Specifically, cartoon cats. Every time Sting creepily intones “I’ll be watching you,” I have manic flashbacks to zany wisecracking felines on roller skates. But why?
I would ask people, hey, do you remember a cartoon about a band that gets sucked inexplicably through a mirror into a fuchsia-delic alternate universe and the music sounds like Sting? No, no, not Thundercats. The cats are, like, in a band, I think?
Can you believe, no one knew what I was talking about. Finally, after literally years of wondering why my synapses were misfiring, creating such a bogus connection of aural and visual stimulation, I tracked the reason down, thanks to a dedicated search of the webs, and, especially, an especially dedicated site for 80s cartoons. After clicking and clicking and clicking I finally found the one I sought and it was as though all the open drawers of missorted information in the rows of mental file cabinets slid shut at once. That was the sense of closure I had after years of intangible seeking.
Keeping in mind that the cartoon – Kidd Video – was apparently watched by 0% people, according to my anecdotal data, lasted 2 seasons with limited reruns, according to Wikipedia, I’m amazed it made such a deep rivulet in my brain paths.
And then I found this. Entrance to the Flipside. I love that the Internet gives us a place for all our obsessions. This is lovely.
And now that I finally know what I’m looking for, commentary abounds on the show and its housing in people’s memories.
But the question is still unanswered. Why did my early childhood brain link this cartoon’s opening sequence and The Police’s chart topper, which I was definitely never cognizant of until high school or perhaps college? (My dad’s more of a Zappa fan.) What triggered this connection?
Scope “every step you take, I’ll be watching you” at 0:23 and compare it to “from my video to my radio” at 0:37. Whaaaat?! Two measures, five intervals, a span of a fourth, and off set phrasing, with a touch of timbral sameness in that both songs are solidly 80s fodder, and you have before you a lifetime of confusion and wonder.
And yet another instance of music having unintended, inexplicable influence on a developing brain.
The Polices’ gnawing, obsessive bass line, the lowkey, brooding delivery is fairly different than the hyperactive synthy teen pop/rock, but it’s casually similar enough that I’m not the only person to make the leap.
Of course, the melody is not dramatic, for the most part, which even Sting described as “generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others” so maybe it’s not surprising that a cartoon meant to feature music videos would show likeness to — maybe even glean a little shine off — the first song to really make a statement as a hit music video.
Well, waddayaknow? Yahoo Answers, of all places, to the rescue, sorta? That’s crazy. “Every Breath You Take” song/video was likely featured in an episode (though removed, apparently, from later broadcasts…and YouTube, and I can’t find out which episode it may have been). I’ve now, in my extensive research over the last few days, watched a few shows and I remember nothing of this. Not the fairy, not a single “plot,” not the music videos, though the cats, of course, and the Master Blaster send alarm bells. The only thing I remembered more than vaguely is that opening title sequence, and that this song always triggered a vision of cartoon cats. (The Copy Cats from the Flipside, I know now, though my vague-mindedness had linked to another 80s cartoon cat show: Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats (that’s where the rollerskates came in).) (I watched a lot of cartoons, with very little direction or discretion, in the 80s.)
I guess all this is a warning to be cognizant of what your children are exposed to (insert plug for Peg + Cat,* because it is the best cartoon out there right now and I love it more than my 3yo daughter does) because it may make them freak out decades later. And I’m definitely going to share the wonder of Kidd Video with mine as I revisit all 26 episodes. Happy Holidays!
*IDK I’m like some sort of “cartoon cat lady,” I guess.