When you’re a kid, cartoon characters speak to your outsized dreams and desires. But as you grow older, and not of all those dreams are realized (NASA, why are raygun holsters not part of astronaut spacesuits? Why?) it can be a little painful and embarrassing to look at those old cartoons, still as bright and as full of life as ever.
Luckily, Steve Cutts has created “Where Are They Now,” an animated short that places the fantasy figures of your youth into a dead-end, dingy reality. Narrated by an oddly British Jessica Rabbit, Cutts gives us a tour of what might have become of Lion-O, Inspector Gadget, and He-Man once their fame has faded. There’s no shortage of dreams hilariously deferred, from Mumm-ra’s abusive checkout clerk to Skeletor working at an insurance firm run by Care Bears.
But of all the short’s jarring imagery, perhaps the most devastating is one of its most subtle: in the background of the sequences, Big Bird is clearly dining at a fried chicken restaurant. What are you eating there, Big Bird? WHAT ARE YOU EATING?!?!?