Kidd Video

Parallel universes figure into popular science fiction every so often, but whereas now they are used to explain inconsistencies, in the past they were an intriguing alternative to outer space as a setting. The short-lived TV show Otherworld from 1985 is one example, with its no-frills labels (like in Repo Man) and dumb upside-down pistols. A better-known version of the concept is the cartoon Kidd Video, which aired on NBC Saturday mornings around the same time.

(l-r) Ash, Whiz, Kidd, Carla. Yes, the nerd with yellow hair is called "Whiz".

(l-r) Ash, Whiz, Kidd, Carla. Yes, the nerd with yellow hair is called “Whiz”.

Everything I’ve mentioned thus far sucks to varying degrees (well, except Repo Man). But because of that “parallel universe” icing, the crap tasted sweeter than cake. 

In Kidd Video, the alternate-world concept is utilized to turn the titular rock combo into animation. We first see the foursome in live-action, which is still rather novel. If you show the characters first as living humans, with eyes, by filming actors with a camera, it adds ten times the resonance to the cartoon versions. See for yourself:

Without the live-action introduction, the cast would look even more generic. I’d forgotten all about the show’s villains; the “Copycats” are indistinguishable from felines on other Saban/DIC programs, and I’d confused “Master Blaster” with “Mother Brain” from Captain N. That’s not what I’d call enduring character design.


This was not a cartoon enjoyed by parents.

Since it was the mid-80s, there was a federally-mandated aerobics reference, in the form of a fairy with leg warmers called Glitter. Again, because of the time, Glitter is allowed to be “girly”, and has no masculine tendencies whatsoever. This is another big difference between now and thirty years ago.

If you scrutinize what passes for kids’ cartoons these days, there’s one thing you will never see: an idiosyncratic girl. You’ll never see a girl who has any social qualities that could be construed as negative, even if they are based in reality. You’ll never see a girl who spends money irresponsibly, or one who loves to eat, unless these traits will be corrected over the course of the show. This is a media paradigm, that implies that females are so soft-headed that they must have perfect idols in their fiction, lest they stray from the path of the virtuous. The media does this to any group they perceive as exploitable.

Thus, three decades on, a fairy version of Olivia Newton-John looks uncomfortably inappropriate to you.

Or maybe Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Also, she gets super-strength when she sneezes, so it actually IS inappropriate.

Or maybe Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Also, she gets super-strength when she sneezes, so it really IS inappropriate.

Most guys my age remember the cute drummer, Carla. The entire shebang was as chaste as Archie comics, but you’d never know it from the devotion this show gets on the Internet. I had to wade through a swamp of fan-fiction and DeviantArt links to research this useless article. I might as well be constructing a burn ward in a bedpan.

Once again, folks; standard definition is your friend. High definition is the enemy of human beauty. Our eyes are not meant to scrutinize others’ faces with such precision, even on acid. Hi-def is great for video games and robot movies; human faces are meant to be seen through lenses under natural light. Some faces, through lenses with Vaseline smeared on them.

None of this mattered until around ten years ago.


She said “Ay-ay-ay”, which meant she was “Hispanic”.

If you’ve resorted to watching videos on a smartphone, as I have, you might have noticed that certain things look or sound better at a smaller or compressed size. You can dial up popular rock music from the 1970s, and it’ll sound fine on the tinny, tiny speakers of a phone. That’s because a lot of the music from that era was mixed to sound good coming out of a transistor radio. The need for bass response is something that evolved over the past twenty-five years, to deal with fucking rap music. You cannot replicate a woofer inside a phone, so anything that has heavy bass, you need headphones for.

How about that- another thing to sell you!

Meanwhile, music used to be something you shared because you wanted to make others as happy as it made you. You didn’t blast it to terrify your neighborhood and make enemies of the elderly. This is a theme in both Kidd Video and Otherworld; using the power of live music to defeat evil. Granted, it’s corny, but things that are true often are.

Here’s an example: a song that sounds beautiful on a portable radio, from long ago, universally beloved, and probably the finest American music ever recorded. The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica”.

Kidd Video clumsily included contemporary music videos, which at the time were white-hot; MTV had just recently set up shop, in 1981. Holy shit- do you guys even know what “videos” were in the first place?

Record labels used to make little videotapes of their bands performing their single. Sometimes these were recordings of live shows, or just TV appearances. Over time, they started to add cinematic elements, and use film. Then there were enough to fill up a programming schedule, and a network. The idea was taken from either Frank Zappa or Michael Nesmith. Then you could buy them. Then Hollywood got into bed with it. Now it’s garbage!


I was forced to view The 2013 BET Awards while incarcerated in Fulton County Jail. No other aspect of the environment, inert or living, drove me as closely to homicide. Every song was a repeated phrase, and every video was a softcore porno, which was the reason I was viewing it in the first place. At least I could peep some ladies, even though I had to hear (this is from memory, profanity excised for television):



Don’t ask how I feel about the progenitors of that noise. I said it aloud in FCJ, and no one wanted to sit near me. (They more likely couldn’t hear what I said, and moved away due to my aroma.) I don’t care who made it, but they deserve no award, and the best BET has to offer is repeats of Sanford & Son. BET is media bullshit like any other network, which is why the race card is literally their sole defense. Separatist media narrative bullshit, plain and simple.

I clearly remembered Whiz, the blond nerd from Kidd Video, in a wheelchair. When I looked him up I was amazed that no one in the band was chair-bound. I don’t know who I was mixing “Whiz” up with (BK Kids Club and Captain Planet are safe bets), but wheelchairs were added in the late 80s to the “diversity palette”, as the next evolution from glasses. If you watched the intro I posted, you might have found the real-life “Whiz” and his glasses somewhat familiar.

That’s because he’s played by Robbie Rist, Cousin Oliver of The Brady Bunch.

Nothing says "sincerity" like a smile forced at gunpoint.

Nothing says “sincerity” like a smile forced at gunpoint.

The Brady Bunch continued long after the children pubesced, and in desperation for a “cute kid”, the network added Cousin Oliver. A goddamn blond kid with a Dutch boy haircut and Coke-bottle glasses was an unavoidable archetype from then until the late 1980s, including Ralphie from 1984’s A Christmas Story. I have some theories on this.

First off, the blond hair is a camera thing; the kid always has nice golden hair. The huge glasses are a visual affectation, making the kid’s eyes visible even though he’s a smaller part of the picture. This practice goes all the way back to Groucho Marx, and Vaudeville. The hair and the glasses combine to form a “slapstick kid character”, like the lines that make up Dennis the Menace, or Foghorn Leghorn’s nephew.



As a man whose boyhood necessitated the use of spectacles, let me tell you: this shit sucked. As soon as I could get contact lenses at 16, I did. What games did you play in high school P.E.? At mine, it was all about hitting me in the face with a basketball or kickball or whatever ball was handy and breaking my glasses. Why yes, I do believe career athletes and idiot jocks are dick-suckers who lick buttholes and scream for penis. How did you know?

Sometime a few years ago it fell out of vogue to make fun of people with glasses, probably because almost everyone needs them after staring at a computer screen or phone. Payback’s a bitch.

The characters of Kidd and Ash look like they came from Saved By The Bell. If you still feel an interest after reading this, there are Kidd Video clips on YouTube. Because of the insertion of music videos that must be relicensed, episodes are rarely intact. This also meant using vaguely “rock-sounding” tracks within the show, like an interminable take of “I Wanna Be Your Teddy Bear” that was played ad nauseam.

Kidd Video was not good.

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Don't Know Don't Care, Faint Signals, Girls of BIUL, Idiot's Delight, Nostalgic Obsessions, Zappalogy