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My Review of Sam and Max: The Animated Series

posted by StrongBrush1 on - last edited - Viewed by 936 users
Okay, because I promised, Here's a detailed review of The Sam and Max Cartoon Series.

The 90's was a truly marvelous time. I just wish that I'd known about this show when I was a kid. Then I could surprise my parents by asking about jokes such as "Does my arsenal look big in these pants?" Unfortunately for me, When I was only a lad of 3 or 4, a huge window of opportunity was missed. Luckily for the likes of me, Telltale brought it back in one big, happy package of insanity and hilarity with the DVD release of "Sam and Max: Freelance Police!!!"

In case you've never heard of Sam and Max, have amnesia and don't remember, or are just an ignorant dope, Sam and Max are the two most famous creations of Steve Purcell. Originally written by Steve's Brother Dave as a kid, the adventures of Sam and Max were about an anthropomorphic six foot tall talking dog in a suit, Sam, and a three foot tall hyper-kinetic rabbit-type thing, Max, going around and solving crimes in their highly combustible DeSoto.

Once the word spread, Steve's alterations of Dave's comic were a big hit with underground comic readers, churning out several commercially released comic books, a regular comic spot in The LucasArts Adventurer, and even a LucasArts adventure game, which lured thousands of gamers to the world of Sam and Max. So naturally, a TV Show was in order.

The series was originally pitched as a kid's version of the wacky comic adventures of Sam and Max. The Taker? Fox's 4Kids TV Saturday morning lineup. Naturally, the studio wanted to Make some changes, such as adding a girl character. And thus, a character known as the Geek was turned into a girl to satisfy the needs of the Studio. And thus, a cartoon cult classic was born.

The Adventures of Sam and Max, though convoluted and oddball they may be, never seem to get old. The show typically starts off with Sam and Max engrossed heavily in their latest caper, a-la Indiana Jones. True to the comic, Sam and Max's usual "Straight Man Hero and Sociopathic Sidekick" shtick was left intact, leaving the characters to be just as wacky and unpredictable as they've ever been, albeit in a more kid-friendly manner.

Once the two-minute opening is done, the show gives us us it's Infamously mind-screwing hijinks, all summed up into a minute-long, high-intensity theme song, whose only lyrics are the titles of the Main characters, in case you forgot what you turned on the TV to watch in the first place, you dumb kids. Once the action gets going, the action never seems to stop, except when our heroes decide to take a quick stop to fill up on chocolate-covered lard balls and Glazed McGuffins.

Once the show is over, the viewer's young mind is filled with hilarious sight gags and memorable quotes which the viewer will remember until the next episode comes on. It'll certainly take a bit of time for me to bury these quotes, but they're never really buried deep. They'll eventually come up again, and they'll instantly make me want to remember what was so funny, that I'll go find the DVD again, crack it open, and re-watch these wacky hijinks again. It's THAT GOOD.

Voice Actors:
Let me be honest. When it comes to voice acting, I'm a bit of a nit-picker. It's often hard for me to imagine that the character actors actually feel like they're in the place of the characters. As for our two main voice actors, Harvey Atkin and Robert Tinkler, they really seemed to be believing that they were a talking dog and psychopathic rabbit standing in front of a giant mutant fish monster or whatever.

Harvey did a good job as Sam. While it's not exactly the Sam voice that I'm used to, it's good enough for me, and excellent quality for a cartoon. Deep, calm and at times comprehensible even when saying utter nonsense, Harvey reminds me of why I love Sam in the first place. He's an ideal straight man, and he can also play the comic when Max is at a loss for words about what's going on. Harvey also makes the character seem like the kind of guy who could be your friendly uncle, or the nice old man next door, without being too creepy about it. Anyone who can pull off that kind of acting gets an A+ in my book.

Robert was also believable as his character. I truly believed, almost for a second, that the Actual Max had stepped into the recording booth and done the voice. It has that touch of psychosis, that little hint of oddness that makes Max who he is. I guess Robert was just trying to see himself in the role, without overdoing it (seeing as this is a kid's show). The character he's trying to Max into is exactly what I would have wanted. He acts like your weird friend who seems have a tenuous grasp on reality, but is always fun to be around, which is exactly what Max is to Sam.

The other voice actors seemed to really sell their characters. They not only made me feel how the duo felt about them, but also made the character speak for itself, without the use of any animation. The Geek was especially convincing, almost like the voice actor was an actual Nerdy, sassy, pre-teen girl. So, overall, the Voice acting was to my satisfaction. I really felt like the characters were there onscreen, So Voice Acting is excellent.

For a late 90's kid's cartoon, the animation was of superior quality. If it weren't for my uncanny sense of reality, I'd say Steve took a picture of everything that was on the show. There was never a boring moment, there were Sight jokes a-plenty... I really shouldn't have to say any other word than: AWESOME.

Okay, Let me sum this up with a bogus math equation: Excellent Plot+ Superior Voice Acting + Excellently Handled Animation = BEST Dang Kid's Cartoon Ever Made!

(PS, if anyone at Telltale is reading this, thank you for bringing the series to DVD. And if, by chance, Steve Purcell is reading this, thanks a billion for introducing the world to Sam and Max, and God bless you.)
26 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
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    i did not like the voices, they did not match the characters when i heard them online
  • Well, everybody has a different opinion. My opinion: I liked them. I thought they were perfect for the animated series.
  • Every max has sounded like max anyway. They all have the same kinda of voice.
  • Yeah, but I thought this Max sounded a bit more cartoony than the others.
  • He does. Cartoon Max sounds really hammy to me. Not that that's a problem.

    Nice review, by the way.
  • My thoughts and feelings exactly. That was quite a thorough review I might add and it was spot on. You'd be hard pressed to find a cartoon of that quality today that serves the full package of story, animation, performance and presentation. Gems like these are far and few in between.

    If possible, it'd be nice to see a continuance of the series. But to me it feels like Tell Tale's episodic games have been it's spiritual successor!
    Good review!
  • To be fair, I never really liked the Cartoon when I watched it for first time in Fox Kids. Now, for some reason, I liked more. I guess is because now I have a sense of humor.
  • I picked it up recently and started watching, it really is a ton of fun.

    Although you do have to wonder when watching it just how they got away with some of the jokes...
  • I don't see anything in your review I disagree with. Honestly, it's really, REALLY weird that I had no idea of this show's existence until a few years ago since Fox Kids was my favorite channel around that that time. I really need to buy the DVDs some day, maybe for Christmas along with the comic.
    JFreeman;377321 said:

    Although you do have to wonder when watching it just how they got away with some of the jokes...
    "Don't worry, a boat will come for you, and that means sailors. Yup, you'll get picked up alright" or something like that. That quote still amazes me XD

    PS: If anyone can PM me a link to the Mexican/Latin American dub I'll love him/her forever.
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