In a business full of endless reboots and remakes, maybe nothing in Hollywood gets recycled more than animation. Since cartoon characters aren't associated with any one actor (in the audience's mind) studios feel even more free to come up with endless revamps starring the same characters.
But even with Hollywood's low, low standards, some shows wind up too ridiculous to see the light of day.
#6. Gotham High
Way back in the year 2010, DC Comics began developing yet another new Batman cartoon series. Though Batman has already been reimagined from pretty much every possible angle, this series was set to be Batman's Smallville, exploring Bruce Wayne's formative years at Gotham High.
You know there would have been at least one episode where the Joker learned about the dangers of drug abuse.
Based on the concept, this isn't a bad idea. After all, Smallville was a huge hit for DC, and Marvel characters like Spider-Man and the X-Men have a history of using teen characters to explore hard-hitting teen issues such as what to do when a supervillain steals your girlfriend. So a series focused on a teenage Bruce Wayne, before Batboy became Batman, sounds like it could be a home run.
Or ... maybe not.
While we can ignore the fact that Bruce Wayne was set to attend a regular public high school despite his family's immense wealth (maybe the show takes place just before Wayne Sr. wins the lottery or something), it gets bizarre when you realize Bruce was set to share a class with every character in the franchise, including the entire extensive Batman rogues' gallery.
It's a brave gym coach who runs that detention hall.
Yeah, instead of just another Batman show rehashing the same old plots, the Gotham High concept would have given us Bane and Killer Croc dunking the Riddler's head in a toilet bowl while the Penguin acted as lookout.
Throwing out any semblance of continuity, the entire idea seems to be based on the observation that Batman villains can be categorized as goths, nerds, jocks and other high school stereotypes. According to the artwork, Batgirl is there too, so it's unclear whether they were also planning to include a preschool-age Robin.
Is it actually possible for him to be more of a whiny bastard?
We're suspicious of any high school that produces no fewer than 12 supervillains in one graduating class, but admittedly it does put an interesting spin on those Council of Doom meetings to think they're really just high school reunions.
As for the show, it didn't make it much further than the preliminary artwork and character design.
#5. Roger Rabbit vs. the Nazis
Immediately after Who Framed Roger Rabbit became a hit, Hollywood decided to do what it does best: do the same thing all over again and hopefully make as much money. A sequel script was commissioned immediately, and written by Nat Mauldin, a sitcom writer who had written for Barney Miller and Night Court, two of the biggest hits of the 70s and 80s.
Truly, it was a Golden Age.
The finished script, titled Toon Platoon, actually ended up being a prequel, telling Roger's story from birth, including his rise in vaudeville and his experiences in World War II, all bookended by Roger's search to discover his biological parents. After learning he was adopted, Roger meets Ritchie, a struggling actor, and heads to Hollywood. But not before enlisting in the Army, since the shadow of WWII looms in the near future. You know, just the kind of zany, lighthearted kids entertainment that made the original such a success.
For the most part.
The film would have ended with Roger being reunited with his mother and his father, who, in a twist of Shyamalanian proportions, is revealed to be Bugs Bunny. The project was put aside temporarily when Steven Spielberg, who had just directed Schindler's List, realized that a movie that stars a slapstick cartoon rabbit might not be the most tasteful venue for exploring World War II.
He was also worried it might stir up troubling questions about Herr Bunny's wartime activities.
A new draft was written, this time titled Who Discovered Roger Rabbit. With the Nazis gone, the film was focused instead on Roger's rise in Broadway. They got as far as filming a CGI animation test, but Disney eventually pulled the plug on the whole project when it realized the budget for this would be astronomical. Rumors persist that a traditional 2-D version is back in the works, but no word on whether they brought back the Nazis.
#4. Dexter's Laboratory: "Dexter's Rude Removal"
Throughout the course of the series, Dexter's Laboratory was no stranger to "adult humor," sneaking in sly references to things only Mom and Dad would understand. But there are subtle, racy allusions, and then there's the secret unaired episode, "Dexter's Rude Removal," in which Dexter's sister straight-up calls him a "skull-fucking douchebag."
No images exist of this episode, so here's a skull-fucking douchebag.
The episode was designed as a treat for adult fans of the show, reserved exclusively for comics conventions and other special occasions, and has never been (and will never be, according to series creator Genndy Tartakovsky) aired on television. As a result, only a few people claim to have seen it. The episode is so peppered with explicit profanity that South Park would blush, and Cartoon Network won't touch it even for a late-night time slot, when it can pretty much air an interspecies orgy with the cast of Madagascar and get away with it.
Hey human, wanna smush?
These kinds of in-house gags aren't exactly new. As far back as the 1930s, Warner Bros. was amusing itself by making Porky Pig swear. But what makes Dexter stand out is just how far they went. The plot involves Dexter inadvertently creating evil clones of himself and his sister Dee Dee, and for the rest of the episode, the clones unleash a torrent of profanity at each other while flipping off and mooning the audience. At one point, while eating dinner, clone Dexter tells his mother "this shit is fucking great," after which clone Dee Dee scolds him for "fucking cursing in front of fucking Mom."
At which point Dexter bopped her on the head.
So where can you find a copy of this? Well, it looks like you can't. Even with Cracked's powerful connections within the comedy industry, Genndy and Cartoon Network are keeping it pretty tightly under wraps. But really, it's only a matter of time until someone leaks it onto YouTube. After all, if the U.S. government can't suppress an alien autopsy video, what hope does Cartoon Network have?