As a young kid in 1991 watching cartoons was a necessity on WFLD’s ‘Fox Kids’ afternoon lineup and there is one episode of the second generation Warner Bros cartoon series ‘Tiny Tunes’ that really stands out with my first exposure to alternative weirdo icons They Might Be Giants. The episode called “Tiny Toon Music Television,” and it featured the cast of animated youngsters perform in over-the-top music videos with music replacing their normal dialogue. For many 90’s kids who would go on to be a new generation of TMBG fans who were already established for their eccentric blend of folk, pop, and irreverent storytelling. Two classic tracks ‘”Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and “Particle Man“.played out on screen with visuals that played up their irreverent lyrics with Plucky Duck trying to find an elusive duck statue in an international adventure and Plucky having to defend micro-biological life in the wrestling ring. You can stream both videos below.
As odd as TMBG is in a delightful way, they have pathed a side path from the alternative world making heart-warming educational music for children. They even produced music for Disney channel shows and full albums. They feature it all on this official YouTube channel.
For well over 30 years, John Linnell and John Flansburgh have redefined the idea of alternative music from coming out of the Brooklyn’s punk scene to sharing music over their innovative ‘Dial-a-Song’ phone number, and much more. These two childhood friends have become the most exceptional duo a genre of music that is about breaking the rules of music. If you want to dive into their catalog, start with 1991’s ‘Flood’ and read this comprehensive piece from Spin.
If you are a Hulu subscriber, you can watch the full episode here.