A Gateway Drug to Fabulous (Ep. 75 - 80s Cartoons)

This Week's Guest: Ted Biaselli

How far can passion take you? My guest this week is Ted Biaselli, a TV development executive who's had a hand in shows from My Little Pony to Elvira's Movie Macabre. I've had the lovely pleasure of knowing Ted for a couple of years, and from our first meeting -- at a Dr. Who themed Halloween party that he threw -- it was clear this this is a man who lives to entertain. It's kids' shows where his passion lies, ever since he was, well, a kid. And when he moved to LA as an animated art-school gay, he brought with him an infectious enthusiasm for the weird shows he watched as a child. And now these days, the spirit of the shows that filled his youth are what animate the shows he puts on TV.

This Week's Recommendation: Kubo and the Two Strings

Adults love to complain that today's cartoons are nowhere near as good as the cartoons we had when WE were kids. Often we're remembering our own childhood shows more fondly than they might deserve. Not to mention, that grousing overlooks the truly wonderful, strange, risk-taking new entertainment that's still being made for kids today. And for this week's recommendation, please tell everyone you know to go see Kubo and the Two Strings. It's playing in theaters right now, and I've been describing it to people as The Wizard of Oz plus Alice and Wonderland as directed by Miyazaki. You just have to see it.

The movie takes place in a fantasy version of Japan, with monsters and gods and magic powers. The hero, Kubo, is a boy with a gift for telling stories. And as he tells his stories, they come true, sort of. It's a movie with a lot of ideas, but the one that I keep coming back to is the power that a good story has to shape the world around us. The mortal realm is messy and chaotic and disordered, and storytelling converts that chaos into -- well, not quite order, but sense. It gives the mess meaning.

Getting enough people to agree on the same story, the same meaning, can be a powerful force for good or for bad. But stories aren't just made to be told. They're made to be listened to. And its through listening that we find people whose stories complement our own.

Clips of Stuff We Talked About



Parisian Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0