Garfield has been hunting lasagna, out-witting his clueless owner Jon, and frolicking with his intellectually challenged partner in crime, Odie since 1978. While the recent big screen release failed to capture the attention of the public, the animated series from 1988 did everything that the movie failed to do. It made the viewers laugh. The animated series was cleverly written, very witty and in a way similar to the Simpsons, had the ability to make both kids and adults laugh.
Garfield first appeared on T… in a special in 1982. He make a few other special appearances but in 1998 he was granted a weekly Saturday morning cartoon. But it wasn’t just Garfield, Odie and Jon that appeared. Each episode was divided into 3 segments: 2 with Garfield and one with the characters from U.S. Acres in “Orson’s Farm” (another albeit less famous creation by Garfield creator Jim Davis) – Orson the pig who is the leader of the group of farm animals, Wade, and anxiety ridden duck who wears an inflatable ring at all times in case he actually encounters water, Roy, an entitled rooster, Lanolin, a smart sheep, Booker, a baby chick who mainly focuses on eating worms, and Sheldon, another chick who never quite came out of his shell (Get it? “Shell-don”). The U.S. Acres stuff wasn’t too bad but paled in comparison to everyone’s favorite fat cat.
There are a few episodes in particular that really bring out the charm of Garfield, my favorites being whenever Garfield was pitted against the Binky – a clown that may have been an inspiration for Krusty the clown.
Garfield and Friends is reproduced in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The visuals are not particularly bright or vivid, but from what I remember watching back in the late 80s, this is how it looked, so I can’t fault the transfer on the somewhat washed out colors. The cartoon was not particularly sharp either as there is some softening on the edges.
The Dolby Digital mono soundtrack also is not anything to write home about. The dialogue is clear enough and the music is faithfully reproduced but lacks any real punch. There is little use of the bass, but then again there really is any reason to use it.
The extras on this set consist of (surprise! Surprise!) a trailer for the Garfield movie on disc 3. There are no other extras to make mention of.
I enjoyed watching this collection for the nostalgic value (which is the point of most TV on DVD releases I guess) but after watching it once I don’t think that I would watch it again. For those who have never heard of Garfield or those who want to experience Garfield in another medium outside of the comic strips in the newspapers, I would highly recommend this set instead of the “live action” movie of the same name.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer for Garfield: The Movie