Ruby Gloom - The Happiest Girl in the World
Cartoons are a bit of a guilty pleasure for adults,
aren't they? I mean many parents bemoan the fact that their children
like to watch cartoons, but secretly, the parents like to watch too;
because even though they are aimed at kids, cartoons often have
multiple levels to them, and coupled with that, they are uplifting
short stories that leave us feeling better about ourselves than before.
Adults and children often face the same social issues, though as
adults, we perhaps have better social masks on than
children.....Anyway, enough with the philosophising, I have to say that
my current favourite cartoon is Ruby Gloom. It kind of speaks to me,
because its sort of the dark side of cartoons - you know where
Strawberry Shortcake is all American and bubblegum, Ruby Gloom is
gothic and grunge.....and I'm really just a grunge monkey at heart.
Ruby Gloom is actually a TV show that was first established as an apparel franchise. Wow - bet you didn't know that - usually it goes the other way round these days - first the TV show then the eventual move into clothing, pencil cases and the like, but Ruby, true to character bucks the trend and goes the other way. Anyway, here's my hub pages homage to the "happiest girl in the world".
Cast of characters
What homage would be complete without one?
Ruby Gloom - our eponymous hero - The Happiest Girl in the World - Ruby is a gothic girl
with red hair, dark clothing and red and black striped socks. She
befriends all manner of strange and unusual creatures, and is unafraid
of the dark or of ghosts or ghouls or any scary monsters. Ruby sees
people as they are inside - always getting to the heart of the matter.
She is a good soul and a dear friend. Ruby, like many 6 year olds, keeps a diary and likes nothing better than playing with her friends.
Doom Kitty - Ruby's pet cat - no aspiring goth chick would be seen without a black cat! Doom Kitty is extremely intelligent, though only Ruby seems to understand what she says (Doom Kitty has a very musical tone in the show). Doom Kitty is, I think, the adult in the show and seems to know everything that goes on before anyone else does.
Skull Boy - Ahhh the romantic interest, if only he would realise how into him Ruby is it could be the start of a beautiful relationship. Skull Boy is a skeleton who is always trying to find himself. He is always trying to trace his family tree and it is a running vignette in the show that Skull Boy thinks he has found what his ancestors truly were. At various points Skull Boy believes he is decended from a long line of painters, engineers, detectives, sculptors and even jazz musicians.
Iris - a one eyed girl and arguably Ruby's
best friend. Iris is fearless and always seeks out adventure, sometimes
to the point of excess. Iris is almost slightly hyperactive, but in a
good way - she is unafraid of life, of course her adventurous nature
tends to make her a touch foolhardy at times and she often finds
herself in trouble, usually with hillarious consequenses.
Misery - Misery is an accident waiting to happen - bad luck follows her around every where she goes. The sun may shine on everyone else in gloomsville, but on Misery, it would be raining. Misery's family tree spans back through the ages with relatives (usually some sort of great aunt or grandmother of sorts) at every major disaster in the world - the titanic - yep she had a great great great someone in her family tree there! Misery seems to enjoy her bad luck though - on Friday the 13th she has good luck while everyone around her has bad luck and this makes her unhappy because it is not the norm for her. She goes into hyperactive states when she has sugar.
Frank and Len - gloomsville's
resident rockers, Frank and Len are siamese twins who live in the
garage (obviously). Their garage band is called RIP. These two live and
breath music, but have no aptitude outside of it whatsoever. Frank is
the brains of the pair, Len, always a step behind - well several steps
behind, never quite understanding subtelyty. But Len doesn't care, or
even realise that he just doesn't understand half of what goes on
around him. Frank and Len write a rock opera called Quadragloomia and
know about Ruby's crush on Skull Boy (Doom Kitty knows as well, but
Edgar, Allan, Poe - three ravens who live in Gloomsville. Poe is seen most often (Edgar and Allan when seen are usually his bodyguards). Poe believes he is most intelligent and that his ancestor was Edgar Allan Poe's pet budjie and was in fact responsible for writing much of EAP's poetry. Poe fancies himself sophisticated, though he is very image conscious.
Scaredy Bat - the resident bat who cannot fly and is afraid of pretty much anything and everything. Sporting a dubious accent, Scaredy fears even his own reflection, but is a tallented drummer and plays in Frank and Len's band.
Boo Boo - the resident ghost who is obviously modeled on Casper. Boo Boo desperately wants to be scary, but everyone finds him sooo cute. Everyone except Scaredy Bat who is genuinely scared.
Mr Buns - Ruby Gloom's stuffed bunny. He turns up all over the place. Could Mr Buns be inspired by Calvin and Hobbes? Remember Suzie? Her bunny is called Mr Bun!
There are other minor characters, but I'm sure you'll pick them up easily enough if you watch the show :)
Ruby and her cohorts live in a rather large rambling Victorian mansion and there are some 40 episodes. Obviously, being a kid's show things never get really dark and the usual issues of friendship, honesty and good values are explored in the show, but all with the "look on the bright side of the dark side" twist. Now, I may be projecting a little here, but I sort of think that you could make a case for Ruby being the only real character (who has a fascination with ghost and gothic and witches and such) with all the others in the show being her imaginary friends that she plays with.
One of the great things about Ruby Gloom is the music - it is an important part of the cartoon and shows wouldn't be the same without some cool rock tune penned and played by Frank and Len. Each characture has a signature dance that they do and the closing and opening sequences feature these - the closing sequence particularly is fun because all the dances are sillohettes which looks very cool. Most of the shows have a short skit at the beginning before the opening credits. Ahh the opening credits - there's a fun tune right there sung by the moon. Let me leave you with the lyrics:
So today were gonna
Take the time to show ya
The B B bright side of the dark side
And we think you oughta
take the time to know the
B B Bright side of the dark side
Were gonna show you why
There's more than meets the eye
The B B Bright side of the darkside
And we think you oughta
Take the time to know
The B B Bright side fo the dark side.