Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fanboy and Chum Chum - Wizboy

Recent stuff! Whoo! This post should be a good enough reminder that while I do watch and review 90's and 80's shows, I can sometimes do something recent too. That's why I have a 2000's label after all.

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...


November 6, 2009

Availability: Online Only

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.'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.
We zoom into the classroom and we find...okay. Okay. I need a moment just to let this setting sink in. Apparently this potato-shaped being positively hates furniture and likes to teach his students while standing in a blue void of sorrow. I bet this takes place in a parallel universe where this classroom represents everything that is boring about any and all classrooms throughout the world manifested into a single form, complete with a random chair that somehow makes it that much more boring.

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."
The human potato reads off a misspelling on the school lunch menu, sounding like he'd rather take a box cutter to the wrist rather than waste his time with these little snot-nosed brats, until he is interrupted by none other but the protagonists of this show, the children who have their names adorned on the title screen.

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.
Their liquid-related question causes the teacher, who is named Mr. Mufflin (because he looks a little like a baked good if you squint), to go into strange facial spasms that seem to exist only to disturb me. Clearly this is the face of a man who is qualified to teach young children.

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.
The moment the teacher says that there's a new student, suddenly, the show gains a lighting budget when the new kid magically manifests himself through the floor while chanting a very pretentious speech on how absolutely awesome he is and how much better he is compared to everyone else. I'm not going to post his entire speech, but I will note that I heard the word "necromancy" in there, which instantly wins brownie points from me. Necromancers need to be in more cartoons regardless of how much they suck.

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?
Kind readers who were gracious enough to stick around, meet Kyle the Conjurer. He's British, has an attractive voice, is a pompous jerk, knows how to perform magic, and wears a shirt that could be a homage to Doctor Who. In other words, he's intended to be this show's fanbait material and he's most definitely the most popular character in this show.

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.

Kyle's pride is instantly crushed when he sees the reception his magic lightshow full of wondrous prestidigitation got. Kid, you're in a public school, where free-thinking and creativity goes to die. Just be thankful these children aren't doing drugs or texting on their cellphones.

Pictured: My Political Science class.
Harry Potter complains to the teacher that his classmates aren't basking in the gloriousness that is him, prompting the teacher to tell him to sit his ass down in a desk and leave him alone. It's around here that I realize that, for the most part, the CGI animation for this show kind of works. I'm not saying it's spectacular (it's not) but it kind of has a Psychonauts/Igor feel to it as far as how the character designs move and emote. I'm all for CGI shows making their shows look different.

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?"
Then, Fanboy and Chum Chum decide to immediately alienate the new kid by being incredibly creepy in their attempts at offering him a desk. Poor Kyle. He doesn't know just what kind of situation he just teleported him and his delightful striped jacket into.

...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?"
This is when we learn two of Kyle's quirks is to talk in big words and being a tremendous jerk to children uglier than him. With an irritated "invitation declined" wafting out of his brace-covered buck teeth, he then uses magic to make a "writing implement" fly out of the room so that he can snatch someone's seat. Yeah, kid's an asshole, but I will give this show a hand; he at least has my attention.

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.
And then, pretty quickly, I find out what makes this character more likeable than the rest of the cast; he seems to harvest a deep hatred with Fanboy and Chum Chum, instantly making him relatable. Since Mr. Mufflin just isn't doing his job (probably because he's drinking himself into a blessed stupor off-screen) and monitoring these hyperactive children, Fanboy and Chum Chum just get all up in this superior creature's personal space and start asking him questions about his wizard-dom. Meanwhile, Kyle just looks like he wants to die. Hey, wouldn't you?
"The moment I get my Hogwarts letter, I am so blowing this suburban hellhole."
But then we learn Kyle's story. We learn that he was expelled from a wizard school (called The Milkweed Academy for Wizards, which at least wins points for not being called Somethingwarts) because he turned one of the professors into raspberry flan (which he calls a delicious old fool) and then ate him.

...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.
After that, Kyle once again manipulates the lighting and gives us a very good motive as to why he's here. One day he will show them all and assume his rightful place as the most powerful preteen wizard on the planet. They all laughed at them back the academy, but he'll show them aaaalll!

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.
There's the typical "the moment someone laughs evilly, the two dumb characters laugh too" extended gag, but that doesn't stop the opinion I'm forming on this kid. The more I watch this, the more I feel that Kyle probably just wandered into the computer file of the wrong CGI show. Somewhere, there's an unreleased Nick show that involves the magical adventures of Kyle as he fights dragons, hydras, and brave little toasters from Mars and we're not seeing it because he accidentally trapped himself in Fanboy and Chum Chum. Pray for this poor suffering child.
Pictured: Suffering.
But then, the plot silently bobs to the surface. See, Fanboy and Chum Chum then turn to this kid who can levitate objects, teleport, and turn people into food and tell him that they're real wizards too. Kyle is understandably insulted because these two are demeaning his course of study, but he's met with a solid wall of idiocy when he tries to reinforce the whole "I'm real and you're just playing pretend" foundation. It sort of reminds me of what happens whenever a Japanese-American accidentally wonders into their high school's Anime Club.

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."
After that journey into stupidity, The Boy Who Lived decides to lay down the law. The dweebs can't look at him, talk to him, or smell him. Sounds cruel, but honestly, they should be lucky he's not doing something horrible to them right now. Remember the raspberry flan story, guys?

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, after that, he creates a magic blue dome (yes, you read that right. A magic blue dome) just so that he can shield himself from the harmful moron rays radiating from Fanboy and Chum Chum. Smart move. Considering the state of the rest of the students, that crap's probably contagious.

...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.
Later on during the day, absolutely no students are doing any schoolwork. Seriously, how do these schools get any funding if no one's actually learning anything? It must suck to have a teacher who can't decorate his room and finds the menial task of education too much for his twinkie-shaped body.

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.
Kyle...reacts in pretty much the expected way. Oh, the joys of being a new kid while the class clowns single you out and try to turn your very existence into a joke.

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?"
But let's play around with their assholitude for a moment here. According to Chum Chum, it turns out that Fanboy is really a wizard named Wizboy (title drop!), and his friend Chum Chum is really a teapot that he brought to life. He wants to show the new kid all of his amazing new tricks on account he's also a real wizard! Wizards!

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!?"
Okay, I will give this show some positive feedback, at the risk of alienating my audience. I love how fluid the expressions are when Kyle gets absolutely pissed off that Fanboy is insisting that he's a wizard. Cartoony exaggeration in CGI is always a plus, because that's the one thing 2D animators rag the medium on. Well that, and the whole "stealing all of our jobs" thing. Animation is a bitter medium, I've noticed.

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.

Unfortunately, Kyle decides to be stupid (I warned you about the harmful moron radiation, Kyle!) and rise up to their bait by asking them to do some magic tricks. Be prepared for a great mudslide of stupidity, folks, because after Fanboy performs the famous "make a finger jump from one hand to the other" optical illusion, he wants Kyle to, wait for it, pull his finger.

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.
Fanboy farts all over the wizard because, well, Nick cartoon. It's in his contract. The moment that expulsion of gas occurs, Kyle insists that he show them some real magic now. Well, it's obvious that these two have just made a very powerful enemy with their bodily functions. I hope they like being raspberry flan.

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
Thankfully, Mr. Mufflin decides to do his job at the last minute by confiscating Kyle's wand before he has to clean up any bloodstains. Okay, why wasn't he there earlier when Fanboy and Chum Chum were clearly singling out a student for ridicule and disrupting the class? I see some favoritism happening in this classroom. 

"Sorry kid, that's what you get for being new."
We cut to lunch (so that the cartoon can be vague as to whether actual teaching goes on in that classroom or not) and find that not only is Kyle the Conjurer by himself in the lunch room (probably because he turned any kid that walked near him into raspberry flan and ate them), but he also has a magic book cracked open. He browses through the pages, smiling to himself when he finds a spell on summoning griffins. Our little murderer then imagines Fanboy in the clutches of the hideous beast and makes a sticky note for later.

...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.

Buckbeak, no!
But even in the lunchroom, he is unsafe from retards. Guess who decides to arrive but Idiotboy and Dum Dum, who still think they're freakin' wizards. These are the most persistent bullies ever. And yes, I'm calling them bullies, because even unintentionally, they're causing some poor child physical (the fart) and mental anguish. You can argue that Kyle deserves it for being an asshole earlier, but I see this as a cycle of jerks being jerks to one another while no adult supervision takes place.

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!"
They sit next to the wizard that harbors nothing but pure resentment to them, and Fanboy comments on how Kyle is reading at lunch. This causes the redheaded demon child to say "Like I give an elf" and continue reading, all while ignoring the conveniently placed morons he can use as target practice. Come on, Kyle. The censors aren't listening. Say what you really feel.
"Hey, you know Snape kills-"
He then lets them know, after setting the shorter and fatter moron's marker on fire (because Kyle is awesome), that it's a necronomicon, something real wizards have. And, since he stressed the whole "real wizards" thing, you know what that means.

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."
Yes, that's right, since Wizboy is an actual honest to god wizard just like the new kid, they have a necronomicon too, only its the yellow pages! When they pull out the phone book filled with the wisdom of the gods, there's a surprisingly well-written scene where Fanboy, with really good voice delivery, reads an ad for carpet cleaning like he's chanting a magic spell, ending his chant with "animal stains our speciality" (eww). It almost makes me want to forget the fact that they just had a pull my finger joke.

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.
Yeah, bonding time isn't working well for these characters. The tribe of dumbasses read from his magic book, chant out the griffin spell like they're just pretending (which I'm sure isn't going to be important later, right?), call their lunch "wizard lunch", pretend to levitate ketchup bottles, and are just overall nuisances. Despite how angry Kyle looks here, I have to admire his patience. They're being tremendous idiots and yet he hasn't made their heads explode. Maybe he doesn't want to get expelled from more than one school.

Meanwhile, the other students just watch this, say "meh", and continue being boring.
Instead of making their brains splatter all over the wall, he decides merely to blow their minds metaphorically by levitating.

...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!"
There is kind of a funny line where, while Kyle gets predictably beaten up by 400 pounds of hideous female flab, Fanboy says "Chum Chum, levitate me Kyle's pudding!". And then they steal the wizard's dessert while Lupe breaks his spine. This just feels like adding insult to injury and, on top of all of this, unnecessarily cruel. What if Draco Malfoy needed that chocolate to feel better about his broken bones and his punctured lungs, Fanboy and Chum Chum?

Knowing Kyle, that pudding is probably one of the janitors.
At the playground, Kyle decides that enough is enough and challenges Fanboy to a Wizard Off at the flagpole, off school grounds, where no one can persecute them for fighting. The way he approaches them lets the audience know that the kiddy gloves are off and that Kyle is going to do some serious wizarding on them.

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."
They meet at the flag pole, and Fanboy and Chum Chum are blissfully unaware that they're going to get their insides liquidated. In fact, Fanboy is happy that he's going to be in his first wizard duel while Chum Chum uses a lint roller to make sure his hero's cape is nice and glossy. The air shimmers with pride as Fanboy is ready to face off against a fellow wizard, and I'm sure his parents (do these kids have parents?) were also proud of him right when they delivered their eulogy at the funeral.

"You remind me of the babe."
"What babe?"
"Babe with the power."
Since Kyle's both an idiot (the moron radiation hasn't worn off yet) and a good sport, he insists that Fanboy goes first, all while he reads note cards that detail so many delightful ways for him to crush his foe. He makes them levitate too, because he's a massive showoff.  As you can imagine, Kyle believes this is going to be an easy win. After all, if he can transform a professor that teaches magic in a magic school (and therefore should know magic), then what chance do these two idiots have?

...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!"
What's Fanboy's spell, by the way? Why, it's another finger trick! Only this one, it looks like he removed his finger! Man, that kid really likes keeping to his finger theme. Branch out a little, Fanboy.

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!"
Sheer awesomeness of such magnitude is so powerful that it faints Fanboy's little raccoon sidekick, even! You fool, Fanboy! Using your powers of fingering for evil!

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!
There's a weird little scene where Fanboy revives Chum Chum from his finger-induced stupor with a brand name snack food and then Chum Chum tries to eat Fanboy in a sugar-crazed state of mind, all while Kyle takes a really, really, really long time to charge up a ball of massive energy in order to get these two annoyances out of his life. Come on, kid. If you're not going to kill them, just go ahead and say so. Don't do all of this posturing and then let a plot point conveniently rise up out of nowhere and take you out.

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.

And then, before two of the most hated Nicktoon stars gets blasted into millions of tiny, scorched pieces, cinematic payoff rains down from the sky! Why, it's that griffin from earlier! You see, remember that one throwaway scene in the lunchroom where Kyle was reading about a griffin spell and then Fanboy was messing around with Kyle's spellbook? Well, it totally summoned a griffin! Ohohoho, irony. Kyle getting carried off by the very thing he wanted to use to kill Fanboy., 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.
And that's honestly how this episode ends; with Fanboy believing that he scared off a professional wizard with his awesomeness and with Kyle getting disemboweled by a mythical creature.

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!

Final Verdict
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.