It is that time for more cartoon goodness from the people at Nickelodeon. As we have seen, I seem to attract odd cartoons to review. Let’s see, there is a dude with a football as a head, a beaver with a surfer voice or perhaps a monster who has to carry his own eyeballs. This time I lay witness to a Cat and a Dog conjoined at the stomach devoid of tails or hind legs. What sounds like a bad science experiment might be full of cartoon love.
CatDog started out as a sneak peek cartoon before the Rugrats movie. In April of 1998, forty initial episodes were ordered. When it was all said and done, it would last half a dozen years and sixty eight episodes. It was not an overly strong cartoon but it would go on to accumulate a fairly quiet fan base and some minor nominations for an Annie as well as a Kid’s Choice Award. One might think with this mediocre run that the cast of voice actors was mediocre. That would be completely wrong.
Cat (half of CatDog) is voiced by Jim Cummings who I could spend the whole review article going over his dozens and dozens of known voices. Then there is Dog (the other half of CatDog) who is voiced by Tom Kenny better known as the voice of Spongebob Squarepants. Winslow (the mouse who lives inside the CatDog house) is voiced by Carlos Alazraqui who is better known as the voice of Rocko in Rocko’s Modern Life.
Among notable additional voices is Billy West who does a slew of parts including Mr. Sunshine, Mean Bob, Randolph Grant, and Rancid Rabbit. Billy is no stranger to multiple voices, just check out his Futurama credits. There really is powerhouses here, but what is this cartoon all about? Surely, there is more to it than a conjoined CatDog combo.
Well, not really. CatDog are forced to live as outcasts on the outskirts of Nearburg city. They are picked on by the mouse, Winslow that lives in the wall. They are also harassed by the Greaser Dogs who consist of Cliff, Shriek Dubois, and Lube. There is Rancid Rabbit who often acts as an authority figure and keeps the duo out of favorite hang outs like the Taco Depot. But somehow through it all, Catdog keep their composure and have a great time providing laughs.
Typical episodes would show perhaps Cat spending some quality time by himself (which only occurs because Dog is willing to don an outfit where he can’t be seen) or where Catdog gain a third member when they accept Pig as their roommate. Sometimes, the duo would try to have a party only to be undermined by Winslow who decides to have one of his own. Through it all, it was important that CatDog remained best of friends, no matter how much their world brings them down.
That is where the charm of the cartoon actually lies. It’s a buddy comedy, with Cat as the straight Abbott part and Dog serving out the zany Costello character. Yeah, this cartoon is very much the familiar dynamic of Laurel & Hardy or any other comedy combo. It has classical roots and some really crazy moments. It is not groundbreaking but it is easy to see why it lasted so long and developed quite the following.
The video is framed in 1.33:1 fullscreen presentation. This is a recent cartoon, so it is no surprise that the video is still in top shape. Colors are good here, albeit perhaps a bit plain if you will. It does not pop as do a lot of cartoons of the era do and takes a much more reserved palette. If you liked the way it looked when it aired, that same quality is here for you to enjoy.
For the audio portion, we get a 2.0 English Dolby Digital Track. The audio also takes much more of a reserved tone. Dialog is excellent and you can easily discern clearly any of the voices you would like. There is no workout for the surround speakers, this is a straight up dialog based cartoon which relies on its laughs and building of the characters. Subtitles are not included.
This cartoon has made it to several countries including the likes of the UK, Canada and more exotic locales like Greece and Norway. It is a little bit of wonder to me how I never really dabbled in this cartoon at all, but yet enjoyed it all the same. The only thing that bothered me was Shout Factory’s treatment. There are no extras and they could have easily made this a 4 disc set which would have contained all of Season 1 (not just “Part One”). It is unfortunate but I still give this set a mild recommendation. Enjoy.
Dog Gone/All You Can’t Eat
Flea or Die!/CatDog Food
Full Moon Fever/War of the CatDog
Squirrel Dog/Brother’s Day
The Island/All You Need is Lube
Party Animal/Mush, Dog, Mush!
Diamond Fever/The Pet
Shriek Loves Dog /Work Force