Moona. Foofa. Brobee. Toodee. Plex.
Either I'm typing in tongues or those are the names of some characters from the upcoming Nick Jr. series Yo Gabba Gabba!, a series I keep accidentally referring to as "Gabba Gabba Hey!" (curse you, Ramones!). Moona, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee and Plex are a cyclops, a pink flower bubble, a green something-or-other, a cat-dragon and a robot, respectively. Just the names and the descriptions of the characters has the preschool part of my brain excited to see what the shows is all about.
Yo Gabba Gabba! will be hosted by DJ Lance Rock and also feature special guests and animated segments. Based on the promo video, it looks like an eclectic mix of Electric Company-style retro and funky music mixed with the bright colors and simplicity of Teletubbies. You'll probably find it annoying, but if you have little kids, they'll probably love it. And yes, I do believe that is Biz Markie making an appearance in the promo.
The series hits Nick Jr. this fall.
Animation Collective, the company behind Wulin Warriors, has developed another series for Cartoon Network, a preschool series called Ellen's Acres. I'll assume most of you couldn't care less about this, but if you have young ones, either children of your own or a small child who just happened to follow you home one day, they might want to check it out when it premieres on January 8.
Ellen is a little girl who lives with her parents at Emerald Acres Hotel in Nevada. There are no other children her age around, so she has to rely on her own imagination to have fun. That sounds a little like Calvin and Hobbes, and not too different from my own experiences growing up in a rural area away from the city, except Ellen plays with a radial tire and I played inside large tractor tires. Trust me, it's fun when you're five.
I don't recall how I stumbled across this video (probably late-night YouTube surfing), but I definitely remember watching it at, like, three in the morning and laughing deliriously for an obscene length of time. It's a charming mash-up of Barney video and Tupac audio. That's right. Somehow, the flailing of Barney's tiny hands suddenly become the aggressive gestures that conduct the beat of a west-side thug. Plus, the dancing children and sparkles add a nice touch.
Obviously, the visuals are work-safe, but, since it's gangsta rap, you may want to turn down the volume or pop on some headphones. Here we go...
Is the creator of Ren and Stimpy going to create a cartoon for the kindergarten set? I have no idea, but he wants to. I know the link is a couple months old, but the story actually goes back to the late 90s. That's when Kricfalusi created some animated spots for Old Navy featuring a group of little girls who will also star in his new venture, titled The Hearthaches. From what I can gather, there's no studio attached to this, so it's still in the "pitch" phase. Nevertheless, I would love to see the kind of spirit and energy put into so many of Kricfalusi's grotesque-but-hysterical cartoons filtered through a more "girly" lens.
Regarding his approach to the series, Kricfalusi wrote this: "I feel my duty is to make cartoons that have tons of fun and magic in them. I wouldn't give kids asparagus ice cream you know. I give neopolitan [sic]."
That should be the mantra of anyone who makes animated programs for children.
It's just a joke, of course, but I can't help but think that turning the movie Hellraiser into a children's program is a really great idea.
Heckraiser: The New Breed is an animated program about the adventures of SafetyPinHead and the Junior Cenobites, who must thwart their arch nemesis, Nanny, as they try to find the puzzle box that will send them all back to Heck. I think that sounds positively heartwarming, and it gets even better. A scene from the first episode is describe thusly:
In the premier episode, SafetyPinHead feels jealous because he thinks Butterball Cenobite ate the last piece of Lemon Meringue pie. Butterball swears he didn't, but SafetyPinHead is so sure Butterball is fibbing that he concocts a trap that springs rusty hooks into Butterball's stomach and flays his intestines open, exposing the pie, which SafetyPinHead greedily gobbles up. They both wind up with tummy-aches, but for completely different reasons!
Sure it may sound a bit graphic for preschoolers, but have you ever seen Jo Jo's Circus? That little clown girl is much more creepy.