Have been increasingly unsure what to make of "The Beary Family" cartoons as an overall series, whether to stand by my initial statement of for Walter Lantz Studios' final series it not being as bad as anticipated or judging from the awfulness of the worst cartoons to take it back. Sorry if this sounds confusing.
Due to that there are some decent or watchable "Beary Family" cartoons, especially 'Fowled-Up Birthday' and 'Mother's Little Helper' (both directed by Jack Hannah, who generally is a much stronger animation director than Paul J. Smith and his cartoons much better). However, there are also a fair share of horrible ones, as seen with as far as previous cartoons go 'Goose in the Rough', Window Pains' and especially 'Charlie's Mother-in-Law'. To me 'Gopher Broke' is another one of the series' worst.
Saving graces are only a couple but they are there. One is the music, which is energetic and lushly orchestrated, succeeding in single-handedly giving the little energy the cartoon has. The other is Paul Frees' voice work, much more subtle here and he shows his ability to create a likable character with good comic timing, despite his lacking material and less than inspired situations there's something about Charlie that makes him easy to like and relate to. The gopher is pretty cute if not particularly funny.
On the other hand, didn't see the point of Junior being there whose half-wittedness is neither amusing or endearing. Bessie continues to irritate and make my blood boil in her too extreme treatment of Charlie, particularly at the end. Grace Stafford is a talented voice actress but is very shrill here.
Like many 60s Lantz-studio cartoons, the animation is not good, a problem in even the best cartoons in the series. Time and budget constraints shows in a lot of the animation, which is very rushed looking in the drawing and detail wise it's on the simplistic and careless side with colours that lack vibrancy and a fair share of goofs. The story is not much of one at all and what there is is sloppily timed and without anything surprising or imaginative, predictability is non-stop and the ending can be seen from miles away.
'Gopher Broke' once again just isn't that amusing, let alone funny, unlike the first two cartoons in the series directed by Jack Hannah and the series' other watchable efforts. There are a lot of gags, but here they are far too noisy, clumsily and lazily timed and chaotic, irritating for the sake of it, and are memorable for their lack of taste than their wit. Hannah's efforts had none of those faults when it came to the humour. Charlie's dialogue has been funnier elsewhere.
In conclusion, a couple of good things but has very little to recommend. 2/10 Bethany Cox
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