Western Animation: Les Shadoks
"Ga Bu Zo Meu"Les Shadoks
is a French animated TV Show created in 1968 by Jacques Rouxel, and which had four seasons, the second and third in 1969 and 1972, and the last one in 2000. The show is speechless except for the narrator
, French actor Claude Piéplu."It was a long, long, long... long time ago. In that time, there was the sky. To the right of the sky, there was planet Gibi. It was flat and tilting from left to right. So sometimes when too many Gibis were on one side on the planet, it tilted too much and some Gibis fell into space. It was a big trouble... especially for the Gibis. To the left of the sky, there was planet Shadock. It had no precise form, or rather... its form kept changing. So sometimes some Shadoks fell in space. It was a big trouble... especially for the Shadoks. And on the middle there was Earth, that was round and moved".
You guess what's next: the story is about the Shadoks' and the Gibis' rivalry for Earth, a planet "that was seemingly working better". The Shadoks are stupid and mean-spirited birds who can't fly (their wings are too small) and the Gibis are unidentified kind and intelligent animals with a little hat to say "hello".
It is about pumping, space conquest rivalry
, a mean insect
named Gégène and criticism of the institutions
: government, science, religion... This last point is particularly significant as the show was broadcast just a few weeks before the Events of may 68
have become a rare example of French cult pop cultural phenomenon, though mostly unknown outside of France.
Les Shadoks provides examples of the following tropes:
- 90% of Your Brain : Parodied. The Shadoks use their brain plenty... but it has only four boxes. Which means that a Shadock can know only four things at a time. For example, if a Shadok knows how to ride a bike, and not how to read but wants to learn, and if his brain is already full, he will have to unlearn how to ride a bike.
- Author Catchphrase: Repeated during the third and fourth seasons as it had become cult-ish.
- "Better to pump even if nothing happens than to risk something worse happening by not pumping."
- "The more one fails, the more one has chances that it works."
- "Why do simple when one can do complicated?"
- Censorship Bureau: So many people were shocked and angry about the show that it was cancelled after a few weeks before coming back in September 1968. Apparently some good citizens don't appreciate making fun of serious things as logic and rationality.
- The Emperor: Chief Shadok
- Flat World: Planet Gibi.
- Floating Water: The Sailor Shadok claimed that he could reach the Earth first with his ship. But the sea stopped at the limits of planet Shadok so he had his crew take the water behind the ship and put it in front so the journey could continue.
- Gravity Screw: There are two sorts of Shadoks: those with feet pointing down, which live on top of the planet; and those with feet pointing up, which live on the underside.
- Hive Mind: The Gibis' brain is in their bowler hat. When a Gibi thinks about a problem, it goes to his hat then passes to the other Gibis' hats so they resolve the problem together. So when a Gibi loses his hat he becomes no much more than a mere Shadok.
- Hulk Speak: The Shadoks have only four words, "Ga", "Bu", "Zo" and "Meu", and a complete universe to name with just that. Explains why they're so incompetent, for example at space travel.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The Shadoks are so cruel and so stupid that they may eat each other. Especially the Down-Under Shadoks.
- Limited Animation: It was in 1968. It was French TV, not exactly Hollywood. Plus, it was made with a machine prototype, the animographe, and paper offcut. The prototype was out of function after the first series but the following seasons kept quite the same style — it would betray the spirit of the series otherwise.
- Love It or Hate It: A French recurrent cliché is that France is "split in two parts". This was so true about Les Shadoks that a specific show was made: "The Frenchmen write to the Shadoks" where the famous humorist and actor Jean Yanne was reading the most astonishing letters sent to the TV. Though today the show is just a classic.
- The Professor: Professor Shadoko... though he has his own logic.
- Rule of Fun: The Gibi way of life.
- Surreal Humor: Professor Shadoko's theory on strainers. "There are three kinds of strainers. Strainers that let water pass and not the noodles; strainers that let the noodles pass and not the water; and strainers that let pass nor the noodles or the water. Those ones are called pans. There are three kinds of pans: left-handled pans; right-handled pans; and no-handled pans. Those ones are called autobuses. To make a strainer let water past and not noodles, just make the holes thinner than the noodles. To make a strainer let the noodles past and not the water, just make the holes thinner than the water..."
- Tailor-Made Prison: The "Goulp".
- That's All, Folks!: "C'est tout pour aujourd'hui !"
- Too Dumb to Live: Miraculously, the Shadoks survived two or three extinctions.
- Violation of Common Sense: The Shadoks do that to make things work.
- The Virus: The Fall-o-virus of season 4. It makes things... fall.