I am so ashamed. I admit it... I am utterly hooked on Teen Titans.
Now, the first thing to note, this is a cartoon that is aimed at 9 and younger. But of course, since the target audience is < 9 that means that the subversive humour goes well beyond that.
There was a character called "Mad Mod" who was a British Villain that referred to the characters as his Duckies. The episode had a 60's feel. There were references to Magritte, Warhol, Dali, Escher, the Beatles, and something I really feel I should recognize but don't. The character of Mad Mod also had a bowler and a cane and tortured the characters at one point by holding open their eyes to watch a hypno-screen. So, if that didn't alone have enough Clockwork Orange references, the character was voiced by Malcolm McDowell.
I was first introduced to the show 2 years back at Comicon (03). The idea was that they wanted to make a compelling super-hero cartoon for a younger audience that was actually American in origin but leveraged all the things that made Anime popular in the states. At that time I thought, "Well, if they can pull that off, it might actually be incredible. But let's be realistic..." They introduced some of the voice artists. Cyborg had landed the role at his first audition in the industry. The clips of the pilot were "okay." They said they were planning on doing something j-pop for the theme. I never really much thought about it after that.
Well, about a few weeks ago I caught an episode. I've now Tivo'd every one I can. No, they aren't all fantastic. But for the most part, the paper thin plots, aren't as paper thin as they'd lead you to believe. The references in their will make you blink with anime agog. The face-faults, sharp colours, and pointless fight scenes will make your eyes roll. And yes, the theme is sung by Japanese duo, "Puffy Amiyumi." If you catch an episode where the theme is actually sung in Japanese (about 1 in 8) it's going to be a very weird episode.
I'm impressed. I'm amazed.. I'm so ashamed.