You remember Popeye, right? OF COURSE you remember Popeye! But if you’re like me you don’t remember anything other than the spinach, Bluto, Wimpy and Olive Oyl. I don’t even remember any plot elements other than Bluto’s constant machinations to steal Olive away, and that he’d make a great Bear icon in the gay community.

Well, none of that matters anymore because, courtesy of Channel 101, there’s a new Popeye in town and he’s coming to scrape your memory bowl clean.

I don’t know if creator E.C. Seger ever had a foul-mouthed version of his Popeye The Sailor comic in mind when he first penned the classic in 1929, but that’s definitely the modern spin Sevan Najarian and Abed Gheith have put on The Pop (which is similar to the modern spin applied to the Mario Bros. in There Will Be Brawl).

Among the changes rung in this altered universe, Popeye sports a marvelous beard (always a fine touch for a sailor) and is trying to quit spinach while Bluto smuggles the stuff and hangs out in strip clubs.

Due to my forgetfulness, I had to brush up on my Popeye history and it appears that Najarian and Gheith (who makes a fantastic Bluto) have done so as well, retaining a lot of the comic strip’s original elements. Multiple-chinned J. Wellington Wimpy (Scott Chernoff) and his hamburger-filled pockets is still a devious, hangdog sidekick and squeaky-voiced Olive Oyl, skinny as an anorexic flapper, is confused as ever about the object of her affections. Also there’s comedic violence and cartoonish feats of strength.

Great examples of the cartoon elements are present in episode 2, which begins with Popeye topping Charles Barkley’s recent shenanigans before he falls into a lament about his spinach addictions. With Wimpy’s help he turns his attentions to the search for his late father’s treasure only to be foiled by Bluto and his henchman, Louie (played by Najarian). In the battle that follows, Najarian, an animator, utilizes his skills in realizing Popeye’s spinach-dosed muscles and knack for tossing absurdly large objects a great distance.

The live-action/animation mix the creator’s achieve is spot-on and makes the episodes all the more fun to watch. Popeye wouldn’t be Popeye if he couldn’t lift a ship over his corncob-puffing head.

In episode 3 we meet Popeye’s father, “Poopdeck Pappy” who appears as a spirit risen from the spinach to cause his son a series of headaches. This appears to be based on an original, ongoing subplot which pit do-gooder Popeye against his malcontent father. (I didn’t recall any of this from the comic, either, but I read it online so I assume it’s true.) This is the latest episode to air and thus far The Pop has remained on Channel 101’s prime-time list.

It’s a fun project and an original take on an old classic that will hopefully be around for many months to come.

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