Platypus Comix / Articles

The articles at Platypus Comix boast so many tropes that they now have their own page.
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    History Channel Department 

Peter Paltridge records the history of stuff.

    Interactive Entertainment Celebration Section 
Peter Paltridge muses about video games and video game memorabilia.

Things You Can't Ever Have

    People Section 

Peter Paltridge writes all about famous people

Peter Paltridge reviews movies and TV shows, and occasionally delves into obscure facets of screen history.

    Dark TV Vault/The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials 
Peter Paltridge reviews some short-lived TV shows and rare TV specials.

  • Bad Bad Acting: In Peter's coverage of the Free Spirit Halloween special, he admits that his first article about the show didn't include any clips of the now-most famous cast member, Alyson Hannigan, because he didn't think she'd want people to see how unprofessionally she acted back then. However, since the Halloween special marks the only time the sitcom gave Hannigan's character A Day in the Limelight, he shares some footage of her anyway. Afterward, he tries to imitate her as best as he can through typing.
    "Winnie! This is GREAT!" You have to wonder at several points what kind of medication fog she was under.
  • Call Back: In 2015, the site reviewed the 1988 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. During that parade, Willard Scott appeared at the end of the Rockettes' number. Peter responds to this by Photoshopping in the "Hi, Mom!" speech bubble that appeared at the end of the Rockettes' appearance in '81.
  • Crazy Awesome: invoked The Free Spirit review praises Magical Nanny/Blithe Spirit Winnie Goodwin's unwillingness to enforce limitations on her magical abilities.
  • '80s Hair: Peter takes time in his article about the Free Spirit Halloween special to admire Winnie's unruly hairstyle:
    I even loved her character design, which is an odd thing to say about a real person — but I'm referring to her bird's nest of a hairstyle, which is your only visual clue that something is off about her, but not enough to raise suspicion. And the thing is......given eighties fashion, I'm not sure if that was intentional or not. Winnie really picked the right era to hide on Earth in.
    • Later, he comments that the breeze from broomstick-flying caused Winnie's and Jessie's hair to look "..even more 80's than before."
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Peter admitted that he expected to find Free Spirit as lame as most ABC sitcoms from The '80s, but Winnie Goodwin enchanted him so strongly, he plowed through all the episodes he received just to see more of her. After he finished, he even decided to write some comics about Winnie and her friends.
  • Late to the Punchline: Peter confesses in his article about the Free Spirit episode "Blast From the Past" that he had to let the humor of the line, "I'll call you on the broom phone." sink in.
    And I thought, what a lame joke! He just took the word "phone" and added "broom" to it? .....then I realized, he meant "car phone." This was back when if you wanted to call somebody in a car, you had to own a phone fully installed into the car itself. This kind of thing was seen as a luxury for big businessmen — if you mentioned you had a car phone, everyone was instantly impressed, because it meant you were doing well. Winnie's dad must be living in a better house now than the one we saw in the flashback.
  • Name's the Same: invoked Peter points out in his review of the Free Spirit episode "Blast From the Past" that Winnie's fiancee, Kevin, has the same first name as the main character of The Wonder Years, who also had a Love Interest named Winnie.
    Did they name him Kevin to make a sly Wonder Years reference? It took me a long time to put the two names together and realize that.
  • Nerds Are Virgins: When discussing the Free Spirit Halloween special, the sight of Winnie using her witchcraft to perform stage magic prompts Peter to recount which comic marked the debut of Zatanna's father, Zatara the Magician ("...Action Comics #1, right after Superman."), since the two of them also used that shtick. He then offhandedly admits that he doesn't have a girlfriend yet.
  • Product Displacement: Discussed in "Blast From the Past", after Peter points out a R-Type arcade cabinet with its logo altered to read, R-TY.
    I love how putting electrical tape over one letter in a logo effectively dodges copyright.
  • Seasonal Rot: invoked Referenced in the first Free Spirit article, saying the disappearance of the show without giving any closure robs us of "The really weak final season after Winnie and Thomas have gotten married, Alyson Hannigan has left the series, and an annoying little child has been adopted".
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: invoked Peter admits in the "Super Bowl Past-Blast" articles that the special effects in such ads as this 1992 Exxon Supreme commercial and this 1985 canned foods promo might seem less revolutionary today than when they first aired.
  • Special Effect Failure: invoked "Platypus Comix Covers The 1981 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!" includes footage of two Days of Our Lives cast members botching a lip-synced musical performance. It also includes a picture of somebody walking into a shot where he shouldn't be, revealing Strawberry Shortcake (who was supposedly interacting with Ed McMahon) to be nothing more than superimposed footage.
  • Spiritual Successor: Peter writes some for X-Entertainment's recaps of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, starting with a 2011 article about the 1980 parade.
  • Super Bowl Special: Peter explains in "Super Bowl Past-Blast: 1994" that he watches the Super Bowl live mostly to watch all of the commercials, and eventually decided to write annual articles covering ads shown during a past game.
  • Tainted by the Preview: invoked Peter recalls in "Super Bowl Past-Blast: 1985" that after Apple's "1984" ad became instantly iconic, Apple spent weeks hyping up their next Super Bowl commercial, which viewers had to wait until the very last break to see. Unforutnately, the commercial, a Macintosh Office promo titled, "Lemmings", didn't leave a positive impact on viewers, apparently mostly because of Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
    It's creepy and terrible! After letting so many competitors' baseballs whiz past them while uttering "That's not my style," Apple thought they could nail this with one blow — and Mighty Casey has struck out. It's mainly due to a complete misinterpretation of why the first ad worked. "1984" was dark because the book it was based on was. But it was also grand and epic and got your adrenaline going — plus, it told a complete story by only showing a portion of it. "Lemmings" does none of those things.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • Originally, reading the Free Spirit review on Internet Explorer caused this message to pop up in spots where readers with different browsers would find HTML5-encoded clips:
      If you're reading this instead of seeing a video, why are you still using Internet Explorer?
      • The message disappeared after Peter allowed readers to choose whether to use HTML5 or Adobe Flash to watch the clips.
    • "Super Bowl Past-Blast: 1994 begins with Peter calling his readers, "an audience of geeks," for not expressing excitement for the Super Bowl.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Peter reveals at the end of his critique of an early draft of the Free Spirit pilot that he finally found the Missing Episode "Love and Death" on YouTube, and downloaded it to his computer. However, he also admits refusing to watch it right away.
    Here's the thing....I once thought I had burned through every second of Free Spirit footage there was. I had no reason to think there were any more than 13 episodes, because there usually isn't. Then, miraculously, more of it showed up. Now if I watch it, that's really and truly all there is. I've been given a second chance, and it feels more poetic to just bottle that wish and preserve it for later. So I saved Episode 14 to my hard drive, and whenever I decide to view it, I'll let you know.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: Peter comments in "Super Bowl Past-Blast: 1994" that he only remembers an ad for the 1994 Isuzu Rodeo just for the "Gut-Be-Gone" the man in the commercial recieves for his birthday.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Each YouTube upload in "Super Bowl Past-Blast: 1985" abbreviates the game's name as, "SB". Peter admits that the NFL's trademark of the full name prevented him from spelling it out.
  • Zeerust: Regarding an ad in "The 1980 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" for Bell Laboratories:
    We're then shown a glimpse of the future, in which a woman hits some keys on a giant computer board and two monitors display simple data graphs. In her own home??? It'll never happen. I mean, it still hasn't....

The Island of Misfit Christmas Specials

See Blog.The Island Of Misfit Christmas Specials

    Stupid Kid Show Area 
Peter Paltridge helps you learn about the past of children's pop culture, mostly cartoons from the 1980s and '90s.

Kids' WB Yourself!

The Full Experience

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Jabberjaw review makes the series seem dull and unoriginal, until Jabberjaw tries to distract a villain by donning a Paper-Thin Disguise of an exotic dancer.
  • Catch Phrase: Ever since the third installment, Peter has begun each article by putting the show into historic context, then pointing out today, one could enjoy the episodes on DVD. Then, he segues into the rest of the article with, "That's all well and good. But it's not the FULL EXPERIENCE..."
  • Clueless Aesop: The Beetlejuice article includes a PSA in which the stars of Perfect Strangers attempt to teach kids not to feel bad if they don't meet society's standards of physical attractiveness. Peter admits this PSA, in which Larry consoles Balki over having a more crooked nose than Bruce Willis, loses its effectiveness for viewers who believe Balki's actor found less box office success than Willis because of his failure to meet those standards.
    Hope you learned something, kids. Just don't question the fact that Bronson Pinchot was available for the lead role in Die Hard yet never got the call.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The series consists of reviews of the first episodes of Saturday morning cartoons from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, accompanied by videos of some of the commercials and bumpers that played during the cartoon's premiere. The first article recaps the day Pokémon began airing on Kids' WB!, but Peter decided not to review the episodenote  because the series seemed Strictly Formula. Also note that article has three pages, while others (such as the Beetlejuice review) only have one.
    • For even more weirdness, the original version of the Pokémon installment only had one video. The rest of the commercials simply got written descriptions and pictures.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: invoked Peter has confessed that for him, Beetlejuice begins and ends with the cartoon. He didn't see the movie Beetlejuice until after he saw the show. When he did, he felt disappointed that, among other things, Beetlejuice was a seldom-appearing villain instead of the star, and that he and Lydia were enemies instead of friends.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Peter begins the installment about The Spooktacular New Adventures Of Caspernote  by calling Casper the Friendly Ghost unfunny and uninteresting. Consequently, he avoided watching this show, until he learned that it shared two writers with Animaniacs-Sheri Stoner and Deanna Oliver. He ended up calling the episodes he saw of Spooktacular New Adventures the funniest and least boring Casper cartoons he ever saw.
  • Late to the Punchline: Peter admits in the Beetlejuice review that he didn't notice Beetlejuice and Lydia blowing snakes instead of noisemakers until after he took a screenshot of the scene.
  • Misaimed Marketing: invoked Peter closes the Animaniacs article by wondering why his local Fox Kids station showed a commercial for a wine-tasting event during each episode from the first season.
  • Oddball in the Series: The second installment, covering the premiere of The Pink Panther Show, was written on Peter's Toon Zone blog instead of at his website. Unfortunately, this inadvertently led to the videos ceasing to work after a site update.
  • Take That: From the page about Animaniacs:
    Those cheesy Power Rangers could go jump in a lake; Animaniacs was 1993 to me.

    Educational Rockin' Fun Zone 
Peter Paltridge educates on subjects not covered in school.

    Surfin' The Web Section 
Peter Paltridge gives a sample of what he does on the Internet aside from making comics and articles.

    Psychiatry Zone 

    Things To Do When You're Bored Division/The Ancient Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising 
Peter Paltridge has gathered a random selection of things to do when you're bored.

The Ancient Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising

  • Call Back:
    Maybe I should start a comic series based on this one Laverne and Shirley episode? ....You know, I think I will. Look for it January 2015!
  • Couch Gag: Volumes 11 onward each use a different font for the volume numbers in their respective introductions.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: In response to a Ryan's Hope ad in "Spring 1980/Pink Lady and Jeff" featuring Delia getting carried off by a gorilla:
    It's my sincere hope that this isn't some kind of weird metaphor and that there was an actual giant gorilla on this soap opera.
  • Follow the Leader: When showing ads for Fish Police and Capitol Critters:
    The early years of success surrounding The Simpsons led to some bizarre greenlights the like of which we'll never see again...the kind that said, "I'm an executive in his fifties who has no idea why a grown person would watch a cartoon, but whatever, just put Saturday Morning material on prime time." CBS did that literally with "Toon Nite" in the spring of 1991. For a brief period of time, their Tuesday evenings were filled with Bugs Bunny specials and Ninja Turtle episodes. It attracted me at least, but probably not many thirtysomethings.
  • Genre Savvy: In Fall 1982, when Peter mentions Pandamonium, he posts a YouTube video of its opening sequence, because "I can't describe [the show] as well as it can describe itself". He then describes the show anyway "Just in case that video disappears like I know it will".
  • Hilarious In Flashback:
    Not sure what this is. Something about a cheerleader? I'm sure there's something about it in a couple places on the Internet. I think there was a 1992 film by the same name, and then the guy who wrote it didn't like how it turned out and made it as a series instead.....who knows how it'll go. Maybe the geeks will get into it?
  • Harsher in Hindsight: invoked Lampshaded:
    • One of the pictures in "Spring 1984" promotes a Love Boat episode, in which several Miss America winners gather to honor the then-newest Miss America, Vanessa Williams. Peter subsequently asks, "Why do I get the feeling this episode was going to live in infamy for a while?"note 
    • The Neil Goldschmidt quote in one of the TV special ads included in "1988 Writer's Strike" mentions giving teens "special attention." Below the ad, Peter comments, "...Neil Goldschmidt really meant it..."note 
  • In Name Only: "Winter 1992" comments that the animated series Fish Police had almost nothing in common with the comic of the same name. Peter theorizes that after Hanna-Barbera finished coming up with the concept for the show, they found out It's Been Done by an independent cartoonist, and subsequently paid him to use the title so that he wouldn't sue them for using a similar premise.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: "V-The Final Battle" ends with some intriguing advertisements for various movies playing that year-Ghostbusters, Gremlins, and It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown.
  • Mistaken for Gay: "Spring 1980/Pink Lady and Jeff" includes a link to a website containing further information about Pink Lady And Jeff, but marks it as NSFW on the grounds that no working man would want the other employees to see him visit a website with so much pink.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens in the installment about ABC Afterschool Specials, as ABC's fluffy children's specials give way to Darker and Edgier, teen-oriented stories.
  • Older than You Think: "invoked 1988 Writer's Strike" includes a cover promoting a 1988 TV movie of the novel The Bourne Identity, prompting Peter to remark, "Everything's a remake these days."
  • Popularity Polynomial:invoked "Bicentennial", written in 2008, comments on the then-current domination of live-action over animation in popular children's television by pointing out that live-action shows dominate the ads for children's television in 1976, suggesting that "history is cyclical". Indeed, just as the '80s brought an abundance of new children's cartoons, so would the 2010s a few years after that article's publication. Part of "Winter 1992" recalls how animation went from becoming popular enough to get its own network, to almost disappearing from that channel in favor of live-action programming, to becoming a large draw for it once again.
  • Quote Mine: In reference to an ad in "Dallas" for CBS' miniseries Master of the Game:
    TV Guide reviewed it as "a masterpiece of incoherence and bad acting," which was undoubtedly edited in the network promos to read as "A masterpiece! —TV Guide."
  • Retroactive Recognition: invoked When discussing an ad in "V-The Final Battle" for The Duck Factory, Peter points out that the man making goofy faces looks familiar-it's Jim Carrey.
  • Self Plagiarism: The ABC Afterschool Special gallery calls Summer Switch, "...the one that teaches you not to plagiarize!", since the plot sounds nearly identical to that of Freaky Friday. Plus, the books that inspired Freaky Friday and Summer Switch both have the same author, Mary Rodgers.
  • Something Completely Different: "Parents' Guide to Kids TV" does not show any retro ads. Instead, it comments on how the Moral Guardians writing the children's television previews sometimes had overly strict standards, and also incorrectly predicted which shows would become successes and which ones would never catch on.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked After "Spring 1980-Pink Lady and Jeff" features an ad for The Stockard Channing Show, starring Stockard Channing as an undercover TV reporter, Peter wonders why such shows as Pepper Dennis and Anchorwoman couldn't mine all the comedic and dramatic potential that could arise from a reporter on a gimmicky news program hunting down criminals.
  • This Is Going to Suck: "Fall 1982" ends with a two-page ad for a sitcom from The '80s. The first consists almost entirely of "Ha!"'s written in Dom Casual and urging you to turn the page to find out what's so funny, making Peter comment, "Whenever I see something like this, I groan. There's no way what's on the other side of the page is anything but a painfully unfunny, rightfully forgotten show---" The second page reveals the ad as a Cheers promo, eliciting the response, "---well, I think I'll shut up now."
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers:
    • Volumes 8 and 9, which contain slideshows of ABC Afterschool Special ads, have a drawing of a computer mouse instead of a number at the start, possibly to reference how much more clicking the reader has to do compared to previous volumes.
    • Volume 10, a slideshow of ads for the first two seasons of The Simpsons, begins with the awesome smiley replacing the number 10.
    • "Parents' Guide to Kids' TV" does not have a number at all.
  • Viral Marketing: invoked "V-The Final Battle" shows how NBC used this during May 1984 sweeps to promote the second V miniseries.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Peter quotes a song by The Police in "1988 Writer's Strike", after an ad for 14 Going on 30.
    EEEEEEEE-WWWWW!!! Magically aging yourself 16 years does not make this any less creepy! In fact, turning yourself into Alan Thicke in the process makes it even creepier! Don't stand so! Don't stand so! Don't stand so close to me!
  • Wolverine Publicity: Discussed in the Simpsons slideshow, regarding episodes promoted with ads that make Bart Simpson appear to have a larger role than he actually does.
  • Zeerust:
    • The first ad in "V-The Final Battle" features a special promoting EPCOT Center by featuring then-developing technologies that could revolutionize the future. Peter points out that among the seven predictions listed in the ad, three or four of them had failed to come true by the time EPCOT turned 25.
    • "Spring 1980/Pink Lady And Jeff" kicks off with a wildly exaggerated description of how the Intellivision could change the TV-viewing experience.

    The Section Only I Will Care About Reading 
Peter Paltridge will share a few details about his life, his interests, and Platypus Comix history to those who care.

    Thing Where The Totally Rad Videos Go 
Peter Paltridge posts some rare and interesting videos, including plenty of music videos.

    Bloom County County 
Before the publication of the book series The Bloom County Library, Peter Paltridge took it upon himself to keep his favorite newspaper comic available to enjoy.

  • Homage: The layout of the Bloom County archive page resembles one of the strip's recurring splash panels.
  • Take That: In Opus's Married Life in the Year 2007, Peter explains that unlike how Opus's dream about 2007 depicted it, the ozone layer is slowly but surely recovering thanks to CFCs being globally banned.
    You might have not heard about this. Al Gore doesn't care about mentioning environmental crises that are going WELL.

See also Bloom County


    Lair of Alternate Projects/For Portlanders Only 
Peter Paltridge takes you to see his other endeavors. The biggest is For Portlanders Only, a selection of advertisements, newspaper scans, and other emphemera pertaining to his hometown of Portland, Oregon.

For Portlanders Only

What Powell's Throws Out

  • Accidental Innuendo: invokedIn Part Six, Peter shows a SpongeBob SquarePants story from an anthology book written by first graders:
    Book: "This party is cool. I like Sponge Bob's party. I like Sponge Bob's juice," said Patrick.
    Peter: Any other website would have leapt at the chance to point out what Patrick said, but I don't work blue.
  • Continuity Lockout:invoked He experiences this in Part Six with ElfQuest, saying that his troubles with fantasy tropes as a whole (elaborated below) prevent him from understanding a single sentence of the work.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Part Two expresses his disllusionment with reading as a whole:
    When I was a small kid, I read books all the time. I would go to the library about every other day, come out with several juvenile fiction tomes, and read each one within an hour. I read a book about a kid who has to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days for $50. The writing was pure off-the-wall anarchy, and I loved it (read it again, it's even better when you're grown up). I read a book about a school that is thirty stories tall and full of weird kids, clever wordplay and living dead rats — it's still my favorite book of all time. I read a book about a kid with unusual talents who united a racially divided town and spent a summer with a poor old illiterate man. It was better than chocolate. But as I got older, books aimed at my age level started getting less imaginative, less humorous, and less fun.[…]Reading books became a chore, not an enjoyment. And when I finally graduated and had the free will to stop, I quit 'em cold turkey. These days, I look at the rack of books for adults and feel massive boredom. They take themselves too seriously, are way way more wordy than they need to be, and are sorted by machine. If you want a crime drama, you go to the Crime Drama section and pick from 6,500 Crime Dramas with very similar covers and very similar plots. If you want a Murder Mystery Starring a Psychic Dwarf, you go to the Psychic Dwarf Murder Mysteries Section and choose from 7,352 of those. It feels so...cold.
  • Faux Horrific: When discussing From a Buick 8 in Part Two:
    The truth is, not everything Stephen writes is intended to be scary and this is one of his 'others.' It's just dressed up by the publisher to fool you into believing it's the next Shining, at least until you've paid for it.
  • Mind Screw: Peter declares Wezens die je toch nooit zietnote  from Part Four "The Weirdest Book of All Time".
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Peter's disgust in Part Six with the drawing style of some 2004 Cricket comics makes him (and King Leonidas from 300) exclaim, "This! Is! Zoot!"
  • Sincerity Mode: In a part that we won't link to from here, Peter admits that he recently bought a Webcomic Print Collection, but didn't find it funny at all. However, he refuses to refer to the comic or its author by name, to lessen the chances of him getting his feelings hurt.
  • Strictly Formula: From Part Six:
    Through the thousands of books I've now sorted, I've noticed a popular trend among the fiction variety. Most mass paperback novels I've run across have the following things in common: 1) They're part of a series (even though I never find any other book in said "series"); 2) They have a female protagonist; 3) Said female protagonist is a massive Mary Sueinvoked with an attitude who wields weapons, fires off karate kicks, and has every lead male fall for her instantly; 3) They contain supernatural elements, usually garden-variety cliches dressed up by calling them different names. For example, if there are fairies, they won't call them fairies, they'll call them "Fae." At the very least, they'll spell "magic" with a K; 4) They all (without exception, they ALL) have a subtitle like "A Kit Gunwielder Mystery!" or "A Sasha Spunkmeyer Adventure!"
  • Take That: In Part One, he boasts that he could find a way to make a FernGully: The Last Rainforest book seem marketable in 2010. Cue a crude alteration of the cover to include Avatar characters.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:invoked In Part Two, he mentions how he dislikes fantasy novels because "they often get so bogged down in their own world they forget how to relate to the real one, where I am, trying to understand it." He points out that Worldweavers: Spellspam actually has a good premise (about e-mail spam that has magical powers), but that a third of the way through, it gets bogged down in the fantasy tropes that he hates so much.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: invoked In Part Six, regarding some books about designing a website in The '90s:
    They're not complete rubbish, they serve as historical documents. To me, they were worth keeping as nostalgic picture books. You can't find this kind of web anymore.

    "Other People's Cartoons" Area/Worst Comix Ever! 
Peter Paltridge shares his favorite and least favorite comic strips and comic books.

Worst Comix Ever!