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ADVENTURES IN ANIMATION: 'I Married a Strange Person!'

by Eli Kroes

The realm of 'adult' animation is an interesting one. For a lot of people, it begins and ends with the Adult Swim channel or 'The Simpsons.' Some associate the genre with gross-out borderline-porn flicks like 'Fritz the Cat.' To be sure, this is only a small chunk of the animation that's not intended for children. In fact, the earliest cartoons were meant for an adult audience, and there is a lengthy list of terrific animated features you don't have to be twelve to enjoy. 'Adventures in Animation' will feature reviews of such films... 

'I Married a Strange Person!' - 1997, Directed by Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton is an animator who got his start in bizarre short films often featured between programming on MTV. Also one of the chief influences on Matt Groening and 'The Simpsons,' he's been quietly cranking out deranged full-lengths since the early 90's. His style features a lot of face-morphing and visualized puns. It's also pretty out-there.

Any Plympton film is kind of unusual in that his humor is instantly inviting--the kind of stuff which appeals to everyone, i.e. 'Simpsons'--but he also has a tendency to go overboard on the violence, sex and surrealism. That's fine for someone like myself who is relatively desensitized to such things, but it doesn't win him many new fans. Even with a few of his full-lengths finding their way to Netflix in recent times and an awesome 'Simpsons' couch gag,  his audience is still pretty small.

'I Married a Strange Person' might well be his best full-length film. It's got all the Plympton hallmarks: Mind-melting visuals, off-the-wall humor and of course LOTS of senseless violence and nudity. Oh, it's also probably completely hand-drawn by Plympton himself. Yeah, that takes probably about as much time and effort as you're thinking it does.

What you've got is your average suburban married couple, Keri and Grant Boyer. Things quickly devolve into lunacy when Grant develops the ability to instantly create anything he sees in his mind. This means Plympton has a field day with the visual puns. For example, if someone says something like 'I'm all ears,' Grant will turn them into literally that. It's good stuff.

Obviously, the military wants to kidnap him to use his powers. He's not so keen on that, especially because his wife is quickly becoming estranged due to his bizarre problem. Loads of violence, fast-paced chasing and skewed humor ensue. There's a really memorable part where a guy's lawn fights back while he's cutting it, and a couple insane musical montages which are Plympton's specialty. Trust me, you won't find another filmmaker quite like this guy.

Photo by Animation Stuff.