Cartoon Network Orders Skyler Page’s “Clarence”

This guy above is Skylar Page, a young recent Cal Arts Grad and now the creator of his own show “Clarence” for Cartoon Network.

According to this Cartoon Brew Article:  “CN has greenlit 12 fifteen-minute episodes, which according to Deadline, is about “an optimistic boy who wants to do everything because everything is amazing.”  

Just looking at the picture of the artist/creator and reading the pitch line for his show, does this really seem like a guy whose had anything happen in his life? 

Read the Cartoon Brew Article: 

Cartoon Brew Article

To be fair, I post below two of Skyler’s Cal Arts Films

This first one is Crater Face:

The Second here is Girl Wallet:

Neither of these are badly made films, and Skyler shows promising talent as a filmmaker.  But the first film, I’m not sure what the story is trying to say, and the second film just doesn’t go far enough.  Starting with “Girl Wallet”, it’s like Skyler wants to be so much more outrageous and crude, but with the one tampon joke is about as far as he’s willing to go with the gag.  And I suppose if you need a reason why he doesn’t push it farther, you can check out the credits in both films where he thanks God and Jesus.  

Cripes man.    

So we have a religious kid with a 12 year-old sense of humor whose way to giggle and shock people is to show a tampon.  Its also not like we haven’t seen the joke 1000x over either about a man-child who is too embarrassed by the fact that he owns something a girl would own.  I’m sure he had every jocular straight man in the audience rolling in the aisles, but for the rest of us…at least myself… I see a filmmaker too nervous to put it all out there and tell us what he really feels about himself, and what he really feels about women.  Okay, it’s a comedy.  It’s a throwaway joke.  But its one thats been told a hundred times over.  And he’s not telling us anything new.  

The other film is Crater Face.  It’s a well drawn and boarded film.  But the animation borrows from just about every current cliche TV cartoon.  It’s not surprising Skyler boards on Adventure Time as he seems to have perfected the sad giant eyes expression we’ve seen a million times.  And as far as the story goes….why is the astronaut willing to risk  his life to play matchmaker?  Why doesn’t he just leave and come back later?  If there’s a hole in the ship at the end and he’s getting sucked back towards it, how is able to fly forward and hit the button, which apparently does nothing but blow up the ship?  If I ever felt compelled to risk my life to bring two people together, I think there should be a pretty good reason to do it!  

Again, I know the line:  “It’s just a cartoon.”  But this is the problem, just as it is with the “Cal Arts Sensibility” argument.  The visuals are always ascetically pleasing, but the stories are mush.  They don’t push far enough.  It’s not that they’ve learned how to tell an emotionally engaging story, they’ve figured out all the emotional buttons to push in the audience to get them to react.  A truthful, honest filmmaker admits they don’t know how the audience is going to react.  They don’t know if an audience is going to laugh, or cry, or be repulsed, or hate you for what you just showed them.  This filmmaker Skylar is borrowing styles from everything that’s current in TV Animation today.  He’s figured out everything that works and everything that audiences will respond to.  But he hasn’t figured out for himself what it really is he has to say.  Looking at his picture, I’m guessing he’s about 22 or 23 years old.  In the credits for both his films, he thanks Jesus and God.  He’s a conservative.  I’m willing to bet he’s got almost no life experience, and if he does, I certainly don’t see it in any of his films.  And now Cartoon Network is giving him a show.  

I don’t want to sound like a crooked S.O.B. for pointing this out, because Skyler is obviously talented and can draw very well.  But the real Cal Arts Sensibility that exists is that we have a lot of artists coming out of the school, with a variety of aesthetically pleasing styles of drawing, but few of them can actually tell a sincere story that’s true to themselves.   


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