Episode 69: Defending The Crapman

The Crapman

The correct title card

Yes, dear listeners. It’s here. Episode 69. And not a single naughty joke about it anywhere. We let you down.

Fortunately, today is the day that you get to hear the showdown over The Crapman! Richard (just Richard) comes down from Canadia to defend Sam Register’s baby. We attempt reason. After a while, Tom Revor even steps in. It goes three-on-one for a while.

Nearly two hours of us judging the show by its demerits.

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How they made Mr. Freeze

How they made Mr. Freeze

14 thoughts on “Episode 69: Defending The Crapman

  1. I don’t understand how you can come to these conclusions and arguments without having full knowledge of what it is you are throwing a critique on. Your arguments against would have sound better and held more ground if you actually had completely reviewed the whole series before rendering judgement. I know I know, it’s more hip and catchy to not do the full man power of reviewing a complete series, but it just sounds like you’re trying to sound net hip, with the comments you make. Though, those defending these series aren’t doing the best job of doing so either, but it’s just a title wave of nitpicks instead of full critiques. And yes, there is definitely legit critiques that can be made about the first season of this show for sure, but the comparisons you guys come up with are just like..really? I’ve now listed to 12 podcasts and aside for X-Men Evolution and Legend of Korra/Avatar, I’m beginning to think this show is ill named because I’m not sure what you are Aficionados for. You seem to hate every series you’ve talked about.

    • Oh come off it. We’re not trying to sound hip and edgy, so stop going back to that canard. If that’s the only the criticism you can muster, then you’re every bit as vapid as the caricature you’re trying to make of us.

      Listen to you. You’ve come to a negative conclusion for a podcast of which you’ve admitted to only having listened to a handful of episodes. If you can do that, then we can make negative comments about a show for having seen less than maybe half of the full episode count. Deal with it.

      Of course, if you just want to jump around to all the shows that you know are going to be controversial (particularly ones labeled as “bad animation”), then of course you’re going to find a lot of negativity. We come off as negative, because we’re not a couple of kiss-asses, but if you want to check out our tags, you’ll find that we actually ENJOY the majority of shows we’ve covered. You’ve just conveniently skipped them.

      Seriously, now. How many episodes would you like us to watch before we’re allowed to say that it’s shit? After a while, you have to assume that even if there are decent episodes, they’re not worth wading through the rest of the crap to get to. If a show can’t capture the attention of an audience after so many episodes, then the audience simply stops watching. Granted, TV shows can improve and find their audience, but I don’t see that this is the case with this cartoon, either. We jumped around to all of the seasons, and there was just nothing worth praising. If the later seasons were good, you’d think we’d land on gold sooner or later.

      Look, I’ve admitted in later shows that my heart wasn’t in this one, and bringing in Tom wasn’t the slickest move we could have done. I even apologized to Richard for ganging up on him.

      But come on, now. This is like an 80s kids cartoon that somehow sneaked its way into a party attended by far more intelligent animated programming. You’d think that in the wake of Batman The Animated Series, they could have done something at least a little bit more sophisticated with the property.

      If you want to listen to us destroy a show and not leave things to nitpicks, then I suggest you find the “Defending Teen Titans” episode and listen to me destroy Fesworks with a simultaneous sense of anger and glee.

      • But you do come off as attempting to when you constantly use “crap” as a term for critique. Sorry, it’s the reaction I get from listening to the comments said. I mean come on you named the podcast “The Crapman”, that doesn’t come of as sounding like an attempt to be very serious.

        And yes, you make a very good point about coming to a conclusion about a podcast by not listening to it’s whole run, but then, isn’t that the point? It’s what I’ve heard you do on a number of the podcast you’ve done that I’ve listened to thus far. It’s not to say that you are critiquing may actually be bad as a whole, but it doesn’t sound as though you are coming to these conclusions from full investigations of the subject you are critiquing. It’s not just on this one but also Teen Titans, one reviewer did that for X-Men Evolution, Tiny Toons, Avengers Earth’s Mighties Heroes, and Spectacular Spider-Man. Now I can’t say for sure if you sat through the whole series of these THEN did a review on them, but it comes off as if you’ve watched a few episodes of the series, didn’t like those few episodes and formed an opinion on the entire series based on those small samplings. As a listener, just saying, it sounds as though you are coming to conclusive opinions on subject matters you have not fully evaluated one way or another. Judging by your reply, it’s clear you don’t like listeners coming to the same type of conclusions from a small sampling of the 50plus episodes you’ve done, just saying as reviewers with a show, it’s my (small) opinion that maybe at least fully viewing a series then making the podcasts would make what you say come of sounding much more informed.

        How many shows would I like you to watch before you say it’s “Shit”. Well, I’m not sure I’d want you to say “shit” as a description of even a bad show cause it sounds like an immature statement to make, BUT, I suppose one would assume if you are going to evaluate a series and not it’s individual episodes (or even a full season), then the reviews should either state that it’s judgement on episodes watched not on the series as a whole (Let’s admit, sometimes you guys can’t even remember what episode you watched because you don’t always get the character names or situations correct in the rant that’s being made).
        I have not jumped around searching for negative shows, because, well how can one assume the show I’m going to listen to is highly negative. I’ve simply clicked on the podcasts of shows I’m familiar with and had an interest in listening about. I guess it’s just bad luck I’ve found a lot of negative slants with hyperbolic comics to make what is said sound..well a bit more edgy.

        Afterall, a show like the Avatar started off extremely slow when it first came on with a very anime-esque art style and some people could have easily said it was ‘crap’ too, but it picked up as the series went on and really began to sprint in it’s second season (or book if that’s how you’d want to describe it).

        Frankly, I think a case of nostalgic glasses is in effect with a large variety of the shows I’ve hard so far, particularly this one when it comes to Batman animated series. Let’s agree, Batman TAS is by far one of the best animated shows, of all time. It’s hard to top it in story, art direction, hell, music. BUT, I like to view shows in context of their era and time, and frankly taste. Afterall, there’s a reason why after the second season of Batman TAS the art direct took a much more streamlined “flashy” style during that time period. Other shows were also beginning to pull back on their style and the 3rd and 4th seasons of Batman was not as good as Seasons 1 and 2 (It has some gems but has some dumb ones too, mutant cows and evil scientist farmers?) The Batman was a new show for a new time period in WB animation, with new styled shows beginning to be aired. The “anime” look was beginning to sweep in mass across the animation field (Just look at the shows that aired with The Batman) (BTW, Batman was referred to as “the Batman” a lot in the early days of the comic and since the goal of the series’s start was to be the beginning year 3 of Bruce Wayne’s career, people referring to him as a ‘thing’, the Bat-Man, rather than a identified person, Batman, made sense, since they stopped calling him that in the series once he became more public.).

        Did the show have it’s issues? Sure, what series doesn’t. Is it comparable to Batman TAS, no, but really what is? But I just don’t see the point in comparing every take or series of Batman that has followed TAS as a truly fair one since each series has tried to do something different for the era it exists in.

        So, I’ll keep listening to give a more fair evaluation on the show, but you also shouldn’t be so defensive when you get a bit of push back in a much milder manner that you give out. 😉 Even critics can be criticized.

        • Just speaking for myself, I’m generally very quiet on shows that I’ve had a very minute amount of time watching. On the recent Rirouni Kenshin episode, I barely said anything, for example.

          We don’t compare every show to Batman, and certainly not every Batman animated series. I certainly wouldn’t hold Brave And The Bold up to TAS and bemoan its shortcomings, but there’s actually a reason for that. You seem to have this idea that the comparison between The Batman and TAS was just something we did arbitrarily.

          Now, unlike Ben, I’m not going to carry on about the producer saying that TAS’s audience “live in their mother’s basements”, because it obviously has nothing to do with the quality of “the Batman”. But if Sam Register is going to make a comment like that, then I take that as an invitation to compare the two shows, especially since he thought it was important enough to block Justice League Unlimited from using a huge chunk of Batman’s rogue gallery, for fear that it might “confuse audiences”. Again, this doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the show, and it’s not something I expect the average viewer of the show to care about, but I think this more than justifies the comparison.

          We definitely understand that TAS is the gold standard and will never be topped (at least not in the foreseeable future), but that doesn’t mean that we can’t use it to critique other shows. I’m not expecting something as ground-breaking, but I think some cues from the superior show would be warranted. Brave And The Bold was nowhere near as groundbreaking as TAS, but at least it wasn’t written for idiots. I find Sam Register’s excuse that The Batman was a show meant for kids to be a cop-out.

          “Afterall, a show like the Avatar started off extremely slow when it first came on with a very anime-esque art style and some people could have easily said it was ‘crap’ too…”

          But it wasn’t crap. Again, you seem to have this idea that we’re just throwing this word around in an arbitrary fashion as if we don’t like stuff that’s different. What set Avatar apart wasn’t just that it looked like anime, but that it actually had a really high quality production behind it. Anime garnered a reputation for itself back in the 90s and early 2000s as having high-quality animation. It’s really awesome that an American production managed to attain the level of quality normally associated with a Japanese production, but to be honest, that style could have been totally different, and we’d still praise it as long as the quality was there.

          The “anime style” style of The Batman was more like an east-meets-west sort of faux anime style. If you want to hear me nitpick, this is an area I simply find annoying about this show. It’s as if Jeff Matsuda compartmentalized all of the features that seem to make up the typical anime character but then never bothered to find out how they all fit together.

          And I wouldn’t even refer to anime as a style. This is actually something that really irritates me. Anime is animation with a range of styles that are primarily influenced by the traditions of that region of the world. You could pick out a hundred anime characters with styles that are every bit as varied as western cartoons. When I think of anime, I don’t think of characters with spiky hair and big googly eyes, like you have in The Batman. I think of expressionist animation.

          It annoys the hell out of me that some cartoonists think that anime is a style that you can break down a certain way that you draw the hair and face, but then they don’t bother to understand what sort of dynamic purposes these features were intended to display. They just do it because “that’s what anime looks like.”

          Avatar actually gets it right, but it’s not because it simply LOOKS like anime. It’s because Avatar is a dynamically expressive animated show.

          Do I expect The Batman to be as good as Avatar or Batman TAS? God no. But I’m not going to give it a pass for having Jeff Matsuda’s oversimplified and generic-looking art style, either.

          • Actually Neil, I’m finding you do a very good job on the shows I’ve listened to so far of expressing your opinion, but doing so in a mature sounding fashion with little hyperbolic statements to make your point sound more important or edgy. So I apologize for using broad statements in offering up my critique of the show as a whole.

            I’ll just say this though, one man’s ‘crap’ is another man’s nostalgic gold. For as good as Avatar was, I still know people who refuse to watch it because they think it is an animation rip-off after viewing a few of the first episodes of season one. Is that a far way to judge the whole series, of course not, but, unfortunately strong opinions can build quickly on certain things and once they are built, they transfer to any thing else related to something to where no amount of convincing would get that person to change their mind once it’s made up.

            That’s sort of why I found the X-Men vs X-Men Evolution cast amusing because no amount of convincing was going to get that guy to give merit to the newer show regardless of some of the better things done in it than the original. But that’s why it’s sometimes bad to compare animated shows of different era/generations and sometimes just best to relate to the show as is.

        • I didn’t even coin the name “The Crapman”. That was coined by a friend of mine on CBR almost 10 years ago. As for Tiny Toons? I saw the whole series of Tiny Toons, from beginning to end. As had Neil. As had everyone on that podcast episode. X-men Evolution? Only Blanchard, who was a guest of the episode, not a regular reviewer, was going on about how it was ‘not so good’ versus the Fox series. You seemed to miss the fact that Blanchard did watch the whole series before showing up on the podcast as well, so even if we make fun of his opinion, he did exactly what you criticize him of not doing: watching the whole series. As for Teen Titans? I DID watch every episode of that vile program. Mainly because fans loved to lie about it, and I loved to catch them on their lies. So far, the only shows you can accuse us of not watching ‘every episode’ is Avengers and The Crapman.

          For the Crapman, the two weeks before we recorded, me and Neil watched at least a dozen episodes, episodes from each season. We judged each episode in a vaccum of said episode, then the season it was in, then further back to the show itself. The show was bad.

          Neither Neil and I are getting paid doing this podcast. Quite frankly, you’d have to pay me to watch a cartoon past the point of no return. We watch as much of a cartoon as we can stomach. This is exactly how most viewers treat shows. We review like a viewer.

          Also, I find some offense to you claiming that we’re playing at some sort of ‘shock radio’ style reviewing. People that know me and Neil know we hate that style of crap. If Neil and I ever voice ANY rage, it’s actually real, undistilled rage. Our reactions are real reactions. Our guests’ reactions are real reactions.

          Also, I find it funny you complain about us not doing research, but you totally didn’t know Batman: TAS went through it’s design change on season THREE, not two. TAS reached it’s magic syndication number on season 1. Season 2, rebranded “Adventures of Batman and Robin” continued an additional 20 episodes. It was “New Adventures” that had the style change, after the show well surpassed the ‘magic syndication number’.

          The Crapman took 5 seasons to get to the magic syndication number…. then stopped. Kinda funny, huh?

          Also, as Neil pointed out, the only reason why it draws comparisons is because Sam Register begged for it to happen. You can’t have a network VP hurl insults at his predecessor and then expect reviewers to not chomp at the bit. That’s insane.

          Also, as for Avatar: The Last Airbender? The show instantly grabs new fans because of just the way it’s animated. Avatar goes beyond anime tropes into something new. The Crapman does the opposite. It’s really amazing how much of the show was retooled each season. A confident program wouldn’t retool itself that often.

          Oh, and PS. As for the TNBA episode “Critters”? That episode was an avant guarde experiment the production team did(that failed). They intended to do an Adam West-style Batman story told straight.

          • “If we’re going to be professional, making up silly names is sorta sabotaging that.” Episode 6- Spider-Man Unlimited. Just saying, I’m not the only one that’s noticed it.

            It’s not a matter if you’re being paid to do a podcast or not, you’re producing a piece of consumed media just as the producers of the shows you are critiquing are doing and as such the quality of the shows are just as fair game to be critiqued as the shows you are critiquing. Your motives for doing so are irrelevant. The shows are either good or they are not as good and could use improvement. Clearly you do some amount of research on the animation industry since you are very fixated on the comments of this Register guy, but his comments are really irrelevant when commenting on the quality of the work itself. The animation of the show as of high quality, particularly considering what was being aired with it at that time period, but the stories as far as “Batman” stories go, in comparison to what proceeded it was not of the same quality and level (though some episodes did get that on par, but not the whole of it’s body). The producers claim they were skewing for a younger audience with a more action packed series rather than the detective drama series BTAS was. Whether they achieved that is up to debate. A 4 year run for most shows now a days is up debate on it’s success rate (considering WB animation programing pretty much ended around the time of the conclusion of this series, who knows if it would have gotten an additional season or not).

            To say fans have told a “Lie” about the quality of a particular show is adding pure self-opinion to a subject matter. What you do not like and others due must there for be false, or what you do like and others don’t must also be false (or true from your point of view). Those are not strong reasonings for an argument. The Batman animated series isn’t even my own favorite series of Batman and frankly I pretty much only liked the episodes that included both Batman and Robin in them, but just because the series as a whole is not my favorite doesn’t mean there isn’t merit to the series at all, this or any other for that matter.

            Any animated series could be/do better, and anyone can find ways to defend or attack that which you find worthy of doing either for. It’s the ‘how’ you do it that counts. Neil made a very good point in the sorta Spider-Man Unlimited podcast in that, making silly names does make you sound like you are attempting to be internet hip. This, as a listener of what you are putting out (and found on I-tunes mind you), that was the conclusion I came up with. I know Neil has conceded to allowing you to call The Batman, The Crapman, because you clearly have strong feelings against it, but it still doesn’t mean you come off sounding less professional than you probably want to. I wouldn’t say it’s a 2 man show of “shock radio”, because frankly Neil does a great job of calmly expressing his point of view with little if any hyperbole to what he says and without the need to use terms that could be considered well..Juvenal. The lack of needing the curse to get one’s point across does make the points someone is making more worth considering.

            Again, just the thoughts of a consumer of your product as I hit the 17th episode of listening.

            Finally, not sure what “Even Clark Kent has a day job” means, but I can assume Kent’s day job pays well just as the Static Shock series did. His day job also served a greater purpose to the public, just as Static Shock did in opening the world of DC Universe super heroes to a whole new and different demographic that up to that point was largely ignored in the animated media.

          • I disagree about Register’s comments being irrelevent. Register went out of his way to sabotage the Bruce Timm team with JLU by banning the use of Batman villains, heroes like Batgirl, or Nightwing. Register acted like a petty ass who happened to have the ability to sway and control the network. If that behind the scenes stuff was limited to just that, that’s one thing. But when he goes out in public and calls Timm’s fans “30 year old that live in their mothers’ basements” that takes a whole other level of spite that he’s asking for it. And also add in the fact that, as we pointed out, the Crapman reinvented itself every season, it was obvious the show as it was originally formulated was doomed for failure.

            And yes, fans do lie about the quality of shows. Even you heard Blanchard dismissing the superior quality of X-Men evolution as simply being a ‘different style’. And those episodes with Robin? Those are after the show as 3/4 finished. I’m sorry, I’m not going to get into another “Why Enterprise was really good: because the final season” argument again.

            The “Even Clark Kent has a day job” was a line in a season 1 episode of Static Shock.

  2. I would say that if Register is responsible for there being no Batman Villains in JL or JLU than for that I inadvertently applaud him, because I think the series was better off for not relying on characters that had already been done to death in his own series and forced them to expand their character base, giving spotlight to characters that had not already appeared. And let’s face it anyway, aside of the chaotic nature of the Joker, there aren’t many Batman bad guys from his own series would would have made a lot of sense in a series like Justice League anyway. I agree the statement that ““30 year old that live in their mothers’ basements” ” is very unprofessional, there is a bit of truth behind it also since some people protect their favorite source of nostalgia like a pit bull, full of emotion and irrationality.

    To say why something “reinvented itself” is evidence of something “obviously being doomed to failure” is really pure sideline fan speculation (something I do notice you tend to do a lot in the podcast, make a statement of ‘fact’ when it’s really just one of strong opinion). Was it the show writer’s original plan to go from Batman in year 3 in the first season, focusing on stories relating to how he solved crimes and had to deal with the local police, evolving to a more seasoned Batman who gains the police and most of the public’s trust, to having the ‘sidekick’ aspect of the comics enter the series since there are probably as many fans of Batman as there are of Robin and Batgirl (introducing an older batgirl made since, since she actually is older than Dick Grayson but not making her as old as she was when she appeared in the comics wouldn’t have since, Robin did start his career of crime fighting in his early teens, so having Batgirl be dramatically older than him wouldn’t have felt right), and of course, the final season with the guest stars, because kids at that time really wanted to see some of the other superheroes in that series in that serie’s style.

    You complained about them calling him “the Batman” in the first season forgetting (or maybe just no knowing) that in the comics they often referred to him as that, especially in the earlier comics because “Batman” the human was thought of more as this unknown creature of the night, the Bat-Man.

    Now seeing these “Reinventions” as flaws is really a matter of opinion because one could boomerang it around to BTAS and say, did they feel they were reinventing the series when it went from season one solo, heavy detective and drama based stories, to Batman and Robin still detective like stories but more focused on super villians and action, to the total reinvention of style of everything in the show with season 3 (Gone the look of the 40s/50s more modern looking gotham, streamlined animation designs, flat solid colors instead of the airbrushed shaded look), to the Team up character guest star of the week format of it’s last season with Superman, Johnna Hex, Zatanna, etc. One could say that nostalgic glasses color or perception of that series so much (since it was probably THE Batman series most people remember watching, who aren’t old enough to fully remember the older Batman cartoons of the 80s and earlier) that it’s almost impossible to compare any other version of the character without looking at that one first. Probably why Kevin Conroy continues to voice Batman in many of the new movies, we love him, he’s OUR Batman. I’m sure you could find people of the Superfriend’s era who would say that that was their batman, or when Adam West voiced Batman that he was their Batman.

    As for the Static comment, I just do not understand the context of why you used that quote, but like the series or not, it’s hard to deny the importance and impact it had on DC animation and it’s fandom in general. Static Shock held the #1 spot of a long time in ratings for some odd reason some would say. Was the animation as good as DC’s other offerings? No, not even I would go there, but like BTAS it has pretty solid writing and entertaining stories.

    FYI though, don’t watch Star Trek so I don’t get the Enterprise reference (that show never even aired in my area of the country because we didn’t have UPN, least I think that was the network it originally aired on).

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