Josie and the Pussycats, episodes 1–6

[Screenshot]I’m actually approaching this without nostalgia, which is rare. I’ve never seen Josie and the Pussycats before; I think I was born a bit too late, although I certainly saw plenty of other Hanna-Barbara cartoons. Anyways, so to my virgin eyes this seems kind of unremarkable. Parts of the team seem unnervingly like the Scooby-Doo gang with a palette change: you’ve got the handsome male leader wearing an ascot, the green-shirted craven male, and even the girls sort of matchup (the ditz, the brain, and the title character). that actually brings me to one complaint: for the ostensibly central character of the story, Josie sure doesn’t have much of a personality. Not that any of these characters are richly layered and complex, but most of them at least have some attributes to hang on them. Josie seems more like Alan’s appendage than the other way around (apropos of which: what the hell is it that Alan, Alex, and Alexandra do for the band?).

Enough ragging, time to talk about what’s actually worthwhile in this odd bit of history. We can start with Valerie, who was refreshingly a black character for whom being black wasn’t the central issue. It doesn’t even come up, far as I can tell, which is nice for the ’70s. She does get subjected to some odd pigeonholing, but not by race. Quoth Alex, “Varerie, for a girl, you’re a mechanical genius!”. Dude, she built a remote-controlled robot out of a vacuum cleaner and a suit of armor. I think that qualifies as “mechanical genius” from a sample set of arbitrary size. The music is also pretty good, in a forgettable Hanna-Barbara bubblegummy way. It was subdued, at least.

One final comment: many other shows have a laugh track, but how many have a snicker track? I started trying to remember what the background behind Sebastian was from snicker shot to snicker shot just to see if they were reusing cels (pretty sure they were within each episode, but I think they changed it up a bit from episode to episode).

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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