Monday, January 24, 2011

"Rock Box" Track of the Day: A Flock of Seagulls, "Space Age Love Song"

Someone should tell Kimmy to watch her hair. She might have a Michael Jackson Pepsi ad 'hair on fire' moment.
Song: "Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls
Released: 1982
Why's it part of the "Rock Box" playlist?: It's featured in the "Lessons in Love" episode of Genndy Tartakovsky's Cartoon Network animated series Sym-Bionic Titan, which ended its first season in December and has been renewed for a second one. "Space Age Love Song" also appeared during the Shawn/Juliet roller skating sequence at the end of Psych's "Talk Derby to Me" episode.
Which moment in "Lessons in Love" does it appear?: It plays during one of my favorite moments of animation from last year: the episode's climax, in which Kimmy (Kari Wahlgren), a cheerleader in love with her math tutor Newton, a.k.a. Octus the robot (Brian Posehn), dances to the Flock of Seagulls track on her iPod while walking home and is oblivious to Octus, Ilana (Tara Strong) and Lance (Kevin Thoms), in the merged form of the show's titular robot, battling a giant monster behind her.

The sequence is a callback to an earlier sequence in the episode that became controversial on the Web for its depiction of Kimmy trying to seduce Newton/Octus into doing her classwork for her by booty dancing and pole dancing to "Booty Jeans," a song that was written for the show and performed by voice actor Arif S. Kinchen. Some bloggers launched into annoying "Won't anyone think of the children?" rants and complained that the sequence is too racy for a TV-PG cartoon (they're forgetting that this show, with its torture scenes, booty dancing and characters who are of the same ages as the ones on the much more controversial Skins and the not-as-controversial Glee, is meant for an older audience), while one blogger was bothered by the sequence for a more sensible and understandable reason that brings to mind how pervy and skeevy Cartoon Network viewers who are over 40 (and most likely look like Posehn) can be. "Kimmy's ass is over emphasized for maximum fanservice potential," he wrote, "and the entire thing, especially as he begin the dance with Octus framing her in a triangle with his hands, makes it all the more voyeuristic."

Has anyone seen this show's torture scenes? To me, it's weird that those scenes didn't receive as much flack as Kimmy's dance did. It just shows how backwards America can be in comparison to other countries: "Oh, he's just stuffing an alien monster's entire body down someone's throat. That's cute. But a cheerleader 'booty quakin''? Tar and feather the makers of this show!"

That "Booty Jeans" sequence is crucial to the episode's storyline of Kimmy realizing, with the help of Newton/Octus, that she doesn't need to always use her body to get ahead in life and that she doesn't have to conform to what others want her to be (and Newton/Octus helps her in a non-preachy and terse way, which shows how mature and subtle the writing on Sym-Bionic Titan is in comparison to the days of "Knowing is half the battle" PSAs).

Also, if it weren't for the "Booty Jeans" sequence, we wouldn't have two minutes of sublimely edited, Flock of Seagulls-scored genius.

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