The Foster's GangThis Sunday, it will be time to lower the shades, turn down the lights, lock the gate and say farewell. That afternoon Cartoon Network will air the last episodes of Craig McCracken’s superlatively creative show Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends.
It’s enough to make fans of imaginative kids TV turn Bloo…er, Blue.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” McCracken acknowledges. “It’s sad that it’s over but nice that I can slow down a bit and breathe. I still love the show and the characters but during that last season we were really struggling to keep the show fresh and not repeat ourselves. Though I am incredibly proud of all the work we did, even up to the very end I feel we had some really solid and funny shows.”
Indeed. Starting at 1:00 p.m. May 3, CN will kick off a 6-hour marathon featuring fan favorites of the entire series as well as five last new episodes, culminating with the half-hour “Goodbye To Bloo,” at 6:30 p.m.
The loglines for these final shows are as follows:
• 4:30: “The Bloo Superdude & The Great Creator of Everything’s Awesome Ceremony of Fun That He’s Not Invited To” – Bloo imagines he is engaged in another hair-raising adventure as the Bloo Superdude, but in reality, he is just deliriously sick and trying to attend Mac’s birthday party.
• 5:00: “Bad Dare Day” – What starts as an innocent dare turns into a house-wide competition that pits the friends against each other in a bid to win the title of Dare Champion!
• 5:30: “Read ‘Em and Weep” – Several recently adopted Imaginary Friends start to paint a less-than-rosy picture of life outside the house through a series of letters sent to Foster’s.
• 6:00: “Fools And Regulations” – Bloo and the Friends are forced to choose between staying upstairs and staying outside while Frankie and Mr. Herriman host an important party at Foster’s.
• 6:30: “Goodbye to Bloo” – Bloo and the Friends think Mac is moving away forever, so they set out to make his last day at Foster’s the greatest he’s ever had.
From the sounds of them, if McCracken and company were starting to run out of ideas, they managed to ensure they are leaving on the right track.
Then again, one gets the impression this series was always a very personal one for its creator. He doesn’t quite deny it either.
“Well my Father died when I was 7 and not to sound morose or anything but I’ve realized that Bloo is me before he died and Mac is me after,” he confesses. “I don’t remember this at all but my Mom swears that I had an Imaginary Friend named John from Bentleyville but I personally have no recollection of him. Must not have been a very good friend. I can only guess that this John guy is somewhere in Bentleyville still but I have no idea.”
On the other hand, McCracken is walking away with some very good memories as well.
“The fact that the show won five Emmys is up there as a pretty awesome highlight and having a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for three years was unbelievable,” he says. “But really, it’s the shows, I’m crazy proud of the work we did on Foster’s and the fact that it worked just the way we wanted it to.
“It’s gonna sound boring, but Bloo and Cheese are so stupid and funny I love thinking about what those guys are gonna get into next. Though as the series went on I developed a real love for Jackie Khones. He just became this deep complicated character and we made up this whole back story for him and how he was created. Considering that the show’s over I guess I should reveal it now. It was 1982 and Billy Dee Williams just found out that he was going to get to pilot the Falcon in Jedi and realized he was in need of a co-pilot. So he thought long and hard about who his ‘Chewy’ might be and in a flash of inspiration he created his own hairy friend, Jackie Khones. The two were a powerful duo and they were set to take on the galaxy but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. George Lucas was tight with this guy called Nien Numb and the rest is history. The let down caused Jackie to fall into the dark side of Hollywood where he lived a fast, wild and dangerous life before stumbling into Foster’s one day. Jackie claims that there’s test footage of he and Billy blasting through hyper space but I’ve yet to see it.”
In the meanwhile, it sounds like McCracken’s Cartoonstitute is about to make some waves in its own right.
“Things are good,” he says. “We’ve got 14 pilots done in the past year that the Network seems pretty happy with. As to what happens next with them regarding show pick ups, broadcasting, or what have you is out of my hands. Our job was to find the artists, and get the cartoons made and we’ve done just that. There’s some pretty funny and weird stuff in that batch of shorts and I really hope people get to see ‘em someday.”
As for McCracken himself? The last time he was interviewed he acknowledged he was looking at doing something in the print field. He’s still not ready to fess up and say exactly what that is though.
“Nothing official at this point,” says McCracken. “I’m still working on stuff, I’ve got some initial interest from publishers. I’ve got about four projects in my head and on paper but I’m constantly going “ Is this a book? Is it a comic strip? Is it a Movie? Is it a TV show? My problem is that I really, really like them all, I just need to find the right one to focus on and get to work.
“I’ve got a bunch of ideas and they could really go anywhere from books, to papers, to movies, to TV. I just have to find the right place for them. But yeah now that we’ve got these shorts done, I’m starting to think about what’s next. Whatever it is it’s gotta be an idea that I get crazy obsessed with, Animation is so time consuming that it’s gotta be a project that I’m in love with.”
And could this eventually lead to more Foster’s? After all, earlier this year McCracken did do a new PowerPuff Girls to celebrate their tenth anniversary.
“Like I said I love the show,” McCracken says in conclusion. “I love the characters and even though we were struggling there a bit at the end to stay original, I know there’s more stories to tell with Foster’s. I am forever grateful to all the fans who supported and watched the shows these past few years. Thanks guys!”
Actually, we fans should be thanking him.
BOOP & SNOOPY JOIN THE HEAT
They probably won’t help Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat beat the Bulls, but these two new players have still become real popular with the female and kid fans.
For those who haven’t noticed, the Wednesday, April 29 edition of the Florida Sun Sentinel reported yesterday that the NBA team run by Pat Riley has released a series of shirts, shorts and other fashion-type stuff featuring Betty Boop and Snoopy (usually with Woodstock). According the newspaper, they clothes are flying off the rack, too.
Not that the Heat are the only team jumping on the ‘toon bandwagon. Apparently the NBA is assigning various other animated characters to other teams and events. No less than Ben 10 was on a pile of gear at this year’s NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona. Other teams will be making their own animation announcements in the near future.
This causes us to wonder. If Bugs Bunny winds up on New York Knick or LA Lakers gear, does this mean Daffy Duck will be a Brooklyn Net or LA Clipper? Will Hennery represent the Hawks? Who gets Popeye?
The possibilities are endless….