Mooselicker Says: I always hated vegetables as a kid. In order to write about this particular show which was all about killer vegetables (I guess they’re technically fruits, but who really considers a tomato a fruit?) I enlisted the help of a young man Corey Harnish. Maybe he’s not young. Who cares? Enjoy.
It’s very important to eat your vegetables. They’re chuck full of nutrition with a minimum amount of calories as well as being fat-free and cholesterol-free. Because of the fiber in vegetables, you get fuller faster; which is another reason why it’s nearly impossible to overeat veggies. One of the most famous of veggies is actually technically a fruit. I’m talking, of course, about our bright red friend…. the TOMATO. While there’s still some some debate about weather the tomato is misclassified as a vegetable, there is a definitive ruling on the matter by the US Supreme Court in the 1893 case of Nix v. Hedden. The Justices affirmed the lower court ruling that the tomato should be classified under customs regulations as a vegetable rather than a fruit. There wasn’t much going on in 1893 apparently.
When I was a child I did not eat tomatoes. I refused! I didn’t even give into the crimson temptation of ketchup. I dipped my fries in mustard. Why? Because of….
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a short-lived animated series that aired on Fox Kids from September 8, 1990 to November 23, 1991. It was based on the un-kid-friendly yet still juvenile Attack of the Killer Tomatoes live action films. A total of four films were made, of which I’ve only seen two. The movies are not kid friendly. The franchise gave work to countless B-movie actors including Jon Astin of Adams Family fame and some guy named George Clooney. His name sounds familiar…. oh right he’s the nephew of the famous singer Rosemary Clooney. Of course that’s how I know his name!
The show’s concept is pretty straight forward. Dr. Putrid T. Gangreen (voiced by John Astin reprising his role from the movies) along with his assistant Igor Smith (not a hunchback, but an airhead yuppy from Malibu) have created a race of killer tomatoes to enact their evil doings and evil what-have-you’s. Our heroes were Chad, a ten year old pizza delivery boy, and F.T. (short for fuzzy tomato) the friendly token Gizmo of Dr. Gangreen’s creations. And just to make little boys a tingly inside and out they have Tara the hot chick who’s a human tomato hybrid.
The show was mostly a parody of monster movie shlock with episodes featuring such monsters as a Frankenstein tomato and Vampire tomatoes. The show was completely aware of what it was and frequently poked fun of itself and its lowest of low aspirations. Like most Saturday morning shows, I’m sure their motivations had less to do with telling a great story and more to do with this…
And I owed several of the rubber toys that could be bounced around like a ball. I remember loosing one that rolled out of the car and into traffic. Had it been a Ninja Turtle I would’ve ran out after it.
Looking back at episodes of this show (many can be found on youtube) I was amazed by how cheap and sloppy the animation was. I guess it takes the imagination of a seven year old to fill in the gaps. I always took the show more seriously than I should’ve. Hence my no tomato diet (pizza was a MAJOR exception). The show goes out of its way to demonize veggies as dangerous or threatening. The good guys made pizza without tomato sauce, substituting with gross things like peanut butter and jelly. There’s even killer space broccoli featured in one episode. And the town they live in is called San Zucchini. It doesn’t take a genius to see the message this show is sending children.
I don’t think you could put this show on today. With an epidemic of fat little butterball Eric Cartmans (is there a more PC way to say this) sweating and wheezing their way through lunch lines all across this great nation, there’s a big push towards nutrition and healthy lifestyles. Simply put… the 21st century is no fun! Could Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Michelle Obama coexist? I don’t think so.
The show barely lasted two seasons. The second season went into a very different direction. The humor that made the show silly and lighthearted was pulled back. Now suddenly the Killer Tomatoes were threatening and dangerous. Also they dropped hand drawn animation to become the first ever computer animated show on television. The animation is terrible like a bad flash youtube video made by a drunk frat-boy in his dorm room at 4 o’clock in the morning. The show veered too far off course and was quickly canceled. Reruns would air from time to time as filler. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes faded into obscurity never living up to its potential.
By the way I do eat ketchup now.
Mooselicker Says: Thanks Corey for writing up this thought-provoking piece and reminding me how much better donuts are than tomatoes. If I do say so myself, I think reading this has accounted for 2 daily servings of vegetables. Thank you for helping my health.