Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mascot Madness

London has unveiled its official mascots for the 2012 Olympics, and it looks like for the second Games in a row, SF has had a hefty amount of influence on the designers.

My first impression was that they look like the one-eyed bastard children of Gumby and one of the repair droids from the pod race scene in The Phantom Menace (minus the rice-picker hats, that is). Now I'm starting to wonder (especially with the opening sequence in the backstory video on the Games' site) if they're more along the lines of rejects from Skynet's T1000 factory. Or maybe ambulatory detached eystalks from the trash compactor monster in Star Wars.

And those are just the clean comparisons. Let's not even get into the resemblance these things have to Mr/Ms Garrison's runaway penis from Southpark.

Don't get me wrong, in a way, it's cool the London designers have attempted to come up with futuristic mascots, and I appreciate the somewhat steampunkish made-in-the-garage-by-a-mechanic feel of the characters' origin. But with all of England's long history and layered culture, couldn't the Games' organizers have drawn inspiration from something other than Kryten's self-designed ambulatory unit from Red Dwarf?

Of course, this lineup has made its debut just a couple of months after the Vancouver Olympics, which had its own mediocre mascots. Quachi, Sumi, Miga and Mukmuk were allegedly inspired by First Nations culture, but all you had to do was look at them and see they weren't remotely similar to any aboriginal art on display in BC. No, these critters looked more like really amateurish, failed attempts at anime sketches. You just know that if Pikachu and the rest of the Pokemon gang were picking players for a dodgeball game, no-one would want the Vancouver mascots on their team.

I guess that puts the onus on Sochi 2014, and the hosts of the 2016 Games, to break the pattern and create mascots that - especially if they're SFnal in nature - are actually cool.

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