Let's see how fast I can lose what little audience I have by talking about this show.
Ah yes, Fanboy and Chum Chum. For some reason this show gets hated on a lot. It's like a punchline. Every time someone says something like "TV animation sucks nowadays!", the first example they usually trot out is this particular show. Man, everything on the air is like Fanboy and Chum Chum! Why can't we have more 2D animation instead of crap like Fanboy and Chum Chum? Kids today have a terrible childhood because they have Fanboy and Chum Chum! I'm not defending the show (I don't really defend ANY show in this blog), but like Loonatics Unleashed, the hatred is a tiny bit overblown and silly.
Probably because I've seen many other shows get similar hate because Western Animation fans just suck. Don't worry, Fanboy and Chum Chum, because Rocket Power, Jimmy Neutron, The Replacements, Teamo Supremo, ChalkZone, and El Tigre all got similar backlash. (Also Butt Ugly Martians and Super Duper Sumos, but they deserved it)
But I'll be honest. The reason I'm doing this show is not because I have any sort of interest in the show, that I'm curious as to why it gets hated on, or that someone requested it to me. Instead, my reasoning is a bit more shallow. I'm doing this review because my Computer Animation teacher was Lead Character Technical Artist on this show. I'm not going to make unfounded claims I can't back up, but if I remember correctly, he designed either Fanboy or Chum Chum. He's honestly proud of his work on this show (he also did work Tak and the Power of Juju, but in his opinion, this show is better) so I'm going to try to judge it more fairly than say, anyone who thinks that CGI is the cheap alternative to 2D. It's not.
Anyways, I'm going to watch what else but this show's premiere episode, Wizboy. This is yet another show that's divided into a two shows/ 11 minute format, so at the very least, it should give me a light, fluffy post after posting those monsters about the Loonatics and The Mask.
With that being said, will I end up being like every single 18 years and older cartoon fan who says that Invader Zim and Rocko's Modern Life is totally better than this new-aged, CGI drivel they're forcefeeding the children, or will I have a deep penetrating shame over the fact that I find something to like out of this show? Don't try to fight it folks, because I'm introducing you to...
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After a really stylized title card that could've probably worked really well as the art style for the actual show, the show decides to set the bar pretty low by opening on a poorly rendered school with some weird color choices. Apparently this particular school district decided that the best learning atmosphere for future minds involves a squat pimple of a building that looks like a rotten piece of cheese.
...it's probably unfair that I'm ragging on the show for less than a second of animation, but still. Those teal highlights are so not working in the community's favor.
|They used up Home Depot's entire supply of mustard-colored paint.|
That, or the school budget is extremely anal about anything that might hurt the students (a potted plant might aggravate someone's allergies!) and the teacher just takes it, knowing that his next paycheck is the only thing keeping him from killing himself.
|"Please kill me."|
With eyes grotesquely bulging out of their heads and underwear adorned outside of their clothes, Fanboy and Chum Chum make their appearance and ask the teacher what grape juices go great with the misspelled food (meat larf for those curious) on the menu. Basically it establishes a double-edged relationship between these kids and this suicidal teacher. While they are, like most child protagonists, annoying and random, they also happen to be the only children still awake and paying attention to the teacher. And, since it took me a while to figure this out myself, the tall kid is Fanboy and the short kid is Chum Chum. Now you know which one is which. Tell your friends.
I hate the fact that I had to look up whether white grape juice actually exists, by the way. It does. Thanks for making me feel stupid, modern CGI show that the Internet tells me I have to hate to be cool.
|So they just carry large quantities of grape juice wherever they go? Makes sense to me.|
He even makes a similar facial spasm when he learns from a mysterious hand off-screen that they received a new student. I'm totally blaming the superintendent for keeping this guy on the payroll without any mental leave if children's dessicated bodies start turning up in the playground.
|This face has "serial killer" written all over it.|
It sure is a good thing this classroom has no furniture, or otherwise this kid would've ended up phasing through a table or desk. Maybe Mufflin knew the kid was going to do this ahead of time and moved all obstacles out of the way.
|Oh, good going, kid. You just blew 90% of the year's special effects budget. Now what?|
I mean, just look at him. If he wasn't in Fanboy and Chum Chum (aka "Everyone born in the 90's is legally obligated to despise this show"), he'd probably be up there with Nergal Jr. and Numba Four in terms of legions of fangirls. If you don't know those names, don't worry. A quick search on Deviantart will fix that immediately.
|Pictured: My Political Science class.|
Just, please, those backgrounds could be a little bit more interesting. Throw some chalk writing on that blackboard. Have a desk in the background. Potted plant. Something!
|"Sir, you do realize you're shaped like a Twinkie, right?"|
"And your forehead is impossibly large. Your point?"
...although, looking back at these scene, the creepy part of it is not so much the overexaggerated freak children trying to scare the wizard, but rather that vaguely girlish lump that's sitting in a desk next to them. What is that thing? Whatever it is, it looks very sad at the fact that it exists.
|"Don't you want to sit next to Jabba the Hutt's daughter, Kyle?"|
Also, why are half of these children in this class hideously bloated and deformed? Is this school next to a waste treatment plant?
|But then again, if I was the only one with magic in a room full of mundane idiots, I'd be a jerk too.|
|"The moment I get my Hogwarts letter, I am so blowing this suburban hellhole."|
...let me repeat that. He turned one of his professors into flan and ate him. He got expelled for eating one of his teachers. Cannibalism; apparently it's okay to discuss in a Nick show.
|Insert Hannibal Lector joke here.|
In other words, this kid is going to be this show's antagonist, or at least this episode is setting him up to be. (I'll be honest that this is the first and only episode of this show I've watched at the moment so I wouldn't really know) Is it me, or is pitting a hyperintelligent kid with magical powers that just devoured his previous enemy against, well, Fanboy and Chum Chum, kind of a bad idea? I fear that their lifespans are going to be ridiculously short now that a necromancer is in their classroom.
|And then Kyle got detention for messing with the classroom's lighting.|
I love how while Annoying Purple Kid goes on about how he's also a real spaceman and a real ninja when he plays pretend, Kyle just silently glares at them as if he hates the fact that they're breathing the same air as him. I'm sure if Mr. Mufflin is not looking (and considering how long this scene goes on during class, he's really not), you can make a head explosion look like a complete accident.
|"The fact that your head is almost a perfect cylinder both confuses and infuriates me."|
Not sure why he has to tell him not to smell him, by the way; that seems like sort of a given as a thing not to do to someone. Don't tell me Fanboy and Chum Chum tried to sneak in sniffs off-camera. There's also a disturbing amount of balls grouped in pairs in the background, as if this scene didn't already have enough innuendo.
|"Do you want me to turn you into a dessert and eat you? Would you like that?"|
"...are you...are you coming onto me?"
...and seriously, what is Mr. Mufflin doing while all of this is going on? What are the other classmates doing? Whatever happened to that one fat kid that Kyle stole his seat from? How come no one cares that the new kid just summoned a mysterious blue fortress around him? Don't conveniently ignore me, cartoon! These are very good questions!
|The more I look at them, the more I realize that Fanboy and Chum Chum look like a |
monkey and a raccoon respectively.
But then, what happens next can only be described as something that I really wish got more of a reaction from the other classmates. This kid that normally shows up in a superhero outfit then dresses up in a wizard outfit complete with a traffic cone and bursts into the room with an overblown introduction by his raccoon-shaped buddy, and none of the kids can come out of their comatose spell long enough to give even a murmur of approval. Is this normal in this district? Is this show really a deep commentary on how children of this day and age are too desensitized to find anything interesting and creative?
Also, why aren't these two suspended yet? I've seen class clowns get thrown into Saturday School for a lot less. Mr. Mufflin, get off your duff and supervise!
|Where are all the teachers.|
But seriously, if you look at this episode from the perspective of someone who has transferred districts before and was "the new kid" at one point in time, Fanboy and Chum Chum are being absolute dicks to this kid. The fact that he's the only one with a British accent also adds the fun little bonus that they're essentially picking on a foreign exchange student. Fun times.
Also, holy crap, that girl to the left of him. I feel mean for singling out the pony-tailed grub back there, but that thing's seriously disturbing me. That can't be human.
|"Why didn't I kill them when I had the chance?"|
Considering Kyle really is a magic user and the wild world of wizards was a hot thing in pop culture at one point, I can't help but wonder if he's encountered foolishness like this and I wonder how fun it was for him to live through the Harry Potter craze. Especially considering he's a thinly veiled homage to Harry Potter. Oh, come on, the British accent and the shirt totally say he is. I'm totally right.
|"You're making fun of my forehead, aren't you!?"|
I can really relate to this scene too. I know this is how I feel all the time after taking four years of animation classes and then having a relative go "Animation? Hey, you mean like cartoons? I can draw a dog and I didn't need to go to school for that!". I feel your pain, gentle Kyle.
Why yes, friends, the rumors about how Nickelodeon shows are filled with potty humor are true! This show has the audacity to have a fart joke. Hah hah, that's what Kyle gets for being the new kid!
|I'm posting these screens because I seem to hate everyone's eyes lately.|
I love how they just stand there while a kid who knows transmogrification spells pulls his magic wand out and readies a spell, possibly one that will end in their messy, screaming, slow and painful demise. While his beard is luscious and full, Fanboy's survival instinct is lacking.
|Every little thing he does is magic|
Everything he do just turns me on
|"Sorry kid, that's what you get for being new."|
...yeah, the fact that someone wants his flesh torn apart by a giant monster with claws and wings should probably reflect badly on Fanboy's personality. Having a sorcerer for an enemy kind of sucks.
Also, random, but I kind of want that kid on the left's backpack. It's a tennis ball with eyes! Stylish!
|"Hey, Kyle! Check out my pinata costume!"|
|"Hey, you know Snape kills-"|
Also, random, but it's disturbing how the cow on that milk poster looks intoxicated. That shouldn't happen when you drink your own bodily fluids.
|"See this? I can do this to your head."|
Also, is it me, or should their names be switched? The little one, Chum Chum, acts a lot like a fanboy to Fanboy, whereas Fanboy tried to be all chum chum to Kyle. But then again, I'm sure there's an episode that explains this better than this one, since this episode clearly exists to introduce the viewers to Kyle.
|Oh geez, the look on Kyle's face.|
|Meanwhile, the other students just watch this, say "meh", and continue being boring.|
...right into that hideous girl lump thing's lunch. Oh, Kyle and your ability to get yourself into situations that involve physical pain. We also learn that the hideous beast is named Lupe, probably because calling her "The Blob" would've violated copyright.
|"Tah-koh tee womp rat e’nachu!"|
|Knowing Kyle, that pudding is probably one of the janitors.|
I freaking love this kid's facial expressions, by the way. The severity of them now that he's suffered so much anguish is so much fun to watch. He's gradually turning into a warlock filled with hatred and revenge, an actual honest to god supervillain (this episode can actually make for a very convincing origin story for one) and I'm loving every minute of it.
That's it, Kyle. Give in to the Dark Side. Avada Kedavra their asses!
|"Very good. And now you face me, like a man...straight-backed and proud, the way your |
father died. And now -- we duel."
|"You remind me of the babe."|
"Babe with the power."
...I'm pretty sure we all know what's going to happen in this wizard duel. I'll give you a hint; it involves the pride-filled magic user with actual talent getting somehow beaten by the goofy underdogs filled with spirit. As a kid, I always got bugged by these endings, because it's essentially giving you false hopes. Jerk attitude or no; people with talent will win against people without it. Simple as that.
|"What kind of magic spell to use? Slime, snails, or puppy dog tails? Thunder or lightning? Something frightening!"|
The idea of a wizard using the whole "I removed my finger" trick in a magic duel sounds lame (probably because it kind of is), but the way the cartoon stages it makes it look like this spell is going to be the greatest, most mind-blowing piece of magical performance ever before leading to something we've all pulled on our younger siblings when we were younger. I sure hope this kid ended up becoming a Drama major, because he has a future as an actor.
|"Invisible motorcycle! Vroom! Vroom!"|
Oh, and while this goes on, Kyle starts channeling a spell that will nuke the two of them off the face of the Earth. But that's not that important right now, not with Chum Chum out of commission!
...and did I just type the word "fingering" in a Nicktoons review?
|Relax, Fanboy. Hold some auditions and you can get a new Boy Wonder in no time at all!|
Also, the poses are really cool in this cartoon. I'm sure somebody's going to send me an e-mail saying something along the lines of "Hah hah, you complimented Fanboy and Chum Chum! You suck!" but at this point, I really don't care. Just look at Kyle there and tell me he doesn't deserve his own show. Freaking love this kid.
...no, seriously, what!? Alright, cartoon, since I'll be nice, I'll buy this ending.
While Kyle's blood rains down from the sky like a morbid April shower, Fanboy believes that his cool finger tricks scared the wizard prodigy away and, just to show that he's a good sport, he's going to hang out with Kyle tomorrow and do even more wizardly stuff, cementing Kyle's role in this show.
...uh, wait. Aren't griffins supposed to be incredibly lethal killers? For some reason, this ending seems like kind of a downer. With his back turned, he can't even see the horrible curved beak rip Kyle's intestines out in mid-air.
|This screenshot contains patriotism and death! Mostly death.|
What an uplifting ending.
...literally, because Kyle's being lifted into the air. Yeah, sorry. It's late and I can't think of any other way to end this.
The Moral of this Cartoon
If a wizard shows up in your school, annoy them and mess with their magic artifacts of destruction until they accidentally hurt themselves with a griffin. Not only is it fun, but you will suffer absolutely no consequences!
Okay, let me say something that might make everyone hate me.
This show was not bad.
This show definitely isn't for me, but now I know it's not because of the quality, but rather the mere fact that it's really hard for me to like shows that take place in a school setting. It's just a genre I don't find myself watching that often. I can really name only three shows in this genre that I did follow and watch (Doug, Hey Arnold, and Recess), but other than that, the classroom setting just feels like it's been done (although ironic me saying that when I'm a big fan of superheroes, another genre that's been done even moreso). But I will give credit where credit is due; the show managed to find something interesting that makes it more than just a school setting. Hence Kyle.
Yeah, Kyle? He really steals the show. It's impossible for him not to; he's a freakin' magic user in a school full of idiots and he makes the best faces. This episode almost felt like the protagonists weren't the children who had their names on the title card, but rather the suffering wizard kid surrounded by mundanes that don't understand him. This probably changes in later episodes since this is Kyle's introductory episode, but I'm mostly talking about THIS episode in particular in this Final Verdict.
I will give this show some credit. When it doesn't have sparse, vacant backgrounds (personally my biggest problem with the show considering that Jimmy Neutron and Tak had more stuff going on in the background, but then again, this was a series pilot), it looks really nice. The facial expressions are really fluid, they actually do use exaggeration and squash and stretch, and it looks a LOT better than Jimmy Neutron as far as human designs go. CGI alone can't save any flubs the writing gives us, but it was a pleasant surprise that the facial expressions are at least clear and cartoony. In fact, the facial expressions might be the best part of this show.
I think that's one of the reasons why I like Kyle out of all of this. Most of his acting is just him reacting to what's going on, but it really works.
I can't see myself watching this for fun, I can't see myself becoming a big fan, and I probably will change the channel if this comes on and something else is on, but objectively it's not bad and I've seen plenty of shows that are a lot worse. It doesn't deserve the hate the Internet gives it even if I myself just think it's okay. Personally, I like Tak and the Power of Juju better, but that's more personal preference than anything.