Saturday, February 7, 2015

Toons After Dark: The Ambiguously Gay Duo (1996)

Robert Smigel's Ambiguously Gay Duo may be best known for being shown on Saturday Night Live sporadically over 15 seasons (1996-2011), but the superhero parody got its start in primetime.

Smigel had worked with SNL alumnus Dana Carvey on his self-titled ABC show, which ran for 7 weeks in the spring of 1996. The animation was produced by JJ Sedelmaier, who'd later work with Cartoon Network's [adult swim] division in developing some of their shows, including Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law.

The concept was a wink & a tweak at allegations levied in the Golden Age that there were, supposedly, homosexual overtones in some early Batman stories featuring Robin. Dr. Frederic Wertham made those allegations public in the legendary book, Seduction of the Innocent, but those allegations were later debunked and disproven. Still, the idea was ripe for parody.

Ace & Gary's voices were done by two future TV icons---Stephen Colbert (Ace) & Steve Carell (Gary), who were part of Carvey's repertory company. After Carvey ended his show, Smigel took his cartoons to SNL, leading to the development of his TV Funhouse anthology series of skits, which were later spun off into a short-term stint on Comedy Central, while still running on SNL.

No rating.


magicdog said...

I didn't know this toon was shown independently from SNL - as that was the first and only venue I caught it.

Yeah, I got the jokes, but truth be told there are times I wonder if Dr. Wertham didn't have a point. I read a reprint of the Batman & Robin comic in which they were shipwreaked and have to go after the villians on an island (BTB&TB adapted this story as a teaser but changed the villain to Catwoman and we got to see Bat Ape). It seemed a little odd for Batman to have himself and Robin take their clothes off once they went overboard to swim to safety - and conveniently recovered them by story's end!

hobbyfan said...

Wertham was looking to make a name for himself, IMPO. I never read the book, and it seems it's his only claim to fame, or infamy, in this case.

As for the AGD, I didn't watch any of the shorts, either, and didn't even watch Dana Carvey's solo series. Just not my cup of tea, I guess.