"Brandy And Mr. Whiskers": Odd-Couple Cute or Just Plain Annoying?
Mismatched reviewers Harley and Karl Olson look at Disney Channel’s mismatched-character comedy Brandy and Mr. Whiskers.
Brandy and Mr. Whiskers: Light, Fast-Paced Fun
Brandy and Mr. Whiskers is not a deep cartoon. You won’t likely find the meaning of life in it. (If you do, please share.) But it’s a light-hearted toon that’s easy to get into, will leave you with a few chuckles, and won’t fracture your mind.
It has a fairly simple premise: A girl dog (Brandy) from a rich family and a poor rabbit (Mr. Whiskers) with a horrible case of B.O. meet each other in the cargo area of a plane. After Brandy makes a none-to-humble request for light in the dark cargo area, the none-to-bright Mr. Whiskers mistakes the door release lever for a light switch. The two fall thousands of feet and land in a jungle. Lost to regular civilization, the two find new friends and new enemies in their new surroundings.
It has a very fast pace, which I certainly appreciated after a long day of work. (Thinking hurts.) The show feels as if it’s made for a younger audience, and I haven’t noticed any jokes that would go over a child’s head. Even so, I did chuckle a few times and found myself genuinely interested in the characters.
The animation is at the upper end of the TV-quality spectrum; so are the character designs, which are somewhat reminiscent of Teacher’s Pet but not nearly as off-putting. There were never any choppy moments and the editing seemed pretty tight.
Brandy and Mr. Whiskers also has one of the most enjoyable theme songs I’ve heard in quite some time, and I caught myself humming it the day after watching the review copy of the episode. It’s not quite as good as the scores from the days of Richard Stone, but it’s definitely the best orchestrated-type score I’ve heard since Mucha Lucha.
Check it out for yourself this weekend.
Brandy And Mr. Whiskers: Just Another Odd Couple Cartoon
by Karl Olson
Ah, the mismatched-pair cartoon. A concept almost as old as an animation itself. Done correctly, it can be hilarious (Ren and Stimpy, The Angry Beavers). Done badly (Catdog), it can be boring and obvious. Unfortuantely, Disney’s Brandy and Mr. Whiskers is closer to the latter.
It’s hard to pin down why it doesn’t work, because the show has a lot of the essentials. You’ve got Brandy, a stuck up, preppy dog from an upper-crust family, and Mr. Whiskers, an unkempt slob of a rabbit who has been shunted from zoo to zoo his entire life span. That should be a pretty good springboard for jokes and gags, both verbal and visual. They’ve got some solid talent working, with Charlie Adler (Cow and Chicken and Buster Bunny of Tiny Toons) and Kaley Cuoco (Bridget from the ABC’s 8 Simple Rules) doing voice work and Kevin Manthei (Invader Zim) doing music. The character designs recall the 1920’s/1930’s, and the animation is rubbery and fluid, with good, old-fashioned eye-bulges.
But execution is another matter. Storylines and dialogue are bland or recycled from other shows. The characters never go beyond their basic concept: “Hey, look at how stuck up Brandy is! Look at how Mr.Whiskers is such a stupid slob! That’s funny, right?!” Adler pushes his voice all over the place, as though trying to make things seem funny, and it’s jarring to hear three distinct voices over the course of a sentence. Although the show’s opening is infectious, the episode background music is bland and rarely punches up the scenes. Clearly, time and effort is clearly being put into the animation, but isn’t being used to its full comedic advantage. When it does punch in, some very nice, unique visual gags do turn up, but the show could work in a bit more visual humor.
Potential for future comedy aside, at the moment Brandy and Mr. Whiskers may be the dullest odd-couple cartoon since Catdog. On the other hand, kids apparently loved Catdog, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they love Brandy and Mr. Whiskers. Nose picking is key with that demographic, right?
Brandy and Mr. Whiskers airs on the Disney Channel weekends at 4:30pm (ET) and Saturday nights at 8:00pm (ET).