When I was a child, I would wake up early every Saturday morning and watch cartoons with my dad. Usually, over huge bowls of Frosted Flakes, we would coast through the adventures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which my mother never wanted me to watch for fear that I would pick up the phrase "Cowabunga!"), and during the commercials, he would tell me about the cartoons of his own youth. In a splash of sepia-tinted nostalgia, my dad would recount the adventures of Space Ghost, Astro Boy, and Birdman. It wasn't that he would go into a nerdy series of overblown accounts about each and every episode, but the way he spoke about these cartoons proved how much they meant to him.
So, when I received the second season of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (the irreverent part-parody/part-postmodernist remake of the original Birdman show now on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim), I wasn't quite sure what to tell my father. I am sure that he has some awareness of what the Cartoon Network has done to the cartoons of his childhood – Space Ghost: Coast to Coast hit the airwaves more than ten years ago, after all – but much like he tried to make me believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, I try to keep him away from that awareness.
The problem is, sometimes I would like to share Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law with him, simply because most of the time it's so damn funny. Episodes such as "Studying Environmental Law Through Pop Culture" and "Malpractice Law and Plastic Surgery/Home Improvement" are just plain laugh-out-loud hilarious. It's shows such as those that remind the world how stupid it is to think cartoons are just for kids. And even when the episodes aren't quite up to par – "Your Body and You (for emerging superheroes)", "Gas, Ass or Grass: Nobody Shrinks for Free – Semiotics of the Booty" – a good belt of gin makes it all the funnier.
While we're on the subject of gin, though, I should mention that a good bottle of gin is the only thing missing from this DVD's excellent packaging. Even if you're not a fan of Harvey Birdman, every pop culture fetishist should consider buying this edition to the series. Packaged like a fake law book complete with a vintage, silly case, this box set is well-worth displaying. But as I said, despite the hilarity and over-the-top zaniness that bursts from the show, watching too many of these fifteen minute episodes may become daunting without some kind of chemical enhancement. That's why I propose that for all of you over-21-year-olds reading this article, after you buy this box, go to your nearest liquor store and buy a fifth of Beefeater. Every time you're like, "This is weeeeeeeird!", take a drink. You won't regret it.
… Well, you might regret it if you don't quit the game by the third episode, because then you'll be dead.
by Megan Giddings