Saturday, March 28, 2009

More on Chowder and cartoony animation in general

I don't know why, but my stat counter says that alot of people have been viewing my blogpost on Cartoon Network's animated series Chowder lately. I'd figure that I take the opportunity to write more about it.

If you follow animation blogs, you'd notice that there are complaints over how so many of today's television animation are "stylized". The fake UPA stuff, popularized by Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. Nothing against stylized cartoons (if my posts on Deitch's cartoons indicates) but there is a valid point into this, since there seems to be a dearth of loose, cartoony shows pioneered by the people at Termite Terrace.

This is where Chowder comes in. Unlike most of what Cartoon Network has been introducing, Chowder actually has a loose, cartoonish style. The character designs itself are fun to look at. This provides the show's artists an opportunity to do funny drawings, resulting in animations that are fun to look at.

Chowder seemed to be the first of many shows debuted by networks that are cartoony by nature. Not long after the show debuted, Nickelodeon began The Mighty B! While I'm not a big fan of the show, I admire the show's staff in their attempt to bring cartoony animation back. Cartoon Network last year began The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. The show has a touch of stylizations, but also plenty of cartoony features. Even adult animation got into the act, when Adult Swim debuted Superjail! (although the pilot aired on October 2007, one month before Chowder began)

Most of these shows was a hard-sell. Chowder in particular almost didn't get past the pilot. However, despite the network executives' doubt over the series, the show has turned out to be a sort of a hit, getting a DVD release less than a year after the show debuted, and even expanding the first season order from 13 episodes to 20 (as well as ordering 29 more episodes for seasons 2 and 3). Flapjack and The Mighty B also gained following. I guess my point is that there are people out there who loves funny cartoons.

Even if you don't like any of these shows, I'll say this: the networks made a risk picking those shows up (well, in Flapjack and Chowder's case, at least), and as you can see it paid off. So if you want fun, cartoony animation back on TV, then you'd better pray that these shows will continue to be successful. It's the only way to ensure that the executives will pick up more funny shows in the future.

(all images copyright Cartoon Network)


Rick Roberts said...

I guess it was risky but it was for Cartoon Network, a network that hasn't been fun in years and cancelled everything that was mildly funny. The whole network can die for all I care. I am content with old cartoons and the newer ones I can pluck off the net.

Josh Lieberman said...

nice write-up.
Carl's work on Spongebob is great too. In particular, Krusty Krab Training Video, where the 4th wall is practically destroyed.