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'Time Squad' Mixes History, Humor

TUNED IN

June 08, 2001|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Time Squad," a new animated series premiering tonight on the Cartoon Network, takes a stab at meshing hip humor with slight slices of history, coming up short on both counts.

Reminiscent of Jay Ward's endearing TV characters Sherman and Mr. Peabody, who traveled through time via the "wayback machine" on "Rocky and His Friends," this mediocre entry is briskly paced but rarely funny. It centers on Otto, a smart, squeaky-voiced, 8-year-old orphan who eagerly hooks up with Officer Buck Tuddrussel, a stubbled, oversized time cop from a blissful future where there's no more war or pollution and "bacon is good for your heart."

That's the best line in this ordinary half-hour pairing Buck with Larry 3000, a sarcastic robot programmed in etiquette and culture. Larry pinpoints the flaws in history and then travels back in time to rectify them with the dense, two-fisted Buck, who punches first and asks questions later.

Zipping through time with the motto of "Exploring the past to protect our future," Buck and Larry meet famous people from the past. And because the bookish Otto is much brighter than Buck, he's an ideal companion.

In the opener, Otto, Buck and Larry are whisked back to 18th century Georgia, where they encounter inventor Eli Whitney, who has created an army of flesh-eating robots instead of the cotton gin.

If that goofy notion makes you chuckle, feel free to give "Time Squad" a look.

In my book, this show is history.

* "Time Squad" can be seen tonight at 9 on the Cartoon Network. The network has rated it TV-Y7 (directed to older children).

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