Summer viewing, Part 1 - Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law

"Debbie, we're going to need some law books. With pictures this time."

Now that exams are done and the summer has started (never mind the hail last Sunday), it is an opportunity for a collective exhale and a chance to mentally re-calibrate before starting all over again in September (or before going off to bar ads and articling). Following in the footsteps of Sandra Geddes's blog post from a few weeks ago on summer reading, I thought I would include some occasional suggestions for summer viewing with a legal bend (and I should put the emphasis on bend). This week I'll start with something truly bizarre, and hopefully the tenor will only improve from here on out.

There is a reason that awards-pandering "challenging" movies are typically released in the fall, while escapist "blockbusters" are reserved for the summer - the summer is a time of escapism and relaxation, while the rest of the year tends to be of the serious, furrowed-brow nature, when things need to get done. With that in mind, I'll try to err on the side of escapism. Brain cramp while trying to relax is no fun at all.

Although it is not a movie, but rather a television show, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is easily one of the silliest and most irreverent takes on the law. Although it has long since ended, the series was part of the Adult Swim programming on the Cartoon Network and featured such talent as a pre-Colbert Report Stephen Colbert. The premise is simple and brilliant - what happens to Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters after their respective series end? In the case of third-rate character Birdman, he becomes a barely-functioning lawyer. The show makes full use of the Hanna-Barbera license, with such premises as Fred Flintstone as a Tony Soprano-like mob boss, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo getting busted for marijuana possession, and Boo-Boo Bear as a terrorist known as the Unabooboo. Each episode is a digestible fifteen minutes, and fun in the vacantly vacuous way that seems to work best in the summer months.

Check out the opening scene from the episode where Harvey Birdman defends Shaggy and Scooby-Doo here.

Have a fantastic holiday weekend everybody!