In running this blog, I've generally taken an "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" approach. I've gone with the philosophy that every piece of work I cover - be it a lavish animated feature or a rather basic seventies cartoon telling people how to lift heavy objects - has some sort of aesthetic value and is worth celebrating. I've opted to generally ignore the flat-out disastrous animation, but this post well be an exception - Zit: The Video is a pretty awful piece of work.
First, some background. When the comic Viz took off, it provided an easy template for imitators: parodies of traditional British children's comics shot through with blue humour, wrapped up in a magazine with a vaguely rude-sounding one-syllable title. Publications such as Gas, Spit and Ut attempted to steal some of Viz's thunder; most did not last long, but one, Zit, managed a respectable eleven year run from 1991 to 2002.
So, with Viz taking steps into animation in the early nineties, it was only natural that the half-hour Zit: The Video would appear in 1993.
Unfortunately, the results were really rather rotten. Tony Barnes' Viz animations, like South Park, found a crude visual style which complimented the crude humour; Zit instead ends up looking amateurish all round. The voice acting is also bad and - thanks to the questionable sound editing - is sometimes drowned out by the music and sound effects. The humour on offer is about what you'd expect, and isn't really enough to save the project.
A thumbs down, then. So, why am I posting about Zit? Well, for all its failings, I can't help but feel somewhat supportive for the crew involved. As I have mentioned before, it is surprisingly rare for British comics to make the transition to animation; our animation industry has also generally stayed away from this sort of ribald adult comedy (indeed, as the video came out the same year as Beavis and Butthead and four years before South Park, the genre was only just beginning to make inroads into American TV at the time as well). An animated Zit was a fairly bold move.
I find myself wondering what would've happened if Zit: The Video had been a success. Would there have been a Gas: The Video and an Ut: The Video? Perhaps an entire genre of direct-to-video cartoons based on rude comics?
This was not to be, however, and Zit's director - Keith Bateman of A.K. Music - instead entered the wonderful world of alien autopsy footage.