3 June 2003 | andynortonuk
Yeah!!! Dark Series: A review of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
The studio Klasky Csupo was responsible for numerous shows, like Rugrats, and The Wild Thornberrys, over the years. However, with such a popular back-catalogue at their disposal, it is quite obvious to over-look certain shows that didn't have its tremendous share of popularity- does anyone else here remember shows from them, such as Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, or Duckman?
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was another show made from Nickelodeon's legion of Nick Toons, which gave this channel the edge for Saturday morning cartoons, until Cartoon Network nicked this new show format. First transmission of this was in 1994, when we were introduced to 3 high-school monster misfits known as Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, as they try to make the grade by scaring fellow humans, with some disastrous consequences.
However, with such an entertaining concept to entertain the kids, this show ended in 1998 despite its variety of guest stars since the second episode in its first series, like Tim Curry (who, ironically, went on to voice the father figure in the Wild Thornberrys.) Also, the show's resonance remains coherent with some weak referencing in the Pixar's ever-popular film Monsters Inc- well the concept of monsters having to scare humans sounds familiar, if you ask me! Its departure can only be explained with the arrival of Nickelodeon's latest shows at the time: The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, As Told by Ginger, Fairly OddParents, and the cult-followed Spongebob Squarepants (there was also a revamp of the Rugrats, who will eventually have a more "grown-up" spin-off later on.)
Further bemusement into Nickelodeon's decision to axe the show includes the fun making each episode, especially during the opening credits; this was where its flamboyant, high-heeled wearing, headmaster figure, the Gromble, says something different from every episode, one of his lines, like "you make me sick". Also, after the ending credits, memorable dialogue was muttered ounce again from that episode. This wasn't new, as the Rugrats have been doing this gimmick throughout their transmission, so re-inventing something from a more popular show shows the struggle. Also, from their more popular counter-parts, this show had a dark feeling to it, with the overall design of the show (and some of the episodes relied on famous people to be traumatised from these novices at work!)
Personally, I remember quite a lot of this show, especially when it first transmitted on US television around Halloween (29 October 1994 to be precise). So, from the beginning, I know from the start that this was going to be a show with a creepy undertone. Also, one thing I found enjoyable was this concept of monsters of going to school to learn how to scare was quite inventive; it made the Tiny Toon Adventure's concept of going to university to become a cartoon star makes that premise childish. Alas, I need to mention Gravedale High at this point, as this was another monster high school format, only that took the "throw in a human in with them for some laughs" approach. Another key thing I remember is that projector that projects an image from their eyes- I did mention was darker than other kid's shows, at the time; didn't I? The voice acting was memorable, with Charles Adler (whose voice can be heard for the Bigheads in another Nick Toon, Rocko's Modern Life) and Christine Cavanaugh (the original voice for the Rugrats' Chuckie)- well, with them on board, it got appeal if you enjoyed the other shows at the time on Nickelodeon.
So, what can I say, this was an enjoyable series from start to finish of every episode, but the dark over-tone wouldn't have made this everyone's cup of tea. Overall, this was one of those shows from Klasky Csupo that deserves another look, if given the chance of a re-run.