I don’t watch much television animation. I still watch the Simpsons, occasionally. Recently I noticed that the new Looney Tunes show was on, so I gave it a chance. I spent most the show with my face screwed up in a confused expression. I just don’t like Bug’s and Daffy’s suburban existence. The CG Roadrunner bit did have some notable qualities, staying mostly true to it’s roots, with decent animation for a television show. I wanted more of that.
But it was the show that followed Looney Tunes that inspired me to write this post. Where the Looney Tunes have grown stale, a fresh set of characters has made me a fan. The Amazing World of Gumball, produced by Studio Soi in Germany, really caught me by surprise. It uses a mixed media approach, with photographic backgrounds, then combinations of 2D and 3D characters. Gumball is a comedy about a suburban family. (Yes, they belong in the suburbs, unlike Bugs and Daffy) Gumball’s Mom is a cat, his dad is a rabbit. Gumball is a cat, the little sister, Anais, is a rabbit. But of course it doesn’t matter. The family pet, a goldfish, has evolved into a third sibling. His name is Darwin. They are all 2D characters. The rest of the town is a mixture of all kinds. The kids go to school with a CG T-rex, and anthropomorphized food such as a banana and toast. Their teacher is some sort of ape. But they are all fun. It recreates the energy of Sponge Bob, but stands on it’s own. Sponge Bob had sincerity, which is something lacking in most of the “edgy” tv shows. Gumball has that sincerity. The simple stories are carried out with fierce energy and great timing. The voices of Gumball’s family are very good. Where the Looney Tunes belong to an earlier generation of artists, Gumball shows the enthusiasm you get from original creators The real test? My 9 year old laughed. Bravo!