Was That Real? Hammerman
September 15, 2015
Nostalgia Critic: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. And welcome to another installment of... Was That Real?
(It cuts to the title card of WTR)
NC: Not utilizing an incredibly popular icon is like not utilizing an incredibly convenient cameo. Hey, you got any water around here?
Angry Video Game Nerd: Oh, you want some water, huh? (dumps a glass of water on the Critic)
NC: MC Hammer is one of those people.
NC (vo): Known as the music you play at a wedding when you wanna show how ironically white you are, MC Hammer used to be everywhere. He had the number 1 rap album, concert, show appearances, commercials, he was all over the place.
Clip of Taco Bell commercial
MC Hammer: Now that's the way the Hammer runs for the border!
NC: And at the height of his popularity came what many consider to be the most embarrassing part of his entire career, and that's saying a lot, the MC Hammer cartoon, Hammerman.
MC Hammer: Hammerman! Hammer! Hammerman! Hammer! Hammerman! Hammer!
NC (vo): [sigh] Yep, this really happened. In 1991, we got a Saturday morning cartoon so ridiculously bad that... well we'll talk about it here. Give Vanilla Ice some credit. He didn't even put a Saturday morning cartoon on TV. No, he put his on the big screen to embarrass himself. (poster for "Cool as Ice" is shown) It ran for only 13 episodes and you can quickly see why. The cheapness value of this show is award-winningly lazy. In that, I just made up an award to grant it so I could give it that title. Just look at how half-assed this is. Did they skip the animation process and just colored in the storyboards? Look at this, they didn't even finish this half of him in the opening! Kids would see that every week! You couldn't just move him a little to the right? That was too much effort for you? But don't take my word for it. Probably the biggest testament for the show's self-aware humiliation is that they spend as much time as possible NOT showing you the cartoon. Take the intro for example: most of it focuses on Hammer himself rather than showing much animation. And tell me if this doesn't feel like the longest, most drawn-out rap ever...
MC Hammer: "Here's how it started, a long time ago / The legend of the Hammer and how it began to grow / He was given magical shoes, from a hip-hop Motown dude / Together they had power, they stood up for what was right / But Gramps was gettin' old and he couldnt keep up the fight (right) / So Gramps and his granddaughter, they went out on the road (searchin') / To find a man they knew who could jam who was worthy of the load / They met a guy named Stanley (Stanley) who was dancin' every night / He helped the kids play every day, his heart was out of sight / So Gramps opened up the bag..."
NC (vo): Jesus, how much of your life story are you gonna go into?
NC (rapping): "He went to the store to get himself some milk / But he saw it expired so he looked at the receipt / But he couldn't find it so he just called it quit / But then he looked down and saw it was on his feet / So he went back to the store..."
NC (vo): After almost a minute and a half of that intro, we then cut to the real Hammer dancing with some kids... then after that we cut to Hammer again literally telling you what you're about to see. No, he gives the whole episode away.
MC Hammer: Jodie goes all around Oaktown, putting graffiti everywhere on everybody's property, and she gets in trouble. The graffiti comes alive!
MC Hammer: I wasn't supposed to tell you that.
NC (vo): Sometimes he even reveals the lesson before you're supposed to learn it!
MC Hammer: Anybody like graffiti?
MC Hammer: Because most people put it where where they're not supposed to. Now they can be good, but it's not right when you put it on other people's property. And that's what the show is all about today...
NC (vo): Why the fuck would you say the message first if you're gonna spend the majority of the show hammering it away?!
MC Hammer: And we're kicking it off today...
NC (vo): After we cut to EVEN MORE kids dancing, we finally start the cartoon that is gonna teach you the lesson Hammer just taught you a second ago. But don't worry, if somehow you missed the lesson in the beginning AND throughout the rest of the episode, Hammer pops out AGAIN to tell you once more what it is.
MC Hammer: Tagging somebody else's property with graffiti is illegal, and it's wrong.
NC: I don't think gas stations fill this much!
MC Hammer: So next time you feel like doing a little artwork, do it on some paper. And who knows, you might end up drawing a cartoon like Hammerman one day!
NC: NOOOOOO!!! You got it the other way around! That should be the punishment for kids doing graffiti!
NC (vo): The story, if you missed that Lord Of The Rings-length opening, is about a youth leader named Stanley Burrell, which is Hammer's real name, who comes across an old man named Gramps and his grandaughter Jodie. Gramps has a pair of magic talking shoes... I'm just gonna assume they sound annoying...
Shoes: You were looking at my cards! Were not! Were too!
NC: That's all we need.
NC (vo): They used to transform Gramps into a superhero named Soulman, but he's retired and looking for a replacement, and of course Stanley literally fills his shoes and becomes the superhero Hammerman. What are his secret powers? Well aside from making the choppy animation look more shitty than a CD-I game, it's actually kinda hard to tell. We know he can make objects stand to his music and parachute with his pants, but aside from that he seems to be relying on the vague properties of animated music notes. He also seems to have backup singers, which at first sounds kinda cool, like, you know, they're sidekicks, that help to kick some ass or something. But nope, they literally just sing backup, they don't contribute at all!
Backup singers: We need the Hammer! / Danny is in trouble and that ain't no lie! / Ooo look!
NC (vo): Even when he's not Hammerman they just randomly sing about shit!
Backup singers: It's that poor stray dog! / Oaktown's money is his!
NC (vo): Yeah... what are their lives like? Do they just sit around in alleyways and eat out of garbage waiting for something to give the material to sing about? But a hero is always as pathetic as the villains, and these are some pretty lousy ones indeed: the line-up includes Defacely Mallmeister, who brings graffiti monsters to life, Rapoleon, who wants to shrink the world so that he's taller than everyone else, and Paula Bunion... she steals shoes!
NC (vo): As you imagine, the character development was on par with anything Batman The Animated Series was putting out.
Stanley: You're just doing this because you had an unhappy childhood. You wanna talk about it?
Defacely Mallmeister: NO!
NC: ...and that's all you need! [Pic of...] Two Face has got nothing of that backstory!
NC (vo): They always partake in two pastimes: one, just scheming up plans that have no sense like drawing graffiti and bringing it to life to rob banks, when you could... just draw money and bring that to life, and kidnapping Jodie. Yeah, she's the pawn sacrifice most kid shows used to have.
Jodie: Put me down! You're asking for it!
NC (vo): Half the time, Hammerman doesn't even need to save her. The bad animation does it for him. Look here. Oh, she's tied up! Who will save me! Ah! But literally in the next scene she's just free and she runs away! What the hell happened there? Were the villains just like...
NC: "Is that too tight? Let me untie that for you! You want a pillow? I can get you a pillow! You want me to just turn myself in? I would love to turn myself in for you! No? Okay, if you could just fill out this survey, please give me 10 out of 10! That be great and hey, if you turn that in, the next time you get kidnapped you get a free cookie!"
NC (vo): She wouldn't be too bad if she was a better character but this is one dumb kid! She never puts together that both Stanley and Hammerman are the same person. How the fuck is that humanly possible?! Even Clark Kent took his glasses off! He doesn't even have the energy to do that!
Jodie: Hammerman! Ooh, I missed him again!
NC (vo): And okay, even if Puffy Pants somehow managed to disguise a person's identity she knows about the magic shoes!
Gramps: I know life's been real hard on her. Spending all that time traveling around with me, looking for the right person to wear them shoes.
NC (vo): Yeah! Remember? In the intro, they clearly explain that she's helping Gramps to find a replacement for a superhero and suddenly a superhero wearing those shoes who looks like your friend Stanley pops up. [pic of Stanley and Hammerman side by side] Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? Is this seizure dancing really too distracting to put two and two together? But I know what you're thinking, "does any of that really matter when we get to listen to some of the incredible rap that Hammer is capable of?"
Hammerman: Yo, you guys are livin' small, but hey, let's play some basketball! / Gotta build my mind on rap, I can't afford to let it nap! / Everything is in control, time for me to hip-hop stroll!
NC: Clearly yes, that's a hard yes.
NC (vo): Half the time, the sound design is so bad, you can't even hear the rap.
[Clip with barely heard music playing in the background]
NC (vo): And like I said, even when you can, you're mostly wishing you couldn't.
Hammerman: I've had it with these crooks, they give me indigestion, they're headed back to jail, about that, there's no question / This is not an effect, I'm a rapper, not a hair donor.
NC: [huh] What does that even mean?
NC (vo): Maybe that's why they spell out the sound effects all the time. They're afraid people won't do their job and just forget to put the actual sound effect in.
NC: Or they figured this show was just so damn crazy that nobody would even care. And they were right!
NC (vo): From terrible writing to some of the most low budget animation available - oh for God's sake, I can see through him! - Hammerman is an anomaly you have to see to believe. You swear it was like a parody on Mad TV or SNL. But no, it's the TV equivalent of Bebe's Kids, the game ! There's apparently no plans to put this show on DVD but truth be told...
NC: That's kinda to our loss.
NC (vo): Something so lazy to the point of surrealism should be remembered. It should be documented just for the curiosity of how fascinatingly desperate we can get to put a name on anything. Hammerman is just as bad as it sounds but truth be told, it kinda makes it more fun to watch. If you're in the mood for the most embarrassing excuses to make a show ever, this is definitely one worth the search. So look online, find those VHS's and check them out for yourself.
MC Hammer: Hammerman! Hammer! Hammerman! Hammer! Hammerman! Hammer! Hammerman! Hammer! Oh, yeah!
NC: And, of course, it's proof that just you can do something with a popular name doesn't always mean you necessary should.
AVGN: Hey, you wanna do a Let's Play crossover of Bart's Nightmare?
NC: Only if I get to wear my Melvin costume.
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