I've always loved Cartoon Network, when I was growing up it was my favourite channel to watch. Even today it has some good shows, like Adventure Time and Regular Show. One of the newest shows on the network, The Amazing World of Gumball, is a cute and mildly entertaining show. Not really my cup of tea, it's a little immature, but my little brother seems to like it a lot.
One day, I was watching Adult Swim when I realized that I'd been up so late that I hadn't even kept track of the time, it was already 4 AM. I don't recall ever watching AS this late, so I stayed awake to see what would happen when it ended. A little bumper showed up at the bottom of the screen during a commercial break, it said that a special episode of The Amazing World of Gumball was about to come on. I was a little confused about an episode of a very popular, new show coming on this early, but I was bored and decided I would watch it; thinking it might come on later in the day so I could spoil it for my brother. Sort of mean, I know.
The flashy and energetic intro theme played, although it was played a little differently than I recall. The music was a little different, and the show's logo wasn't animated, it's colours were done rather sloppily as well, almost like something a little kid would do on a Doodle Board or a Glow Board. I ignored it, assuming that it was done just for this 'special' episode. The title of the episode was "The Grieving", a sort of sad title, but I didn't really pay too much attention.
It began with Gumball, the show's 12 year old protagonist, standing alone facing a corner of his dimly-lit classroom. He looked absolutely miserable, a far cry from the cheerful demeanor he usually had. There was no one else in the room, not even his best friend and adopted brother Darwin the goldfish, and the windows in the room clearly showed the night sky outside. I was really starting to get confused, why would he be at school at night, and why was he standing in the corner all sad and alone?
After about what seemed like a minute of Gumball standing somberly in the corner, the scene suddenly changed. We were in Gumball's house, once again the scene is silent and a little disquieting. Richard, Gumball's enormous rabbit father, walks in from the kitchen, he looked even more miserable than Gumball had in the previous scene. Richard isn't wearing his usual attire, he's dressed in a fancy black suit, a little uncharacteristic of him, as he's usually a slob. He sighs, and slumps down onto the sofa, and starts sobbing intensely, sounding like someone who had just lost something important.
I was starting to get a little creeped out, where was the silly, fun cartoon that I usually looked forward to watching with my younger brother? This was something completely different. I was beginning to think that this might have been something the creators did as an experiment or something, a test of the animation or sound perhaps. Though, it couldn't have been, aside from the opening theme, which was still different from the final shows', the episode had been much quieter than it usually was, only subtle sounds and very little music, and the animation was not anything to write home about either. It was done a bit like an amateur flash on Newgrounds, the character designs were somewhat sloppy and rushed looking, and the real life backgrounds used for the show looked different.
As confused and somewhat frightened as I was, for some reason, I kept watching it. Poor Richard was still sobbing on the sofa, as the front door opened suddenly, making me jump a bit at such a loud noise, and Gumball's mother Nicole, a blue cat like him, stepped in. Like Richard, she wasn't wearing her usual outfit, for some reason, she was in a black dress and was wearing a pretty black hat to match. Nicole sat down on the couch to comfort her husband, although she was looking a bit saddened herself. By this point Richard's crying had began to get more pained and miserable sounding, this wasn't the normal cartoon crying on the show, this was realistic and almost depressing crying, I almost felt like sobbing myself.
His eyes began to tear up as he informed them that they eventually were found, but they had not been found alive. He then went into graphic and nearly nauseating detail describing how their bodies were found, their parents sitting in utter shock. I could hardly believe what was happening, how could such a cheery and fun kids show be taking such a dark and twisted turn. I was considering turning the television off, but I was too scared to be left in the dark by now, nearly frozen by fear and disturbed intensely at the terrible things that he was saying. Another flashback, the scene was earlier that day, and the animation in this scene was even worse than earlier. I don't remember it very clearly, but I think he began his recollection by saying that the school had called the police department when they first turned up missing, believing that the kids had simply ran off and decided to skip school. They said it was very uncharacteristic of both Darwin and Anais to go skipping school like delinquents, Darwin was a little naive and a bit ditzy, but he was a good kid and wouldn't have even dreamed of doing something like that, and Anais was even less likely to run away, she was a straight-A student, despite being only four, which also troubled the police, seeing as a defenseless four year old little girl was missing as well as an older boy.Finally, after what seemed like hours, the sad scene at their home ended, as it shifted back to the school. We weren't in Gumball's classroom this time, we were in Principal Brown's office. Nicole and Richard were there, in their usual clothes, looking more normal and happy than they had before, but still slightly worried. Principal Brown however, looked extremely sad. He quietly and somberly informed them that their children, Anais and Darwin, were not present after lunch earlier that day. They hadn't been seen at all the rest of the day. Nicole was instantly furious at him, she began spouting various insults and calls at him that I don't think would have made it on a more mature program like Regular Show. I was laughing at this, because it seemed sort of funny for Nicole to flip out in this manner and start swearing like a sailor in a G-rated cartoon, but my outlook soon changed when Principal Brown told her something else after she finally had quieted down.