With characters as animated as some larger-than-life personalities, it can be easy to translate those behaviours to the drawn world. Sure, you may have to sacrifice some material, especially if you want to tap into the oh-so lucrative Children’s market, but Hanna-Barbera managed to do just that. In 1995, the continuing adventures of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne were just the tales that deserved to be drawn in Dumb And Dumber: The Animated Series.
Travelling from coast-to-coast, undertaking odd jobs to supplement their income, we follow the antics of lovable lunkheads, Harry Dunne and Lloyd Christmas (and their pet beaver Kitty), as the trio get up to some madcap adventures. Mostly seeing the trinity providing their unique brand of logic to mess up seemingly straightforward situations is the crux of the show’s 13 adventures from becoming pizza delivery men, who can’t stop eating the food, to casino employees, in a Star Trek-themed casino. Wherever they pull up to in the United States, comedy is all but guaranteed.
While a lot of the talent from the original couldn’t make it to the show, the lengths that are taken to emulate the original are obvious. Dumb And Dumber T.A.S. is admirable in providing top-notch substitutions that capture the characters. Replacing Jim Carrey is Matt Frewer, who when you think about is probably the next best thing. As is casting
Patrick Starfish Bill Fagerbakke as Harry Dunne. They do a commendable job in emulating their live-action counterparts, yet still, make the characters feel their own. The show doesn’t just borrow solely from the film though; One notable change is the inclusion of Kitty, who is quite obviously a beaver (in a cute bow) and not a cat. Kitty acts like Gromit, with knowing glances to the camera while nary saying a word, making it clear where the intelligence of the trio lies.
As was the style at the time, the three go on many adventures, these are mostly slapstick affairs, where the duo’s unique perspective leads to a collection of outlandish scenarios, typically related to their temporary profession of the week. While the adventures are quite straightforward, some contain homages to well-known films and distinguishable T.V. storylines are apparent. The classic plot where dolt gets a McGuffin that makes him smart, to the detriment of their friendship is also, executed for example. While it would be hard to imagine young kids in the mid-90s to have seen the likes of psycho or recognise that the Texas sheriff is a caricature of Ross Perot (I think) but the jokes do help cement the ‘fun for whole the family’ vibe that Hanna-Barbera is renowned for.
An animated adaptation of Dumb and Dumber makes so much sense, so there’s little you could do to actively mess up the formula. Hanna-Barbera gives the show the benefit of their many decades of animated expertise. Postulating some wise alterations that manage to keep the core largely intact, yet with a family friendlier vibe and a collection of amusing activities. For 13 episodes (often double-loaded with animated antics, in easily digestible bites) Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne shows that the spirit is true, and “dumbening” is in the eye of the beholder.
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