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Cathode Ray Mission: OVIDE AND THE GANG (1987-88)

While we here at Canuxploitation have always been firmly focused on theatrical tax shelter oddities and straight-to-video schlock, we’ve always had a soft spot for our film industry’s small screen cousin, the often inhospitable landscape of Canadian television.  That’s why we’re introducing CATHODE RAY MISSION, a new column by CanTV expert Cameron Archer, whose boob tube scribblings have appeared on sites including TV, eh? , Canadian Animation Resources and other assorted publications (including his own blog). Each entry of CATHODE RAY MISSION will highlight some of Canadian television’s more offbeat offerings, featuring video, commentary and lots of bad memories dredged up from the bottom of your consciousness.

OVIDE AND THE GANG (1987-88), like many Canadian animated television cartoons of its era, was shuttered to weekend television’s non-peak hours during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike Cookie Jar and Nelvana, who can easily fling C.L.Y.D.E., MY PET MONSTER, and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN on This TV, qubo and/or Teletoon Retro, CinéGroupe’s productions are harder to come by in reruns.

Maybe that’s just as well. OVIDE AND THE GANG (LA BANDE À OVIDE in French-speaking areas, like Quebec) — was an odd platypus. The Canada/Belgium co-production was created by Belgian cartoonist Bernard Godisiabois, better known by his pseudonym Godi, and fellow Belgian Nicolas Broca. Nic Broca, a cartoonist and animator, helped develop 1980s Hanna-Barbera/SEPP cartoon property, THE SNORKS.

The Basic Formula
A typical OVIDE AND THE GANG episode features Ovide, a blue platypus in a green hat. Ovide and his friends – Saffron the fatter yellow platypus/cook, Groaner the white toucan/pun-lover, and Polo the red lizard/janitor–live in Paradise, an ersatz Australia. Ovide’s main enemy is Cy Sly, the purple python who wants to take over Paradise for…greed’s sake, I suppose. Cy’s motives are never quite clear.

Addle-brained henchman Bobo hangs around with Cy, calling Cy “boss.” Wikipedia identifies Bobo as a Keel-billed toucan, though I have my doubts. Koala versions of the three wise monkeys, named Doe, Rae, and Mi in the English dub (Ko, A and La in the French dub), appear on the show sometimes. Literal woodworm Woody pisses Polo enough for Polo to futilely chase after it. Later episodes establish Matilda, a boomerang-wielding kangaroo.

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