Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'll admit that I've been out of loop in animation for quite a while. Alot of the shows don't interest me and quite frankly I didn't see much improvement coming. There are some animations I watch but they're few.
Lately I've been hearing about Chowder, a comedy series from Cartoon Network that began about a year ago. I decided to check it out, and after several iTunes downloads, I think I'm officially hooked.
The show is about a little chubby boy named Chowder (Nicky Jones) who wants to be a great chef one day, so he becomes an apprentice for a catering company run by an elderly chef named Mung Daal (Dwight Schultz) and his overbearing wife, Truffles (Tara Strong). The kitchen also employes Shnitzel, a rock monster who can only speak in "radda" (voiced by John DiMaggio, who also did the voice of Bender in Futurama).
Unfortunately Chowder has flaws: He has an incredibly short attention span and a BIG appetite. Throughout the show's year-old run, Chowder have eaten a giant bowl of grease, an entire marching band, all the junk being sold at Mung's garage sale, and well, just about anything, whether its edible or not. I wouldn't be surprised if he commits cannibalism in future episodes.
Supporting characters include Gazpacho (Dana Snyder, using his Master Shake voice), a wooly mammoth who runs a fruit stand Chowder and Mung frequently get their goodies from; Panini (Liliana Mumy), a girl with a huge crush on Chowder. She is an apprentice to a rival catering company run by Ms. Endive (Mindy Sterling). Newer episodes feature Gorgonzola (Will Shadley), a green mouse who apprentices for a candle holder. He's the complete opposite of Chowder: he hates being an apprentice, is unfriendly toward others (especially Chowder and Panini), and just plain hates his life.
The humor in Chowder is light-hearted and rarely cynical. Not a bad thing, personally. Most of the jokes in the show are bizarre non-sequiturs (almost everything Chowder says is just that), puns, and fourth walls. It's doubtful that they ever rebuilt it after they broke it the first time in the very first episode.
The show's humor can be compared to Rocko's Modern Life in that it sometimes features double entendre. In one episode, Mung announced dramatically to his wife that he needs more spice (for the recipe). Truffles responds "Well at least one of us acknowledged it."
The real heart of the series are the visuals. The character designs are fun and loose, especially in newer episodes where most of the characters were redesigned. The Dr. Seuss inspired backgrounds are very colorful and often times beautiful to look at. And of course let's not forget the patterns. The show's full of them. The characters move around alot but if you look at the patterns on their clothing (or in Shnitzel's case, their skin), you'll notice that they never move at all. Some people have complained that this is unsettling but if you watch enough episodes you'll eventually get used to it and forget that it's there.
In short, the show is fun and corny. Hopefully it'll stick around for a while.
The creator of the series is C.H. Greenblatt and he has a blog.