“Marvin: Baby of the Year” (8:30 tonight on Channels 2 and 8), the most recent and least amusing entry in the spate of animated specials based on newspaper comic strips, is the cartoon equivalent of the flavored sugar water that was marketed as apple juice for babies.
Tom Armstrong’s “Marvin” has never been a particularly innovative or imaginative strip, but the animation in this program is so minimal and the voice acting so pedestrian that Richard Zaloudek’s handsome airbrushed backgrounds are more exciting than the characters.
With his large, half-closed eyes, tiny nose and rotund shape, Marvin looks like Garfield the cat disguised as a baby. His snide commentary adds to the resemblance but makes the character seem thoroughly unpleasant. When his father teases him about being heavy, Marvin says to himself, “I can’t wait till I can talk, so I can stick it to him for that receding hairline.” A sarcastic cat may seem feline and funny, but a sarcastic 1-year-old is merely obnoxious.