On Tuesday evening, July 7th,
ASIFA-Hollywood held a membership preview screening of Nickelodeon’s new Pig Goat Banana Cricket TV series, at
the Nickelodeon Animation Studio’s screening room in Burbank. Animation Scoop editor Jerry Beck presented the
screening of the series’ pilot half-hour episode (scheduled #2 to be shown;
“Pig Goat Banana Cricket High Five!”), and moderated the following Q&A with
series co-creators and co-executive producers Dave Cooper and Johnny Ryan, and
executive producer David Sacks.
Appetizers and drinks were served, and all attendees got a poster
autographed by all three.
Pig Goat Banana Cricket premiered on the Nick channel on Saturday July 18th
at 10:30 am. The first season consists
of 26 half-hour episodes, and it has already been renewed for a second
season. The series features the foursome
as college roommates living together in what looks like a giant toaster atop a
tree, in Boopelite City, a deliberately chaotic combination of funny-animals,
-fish, -birds, -fruits & veggies, -robots, -rotting zombies, and everything
else. The four friends are an Odd
Quadruple; “a pickle-obsessed Pig, a Goat with musical dreams, a Banana
who loves video games and a Cricket with a crazy science lab”. They are, respectively, a burlesque fool, an
artiste, a sarcastic wise guy, and a Mad Scientist.
The first episode, “Pig
Goat Banana Cricket High Five!”, doesn’t have a story as much as it just
introduces the characters. In this outing, Pig enters a pickle-specialty supermarket and befriends a cross
between a shopping cart & a loveable puppy.
He adopts it as a pet, and is immediately accused of stealing a
supermarket shopping cart. Meanwhile
Goat tries to become a street musician, but is constantly drowned out by a
workman with a loud jackhammer – who follows her wherever she goes, to forests
and mountaintops and the undersea kingdom of Prince Mermeow, a feline
merman. Banana needs a job and gets one
as a park ranger, but the boy-animal scouts are all young video-game addicts,
and Banana’s obsession gets him fired.
Cricket fills their treehouse/toaster home with Inventions that save
each of the other three at awkward moments.
Dave Cooper, David Sacks, and Johnny Ryan told how they
developed Pig Goat Banana Cricket from
a comic strip in Nickelodeon Magazine
about ten years ago. The Adult Humor of
the comic strip has been toned down, but it is still very much a Saturday
Morning TV cartoon for adults, or at least for raunchy adolescents. The three referred to it often as a modern
successor to The Ren & Stimpy Show,
full of gross out humor – emphasizing snot, pus, giant buttocks, bloody entrails,
and exaggerated ugliness – a cross between Adventure
Time and Beavis and Butt-head.
three talked about the difficulty in developing short gags of a minute or less
each and stringing them together into coherent half-hour episodes. A three-minute test short made three years
ago titled Pig Goat Banana Mantis is
still online on YouTube (and embed below) to be seen. David
Sachs explained that the Mantis character was renamed Cricket because Nick was
already showing DreamWorks Animation’s Kung
Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness with Master Mantis of the Furious Five. The character design for Mantis was barely
changed for Cricket; the cartoon talking bug doesn’t really look like either a real
mantis or a real cricket.
Pig Goat Banana Cricket is a step in a new direction for Nickelodeon. An animation equivalent to alternative comic strip – and it works. If it can achieve
the more sophisticated humor, notoriety, and popularity of the classic The Ren & Stimpy Show, Nick will be