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Seth MacFarlane, wunderkind creator of Family Guy, hack behind American Dad, and just-phoning-it-in-by-now producer of The Cleveland Show, has been tagged to oversee the return of beloved cartoon icon and pioneering animated TV series The Flintstones to the small screen. MacFarlane, who famously had his first show, a cult favourite and critical darling, cancelled, only to see it returned to television, stupider and lazier than ever before, after huge sales of its DVD set and wide public outcries forced his network to reconsider its decision, is thrilled to be involved in the project. “I’m a huge fan, of course,” MacFarlane said, noting that “none of us [at his production studio] would be here today without The Flintstones… it’s just such a huge influence and inspiration… when I get too many accusations of just copying The Simpsons I can always look back at Fred Flintstone and know that we’re all copying from the masters of Hanna-Barbera, and the best part is that my fans are so young and stupid they don’t even know we’re copying because they’ve never heard of The Flintstones [trademark smarmy, squinty-eyed grin]!”

The Flintstones, a touchstone of early TV culture, originally ran for six seasons between 1960 and 1966, and has enjoyed a long life in syndication ever since. Big-screen, live-action remakes were made in the 1990s, but MacFarlane is distancing himself from those efforts. “I love cartoons, period. It’s what I’m good at; it’s what I know. Also, after that embarrassing cabaret special in which the voice actors appeared on stage, I’m contractually obligated to never show my face when doing character voices again… it’s far too creepy, I’ve been told.” *

Fans of the original cartoon should not worry that updating the show will upset the original formula of great characters and gentle satire, MacFarlane says. “I wouldn’t dream of messing with a classic like this–it’s a huge honour, after all. I see it being basically the same show, with slight tweaks to make the references more meaningful for a modern audience.

“In my version, for example, Fred will work in a factory, not a quarry. And Wilma won’t just be stay-at-home mom–she’ll have a job, too. Those are just the realities of the twenty-first century, and The Flintstones was, despite its setting in the Stone Age, always a satire about modern life. I won’t change that. Oh, and I’m going to replace Dino with women getting punched in the face.”

* ed. note: This seems to be a legal grey area, since MacFarlane’s “normal” voice is instantly recognizable as being essentially indistinguishable from any number of his characters. The latest court ruling clarifies that MacFarlane cannot identify himself in public as one of his characters through such catchphrases as “What the deuce?!” Appeals are pending.

ZwinkyZwinkys.  Those loveable, dressable, virtual cutout dolls that are all over the Internet.  What makes them so damn sexy?  Why am I attracted to a crude representation of a human being that, if made flesh and blood, would be a hideously bug-eyed and encephalitic-headed monster? It’s not a new phenomenon for me.  Like R. Crumb, I very early found myself sexually attracted to cartoons.  In his case it was Bugs Bunny (more than one person has noted the frequency of Bugs dressing in drag in his battles with Elmer Fudd and even the Tasmanian Devil, and so you can form your own conclusions about Bugs’ proclivities, and also take a moment to ponder the cross-species obsessions of Pepe Le Pew while you’re at it–I feel less lonely about my interests when I consider the unusual forms that sexuality takes in Warner Brothers cartoons). For me it’s always been attractive human female superheroines* or, at the extreme end, hyper-anthropomorphized cute animal characters like Babs Bunny (check out the rabbit rack!).  Zwinkys, though.  They’re obviously designed to stir erotic feelings: they’re curvy, busty, have beautiful big eyes and knowing grins.  And they first appear to you in their underwear.  If that’s not a come-on I don’t know what is.**  So, I’ve come out of the Zwinky-loving closet, and soon, no doubt, I’ll be changing my name and moving to another town to hide my identity.  But for one brief moment I spoke truth and felt freedom, and no one can ever take that away from me.

* A random list of comic book superheroines I was devoted to: Dazzler, Invisible Girl, Rogue, Aurora, Batgirl, Raven.

** Note: based on my romantic history, there’s a very good possibility that I don’t know what a come-on is.

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