Thursday, February 06, 2020

Animation First ’20: The County Fair (short)

Forget about Seth MacFarlane’s Ted. These Belgian plastic figurines had perfected the foul-mouthed toy shtick long before he ever came along. Actually, they keep it relatively clean during their latest misadventure, but Cowboy and Indian are just as stupid, self-centered, and offensive as they ever were in Vincent Patar & Stephane Aubier’s latest short film in the A Town Called Panic universe, The County Fair, which screens as part of a showcase for the production company Autour de Minuit, during this year’s Animation First Festival.

Fans will not be surprised when Cowboy and Indian tank their latest test at school. Horse, their mature guardian is so disgusted he threatens to withhold the tickets he bought for this year’s county fair. This will be sufficient motivation for the two dim-witted toys to knuckle down and ace the make-up test. However, when events conspire to still prevent them from attending the fair, they do what any wildly irresponsible cartoon character would do. First, they try stealing tickets, then they resort to time travel to avoid the obstacles in their way.

Actually, the time-looping business is rather inventive, in addition to being gleefully chaotic. This is vintage Town Called Panic, where fans cannot help laughing through their face-palms. Happily, the attitude remains as eccentric as the wobbly stop-motion animation. Seriously, Toy Story looks like watery porridge, compared to Patar & Aubier’s manic brew.

For fans, County Fair is a satisfying fix of franchise nuttiness and it is a good introduction to the lunacy for series newcomers. Let’s just hope Patar, Aubier, and Autour de Minuit keep them coming. Very highly recommended for fans of wildly subversive and politically incorrect animation, The County Fair screens this Saturday (2/8), as part of Animation First, in New York.