Cartoonising The Fox Busters
When I started researching my review of The Fox Busters I discovered a cartoon TV series was made between 1999 and 2000. I was thirteen years old when the show was on the air so it passed me by but as I have recently reviewed the book, what better time to look at the TV series, mainly the first three episodes, which are:
- Hen Night – At a party, Sims finds the charming cockrel Wilby who lures her to the treacherous foxes. Ransome rescues Sims and the Fox Busters repel the fox invasion.
- Where Egos Dare – After a lot of showing off, Ransome lands herself right into the foxes, then her comrades get caught. The Fox Busters escape after they cause the foxes to squabble.
- Winging It – Todd accidentally flies on a glider which impresses the foxes and catches the Fox Busters by surprise. On his third flight Jeffries rescues him from the jealous King Voracious.
Now you can probably guess where this reviewing is going after reading the description for the first episode. In The Fox Busters and Fox Busting the Bechdel Test I talked about how stronger the female characters are in the book and how they have no need for male characters. So of course the opening lines of dialogue are all about going to a party and wondering whether there will be boys there! At least the sensible Sims is against this…until she gets there and is distracted by a male rogue. It is such a bad place to start the cartoon and if the story had been introduced later in the series then perhaps it could be understandable but not as a first episode.
The second episode isn’t much better. In Where Egos Dare an over confident Ransome gets herself and her sisters captured by the foxes. Again the story line itself isn’t too much of an issue, more of the way it is excuted. Instead of learning some her experience Ransome is just as cocky at the end of the episode as she was at the start of it. On top of this Jefferies has turned into a complete full. Yes she is meant to be a joker but not an idiot. Why do they always make the joker’s in groups like this into fools. You can be both funny and smart. I’m sure you can all think of hundreds of people who are both! However, this is the episode where the comedy of The Fox Busters cartoon starts to work. It also gives my favourite character, Todd the Fox, his full introduction before he goes onto capture the show in episode three, Winging It which is also very self aware. When Todd is rejected by the other foxes he wonders off saying
If I was in a proper cartoon, I bet I would find myself on a cliff top round about now singing a song about how I don’t fit in.
Of course two seconds later he finds himself on a cliff top singing a song that sounds like A Whole New World from Disney’s Aladdin. From there the comedy keeps on going with confusions over left and rights and the proper use of the world duck around ducks. Of course terrible puns also get a look from, my favourite being from episode two where a mole who introduces himself as:
It is I Moleier, the leader of the forest underground.
Yet, despite all these problems The Fox Busters cartoon is good fun and grew on me the more I watched. The theme tune is lively and great fun while the style is a mixture between Road Runner and the Dennis the Menace cartoon made in 1996. The only thing I have yet to get over is the voice actors of Jefferies, Sims and Ransome. Jane Horrocks, who around the same time was starring in Chicken Run is a perfect choice for Jefferies while Joanna Lumley is equally great as Sims, however, the problem belongs to Ransome who is voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. Now in may ways she is great, the problem is that our three leads are all sisters and they just don’t sound a like. I realise this is over thinking it to the extreme but hey these things are important! Check out all the episodes on YouTube and let me know what you think.