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  1. In recent years, I have to admit that Cartoon Network's on the up and up (that Level Up bullshit not withstanding.) I stopped watching it around the time Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi premiered but I'm finding it's been spawining considerably more worthwhile attractions as of late, Adventure Time and Regular Show among them. But CN's latest addition ot its lineup, The Amazing World of Gumball, brings a lot to the table, not just in humor or writing, but animation as a whole. The shortest way I could describe it is.. well, think Regular Show meets The Simpsons. More specifically, legitimate domestic and school-related issues explored in a surreal, slapstick setting, with a well balanced cast and an unprecedented art direction, but more on that later. The main cast is a very likable bunch; it mostly revolves around Gumball, a twelve year old cat and his step-brother/former pet goldfish Darwin's misadventures as they eagerly take life by the horns and ride it like a bull as it jumps around trying to kick them off. Their father Richard is a child in a grown man's body, often joining in their fun and shirking responsibility. Gumball's intelligent baby sister Anais likes to join in the fun sometimes, to the dismay of her workaholic and short-tempered mother Nicole, who is still my favorite character because of her awesome nervous breakdowns. Anais has the best psycho moment of all, though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtELHzIXnOQ Now the art style, or rather the lack thereof, is probably the most interesting thing about the show, initially anyway. It revolves around graphical dissonance; 2D animated characters exist on photorealistic sets alongside claymation figures, puppets, 8-bit sprites, CGI models, etc. And the production value is some of the best I've ever seen- it's amazing how it all just works so well, down to the lighting. It's just awesome to look at. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRBphL654j4 But what's also impressed me is how the show's been able to subtly, yet maturly explore real childhood issues like seeking independence while allowing support, taking responsibility and even entering puberty, without ever leaving the realm of stupid cartoon fun. And by stupid cartoon fun, it can really get out of control. Not in an "exaggerated animation" Ren & Stimpy kind of way, more like a "series of unfortunate events" Dexter's Lab kind of way. It's crazy really; the show isn't even that many episodes in and Gumball's ended up in a hospital, crossdressed or escaped a sewer through a toilet on more than one occassion now. I don't know how many people watch this show, because I certainly didn't feel much motivation to before I actually did, but it's something I recommend and, if nothing else, think earns a thread.
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