Header Ads

The Animated Sitcoms That Time Forgot

Ever since The Simpsons broke through, animation creators and producers everywhere have tried to replicate their success. Yet for every primetime animated sitcom that has met some success there has been several failures. As Bobs' Burgers becomes the latest success story to reach its 100th episode, we look back at some of the shows that weren't quite so lucky.

God, The Devil and Bob (2000)

Matthew Carson's series revolves around a beer-drinking dimwitted factory worker named Bob who finds himself unwittingly caught up in an arrangement between God and The Devil, being selected to determine whether humanity is worth saving. After saving the world in the first episode, Bob continues to be visited by both God (voiced by James Garner) and The Devil (Alan Cumming), when all he really wants is a quiet life. The subject matter meant this show was probably doomed from the start, and a combination of pressure from religious groups and poor ratings lead to NBC dropping the show after just 4 episodes. The full 13 episodes aired in the UK and Ireland but the remaining episodes were never shown in the US until 2011, when Adult Swim picked up the show.

Stressed Eric (1998-2000)

This British show follows Eric Feeble, a 40-year-old single parent struggling with life in London. Each episode featured more and more stressful situations piling on poor Eric, with work and family causing stress levels to go through the roof. Episodes typically end with his him busting a blood vessel. with his throbbing temple a constant reminder of his increasing stress. It ran for two series on the BBC, and was also aired on NBC in the US, where original Eric Mark Heap was redubbed by Hank Azaria.

The Life and Times of Tim (2008-2012)

This rare foray into animation for HBO originally started life as a 2006 short named Angry Unpaid Hooker. The short was used as the inspiration for the pilot episode, in which hapless twenty-something Tim- voiced by creator Steve Dildarian- has to explain the presence of a prostitute in his apartment to his girlfriend- and later her parents. This was just the beginning for poor Tim, who over the course of three seasons found himself bumbling from one awkward situation to another. An animated cousin to the popular 'cringe-comedies' of recent years.

Bromwell High  (2005)

This UK/Canadian co-production centres around an inner-city London High School in the fictional suburb of Bromwell. The central characters are three trouble-making girls named Latrina, Keisha and Natella. The series showed teenagers who talk like real teenagers, complete with enough swearing to make a sailor blush. For all it's wacky sitcom-ish plots, it also showed a refreshingly authentic multi-cultural London that is all too rarely seen on screen. It featured the voices of British comedy royalty such as Steven Merchant, Gina Yashere, Nina Conti, Steven Mangan and Graham Garden, and was co-created by Richard Osman- now best known for the hit quiz-show Pointless. Although thirteen episodes were made, only the first six were shown in the UK on the original airing.

Game Over (2004)

This CGI sitcom featured a family of videogame characters called the Smashenburns, and concentrated on their lives outside the game world- long before Wreck It Ralph. The family is lead by a Racing Driver named Rip, and a Lara Croft-esque adventurer named Raquel.  Poor ratings meant that only six episodes were ever produced- and the final episode never even made it to air.

Clone High (2002-2003)

This high-school sitcom is most notable for having being created by  The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Chris Miller alongside Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence. Set in a school populated by teenage clones of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Cleopatra and- most controversially- Gandhi, it was originally aired in Canada on the Teletoons network. It aired in the US on MTV, but was pulled from the schedule before the whole season could air.

Glenn Martin DDS (2009-2011)

Unusually for primetime animated sitcoms, this series was made in stop-motion. Aside from the choice of medium though, it played out as a fairly typical family based sitcom. The show followed the titular Dentist, who takes his family on a cross-country roadtrip in a RV in the hope of bonding, after he accidentily burns down the family home. The series ran for two seasons on Nick at Night, an was nominated for an Annie Award in 2009.

Father Of The Pride (2004)

Fresh from their success on the big screen, DreamWorks Animation first tried to conquer TV with this short-lived sitcom. The series featured a family of white lions that were part of the menagerie owned by real-life Las Vegas stars Siegfried and Roy- with the titular Father himself voiced by John Goodman. Unusually for an animated sitcom on NBC, the show was explicitly aimed at an adult audience, and although no South Park or Family Guy it did have much more adult jokes than DWA's movies. That wasn't enough to protect it from a campaign by the conservative Parent's Television Council, though.