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The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were a very weird time for children’s storytelling. We had the dark (The Secret of NIMH), the absurd (Rocko’s Modern Life), the grotesque (Ren & Stimpy). In the midst of all this, there was a little commercial interlude that would air on Nickelodeon between 1989 and 1993. It was called Inside-Out Boy.
There’s an inherent unsettling aspect to old school claymation, something uncanny in the way the characters move and are molded together. Well, add to that a terrifying premise and a weirdly correct — but not too correct — claymation child anatomy and we’ve got Inside-Out Boy.
He used to be a regular ole kid, white skin, blond hair, glasses. Then one day he flew too close to the sun. Or, he swung too hard and took his swing right over the bar, the velocity of which turned this child inside-out. When I was 7 years old, the idea of accidentally swinging too hard and having my skin invert into my own body while my organs would be forced to weather the elements was pretty scary, but on someone else? Whose entire reason for being seemed to be freaking adults out? I thought it was incredible. In retrospect, it’s just f***ing horrifying.
Look at him. Why does his head look like a whoopie cushion? He went inside out, but the shapes of the t-shirt and jeans he had on are built into his silhouette? I have so many questions, the biggest of which being: Why, Inside-Out Boy, why?