Posts Tagged ‘icebox


Garbage Island

Garbage Island, a cartoon from Icebox, is a sort of phantasmagorical trip through the infernal pleasures of consumerism, seen through the eyes of a child who doesn’t want to go shopping for shiny new toys because he loves his chewed-up old doll, Mr. Messy. The cartoons take such a sledge-hammer approach to the sacred cows of a consumerist economy that they race right past heavy-handed, into the realm of gleeful fun.

I love the way each episode grabs hold of a convention of Hollywood story telling, and then just refuses to follow through at the end–a very clever way to implicate mainstream cinema in the consumerist exploitation these cartoons spoof and attack all at once.

Under cover of darkness, all the children\'s favorite toys are disappeared.

The first episode starts us off with evil doings under cover of night to set the scene–all the children’s favorite toys go in the trash, just so they have to be replaced. Even the trash can goes in the garbage. Meanwhile, the young hero is whisked off by his horrid parents to Toy City, where a pumped-up Santa shackles each child in an all-you-can-buy bracelet. He’s to go shopping so his parents can be relieved of his presence and enjoy themselves in the Skyhigh Lounge over some skyhigh cocktails. But in the midst of these proceedings, the Kid–our young hero, that is–is discovered to harbor a filthy old doll in his shirt, Mr. Messy. Santa rips his beloved dolly from his chubby fingers and tosses it onto a conveyor that runs straight into the maw of the garbage machine, the mouth of Hell, the entrance to the horrible cave–yet another instance of this endlessly recycled motif in the stories that surround us in the mainstream media.

You know the rest. The Kid, in mounting horror, squirms in the clutches of the horrid parents, desperately trying to reach dolly before it is too late. Santa laughs a Satanic laugh. The dolly slowly approaches perdition. The music reaches a furious crescendo. We are awaiting the moment when the Kid wrenches himself free, hurls himself onto the line to rescue dolly, and saves the day.

But no, the doll simply tips over the far end of the line, into hell and damnation. End of story. Goodbye. Every episode ends, not with a cliffhanger, but with a complete anticlimax.

An average day of shopping, with a rather unconventional end.In episode 2, the Kid wanders around in Toy City for a while, beleaguered by toys that scream BUY ME! BUY ME! and by kids in the Kombat Korral, who train the heavy toy artillery on him, before he is deserted by the horrid parents. When he hears the mournful cries of dolly, he crawls into the maw of garbage hell himself. You know the rest. He spies his little dolly, his heart flooded with joy, the music keeping pace. But then the Gremlins come and tip him into the abyss. Heave-ho. End of story. Goodbye.

It’s thoroughly inspired, and I highly recommend it.


July 2018
« Dec