Western Animation: Animalympics
"In all creatures great and small, there resides a spirit of athletic competition..."Animalympics
is an animated film produced by Steven Lisberger (who would later create TRON
for Disney). The film was originally conceived as a pair of specials for NBC
to air during the 1980 Olympic Games
(one for the Summer Games and one for the Winter Games), but the American boycott of the Summer games that year put the kibosh on those plans. Lisberger's studio instead released Animalympics
in theaters as a single feature film.
The film consists of a series of vignettes representing news coverage of the "Animalympics", which as you can imagine are the Olympics for anthropomorphic animals. The main event is the marathon, in which the two favorites (the obsessively driven goat René Fromage, and You Go Girl
lioness Kit Mambo) take an early lead... and also take to each other. Other highlights include the rags-to-riches tale of track-and-field alligator Bolt Jenkins, a fencing match that turns into a pastiche of Errol Flynn movies, and a hockey game that almost literally turns into all-out war.
- Acrofatic: Ilsa Blintz the hippo during the Vault section, as well as the elephant acrobat on the uneven parallel bars.
- Subverted: Ilsa Blintz only gets a score of 4.5 (Keen Hacksaw wonders if that was actually the reading on the Richter Scale), the Elephant's routine ends in disaster (she destroys one of the uneven bars), and Keen Hacksaw does a lap around the track in 46 seconds, and says "Not bad for a fatso".
- Animal Stereotypes: Played straight in some places, averted in others.
- Assumed Win: For downhill skiing, Marcel Pourseau loses to Kurt Wuffner, who had disappeared some days earlier, but showed up just in time; for fencing, Count Maurice Boardeaux? Nope, the Contessa, who appears out of nowhere, and the Marathon, Rene Fromage? Kit Mambo? They tie for gold.
- Award Bait Song: "We've Made It to the Top" by Graham Gouldman.
- Big Damn Heroes: Right after Count Boardeux wins a gold medal in fencing through unscrupulous tactics, the Contessa literally swoops in and shows him what-for.
- Bowdlerise: TV will occasionally play a version of the movie with a lot of "inappropriate" material removed.
- Boxing Kangaroo: One of the participants in the boxing match. Of course. Billy Crystal voices him mimicking Muhammad Ali.
- Canada, Eh?: The North American ice hockey team is apparently Canadian; the coach and a few of the players have French-Canadian accents, and "O Canada" plays as the climactic game-winning goal is made.
- Catch Phrase: "Fer sure", courtesy of Dean Wilson.
- Character Focus: Born out of necessity, due to the four-person voice cast. For all intents and purposes, René and Kit represent the marathon, Bolt Jenkins is track and field, Kurt Wuffner is skiing, and Dean Wilson is the aquatic events. Less broad events get their own one-off characters who are never heard of beyond said events.
- Chest of Medals: A dolphin note , who helps narrate the swimming and diving section, has an impressive set of gold medals. He takes them off and sets them down with an audible clank.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The boxing match, which goes thus: The kangaroo hops around the bull a few times, then taunts him by kissing his nose. The bull then grabs the kangaroo by the neck and punches him in the face, sending him spinning into the ropes. The kangaroo then spins back out and catapults himself back at the bull, hitting him in the gut. Then the kangaroo lands a punch to the nose, then to the top of the head. Two more jabs to the nose and an uppercut later, the match is over. The bull was knocked out, the kangaroo only took one hit.
Turkell: You let down your coach! You let down your country! You let down your mother! You're a bum steer! But most importantly, you let down yourself! And now you can let me down!
- Dartboard of Hate: We see in Janos Brushteckel's locker room a picture of Joey Gongalong, with a mustache and goatee drawn on it, covered in little holes.
- Determinator: Everybody, given that this is about winning Olympic events, but René really puts out the image.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Two big ones:
- The most obvious example is Dean Wilson's "Underwater Fantasy", a/k/a "the movie's taking a break for a few minutes, so go ahead and grab a snack or use the can if you need to."
- Rene Fromage's "Love's Not For Me" is the other big one.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Barbara Warblers, one of the commentators, has this.
- Everything's Better with Llamas: One of the soccer teams is a South American pack of llamas.
- Fat Bastard: Count Maurice Boardeaux.
- Feather Fingers: In an interesting example, The Contessa can still fly although she has upper limbs that are 95% indistinguishable from human arms.
- Flynning: During the fencing event.
- Furry Confusion: A few jokes about this, including a picture of an elephant gymnast wearing a Russian lynx coat and hat.
- Gainaxing: Quite carefully attended to in one scene featuring Brenda Springer.
- Kit Mambo and The Contessa are no slouches in this department either.
- Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Go For It," set in the Noah's Ark disco.
- Gretzky Has the Ball: Sometimes they get it, sometimes they exaggerate it, and sometimes there's moments like the "Platform Diving" graphic introducing the springboard diving segment.
- Hartman Hips: Kit Mambo and especially Brenda Springer.
- Lampshaded by Kit's "strategy" (take an early lead and break Rene's concentration).
- Hurricane of Puns: Like you wouldn't believe, verbally and visually. The closed captioning even goes out of its way to explain some of them.
- "I Want" Song: René's "Love's Not For Me" is sort of an inverse "I Want" Song from the lyrics alone, but the visuals during the number make it more clearly one of this type.
- Inelegant Blubbering: Ilsa Blintz when she gets a 4.5 on the vault. Also Count Maurice Boardeaux, when The Contessa beats him in fencing.
- Interspecies Romance: A number of them: Kit and René most obviously, but also a husband-and-wife figure-skating team who happen to be a lizard and a chicken, plus several hookups at the disco.
- Is This Thing Still On?: A silent example: When Bolt Jenkins watches his former hero utterly bung up the high jump, he looks at the camera with an amused smirk, before realizing he's supposed to be looking determined.
- Kick the Dog: One of the commentators isn't afraid of letting the loser of the boxing match know that he's let down his coach, family, country, and himself. The bull actually starts crying.
Rugs: And now, you can let me down. (Cut to wide shot, Rugs is standing on the bull's head.)
- Landmark of Lore: Animalympic Island is apparently built on top of Atlantis.
- Male Gaze: See the "...Past the Radar" entry involving Kit.
- Meaningful Name: Anyone familiar with surf rock will instantly understand why the hero of the swimming events is named Dean Wilson.
- Not to mention much of the cast has names indicative of their species. See Hurricane of Puns above.
- Multinational Team: Country names are never mentioned, teams just represent the continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Eurasia (which is supposed to be the Soviet Union).
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Asian freestyle swimmer, Ono Nono.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Several of the commentators reference famous celebrities — one of them, inexplicably, is a tortoise with the accent (and eyeglasses) of Henry Kissinger.
- Bolt Jenkins is based on John Travolta.
- Barbara Warblers is an obvious parody of Barbara Walters.
- Rugs Turkell is Howard Cosell as a turkey.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle: The head of the Rats soccer team after swapping medals with the head of the Dogs.
- Parody Commercial
- Petting Zoo People: Some more than others, some not at all.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Of a sort. The visuals to the song "Love's Not For Me" near the end suggest that René Fromage will get his gold—and have absolutely nothing else in his life. That's not his actual fate.
- Playful Otter: Dean Wilson.
- Pop-Star Composer: Graham Gouldman from the group 10cc, which made the charts a couple of times, so it counts.
- Pretty in Mink: One of the Russian gymnasts is an elephant, and there is a shot of her wearing a russian lynx coat and hat.
- Pseudolympics: The entire show is based on this trope.
- Punny Name: Oh so many. Barbara Warblers, Art Antica, etc.
- Random Events Plot
- Removable Shell: Henry Hummel is shown to have one while getting a massage.
- Shout-Out: Loads, many requiring some knowledge of 1980
- Silly Love Songs: René and Kit's "With You I Can Run Forever," Kurt Wuffner's "Away From It All."
- Stealth Pun: Right at the beginning, you see a polar bear running with the torch to a coyote. The Announcer goes on about the "Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Defeat." The polar bear's feet are red hot at this point, and he's blowing on them after passing the torch.
- Suicide as Comedy: At least, threatened suicide. When Tatyana Tushenko is about to receive her score, her coach has a noose around his neck and has Chattering Teeth (she receives a perfect 10). This may be an allusion to Nadia Comăneci, who also received a perfect 10 from the judges in the 1976 Olympics—but, because the scoreboard could only display 9.99, her score was accidentally displayed as an abysmal 1.00.
- Surfer Dude: Dean Wilson.
- Tears of Joy: When Dorrie Turnell wins gold.
- Theme Naming: Virtually all of the characters have names that either reference their species or their nationality.
- Training Montage: Bolt Jenkins' "Born to Lose," though his character more directly parodies Tony from Saturday Night Fever.
- Twist Ending: at the end of the marathon, Kit Mambo and Rene Fromage tie for first.
- Unnecessary Roughness: Certainly the ice hockey game. There's probably some elsewhere, too.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: The song "Love's Not For Me" (AKA Rene's Song) is all about this, especially the words at the end:
So when the race is won
And there's nothing left to do
But where are you?
- Water Works/Ocular Gushers: Dorrie Turnell in general.
- What's a Henway?: Lampshaded. "This reminds me of the old joke, 'how much does a Grecian urn?' but you've probably heard it."
- Wheel of Feet: During the 100 Meter Dash, the contestants first show this, then take on the characteristics of drag-racing cars—complete with arms turning into exhaust pipes, bodies into engines, and releasing parachutes to stop them.
- You Fight Like a Cow: During the Contessa's fencing match with Bordeaux:
Bordeaux: You'll never fence again, Contessa!
Contessa: Ha! You've never fenced before!