Review: Ed, Edd, n Eddy

One of the longest-running Cartoon Cartoons embodied the precociousness of youth.

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The Lowdown:

Show: Ed, Ed n Eddy

Network/years aired: Cartoon Network, 1999-2009

The Lowdown: Memorial Day has passed, and June has arrived- meaning summer’s unofficially arrived for many people. To that end, perhaps no show embodied the idea of creative childhood summers better than Danny Antonucci’s Ed, Edd n Eddy, one of the first Cartoon Cartoons, and also the longest running one, sticking around in production for a full decade. In many ways, the show marked the beginning of one era and the end of another, serving as a pillar for Cartoon Network in its so-called “golden era” that occurred in almost exactly the same time frame the show existed.

To be sure, Ed, Edd n Eddy is quite different from other later cartoons that take place mostly or completely in the season. It’s not a Gravity Falls with a deep mystery element and overarching story, nor does it try to be, and while a show like Phineas and Ferb focuses on inventiveness and references, it’s almost certainly a successor in some ways to the Eds. The show, quite simply, is classic slice of life scenarios chock to the brim with slapstick, clearly defined personalities, and quite a bit of humor that really clicks once you’re over the age of 18. More specifically, the Eds are your neighborhood outcasts always looking to try a score a quick buck and social “cred” en route to jawbreakers- the hard candies are bloated to massive proportions in the show- and for the most part, fail miserably, often to some combination of disaster, abject humiliation, injury, or bad luck. Most remarkably despite all that, the Eds keep plugging away, one day (or episode) at a time.

For many kids growing up in the early-mid 2000’s, the Eds were probably a constant in your cartoon repertoire. There was some personal involvement in watching Antonucci’s fictional Cul-de-Sac as the Eds navigated life and attempted scams. For an episodic cartoon, there was an unusual attachment to the characters the more one watched- and certainly, most people had their favorites- Double D certainly stood out as the brains of the trio; there was the fear of the Kankers busting out of nowhere in any given episode, and quite a few people probably also wished Ed didn’t have the brattiest sister on Earth in Sarah. The show may have resonated strongly among the demographic precisely because it was an exaggerated version of many a peer group- and the creativity of childhood unbridled in a show with reckless abandon, and so it can be said Ed, Edd n Eddy beyond any other descriptor, is fun.

While the show primarily is set in summer, the 5th season took it in a different direction, bringing the Eds and their peers to school and into fall and winter- a fact sometimes lost in the classic episodes of the first four seasons. However, the best part was that Ed, Edd, n Eddy went out with a bang and at precisely the right moment to avoid seasonal rot in 2009’s Ed, Edd, n Eddy’s Big Picture Show– a movie that largely brought the Eds back to their roots while giving the series a fitting wrap-up. I wouldn’t quite call the series a classic, but it was very influential, and has quite a few individual episodes that are conceptually brilliant (and very funny). It’s a bit of a nostalgia trip to go back and watch the show now, but its trademark style still shines through.


Animation Quality: An old-school 2-D cel shading, which was uncommon at the point the show debuted and virtually unheard of in 2009. Danny Antonucci specifically wanted this style of animation in order to evoke a certain style and feel- and to that end, it successfully captures the old-time feeling of cartoons past, even if it isn’t perfect…but plenty good enough to bring the world of the Cul-de-Sac to life. 4/5 points.

 
Characterization: Episodic show, focused mainly on the three titular characters, all of whom fit a certain type of individual. Of the titular characters, Ed’s the nice, if not completely dumb, grunt; Edd, better known as “Double D” is the smart, nerdy one, and Eddy’s a straight con man.

Ed, while a simple and foolish kid mostly, is very kind, ridiculously strong and loves life. He’s got no sense of personal hygiene, loves monster movies, chickens and buttered toast, and most of all, hanging out with his best pals. Spouting usually nonsensical phrases and laughter, Ed every once in a while has a moment of enlightenment; it’s always entertaining when that happens.

Edd, better known as “Double D,” is the brains of the trio. Diametrically opposed to Ed in terms of cleanliness and knowledge, Edd’s a neat freak and the inventor behind the construction of the trio’s scams. He’s physically weak, but makes up for it in social adeptness, manners, and a kind disposition to please everyone…which comes back to bite him often in this show. He also wears a black sock cap; a running gag is no one has seen what’s under the cap save for the other Eds (and so it’s left to speculation.)

Eddy is the self-proclaimed leader of the Eds and the driver of the scams the trio perform through the show. He’s short in stature, but his greed for money and jawbreakers often dominate his personality. (SPOILERS: In reality, Eddy harbors an inferiority complex. He’s stuck in the shadow of his big brother and desperately wants to be liked by everyone…but is instead the object of derision from the other kids for much of the show.) Despite his flaws, Eddy is fond of his friends, and the Eds are an inseparable trio, despite their wildly different personalities and goals.

The rest of the cast of characters are entertaining enough, though as an episodic show  get varying amounts development for as long as the show aired. This consists of the other Cul-de-Sac kids that appear in every episode, and the Kankers, who are deliciously fun, if not ridiculously over the top, as the villains of the show.  3.5/5 points.

 
Story quality: Episodic, with some canon here and there, mainly pertaining to the Eds’ themselves, such as Double D’s hat and Eddy’s brother. Each episode is usually well paced and takes a page out of the slapstick book of humor, albeit more unsettling than the classics and not anywhere close to “adult fare.” Most episodes usually follow a formula, and so it’s good, not great. Entertaining is the best descriptor. 3.25/5 points.

 
Themes: This show is virtually void of most deeply engrossing themes…except it explores certain aspects of childhood and growing up quite well. There’s a shared brotherhood in the struggle for acceptance between the Eds, and perhaps a bit of a running meta-commentary on life. (Man, I’m not sure who’d want to live in that neighborhood.) There’s nothing super-objectionable though. 2.75/5 points.

 
Don’t insult the viewer: Ed, Edd, n Eddy is pretty funny, though it can be crude at points, and certain scenes can be unsettling…but that’s probably what Danny Antonucci was going for. The soundtrack also matches the fast-paced mayhem of the show well, and certain motifs are given to characters if you listen closely. 4.25/5 points.

 

 

Total Score: 17.75/25 (71%). Ed, Ed n Eddy was certainly an quantified success by ratings and seasons, but it is at its heart, an above-average cartoon with some notable flaws. Overrated slightly? Most definitely. Downright terrible? Not at all. “Above-average” seems to be a fair descriptor, and careful analysis seems to agree, as it does some things very well and preserves the sense of fun it always had some number of years later.


Like what you see? Was Ed, Edd n Eddy a favorite of yours? Leave a comment!

Author: anibproductions

I am the founder and writer of AniB Productions, currently a fledgling blog with a focus on animated shows from both the East and the West. Love Buffalo sports, good political discussion, and an interesting conversation wherever I go.

10 thoughts on “Review: Ed, Edd, n Eddy”

  1. This is one Cartoon Cartoon that I actively avoided growing up. I just never found it particularly funny, and the art style seemed uniquely ugly to me. I didn’t even know it ran for so long or that later seasons saw them go to school. A good analysis, but I think I’ll stick with Phineas and Dipper for the summer-set stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perfectly understandable. I can understand where you’re coming from, and if you’re looking for a really deep, compelling show, this isn’t it. That said, post-Memorial Day seemed like a perfect time to write this review!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly grew up with this one, and yeah, it was weird seeing new episodes along with Adventure Time. I am so old. XD
    My fave character is Plank, because I always wonder if its really Johnny’s brain or something. It always bugged me when I was a kid.
    I also love the animation. I’m glad they never changed it too much, because nostalgia does pack a punch seeing it again from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly feel the same way about getting older 🙂 Plank is an interesting character. I think it was intentional by the writers to keep people guessing if he had some weird sort of sentience, or if it was just a side of Jonny’s personality…I’ll admit, my favorite episode starring Plank has to be the one where in an election, he defeats Eddy for “King of the Cul-de Sac.” That was pretty funny…

      The animation style fits exactly what Antonucci and comapny were going for, and it gives the show a unique charm. The final seasons (yes, there was a very short season 6) and the finale movie were computer shaded, but all the drawings and boards were done by hand. I’d have to research it, but I think Ed, Edd, n Eddy was one of the last shows to use classic cel animation. (For the record, I like it too- it stood out in a special way style-wise from its peers.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember an episode where Ed totured Johnny by making water drip on plank, and Johnny was freaking out, The scene is so weird, I still remember it strongly.
        And I also loved how they never explained it. It makes going back to my childhood fun, like how they never explain how fire is possible in SpongeBob.

        I’m not familiar with animation in a tchnical sense, but cell animation is laying one image over another, right? Full old school. What is the common use now? Just computers and all? XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Using computers for shading and coloration is the common technique in 2-D now, yes. But the boards and sketches are still hand-drawn, even within new equipment.

        I too remember that episode…it was actually the very first one in the series (“The Ed-Touchables.”) It was one of the very very few times the Eds actually got jawbreakers!

        Like

      3. Most animations are done in stuff like flash now, right? But a better program than flash, or something?
        I like storyboards. I once studied multimedia, and storyboarding is my fave part of animation.

        And yeah, there are episodes they do get jawbreakers, but later episodes made them work harder for it. haha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, a lot of stuff is done in Flash nowadays. It’s simply cheaper…but can be done well if the script writing holds up. (My case example is Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.) Because of my writing background, I’d likely prefer writing scripts and then boarding it, rather than the other way around. I’m enjoying your comments!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly did not know that the show had ran that long.

    I guess it makes sense since the premise is pretty straightforward and lends itself to lots of episodes, and perhaps more importantly, lends itself to random airing of episodes at anytime.

    I would never call it one of my favorites, but I did enjoy it when I saw it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really surprising to most people that Ed, Edd n Eddy saw a decade-long run, but its format lended itself well to such an endeavor. I personally enjoyed the show a lot growing up; I sense a good number of people probably feel the same way as you in that “it was good, don’t know if it was my favorite.” Always good to hear from you!

      Like

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