Assorted bits of Foster’s news

Foster’s Blog when I first mentioned it here a while back. If you do, you’ve probably noticed that they haven’t updated for a really long time, and perhaps you’ve sat at your computer, glumly refreshing and hoping for fresh Foster’s news, and perhaps even leaving whiny, fawning comments on the blog imploring Craig McCracken to please come back and update or at least delete some of the spammy comments.

Okay, maybe that last bit was just me. Ahem.

Anyway, I have a few tidbits of info to tide you over, and I share because I care.

First of all: Congratulations to Grey DeLisle—better known as the voice talent behind Frankie—on the birth of her son, Jefferson Texas! That’s a pretty small picture there on her MySpace blog, but from what I can make out, mom and baby look fantastic. Enjoy!

Second: Remember when I gushed my excitement over the “Design at Play” Cartoon Network MODA show? The exhibit is up and running, and I came across this great Flickr set of photos taken at the show. (Seriously, how did anyone ever get information before the internet?) I won’t say that’s as good as being there, but it eases the pain of missing the opening, somewhat.

And last but certainly not least: Not that there seemed to be any question of it happening, but now it’s official, at least—Foster’s has been cleared for a sixth season. My fingers are crossed that the next season will bring us another hour-long episode, too, as the kids and I really enjoyed Good Wilt Hunting.

Oh, wait. I lied. That’s not last. Because I love you all so much, here’s a special! bonus! Foster’s-themed tidbit:

Cartoon Network recently added the dumbest game ever to the Foster’s page. But oh, how my kids laugh.

Cartoon Network setting up at MODA

I never realized that Cartoon Network was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia until I was on a visit there and couldn’t stop laughing at the billboards. There are (or were, the last time I was there, anyway) a zillion different billboards featuring various characters from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends doing, well, everything. And nothing. There are billboards of Bloo making funny faces and billboard of Wilt just standing there and—of course—one of Cheese declaring that he likes chocolate milk.

Anyway, that was my first introduction to the very large foothold Cartoon Network has in Atlanta. And starting on February 1st, Museum of Design Atlanta will be hosting the Design at Play exhibit, dedicated to showcasing “The High Design & Low-Brow Humor of Cartoon Network”:

This multi-media exhibit—featuring wide samples of print advertising and marketing materials, billboard executions, premium design, on-air spots, Websites and online games, each designed to support the network’s original animated programming—will spotlight the local talents of Cartoon Network’s renown team of designers, writers, animators, producers and graphic artists.

Spanning three full galleries at MODA, this first-time partnership also will explore the process of creating an animated television program from doodles and 3-D models to styleguides and storyboards. Futhermore, Design at Play will review the “holistic” approach to branding and promotion through multimedia platforms, explore product design and packaging for retail, and highlight creative examples of more traditional advertising.

Blah blah blah marketing blah blah blah design blah blah blah advertising. Dude, three entire galleries of Cartoon Network art! I know it’s a museum about design but three entire galleries of cartoon stuff? You don’t have to be a designer to appreciate that.

And AnimatedBliss told me what I wanted to hear:

The exhibition also will highlight the work of creative masterminds behind some of Cartoon Network’s most beloved cartoons, including animator Craig McCracken, who created the global cartoon sensation, The Powerpuff Girls, and the network’s current top original series, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, recently featured as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Additional original shows that will be featured include Ed, Edd n Eddy, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Camp Lazlo.

(I think I might be a Craig McCracken groupie. And I’m not even sorry, so there.)

If you can make it to MODA on February 1st (that’s next Thursday), there’s a free opening night party happening that night from 5-9. If you can’t make it for the opening, don’t worry—the exhibit will run through May 19th. Mark your calendars and check it out if you’re in the Atlanta area.

Annie get your nom(ination)

On the heels of the recent discussion of the new animation category for the Golden Globes, it seems only fitting that yesterday the full list of Annie Awards nominees was made available.

Don’t know the Annie Awards? This February will mark the 34th annual event, in spite of the fact that the trophy/statue thing looks a lot like an ugly lamp. (I kid. I think it’s supposed to look like one of those things you spin and look inside the holes to see the pictures within appear to move. That would make sense, and be topical, whereas an ugly lamp would just be mean.) The awards are designed to honor excellence in animation, obviously, and are touted as “animation’s highest honor.”

There are six production categories (as well as a slew of other individual achievement categories, and the juried awards), and they’ll be worth keeping an eye on as we move into “awards season.” Here are the ones that pique my interest:

Best Animated Feature

* Cars – Pixar Animation Studios
* Happy Feet – Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Kennedy Miller Production in association with Animal Logic Film
* Monster House – Columbia Pictures Presents an ImageMovers/Amblin Production
* Open Season – Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
* Over The Hedge – DreamWorks Animation

No surprises there. I’m pleased to see Monster House nominated; I don’t think it’ll win, but the kids and I really like it and it’s nice to see something that’s not about wacky animals or anthropomorphized vehicles make the cut.

Best Home Entertainment Production

* Bambi II – DisneyToon Studios
* The Adventures of Brer Rabbit – Universal Animation Studios
* Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes – DisneyToon Studios

Wait… there’s a second Bambi movie? Really?

Best Animated Short Subject

* Adventure Time – Nickelodeon
* Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot – Thunderbean Animation
* No Time For Nuts – Blue Sky Studios
* Weird Al Yankovic “Don’t Download This Song” – Acme Filmworks

I am a sucker for Weird Al. I don’t know if it deserves an Annie, but the song is brilliant. (Watch it here if you haven’t seen it before.)

Best Animated Television Production

* Charlie and Lola – Tiger Aspect Productions
* Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Cartoon Network Studios
* King of the Hill – Twentieth Century Fox TV
* The Fairly OddParents – Nickelodeon
* Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! – Film Roman, a Starz Media Co.

Well. Foster’s, obviously. I may even cry if Foster’s doesn’t win.

Two interesting factoids about the Annies to ramp your animation geekoid meter all the way up to eleven:

1) Animated News reports that for the first time ever, all of the Annie voting will be done online. Viva technology!

2) CNN points out that “[t]he winner of the Annie Awards has gone on to claim the Oscar for animated feature every year since the Academy Award for animation was created.”

That does rather diminish the suspense a bit, though I suppose we could hope for a historical upset by the time the Academy Awards rolls around. Just for fun.

Gobble, gobble!

Here in the United States, our frenzied pace of life officially clicks over into the Season of Holidays starting tomorrow. Yes, first we have Thanksgiving—for which we’ll probably spend most of today cooking and preparing—and as we all know, Turkey Day is merely the gateway to the frivolity that will soon follow with the various December holidays and then New Year’s.

It’s a wonderful time to enjoy our families and friends, but not a very good time to be on a diet. Actually, even if you’re not on a diet, it can be a stressful time, too. You know the expression, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” That’s often particularly true for families.

Will you be dealing with some challenging family members tomorrow? Remember my handy mantras. I like “this too shall pass,” and also “if I refrain from jabbing my fork into this person’s skull, I can have another piece of pie.” The first one is more pithy, but you just can’t beat the second one for satisfaction.

Don’t forget that holidays can be stressful for the kids, too. Either their home is overrun with others or they’ve been carted off to someone else’s house. Routines are disrupted. Meltdowns can and will happen, so do what you can to head them off. I suggest frequent snacks and extra TLC. Or, you know, copious amounts of television.

Cartoon Network is showing a block of Xiaolin Showdown episodes from 1:00 – 5:00 pm today (eastern). If that doesn’t float your kids’ boat, over on Nickelodeon they can watch Fairly Oddparents from 2:00 – 6:00 (eastern), followed by about a billion episodes of Spongebob Squarepants.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you let your kids watch television all day long. That would be wrong and bad. And would it also make it really hard to justify watching Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends all day tomorrow, and you had better be planning to watch their new movie, Good Wilt Hunting, tomorrow night at 7:00. With some pie.

Yep, plenty to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends; enjoy the holiday!

Countdown to Good Wilt Hunting

National Adoption Month by ramping up Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is pure brilliance. (Yes, I’m aware there’s more to this issue than a cartoon about abandoned imaginary friends. I encourage you to click that link back there for resources about National Adoption Month, absolutely, but when you’re done being a grown-up and want to talk cartoons, come on back over here.)

So. Let’s talk Foster’s. There’s a new episode premiering every Friday night at 7:00 in November. We missed it, last Friday, but happened to catch “Bloo’s the Boss” (last week’s episode) last night.

It never fails to amaze me how hard Foster’s makes me laugh. Seriously. My kids stop laughing at the show to laugh at me, because I can’t stop laughing. And I can’t. I love this show. I may need professional help. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Mid-episode, Cartoon Network ran an ad for their upcoming Thanksgiving Fosterpalooza (my word; though if they want to borrow it, it’s okay with me). Thanksgiving will bring a marathon of Foster’s all day long, culminating in the premiere of the new hour-long Foster’s movie, Good Wilt Hunting:

After once again having no visitor at the Foster’s Creator Reunion Picnic, a lonely Wilt sets out across the country in hopes of reuniting with his long lost creator, in “Good Wilt Hunting.” Uncertain as to why Wilt left, Bloo and the Foster’s gang set out on a road trip to find him. Hindered by Bloo’s far-out theories and Wilt’s overly good nature, the chase takes many unexpected twists and turns and all the while we come to learn about Wilt’s mysterious past.

Word is that the movie will also introduce us to Eduardo’s creator and the scientist who first studied Coco.

I can’t wait. Er, I mean, my kids can’t wait. Ahem.