Take the Three Stooges, mix in the sort of physics rule-breaking that only cartoons can provide, and slap on a keen eye for the way kids behave when grown-ups aren't around. Presto! You just made "Ed, Edd n Eddy," the longest running series (in years, if not by episode count) on Cartoon Network.
Created by Danny Antonucci, the cartoon follows the manic exploits of three suburban preteen boys with a knack for trouble: Ed (voiced by Matt Hill) is a lunkhead with a penchant for spouting random gibberish; Edd (Dan Vincent), aka "Double D," is the brains of the group, but his quiet demeanor leaves his wise advice easily ignored; Eddy (Tony Sampson) is a loudmouth fool who works himself into a frenzy with his cheap get-rich-quick schemes. They're junior Larrys, Curlys, and Moes for the modern age, and they plow through childhood as cluelessly as possible.
The series revels in the sort of frantic, often gross humor kids love so much, and there's just enough oddball insanity at play to make adults giggle just as easily. The animation is colorful and intentionally bizarre; bold lines forming the characters and backgrounds wiggle and morph in a delirious haze. This is animation that's, well, really animated.
Most impressive is how Antonucci and his writing staff manage to key in on the peculiar mannerisms of kids. In the Eds' little suburban world, their tiny adventures are everything to them, big, serious events that are quickly forgotten by the next day. The trio lives in that DMZ between childhood and puberty, explaining their constant fear of the evil Kanker Sisters, while crushes are formed regarding an older girl. And the neighborhood is filled with kids you might have known in your own youth: the boy who'd rather play with dolls, the boy who carries around a piece of wood to be his imaginary friend, the bossy big sister, the bully, etc.
Highlights from the show's second season include: turkey basters are resold by the Eds as "Imported Canadian Squirt Guns," which kicks off an Old West showdown with the Kankers; Eddy schemes to put on a fake telethon to raise money for an eyebrow operation for Ed; the boys start a repair company, causing more damage; and, in a great Halloween episode, the boys wind up in a haunted house, complete with all the right funhouse traps.
That last episode is a key to the series, as it's willing to bend the rules of reality to create a whole new universe for the title characters, a celebration of the show's sheer cartoon-ness. What's welcome, then, is that Antonucci and company work with such richly crafted characters, then twist the world around them in such nutty ways that we can't help but laugh.
Warner Bros. Has collected all thirteen episodes of the show's sophomore run in the two-disc "Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Complete Second Season." The discs come in a single-wide keepcase with a hinged tray for the second disc.
Each episode includes two cartoons. The episodes included here are:
Disc One: "Know-It-All Ed"/"Dear Ed," "Knock Knock Who's Ed"/"One + One = Ed," "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Ed"/"Ready, Set... Ed," "Hands Across Ed"/"Floss Your Ed," "In Like Ed"/"Who Let the Ed In," "Home Cooked Eds"/"Rambling Ed," "To Sir with Ed"/"Key to My Ed," and "Urban Ed"/"Stop, Look, and Ed."
Disc Two: "Honor Thy Ed"/"Scrambled Ed," "Rent-A-Ed"/"Shoo Ed," "Ed in a Halfshell"/"Mirror, Mirror, on the Ed," "Hot Buttered Ed"/"High Heeled Ed," and "Fa, La, La, La, Ed"/"Cry Ed."
Video & Audio
As usual with these Cartoon Network releases, the presentation here is spotless. The colors bounce and the animators' imaginative imagery shines. Presented in the original 1.33:1 broadcast format.
The soundtrack is crisp in its Dolby stereo presentation. French and Spanish dubs are included, as are optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. (The discs' default setting is to play the English subs.)
The show's creator sits down for "Behind the Eds with Danny Antonucci" (10:12), in which he explains everything from "walk cycles" (animations showcasing character mannerisms), the "boiling line" (the method of creating squiggly lines) to the mystery of what's under Double D's hat.
Three extended Cartoon Network promos showcase the network's knack for inventive in-between-the-shows material. "The Incredible Shrinking Day" (2:22) is a nifty punk-pop music video for the song "I'm Not Coming In Today," with stylized reworkings of the Eds' character designs; "Ed's Origami" (:17) features a 3D paper Eddy folded via stop-motion; and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (:50) uses footage from "Know-It-All Ed" for a Leone-esque trailer.
"How to Draw Ed" (3:24) is one of those quickie tutorials where a master illustrator sketches a couple rough lines and somehow makes the perfect cartoon character. Being artistically challenged, I skipped it; others may enjoy the walk-through.
A collection of previews for other Warner Bros. releases rounds out the set.
"Ed, Edd n Eddy" is the channel's top-running series for a good reason: it's consistently funny and enjoyably bold in its lunacy. Highly Recommended to anyone, young or old, who can't get enough of that Cartoon Network goodness.