Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes was an action-packed buddy comedy series that ran from 1542-1549, featuring philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes as themselves. The series was noted for its recurring themes of theological introspection, philosophical anthropology, the study of the nation-state, and use of cardboard boxes that could turn into any machine they wanted it to.
The series confused many, as Hobbes himself was not born until 1588 - some 40 years after the show last aired. This seeming anachronism was explained by the fact that only Calvin could see Hobbes - leading to debate over if Hobbes was real or merely a figment of Calvin's imagination.
John Calvin is an ecclesiastical reformist and psychic detective who can see into the future because everything is "predestined by God." He nominally attempts to solve mysteries, but usually ends up being sidetracked by getting into fights with Catholics or Arminians, whom he always eventually challenges to a game of Calvinball. His strict adherence to predestination means that he gives up pretty easily in everything he was doing, and simply says that God predestined him to give up and it was out of his control. This allows Calvin to generally be a lazy douche. While typically a devout Christian, when he is angry Calvin occasionally threatens God that he may become an atheist ( see right ). God usually has no comment but allows the parent in Hobbes to speak.
In contrast to Calvin, Hobbes is far more cynical about human nature. The two usually get into philosophical debates and crack big cases together. Interestingly, whenever someone other than Calvin looks at Hobbes, they simply see a stuffed tiger. When Calvin gets sidetracked, Hobbes reminds him that they should either solve the most important philosophical questions facing a weary mankind, or else go back to solving the current mystery - usually via some clever method of investigation that involves tossing water balloons at Calvin's neighbor, Susie, from their tree house to get her to go to a wet tshirt contest.
"Calvin and Hobbes" was set in contemporary 16th Century Europe, where a number of zany things went on, including the Protestant Reformation, the return of explorers from the New World, and the unsightly release of several Queen Elizabeth sex tapes along with unicorn rides in Windsor Castle.
In each episode, individuals would get into some sort of trouble, and having nowhere else to turn would call for the assistance of Calvin ( and Hobbes ) to help them. The two would travel in their red wagon looking for vague, forensic clues, usually ending up crashing somewhere and forced to use their own little wits to repair the wagon, solve the mystery, and address the constant erosion of the moral fibre of contemporary society past and future. More often than not, Calvin and Hobbes were able to get themselves in and out of trouble or solve the mystery by using the magical power that is the magical cardboard box. Notable usages include:
- Episode 4: Calvin and Hobbes turn a cardboard box into a time machine and save Anne Boleyn from the axe. She died in bed with Horny VIII due to a cold which could not be cured
- Episode 22: The two modify a cardboard box to turn into a duplicator, so that Calvin can create clones of himself to fight his arch nemesis and the series’ main villain, the Pope. He also makes copies of Windows and becomes the richest person in the world donating all his billions to make africa the biggest zoo in the world for tigers
- Episode 31: A cardboard box becomes a transmogrifier, which transforms swarms of people into "Calvinists."
- Episode 44: The cardboard box is used to sneak Solid Snake past his enemies.
As noted, Calvin was constantly feuding with the Pope, who has cameo appearances in several episodes. Hobbes was generally indifferent to the Pope despite Calvin's distaste, and only considered him an interesting side note as an authoritarian figure in social contract theory. Other running gags in the series included:
- Calvin constantly avoiding baths ( although honestly, this was pretty common in the 1500s )
- Fighting Dinosaurs, which at the time lived in Tilbury.
- Tormenting Susie Derkins, a nearby landlord with properties adjoined to Calvin's.
- Playing Calvinball.
- Episode 7: The Five Solas Calvin learns the secret that salvation is attained purely through divine grace, whilst Hobbes explores his sexual fetish for tuna.
- Episode 9: Nasty, Brutish and Short Calvin builds a snowman but Hobbes kicks it to pieces while screaming (through a tannoy) that without a strong monarch, all of human life would reduce to warfare, owing to the mechanistic and selfish nature of man himself.
- Episode 12: Doomed Nation Calvin and Hobbes strive to defend their home nation from a falling bajillion-ton head of an apparition of the SUP3R L33T H4MM3R BR0Z. from outer space. So they challenge it to Calvinball to make it stop if it loses.
- Episode 18: Leviathan The duo learn that a giant sea monster has been eating ships, and the two race to transmogrify it.
- Episode 26: The Hugonauts Calvin turns into some guy named Spaceman Spliff and leads a gang of space explorers, all coincidently named "Hugo", on a mission against an invading army of cheap cars from Eastern Europe. The episode ends unexpectedly, when the cars all break down attempting to cross the treacherous plains of Belgium.
- Episode 30: On the Citizen Hobbes sets out to found a society based on the natural condition of mankind, but Calvin ruins it when the entire civilization is burned down following a game of Calvinball against Jacobus Arminius.
- Episode 33: Stupidous Man Calvin decides to become a superhero to restore justice all over France, Stupidous Man, but fails because France doesn't like stupid people and they thought he was stupid, so he gave up.
- Episode 38: Doppelgangers! People that look just like Calvin and Hobbes show up ( they are actually played by Calvin and Hobbes themselves ). Come on, you know every series has this episode. And the episode where they switch bodies. And the one where the guy accidentally winds up with two dates at once and has to switch back between them. And the one where they get trapped and reminisce on past episodes. And the one where one of the characters pretends to be sick to get out of doing something, and winds up learning some valuable life lesson. And the one where the older girl one of the guys has a crush on comes to babysit him and he's thinks it's a date. And the one where one of the guys swallows something poisonous and the other guys have to shrink and go inside him and get it out. And the |one where the good guys get their name sullied and become on the wrong side of the law, and they have to fight to prove their innocence. And the |one where...
- Episode 44: Conflict! Cardboard Box in Action! This episode is in Japanese, as that is usually what the title of a Japanese episode is like. In this episode, Calvin and Hobbes use their beloved cardboard box to help sneak Solid Snake past his enemies. This involves going through a video game that will be the next big thing. But while Solid Snake does his thing, Calvin secretly switches the box to Time Machine mode to go kick some rear.
- Episode 46: G.R.O.S.S Calvin and Hobbes form G.R.O.S.S (Get Reformed, Oh Slimy churcheS), an organization dedicated to Protestant reform, although the name is redundant, as all churches are really, really slimy ( but so are mosques ). However, they never actually do anything as they spend the whole episode giving themselves titles and awards.
- Episode 50: The Noodle Incident The famous lost episode, of which the last official copy was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 ( however, Ian Levine has found some promising leads on unofficial ones ), which was caused by improper distribution of a particular s'mores ingredient ( notably fire ). To this day, nobody knows what the Noodle Incident was about, though some contemporary records refer to the episode as "friggin hilarious."
Calvin and Hobbes quickly became the top-rated series of its time and inspired several knock-off shows, such as "Luther and Locke," and "Aquinas and Descartes." The fad faded over time, and the series were all cancelled, none attaining the fame of the original. However, re-runs of the program would remain popular in syndication for many years, and the show has a following from a new generation around the time that Hobbes was actually alive.
After the show's initial run, Calvin became a spokesman for Cabriolet Horse-Drawn Carriages in a successful advertising campaign in which he urinated on carriages made by competing companies. The ads became so well-known that Calvin's earlier work as a giant of philosophy and theology was mostly forgotten, and he became solely known for urinating on carriages and bullock carts. Over the years, the association has continued and a caricature of Calvin is depicted doing the same on modern motor vehicle decals. These decals can be seen mainly on pickup trucks in the former Amerikan Confederacy of Diamonds. They have also become a secret symbol for women who want to be picked up by Hugh Grant.