "Full Tilt Tails." This episode is one of the more nonsensical ones, at least on the second DVD set.
The first clip takes place just after Sonic has tricked Robotnik out of some stolen junk (really, the cartoon opens with Robotnik bragging about how he just stole a bunch of garbage) while dressed as a hillbilly. The first great thing in this clip is Scratch's laugh. Yes, it's in every episode, but it's funny.
Then there's Robotnik's 'tip'. Obviously this is a pretty easy, old joke, but that's part of why I find this so funny. The angle on the robots' outstretched arms as they await the tip also makes me laugh. Finally, there's Scratch's confused, awkward reaction.
The second clip starts with Grounder coming up from under a table and saying "that was a pretty tricky hillbilly," a sentence which makes me laugh by itself. Then Robotnik says "bamboozled." That's a funny word. Even more funny is that he blames Coconuts for his failure to recognize Sonic, even though Coconuts hasn't even appeared in the cartoon up to this point. Coconuts is 'demoted' to 'mop-up duty', which he has been assigned to since the beginning of the series. When he says "where do I start", the intention is probably for him to be asking where he starts mopping up, but it's more fun, and just as easy, to interpret it as "where do I start in asking how any of this makes sense?" The icing on the cake for this clip is Robotnik's bizarre two-handed pointing gesture. Because it takes two hands to point at something.
Clip 3: Pretty straightforward. Robotnik's reasoning is sound.
Here, Sonic and Tails have probably picked the worst possible spot to sit down and have a discussion. A table precariously balanced on top of a mountain. And Tails calls Sonic out on his inconsistent rules.
Next, Tails ruins some sort of skydiving competition, angering everyone. My favourite aspects of this scene are the sausage man in the crowd, the two identical guys who mumble "how COULD you?!!" and "misery!" at Tails, and the furious british cat with the expanding head. "FRIEND-OF-HISAHYO?" The fact that Sonic is so quick to desert Tails is another odd thing in this scene. You'd think, being brave enough to fight all kinds of monsters and robots, he wouldn't be afraid of a normal person like that.
This sixth clip is probably my favourite: 'Plan B', in which Robotnik is obsessed with the term "boob", involves Grounder putting on a wig and speaking poorly. "Bad man in there steal my lollipop, and he left me only my stick!" It's possible that this is a reference to something else, but I have no idea what. Even if it is a reference, it makes no sense that someone would steal the candy part of a lolipop but leave the stick behind. It would be difficult to get it off, and your hands would get all sticky and gross.
Tails is immediately enraged by this act of theft, and shouts "WHAT BAD MAN?!!" He goes into a bar to find the thief, who Grounder makes sure to specify is 'wearing leather', and retrieve the lollipop... Even though by this point I'm sure nobody would want the lollipop. Inside the bar, a biker with a hilarious speech pattern starts beating up Tails after Grounder switches his story. Every line that comes out of this biker's mouth is hysterical. The delivery is just so ridiculous.
"DAYDAUUUHH.... You better talk FAST, sonny."
Then Grounder and Scratch smile and wave at Tails, who knocks over all the motorcycles with a domino effect. For some reason the biker blames the robots.
"HEY!!! Yer-naw-lil-girl! DUHHHHHH.... you broke mah motorcycle! I-HATE-ROBOTS" [he manages to say it without punctuation]
The only bad thing about this scene is the bizarre, lame joke when Sonic arrives. "I guess I got here a little late. And I hate when that happens!" ... So Sonic doesn't like being late? ... Uh... Nobody does. That's not much of a joke. Not even half a joke. That's maybe a quarter of a joke or something. But even that can't ruin this incredible episode.
So then the logical conclusion to the cartoon is to have a turtle walk by and decide to lick already-chewed gum off the bottom of Tails' sneaker. Logical, captain. No wonder Robotnik hates turtles.
And of course, there's the well-known 'Sonic Sez' segment where it's revealed that Grounder smokes cigarettes. I love how it just opens without any explanation -- Groudner runs onscreen shouting "GIMME MY SMOKES!" at Tails, who has apparently stolen his cigarettes. Obviously the message of the piece is that smoking is bad, but it's hilarious that they chose to say that by portraying one of the main characters like this. It's not like they showed Grounder trying a cigarette for the first time, only to have Sonic slap it away and say 'that's not cool, fool' or something -- he's actually depicted as a chain-smoker.
It's pretty difficult to explain why I find this stuff so funny. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these clips. I'll probably put up some more soon.