The year was 1992. The Renaissance Age of Animation was still relatively young, and despite Disney making headway into the television market with The Disney Afternoon, and a few Saturday Morning Cartoons, they still had serious competition from the likes of Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting (which was in the process of launching a scrappy little cable channel called Cartoon Network), and Nickelodeon.
Enter Raw Toonage.
Born from Disney's aquisition of the rights to the Belgian comic character Marsupilami, as well as the Development Hell that Bonkers was going through at the time, Raw Toonage was an Animated Anthology experiment that ran during the CBS Saturday Morning block in the fall of 1992. The show's format essentially predated Animaniacs by one year (in fact, future Pinky and the Brain writer Tom Minton worked on the "Totally Tasteless Videos" segments), though Raw Toonage usually added a different Framing Device to the mix each week.
However, the show only lasted twelve episodes on CBS before being cancelled. It ultimately spawned two spinoffs for their most successful and frequent running shorts, though: Disney's Marsupilami, and Bonkers. The show as also aired on Saturday Disney on City TV in Canada.
- The host segment: The aforementioned framing device, appearing in most episodes (Except episodes #7, #9, and #12). Each time it would feature a different Disney character.
- He's Bonkers: Basically, these are the cartoons that Bonkers D. Bobcat starred in before joining the police force. (Most of these shorts would later be repackaged as compilation episodes of Bonkers.) There was no "He's Bonkers" short on episode #10.
- Marsupilami: Disney's laid-back version of the title creature, who hung out with a gorilla sidekick named Maurice.
- Totally Tasteless Videos: This segment was kind of a toss-up. One week, it could be about a caveman who is also a Private Detective; the next week, it could be about haunted poultry. There was no "Totally Tasteless Videos" short on episodes #4 and #8.
Raw Toonage provides examples of:
- Animated Anthology
- Affectionate Parody: "Robin Hoof" was essentially Raw Toonage's tribute to Jay Ward.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "Nightmare on Rocky Road" features a kid wishing that the world was made of ice cream.
- The Cameo: Tons from various Disney characters. For instance, in the episode that Jitters hosted, there were cameos from about half of the Disney Afternoon.
- Description Cut: From "Cro-Magnum PI":"Just what I needed, another beautiful woman in my life. I did everything I could to get rid of her."[Cuts to the caveman getting her a chair, brushing his teeth and getting his hair done]
- Drop the Cow: Robin Hoof's shtick.
- Framing Device: Each week, a different Disney character would host the cartoon and have some sort of adventure. Usually the hosts were Ensemble Darkhorses from various other Disney properties (i.e. Gosalyn, Don Karnage, and Sebastian each hosted an episode).
- Furry Ear Dissonance: Bonkers' ears are shaped like golf clubs, despite him being (ostensibly) a bobcat.
- Instant Wristwatch: Yes, Several shorts had them (Including the Marsupilami short, Jungle Fever) When Marsupilami plays as doctor, He was checking Maurice's blood-pressure by checking the time on his watch.
- Or Was It a Dream?: The end of "Nightmare on Rocky Road."
- Sick Episode: The Marsupilami short "Jungle Fever".Marsupilami: Well, Buddy Boy, I'm no doctor. But something tells me you have got a cold.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Parodied with Blammo!, which has an Earth-Shattering Kaboom at the end.
- Stylistic Suck/Limited Animation: Parodied with Badly Animated Man.
- Suddenly Voiced: Marsupilami has givin the ability to speak.
- Take That!: Badly Animated Man had two at the end of his segment:
- Talking Animal: All animals of Marsupilami can talk (Except Maurice). Also, Marsupilami can speak (And does not only say "HOUBA!")
- The Speechless: Maurice (Marsupilami's purple gorilla friend) is a silent character.
- Totally Radical: The title. This wasn't reflected so much in the show itself, but the promos at the time seemed to play it up.
- Wolverine Publicity: The opening titles feature Webby from DuckTales (1987), but she never appears in any of the cartoons or host segments. As we stated earlier, the Disney Afternoon was still going strong, and DuckTales was its flagship show.