Sunday Mailbag- Favorite/Least Favorite Spoofs?

June 7th, 2015 | Posted in Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: What’s your favorite and least favorite movie and/or tv show you’ve drawn a spoof of?

A: I have to separate those into the two categories, TV shows and films, for a complete answer. One caveat: my choices would not necessarily reflect how I felt about my work on the spoofs in question… what I would consider my best work might not (in fact does not) coincide with what I consider my favorite and least favorite shows and film I’ve drawn the satires for. Mostly my choices are based on a balance between how much fun I had doing the job, how much I either enjoyed or hated the subject matter, and how ripe that subject matter was for spoofing.

Let’s start with my least favorites:

Tom’s least favorite TV satire: “Slomantha? Who Cares!” MAD #489, May 2008

I’ve done spoofs of some bad TV shows in my time, but this one is the all time champ. “Samantha Who?” was not only not funny, but the premise was incredibly dumb and the characters all boring and predictable. They had some fine actors in the cast but I don’t think they had much to work with. I’ll bet Melissa McCarthy probably wishes this one never happened. I don’t even think it was a very big hit, and was cancelled after only two seasons. I have no idea why MAD decided this show was spoof-worthy. The only interesting thing about it for me was I got to draw Christina Applegate again, after drawing her for years in the “Married…with Children” comic book for NOW Comics.

Tom’s least favorite movie satire: “Van Helstink” MAD #445, Sept 2004

You would think at least on the “camp” meter a movie like “Van Helsing” would have a little fun to it. Not so. The CGI was so overdone it was like watching a bad video game, and not even Hugh Jackman could make Van Helsing interesting. The villains were not menacing and they weren’t campy and funny… they were non-entities. No one should be bored sitting through a film with this much action in it, but that’s the only adjective that describes it: boring.

My favorites in these categories probably change more often than my least favorites, because I’ll do something new and that will become my favorite for a while until something else really fun comes along. Here are my current ones:

Tom’s favorite TV satire: “Two Defectives”, MAD #528, Aug 2014

This was an HBO show that was equal parts disturbing and suspenseful, and the two lead actors were as good as it gets in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Besides being a great show, the plot went back and forth between a past time and today, which gave me the opportunity to draw the two main characters as older and younger versions of themselves… which from a caricature standpoint is a lot of fun. Very interesting characters with a lot of personality and presence are the most fun to capture, and this show had that in spades.

Tom’s favorite movie satire: “Barebutt Mountain”, MAD #465, May 2006

I think the reason this one stands out for me is because it was really the last critically acclaimed drama MAD satirized (that I worked on anyway) until we did “American Sniper” in this last issue. It reminded me of the kinds of movies MAD used to spoof in the 60’s and 70’s… big dramas that took themselves seriously and were centered on characters and plot as opposed to car chases and explosions. This one had the rich characters to draw and lots of opportunities for gags… I had a running gag with sheep throughout the parody that I had a lot of fun with.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing the popcorn-muncher blockbuster film parodies. I just wish we’d do a few more of the thinking-peoples movies. Sometimes we can do both… kind of hoping my next assignment is “MAD Max: Fury Road”.

Thanks to Harry Thornton for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


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