Author

Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • Review: 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For' Lacks in Style and Story
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 22, 2014
    Dimension Films via Everett Collection Sin City: A Dame to Kill For really values its volume. The movie tosses out three or four stories, twenty-odd characters, a handful of car chases, several dozen throat-slittings and skull-bludgeonings… in their return to the cinematic adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, Miller and director Robert Rodriguez seemed bent on packing in as much as they conceivably could. The unfortunate result: not quite the intricate, inviting narrative web that the men set out to create, but a straight through-line of nonstop stuff. In the most egregious sense, too. While we remember Sin City as a relatively patient illustration of Miller’s virtue-deficient neo-noir kingdom, what we find in this year’s follow-up is a feverish race to expose the audience to every idea the directing duo has up its sleeve. Dimension Films via Everett Collection So, what we get instead of a fluid story is a whirlpool of events. Each chapter of the clumsily manufactured movie will set you up with a character — an out-of-place Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cocky gambler Johnny, Josh Brolin as a thickheaded do-gooder, and the ragtag team of a destitute Jessica Alba and her devoted muscle Mickey Rourke — only to watch the hero in question stumble upon plot contrivance after plot contrivance, never getting to do much all the while. And while the style outdoes the substance in the scope A Dame to Kill For’s strong suits, Miller and Rodriguez are not exactly displaying the utmost aesthetic panache in this latest outing. Sure, certain chase scenes are kinetic — and the film might offer the most invigorating visual design of an onscreen hot tub in the history of cinema — but sloppy choreography and a world constructed without depth or sense of place leaves us feeling completely out of touch with the film’s most important character: Sin City. 2.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'If I Stay' Is a Toxic Mixture of Painful Cliches
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 22, 2014
    Warner Bros via Everett Collection Five minutes into If I Stay, I had already begun compiling a list of the audacious teen movie cliché lines spouted by stars Chloe Moretz and Jamie Blackley, and their supporting cast. Fifteen minutes in, I had already given up — it was too much for one man to bear. For this reason alone I left the movie impressed. Impressed at how much disingenuous angst from the cutting room floor of Dawson’s Creek they managed to fit into a 106-minute movie. It takes quite a toll on you to look past these maudlin iambs, and those braving the journey will find few rewards beneath the surface of If I Stay. Moretz’s character Mia, an overachieving cellist on the precipice of a breakup with Adam (Blackley) and wrestling with the decision to move across the country to study at Juilliard, suffers a monstrous car accident and washes back over the past year of her life — discovering her passions, her self-esteem, and her love for the obnoxious indie rock boy a grade above — in the form of flashbacks. While a couple of Mia’s more lighthearted memories manage to muster up some genuine spirit, this breed is significantly outnumbered by the drama. The sort of stuff we’ve all seen before, with the piercing reminder courtesy of the ham-fisted dialogue that it’s the sort of stuff we’ve all seen before. Warner Bros via Everett Collection Despite the general capability of Moretz, who helps to turn what could be another spineless YA heroine into a character with relative biological agency, latching onto Mia will be a difficult task. Surrounding her, we have a nearly insufferable Adam — sure, being in a band is a tried and true way to impress a desired mate, but usually one or two other redeeming personality traits are required to actually make a relationship work. As Mia’s parents, Miereille Enos and Joshua Leonard alternate scenes of enjoyable goofiness and cloying idiocy, with Enos at least coming out favorable thanks largely to her mastering of motherly affection. But the story surrounding these characters is so rumpled and misguided, itself unsure of what to prioritize and who to root for and what constitutes personal victory, that the heart of the movie feels as withered and phony as its veritable tapestry of teen drama quotables. Worse, in fact, when it reaches its audacious conclusion: one that, without spoiling anything, feels not only ineffective but earnestly harmful in its message and the stolen authority with which it proclaims it. In honesty, the way to walk away from If I Stay with anything gained is if you actually manage to complete its cliché roundup. And to anyone who does I offer my humblest admiration. .5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'The One I Love' Is a Good Idea That Doesn't Reach Its Full Potential
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 20, 2014
    Potential spoiler warning: Widespread disagreements have spawned in regards to what constitutes a “spoiler” re: The One I Love. The following review details the general premise of the film, as per what I consider to be fair game. However, some other writers (who I respect quite a bit) have insisted that revealing such information would be giving away the movie’s principal twist… which, in my defense, occurs very early on in the movie. Use your judgment and proceed with caution! RADiUS-TWC via Everett Collection You can practically hear a bright-eyed Mark Duplass shouting, “Here’s an idea!” when you latch onto the beginnings of The One I Love — the real beginning, past the nothing-out-of-the-ordinary setup that introduces Duplass and Elisabeth Moss as a married couple whose relationship has gone sour. On the insistence of their counselor (Ted Danson, who singlehandedly saves the first chapter of this film from succumbing to the doldrums, and then disappears far too soon), the pair take vacation in a remote cabin allotted for the mending of fraying love affairs. Then, the “idea!” kicks in — Duplass and Moss are thrust into a fantastical realm/psychological allegory in which each is faced with the perfect version of one another. Like, in addition to the real versions. Clones. There are clones. …But, to reiterate, strategically idealized clones, and ones that work to serve any number of the hypotheticals entertained in marriage counseling, couples arguments, or simply inside the head of somebody who considers what he or she might wish to change about the person sleeping six inches to the right. RADiUS-TWC However, The One I Love fails to make the most of its interesting, dense concept. While it should spend its time playing with the psychologically, sociologically, and philosophically rich premise that it cooks up for Duplass and Moss, the movie gets distracted by the busy work of keeping the fantastical functions in check, of paving its story with a thick layer of mystery, and begging the audience to wonder how they’re gonna get out of this pickle! Sadly, that’s not where the real meat of The One I Love lies. With the promise of a riveting examination of the mindset behind wishing your own husband or wife was different, smarter, nicer, more attractive, in better shape, a better cook, or simply like he or she used to be, we set up for the very idea that must have gotten Mark Duplass’ heart racing in the first place. But when the movie decides that it'd rather be thrilling, enigmatic, and riddled with twists than an honest human story, its appeal fades away, And far too soon... just like Ted Danson. 3/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: 'Love Is Strange' Is a Soft and Sweet Portrait of Vulnerability
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 20, 2014
    Sony Pictures via Everett Collection As a comedic actor, John Lithgow — one of the best of the sort today — plays big. With a 6'4" stature and the vocal projection of a well-read howler monkey, Lithgow has made sitcom fare seem like a night on Broadway, invigorating small-scale material with the bravado of a live performance. To me, this has always been his utmost appeal. But in soft, somber, and sweet Love Is Strange, Lithgow plays small and close. And the victory of his talents are just as present. Lithgow’s role in Ira Sachs’ occasionally lovely, occasionally wrenching drama is one of intense vulnerability. After a long-awaited marriage to his boyfriend of 40 years, Alfred Molina, Lithgow’s Ben is forced (by the will of financial woes) from his Manhattan apartment and into the care of his nephew’s family. As a character whose neuroses are evident from minute one, Ben’s internal trauma is the principal hook for Love Is Strange: after finally winning the opportunity to commit to the man he loves, we watch the 70-year-old painter struggle to identify a “comfort zone” in a world he finds increasingly difficult to understand. Sony Pictures via Everett Collection Lining the film, we have Molina, adroitly playing the stoic (frustrated more than devastated, at least as far as he’s willing to show) in contrast to the anxiety inhabited throughout by Lithgow, and the pair’s lot of conditionally generous family and friends — a community led by Marisa Tomei, Lithgow’s primary screen partner as a budding adversary to Ben, and young Charlie Tahan, who too is at unwitting odds with his misplaced houseguest. Though the ensemble doesn’t have a weak link to speak of, the show is Lithgow’s through and through. Love Is Strange uses Lithgow in its portrait of man eroded by time and change, a team of forces that maintain volatility even when they are working for the better. Appropriately enough, Sachs’ story takes some jagged turns, failing to cement every choice in a clear intent. But as an illustration of one man’s insides in a chapter he can just barely handle — all those between hope and loss — we see something rather moving. 3.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Poor Paul Rudd — Why Are You So Sad?
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 19, 2014
    Marvel Cheer up, Paul Rudd. Pull off your hood, put down your gym bag, and turn that frown upside down... rather, cock the extremities of that brooding horizontal bracket a few degrees north. Just because your pal Edgar Wright was booted from the director's chair on the Ant-Man set, production has restarted over in San Francisco, and the public's once fervent faith in the developing Marvel movie is now in comparable to that for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, that doesn't mean you have to look so bummed in the first official pic for the upcoming superhero flick. But maybe there's another reason that Rudd is down in the dumps. Though we can't exactly see what sour travesty is meeting the poor man's eyeline, we can begin to imagine a multitude of nightmares that might earn such melancholy from our dear, sweet Scott Lang. For instance... A long wait for his favorite eatery...Hollywood.com/Marvel/Getty Images The inability to post his #tbt...Hollywood.com/Marvel/Twitter His team losing the World Cup...Hollywood.com/Marvel/Getty Images The only new movie playing at his local theater is...Hollywood.com/Marvel/Warner Bros. We're with ya, Rudd. Any of these would get us in a hood-frowny mood too. And to all those out there who know of this heartache, share your own Poor Paul Rudd images with us with a #poorpaulrudd hashtag. We'll share and link to your Twitter! Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • 6 Things Aside from 'SNL' to Remember About Don Pardo
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 19, 2014
    Getty Images/Jason LaVeris "It's Saturday Night Live!" will forever be the four words we associate with Don Pardo, announcer for the NBC variety show for nearly 40 years, who passed away Monday night at the age of 96 (via CBS News). Since 1975 — with only a single season-long hiatus in the early '80s — Pardo's inimitable timber introduced us to SNL’s stars, featured players, musical guests, and episode hosts, earning a permanent residence in the pop culture realm’s collective auditory cortex. But there’s more to the man than his weekly exclamations from the announcing booth at Studio 8-H. Pardo’s 75-year-long career took him to a multitude of interesting corners that we so often overlook: Let the Games BeginA staff fixture at NBC, Pardo announced the original iterations of many of its game shows, including The Price Is Right (from 1956 to ’63) and Jeopardy! (from ’64 to ’75), as well as later programs Three on a Match, Winning Streak, and Jackpot! between ’71 and ’75. Happy Turkey Day!For many years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented its army of inflatable cartoon characters with the gravitas of Pardo’s smooth baritone. Pardo announced the annual event for NBC straight up through 1999. NBC via Getty Images And That’s the NewsPardo boasted a longstanding career as a news broadcaster, both on radio and television; he started out as a World War II reporter for NBC Radio. On the date of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Pardo announced the tragedy to NBC’s television audience, becoming one of the first parties to report on the death of the 35th president. He Also Had a Musical SidePardo proved his tastes in music to be rather esoteric when he teamed with the likes of Frank Zappa and Weird Al Yankovic for performances and recordings. Pardo first collaborated with Zappa in 1976 on a rendition of “I’m the Slime,” and then again joined forces with the innovative rock artist for his live album Zappa in New York in ’78. Five years later, Pardo would pay homage to his game show era by contributing vocally to Weird Al’s “I Lost on Jeopardy” as well as appearing in the music video. Of Course, He Had His Woody CredAn honorary New Yorker, Pardo managed to work his way into the filmography of Woody Allen, appearing in the 1987 comedy Radio Days as a host of the Name That Tune parody “Guess That Tune.” His acting career beyond the Allen picture includes Honeymoon in Vegas and the John Ritter comedy Stay Tuned. And He Could Take a JokePardo was a hard worker until the very end — flying back and forth between his home in Arizona and New York City every week to announce episodes of SNL — but was hardly a man who took himself too seriously. This is evident by his self-parodying appearances on The Simpsons and SNL vet Tina Fey’s 30 Rock. Naturally, we will always remember Pardo best for his work on Saturday Night Live, but there is clearly a lot more to celebrate about the man, his indomitable career, and his unmistakable voice.
  • The Prestigious Celebrities of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 18, 2014
    YouTube/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Just three weeks in production, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raked in more than $15 million — this puts it ahead of the latest YA release The Giver as the eighth highest grossing property this month. But trouncing that Jeff Bridges/Brenton Thwaites travesty by nearly $3 million is only the second most noble of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s efforts. The movement is allotting nigh unparalleled funds toward the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an illness known best as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The condition observes the weakening of the muscles in accordance with a degeneration of a specific portion of the spinal cord. As a result of ALS, those afflicted find difficulty speaking, swallowing, breathing, and moving altogether. Though discovered in the 19th century and brought to infamy in the late 1930s in accordance with the suffering of beloved New York Yankee Lou Gehrig, ALS remains the most common motor neuron disease actively plaguing men and women today. While perhaps only a small measure in the fight against the illness, the Ice Bucket Challenge is allowing for tremendous progress in the collection of funds devoted to the defeat of such a longstanding travesty. YouTube/JustinTimberlake As is inevitable with any cause célèbre or public movement, we have witnesses no small share of backlash against the Challenge; critics decry the endeavor as a bandwagon trend and a waste of time that offers no real benefit to the cause in question. As far as the latter goes, the $15 million and counting — a sum made possible thanks in large part to the spirited, sportsmanly brand with which the Ice Bucket Challenge was designed — would beg to differ. Nevertheless, we find those with a sour taste for the charitable phenomenon. Not to mention those who simply don’t want to pour a bunch of cold water over their heads. But if you find yourself a culprit of this mindset, maybe take a look at the pedigree of the company you’d be joining were you to hop aboard for this particularly frigid mitzvah. So what pop culture accomplishments can be attributed to the community of water-logged philanthropists? 5 ACADEMY AWARDS Between Steven Spielberg (3), Russell Crowe (1), and Oprah (a Humanitarian Oscar). 60 EMMYSBetween Oprah (13 Daytime Emmys and 2 Primetime Emmys), Steven Spielberg (11), Meredith Vieira (4 News/Documentary Emmys and 3 Daytime Emmys), Jimmy Fallon (4), Justin Timberlake (4), J.J. Abrams (3), Conan O'Brien (3), Jim Parsons (3), Ricky Gervais (2), William Shatner (2), Harry Connick Jr. (2), Rachel Maddow (1), Ryan Seacrest (1), Nathan Fillion (1 Daytime Emmy), and Topher Grace (1 Daytime Emmy). 62 GRAMMYSJustin Timberlake (9), Taylor Swift (7), Carrie Underwood (6), Lady Gaga (5), Mackelmore (4), Lil Wayne (4), Keith Urban (4), Weird Al Yankovic (3), Gwen Stefani (3), Ludacris (3), Brad Paisley (3), Adam Levine (3), Harry Connick Jr (3), Jason Mraz (2), Drake (1), Jimmy Fallon (1), and Calvin Harris (1). 10 GOLDEN GLOBESSteven Spielberg (7), Russell Crowe (1), William Shatner (1), and Don Johnson (1).
  • The Best Parodies of Disney Songs from Cartoons
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 15, 2014
    Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection As much as we love Disney songs, we can't help but hold in even higher esteem Disney song parodies. A variety of cartoons, like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and The Critic, have given us particularly favortable, irreverent send-ups of our favorite just-a-bit-too-earnest classics from Walt's canon. Here are a few of the funniest, most clever, and all around catchiest Disney song parodies. "See My Vest" From: The SimpsonsA Parody of: "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the BeastDegree of Genius: High. Mr. Burns embracing the classic Disney showstopper to celebrate his love of animal furs is terrific macabre comedy. "I Need a Jew" From: Family Guy A Parody of: "When You Wish Upon a Star" from PinocchioDegree of Genius: Admittedly pretty clever, considering the fact that it's one long joke about Jewish stereotypes. "Beauty and King Dork" From: The CriticA Parody of: The title song from Beauty and the BeastDegree of Genius: It's a quick one, but the inclusion of singing dust busters, a Mork and Mindy reference, and Jay Sherman's attempts to cover up the embarrassing lyrics make for one of the best gags on the list. "Just the Same Old Heroine" From: AnimaniacsA Parody of: "Just Across the River Bend" from PocahontasDegree of Genius: Yes, it's a show directed at children, but it is easily the most biting, articulate satires of the Disney formula of the lot. "Duff Beer for You, Duff Beer for Me" From: The SimpsonsA Parody of:"It's a Small World"Degree of Genius: Well, it does accurately capture how horrifying and haunting that song is. "The Surprises in Life" From: AnimaniacsA Parody of: "Circle of Life" from The Lion KingDegree of Genius: As much a chronicling of man's inevitable existential crises as it is a Disney song parody, this one is just as likely to make you cry as it is to make you laugh. Deep stuff. "It's a Wonderful Day for Pie" From: Family GuyA Parody of: Disney schmaltz in generalDegree of Genius: Catchy, but not quite up to par with the likes of its peers. "Up There" From: The South Park movieA Parody of: "Part of Your World" from The Little MermaidDegree of Genius: True, this is a far looser parody than the others on the list, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone nail the tone and style of the Disney "I Want" number in general. And it's sung by Satan, so that makes things all the sweeter. Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Review: There Is No Truth or Humanity Whatsoever to 'The Giver'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 15, 2014
    Weinstein Company via Everett Collection At the heart of any dystopian story — be it about warring farm animals, omnipresent elder siblings, or colorless societies wherein pain and inequality have been all but eradicated — there is meant to be something human. Something that shines through to show us just how close we are to the world onscreen and just how far away from it we need to get. But at the heart of The Giver — Phillip Noyce’s film adaptation, not Lois Lowry’s ‘93 intro-to-Orwell novel — we find no humanity. There is nothing remotely vital about the film, its themes, its world, or its characters. Thus, who really gives a damn what kind of hell they’re all dealing with? Brenton Thwaites is our hero — the exception among the heap of mindless drones (not to be confused with the movie’s surplus of literal drones) that occupy the nameless society, or so we’re meant to believe. In truth, Thwaites and his character Jonas are just as flat, vacant, and devoid of nuance as every other member of this pallid world. So when he is selected as the only villager capable of bearing the world’s memories of joy, pain, life, suffering, and — most prominently — ethnic dancing, we’re bored to tears by what might otherwise be an emotionally riveting journey into emotional maturity. Weinstein Company via Everett Collection But Thwaites isn’t the only issue. Jeff Bridges manages some combination of tired Sam Elliott, tired Bane, and tired Scooby Doo in his performance as the titular Giver, the man whose relationships with the society, Chief Elder Meryl Streep, and Receivers past and present are never illustrated with enough clarity to understand him as a man or a metaphorical function. Just like Thwaites’ big moments suffer from a lack of substantial precedent, any message that Bridges’ character is meant to unfurl falls as flat as the inflection of a dystopian resident. Broad strokes are one thing; The Giver seems to miss the canvas entirely in its portrait of the importance of pain and experience. Without a single human moment to convince us of the importance of humanity, we’re really left just staring at a confusing oscillation of the color wheel for 90 minutes. 1.5/5 Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
  • Ranking All the '90s Nicktoons, from Worst to Best
    By: Michael Arbeiter Aug 15, 2014
    The 1990s were a virtual golden age of televised animation... at least as far as the people who grew up during that decade are concerned. Nickelodeon was no doubt the principal force in churning out quality cartoon programming during the '90s, giving us generation defining entertainment in its slate of original Nicktoons. But which of these memorable entries are our favorites and least favorites? Check out our complete ranking of '90s Nicktoons, and chime in below with your own preferences! 13. CatDog  Nickelodeon "What if... a cat and a dog were Siamese twins?""Oh, yeah! I guess... I guess that could be something."It wasn't. It was nothing. 12. Oh Yeah! Cartoons Nickelodeon This anthology series is easily the least memorable entry from the '90s Nicktoons slate, but escapes the last place slot for introducing the world to some of the next generation's stronger entries, most notably The Fairly Odd Parents. 11. The Wild Thornberrys  Nickelodeon Despite an interesting premise and the whimsy that is Tim Curry's voice over work, The Wild Thornberrys never felt quite like it was on our level. Unlike some of its favorable company, the series always felt like a show that some displaced adults thought that kids would like, but never quite understood why they should. 10. Rocket Power  Nickelodeon Call it my lasting aversion to bro culture, but Rocket Power always seemed a little much. Never proving itself particularly clever, funny, or original, the show banked way too hard on just trying to be cool. It was, I guess, but not that cool. 9. Aaahh!! Real Monsters  Nickelodeon Once in a while, Aaahh!! Real Monsters was enjoyable enough to check in on. A wide variety of weird, crudely drawn creatures living beneath the Staten Island's Fresh Kills Landfill, surfacing only to scare the wits out of humans (not out of malice, but out for the academic merit in the trade) is good for an occasional chuckle, but wore thin pretty quickly. 8. KaBlam!  Nickelodeon For the blossoming comic book fan, KaBlam! had a special appeal. But while the anthology series had a few consistently delightful shorts (like Action League Now!) it was very clear why most members of its ensemble never earned their own series proper. 7. SpongeBob SquarePants  Though really a cartoon belonging to the post-'90s youth, SpongeBob's debut in '99 makes it viable for ranking. In truth, the show has evolved into something relatively impressive, even if its unfathomable giddiness can deter viewers brought up on the darker fare of Nickelodeon's earlier days (as you'll see below...). 6. Rugrats  Nickelodeon The only real fault of the technically stellar and remarkably earnest cartoon is that we got too old for it. Sure, Rugrats never talked down to its audience, nor did it insinuate that a young slate of stars entailed a young demographic of viewers. But the show, a very funny exercise in embracing new perspectives on the day-to-day, just didn't do quite enough to keep us hooked as we went onto more mature fare.  5. The Ren & Stimpy Show Nickelodeon Easily the most divisive show on the list, Ren & Stimpy can be respected even by those who find it disgusting for its sheer ambition... and weirdness. Though heavy-handed and abrasive in its comedy, the show had no shortage of imagination. 4. Doug Nickelodeon Required viewing for anybody growing up with a double dose of anxiety, Doug has earned a very special place in the heart of most children of the '90s. The original Nicktoon was sweet, ethical, and effectively wacky while maintaining unmatched sincerity. Though a viable contender for the top tier of this list, Doug is given the No. 4 spot for not quite managing to escape the myopic, claustrophobic feeling that its superior brethren were able to dash to pieces. But still one of the greats.  3. Hey Arnold! In a way, Hey Arnold! was the precise complement to Doug. Whereas Arnold's Bluffingtonian predecessor struggled with the neuroses within him, the football-headed stoic played the sane man in a world of crazy. Cool, calm, and good-hearted, Arnold navigated a New York City filled with abject lunacy, charged with maintaining justice and order throughout each of his journeys. Colorful and funny, though always a bit melancholy, Hey Arnold! is Nickelodeon's answer to beat poetry. 2. The Angry Beavers Nickelodeon A dark horse No. 2, but truly the most clever and mature cartoon to air on Nickelodeon. Riddled with whip-smart dialogue and ahead-of-its-time pop culture parody, as well as unparalleled devotion to continuity as far as these series go, Angry Beavers is an overlooked gem among the more flashy or earthy Nicktoons. 1. Rocko's Modern Life Nickelodeon There are many programs on this list that rival Rocko's Modern Life in weirdness, that come close in mania, that top it in empathy, and that give it a run for its money in wit. So why, then, does it stand out in our minds as the very best work of art to come out of Nickelodeon's animated community to date? Why is some small-scale, scatterbrained show about a mild-mannered wallaby dealing with mundane qualms like laundry, food shopping, recycling, romance, and breaking his pal out of Heck the most piercingly lovable title that the network has to its name? We don't know what gives Rocko that wow factor, but we can guess. Which is your favorite Nicktoon?