Essays about TFOP

pacman308

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Upon the horridly made S9 of "The Fairly Oddparents" and the recent live action disgrace of a movie with Timmy untimely dying and becoming a fairy, a good artist friend of mine named DLT, who has followed the series since the beginning, has decided to sum up his overall feelings about the show in an essay that details it from the beginning all the way to the present. He has taken the time to chronicle all of the shows' highlights and great moments to its eventual downfall into mediocrity and ultimately a piss poor husk of it's former self.

There will be lots of reference material, some lines from podcasts and interviews and a few quotes from some in his "creative" team and from Hartman himself. The opinion in this essay are solely of the writer, DLT. You all can agree or not with what he has to say. You be the judge. If anybody here has an opinion or some facts to share on this essay and the topic in hand, please do not hesitate to let yourself be heard.

Anyway, here is Part 1, posted with his blessing.



The Fairly OddParents: my thoughts on the show, its original brilliance and eventual fall from grace – Part I

NOTE: this essay is divided in three parts. The second part will be posted soon.

In this essay I will speak about my thoughts regarding The Fairly OddParents, a famed cartoon series by animator Butch Hartman, mainly centering around what attracted me to the series in the first place, how I've continued to view and regard the show as it has progressed from one season to another, as well as also touch upon what I'd consider to be its "twilight years" – the assumption being here that the show, at least in its original incarnation, is approaching its end.

This first part of the essay will be about my first impressions of TFOP as well as what I believe made the show so appealing back in the day, as well as where I feel it reached its utmost high point, after which it never really got as good. If you are not familiar with the show, then I suggest you stop reading before the chapter called Jumping the shark as that one will contain spoilers to one of the TV movies I regard as a good finale for the show (even though it never ended up becoming one).


Preface

"I wanted to do a show about a character that could travel from place to place easily so I thought that “science†would be a good way to accomplish that. But Dexter’s Laboratory had already launched so I thought “magic†would be a good approach. After that, everything else started falling into place. I decided to make the show about a little boy with a fairy godmother. Since I had never seen a fairy god FATHER before, I decided to add one to the mix. The next thing I knew, Cosmo, Wanda and Timmy Turner were born"

– Butch Hartman, recalling the birth of The Fairly OddParents in 2013
(retrieved on September 17, 2014, from http://www.otakusandgeeks.com/2013/04/interview-with-butch-hartman-creator-of.html)

The Fairly OddParents is a cartoon series about a 10-year-old boy named Timmy Turner, whose mother and father are often away from home and generally seem to be unintentionally neglectful of their parenting. As a solution, the Turners have turned to a teenage girl named Vicky, a bossy and mean babysitter, who is only interested in getting paid for her duties she never actually does, although the parents do not know this. As Timmy's life gets more and more miserable due to Vicky simply forcing him to do her own chores and order him to bed way too early, he eventually receives a pair of fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda. The fairies' job is to make Timmy a happier kid and grant him any wish he wants, as long as it follows the guidelines and restrictions mentioned in Da Rules, a rulebook which the fairies must obey. Hijinks ensue.

TFOP started out as a series of cartoon shorts (10 in total, between 1998 and 2001) for Nickelodeon's animation showcase series Oh Yeah! Cartoons! which allowed various animators to essentially create pilot episodes that could then be picked up and made into actual shows. For TFOP, this happened in 2001, and the show has since been in production with the exception of a year-long hiatus in 2007. For the most part, the show consists of two 11-minute-long episodes per airing, but there have also been double-length episodes, TV specials, TV movies and also three live-action made-for-TV movies. A spin-off called Crash Nebula was considered, but never turned into its own series, although Nick did produce two other Hartman shows, Danny Phantom and T.U.F.F. Puppy. These, however, bear no connection to TFOP beyond their art style, sharing some of TFOP's writers and having Guy Moon as the music director and composer.


It begins

I discovered The Fairly OddParents back in 2006¹, alongside Kim Possible and Danny Phantom. It's not that I had been aware of the show before that, but I went through a phase from 2002 to the first half of 2006 where I had slowly been losing interest towards animation (as well as drawing) and thus chose not to watch any new shows. However, after going through a mild case of depression – nothing too serious, mind you – as well as what I would regard as generally being the lowest point in my life, I opened myself to both new as well as old hobbies. Thanks to the relatively new website called YouTube, I had an opportunity to get acquainted to cartoon shows I had either missed out earlier or simply not known of, and it's there where I first saw the OY!C episodes of TFOP, complete with Timmy's original voice actor (Mary Kay Bergman) doing all of his lines.

What instantly caught my attention was, ironically, what originally had pushed me away from the show: the art style. I remember having seen some fan art² back in 2002 and feeling somewhat annoyed that it was so damn close to Dexter's Laboratory – if you look at the way Cosmo's face is drawn, it's practically the same as Dexter's. I had no idea that Hartman had worked under Genndy Tartakovsky on Dexter's Laboratory, which kind of explains the similarities. Having been a relatively big fan of Tartakovsky's show, the similar the quasi-retro, minimalistic art style of Hartman's evoked feelings of familiarity and reminded me of the glory days of '90s animation.

A good art style along won't help, though, but thankfully what I found beyond it was very entertaining. The premise of the show alone is recipe for copious amounts of fun: a kid with a wild imagination is given the ability to yield two magical fairies. There are literally endless possibilities to do all kinds of episodes, ranging from relatively mundane slice-of-life to completely out-of-this-world adventures full of danger and excitement. TFOP also continued the trend set by earlier '80s and '90s shows (ranging from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Animaniacs) which saw the heavy usage of pop culture references and adult-oriented jokes in cartoons aimed for children, although I personally believe the reliance of references eventually got out of hand and became a crutch for lazy writers to avoid thinking of actual jokes.³ As much as the show abused (and it still does) the 'Reset Button' by having Timmy undo his wishes at the end of almost each episode, it still provided us with decent entertainment.

The pilot episodes, as well as the first two seasons are full of good examples of the show utilizing its premise to the fullest while retaining a hold on overall writing with jokes being mostly subordinate to them. 'The Big Problem' (S1E01), 'Christmas Everyday' (S1E13), 'Action Packed' (S2E05), 'Transparents' (S1E04) and 'The Switch Glitch' (S2E14) are just several classic episodes that I feel showcase TFOP at its best and its episodes like these that got me hooked and made me into a fan. I would happily rewatch any of these on any given day as well as recommend them for others. No wonder TFOP gave SpongeBob Squarepants some serious competition back in the day.


"We're two halves of a whole idiot!"

Just like The Simpsons, TFOP has a very large cast of secondary and tertiary characters, as well as a relatively large group of major, identifiable characters. The original pilots centered around four of these: Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda and Vicky. As much as I enjoy the interaction between them and feel that this is the show at its purest and arguably funniest, I do recognize that the writers would quickly run out of steam trying to figure out things to do. As the series began a proper, Timmy's parents were revamped from a plot device (absent parents causes Vicky to arrive) into actual characters and we got to see Timmy's school with its students (AJ, Chester, Trixie, Veronica, Tad, Chad, Francis) and several faculty members (mainly Timmy's homeroom teacher Mr. Crocker and Principal Waxelplax). Vicky's little sister Tootie also returned from the pre-production pilots, still having a massive crush on Timmy. We also got several magical characters from Fairy World, such as Jorgen Von Strangle and his wife, The Tooth Fairy (both returning from OY!C), and this other realm also became a frequent setting for episodes, usually when the writers felt like taking the characters outside Dimmsdale and provide all sorts of magic-related fun.

New minor characters and species would be introduced every now and then, but they rarely felt like forced addition to the show's lore. Existing characters would get used just as often in fitting situations and it was always exciting to see new character interactions take place. A good source of excitement also came from Da Rules stating that Timmy should never let anyone in on the secret that he has fairy godparents – if that happened, he'd lose Cosmo and Wanda forever and have his memories of them erased. The fairies also tend to hide/poof away/transform into various critters or objects whenever there's a possibility that another human being, especially an adult, might be able to spot them. This would often cause tension in situations where Cosmo, Wanda or both of them faced a situation where they had to interact with someone else than Timmy while in disguise ('Transparents') or simply try to do their best to stay hidden, no matter how ludicrously impossible it would be ('Cosmo Con', S3E08, takes this to its silliest extreme).

One of my favorite things about the old OY!C pilots was the way the characters of Cosmo and Wanda were handled. They were depicted as a slightly daffy married couple with a very strong and stable relationship. Cosmo and Wanda would use various terms of endearment of each other, ranging from relatively mundane ones ('darling') to just silly in context (Wanda calling Cosmo 'stallion' never fails to amuse me), and generally treat each other with strong affection. They were also relatively similar in character, equal in intellect and goofiness. As Cosmo once pointed out in his original, deep, "old-time radio announcer/car salesman" voice, "we're two halves of a whole idiot".

In general, the pilots as well as the first season handled most of the characters very well. There weren't too many extreme cases of over-the-top behavior: Cosmo would occasionally bumble but still functioned as a responsible fairy godparent, Vicky was a bad babysitter but more lazy and bossy than evil and sadistic, and Timmy's parents were ignorant and negligent of their duties but not necessarily mean on purpose. Similarly, Mr. Crocker's lunacy was somewhat self-contained and you really felt he posed a serious threat to Timmy and his fairies, while Tootie's crush on Timmy was more adorable with some light-hearted stalker/obsession jokes here and there.

Having characters keep their feet on the ground allows more room for the writers to utilize them in different scenarios and also creates possibilities for character development when needed. Quite possibly the most famous example of this would be Trixie Tang getting a secret life as a comic book nerd/tomboy who cannot be open about her true nature due to peer pressure ('The Boy Who Would Be Queen', S2E12). While this character trait only lasted for a single episode, it made a very big impact on TFOP fandom where some fan artists and authors have implemented it as their headcanon. It also provided a refreshing new dimension to the old 'rich *****' character that seems to pop up very frequently in American entertainment.

What I also enjoyed about the original pre-production shorts as well as the first couple of seasons was that the protagonists (Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda) seemed to genuinely care about each other as well as some of the other characters. There are lots of 'awww' moments here and there, especially between Cosmo and Wanda in the OY!C shorts. Similarly, 'The Big Problem' from S1 features a scene where Timmy is forced to sleep outdoors in a football field, and Cosmo and Wanda turn into a pillow and a blanket to keep him warm and comfy. While moments like the ones mentioned afore are not necessarily humorous in a direct way (or at all), they do help us to identify and care about the characters more easily. Some might say it's a cheap trick but personally I feel the otherwise, since it's not overdone or constantly shoved into our faces. Now, if you want to overdose on forced relationship drama and awfully fake attempts at characters trying to depict feelings, go see a crappy Hollywood movie, such as Twister (or alternatively, check out Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, where you get to witness two actors sleepwalking through some of the most poorly directed romantic scenes in film history).


Jumping the shark

As the series marched on, most of the characters began changing in a way that saw some of their traits and quirks become more and more dominant. Cosmo's bumbling and occasional dumb moment got turned into actual stupidity. This was preceded by his originally deep and smooth voice becoming more high-pitched and babylike. Similarly, Timmy's Dad also became more naïve and had an increase in idiotic moments. By the end of S4, Vicky was a chainsaw-wielding, flamethrower-toting sociopath, whereas Tootie was occasionally portrayed as a shrieking stalker. Trixie Tang's snooty and superficial attitude was amped up, Veronica became a crazy person in order to provide a couple of laughs in 'Information Stupor Highway' (S2E23) and Mr. Crocker was turned into a pathetic joke villain who now owns a secret laboratory underneath his mother’s house.

Despite all this, the episodes still delivered for the most part, including the award-winning 'Pipe Down!' (S3E24; Timmy wishes everything to be silent) as well as the fan-favorites 'Snow Bound' (S3E31; Timmy and Vicky must work together in order to survive) and 'Miss Dimmsdale' (S4E01; Vicky tries to cheat her way to victory in a beauty pageant and Timmy must stop her). However, I would argue that the best years were already behind us by S4.

With the exception of 'Channel Chasers' (S4E25), of course.

It doesn't surprise me that many fans consider this to be the ultimate TFOP episode/TV movie, and some (including myself) would even regard it as the proper finale for the entire series. Written by Butch Hartman and Steve Marmel, the duo who originally wrote the very first OY!C short of TFOP, 'Channel Chasers' centers around the inevitable fate of Timmy Turner losing his fairy godparents when he grows old enough, as well as Timmy attempting to escape the confinement of rules and regulations of his real life by wishing to be inside television. There, he can also remain as a child forever, thus keeping his fairies for an infinite amount of time. However, Timmy's careless wishing, coupled with several unfortunate events, end up providing Vicky the needed method to follow his trail and eventually twist the future into a dystopia where she rules as a dictator. In order to prevent this, an adult Timmy from the future returns to past, warning the present-day Timmy about Vicky's plans. The rest of the movie then follows Timmy escaping Vicky through various programs, eventually ending up inside a Dragonball-like anime (Maho Mushi) where he now has to face off Vicky and find a way to put an end to her plans for good. In the meantime, Tootie is providing the Turners some inside information regarding Vicky's true nature while keeping her identity secret in a wacky tribute to All the President's Men.

'Channel Chasers' gives TFOP fans a great send-off to wrap up the show for good: we get the classic Timmy vs. Vicky scenario, Vicky and Tootie's parents, lots of pop culture references and parodies... all in an epic, action-packed and somewhat dark story. The ending, which shows us an adult Timmy and his future kids in a changed, good timeline, ends the movie in a slightly bittersweet note as Timmy no longer remembers Cosmo and Wanda, but also reminds that the cycle then begins a new since Timmy's kids inherit his old fairies. Hartman and Marmel purposely left the identity of Timmy's wife ambiguous, although judging from the way the kids look, the person in question could either Trixie or Tootie. All in all, it was a great ending, although I hated Vicky-bot as it was a rather lame gag.

While I was pleased at first to see the show continue after 'Channel Chasers', I nowadays feel that it should've ended then and there. By this point, the characters had already become very much "flanderized"[SUP]4[/SUP], thus preventing any proper development, and even the writing had started to occasionally flounder. From S5 onwards, the show never got as great, although there were still good episodes to come. Epic, massive storylines would still appear but I never felt they surpassed 'Channel Chasers', if only because the writing wasn't as top-notch. In short, 'Channel Chasers' was the moment the show jumped the shark: nothing that came afterwards could live up to expectations, and it would be downhill from there on.


Epilogue

This concludes first part of my TFOP answer essay. The second part will start with a look at the horrendous fifth season, then continue with the brief and slight upswing of the beginning of S6 that saw Hartman returning to the show full time as well as fix several writing-based mistakes from the earlier season. Then, I will concentrate on bad decisions that I feel hurt the show the most as well as provide proof where some of those decisions came, and why.

The third part will continue my examination on the show's current state and the way it's written. In it, I will touch upon the live-action TV movies and specials, and I will also give my thoughts on the ending of A Fairly Odd Summer, the most recent live-action special, and why I thought it was one of the worst things I have ever seen in my life.


Notes

¹) Back then, you could've said that I came very late into the party since TFOP was just about to enter its year-long hiatus. But hey, it's not like I give a damn if something is old or new.

²) You'll probably guess what kind of fan art, tee-hee.

³) This is a problem with animated shows in general, as well as some live-action movies and TV shows too, and not just with TFOP. Seth McFarlane, I'm specifically looking at you.

[SUP]4[/SUP]) Even though I no longer prefer to link to TV Tropes due to all the drama and lunacy that goes on in that site, I still have to make sure everyone gets this brilliant (yet unofficial) term for what is one of the most annoying tropes ever: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Flanderization (retrieved on September 18, 2014)
 

Lord Beckett

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That was an intelligent read. Really echoes a lot of the sentiment most of us felt and puts the most central criticisms juxtaposition with Hartman's often vague and intentionally misleading interviews.

You could write an entire book at this point about how badly Hartman has mismanaged his cartoons yet has somehow survived, thrived even at some points, on a channel that normally cuts ties with cartoonists at the first sign of trouble.

Hartman and his writers using the same handful of unfunny loudmouth characters is more a sign of laziness and being unable to commit himself to being creative with his cartoon. Things like Poof, Sparky, the various Disney Princess ripoffs they added as love interests for Timmy or Poof the last few seasons, these feel more like Nickelodeon and its executive meddling because they break the tradition of status quo. They aren't creative ideas either, they are the sort of cold calculated based off some meaningless kid test-group statistic that an executive suit with no experience in cartoons would think up. This is all just theories, we'll never know for sure because no one in that business will ever step up and admit they made a mistake.
 

SaneMan

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I've read the whole essay (all 3 parts of it) back on Deviant Art

The whole thing is just so spot-on about everything, why the show became so popular, why it's so horrible now, and on Hartman himself
 
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cozmorocks12

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Saneman, thanks for letting us know the other parts are on Deviant Art.

But bravo to the original writer, DLT. This was a very interesting piece and sums up perfectly the state of the show. I am quite a follower of FOP and had read several of the interviews beforehand, but was pleasantly surprised by the Hartman Tropes and Rob Paulsen interviews with the current writing team. It is absolutely unbelievable Schfrin and Delaurentis share the same favorite characters as Hartman. I knew something was seriously wrong with the weird change in focus after Scott Fellows left after Season 6, but I would never think it was because Hartman purposely chose people who would not question him.

I wish there was a little more detail given to prior season 6. I for one would have liked to see more about Jack Thomas and Steve Marmel's perspectives on writing. But I understand this is a bit hard, I've tried looking. At the very least I think Marmel has been the unsung hero for Hartman's show and I would like nothing more than to meet his undisputed genius.

But overall great read. And definitely like the shout out to the Gravity Falls article. That is a good cartoon and has replaced the void FOP has left for many years now.
 

pacman308

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The thing about Gravity Falls and its creator, Alex Hirsch, is that it consciously keeps up with the continuity of the show all the way from the beginning with some great character centric episodes and character development along the way. Hirsch had made it a point that his show won't follow the same tropes like Spongebob and TFOP. He's going to set the stage for a new kind of show we'd appreciate that'll hopefully influence other potential creators to emulate.
 

ShadowBeast

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Apparently, Pacificas recent character development was due to fan request.
It's got to be more than one fan since Alex said the Pacifica had become popular among fans.
If it was because of one fan it has to be someone Alex knows, but it's still great that a show creator will listen to his fans unlike Butcher who drowns them out.
 

SaneMan

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It's got to be more than one fan since Alex said the Pacifica had become popular among fans.
If it was because of one fan it has to be someone Alex knows, but it's still great that a show creator will listen to his fans unlike Butcher who drowns them out.

That's what I meant

guess I just forgot to write the "s"
 

pacman308

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The problem with Hartman is he seems to not take in any consideration on how the fans of TFOP feel or even has any respect or appreciation for them. That is rather sad. Hirsch, on the other hand, sees what his fans are saying about Gravity Falls and shows his appreciation to them with something like Pacifica's character evolving on the show. That's big with me and will go a long way in keeping the show fresh and enjoyable. Had Hartman did with Trixie or Veronica as what Hirsch did with Pacifica, he would've made a lot of his fans happy or at least keep them interested in watching. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

BTW, Part 2 of DLT's essay will be posted up today.
 

pacman308

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An essay on TFOP: Part 2

Although it is already seen on dA under the DLT's journal, Part 2 of his essay on the "The Fairly Oddparents" show will be posted here. Any comments, thoughts or criticisms will be appreciated on the subject. Thanks.


The Fairly OddParents: my thoughts on the show, its original brilliance and eventual fall from grace – Part II

NOTE: this essay is divided in three parts. You can read Part I here. Part III will be posted soon.

In this essay I will speak about my thoughts regarding The Fairly OddParents, a famed cartoon series by animator Butch Hartman, mainly centering around what attracted me to the series in the first place, how I've continued to view and regard the show as it has progressed from one season to another, as well as also touch upon what I'd consider to be its "twilight years" – the assumption being here that the show, at least in its original incarnation, is approaching its end.

This second part of the essay starts with my views on the show's fifth season, which was made mostly without Hartman's presence and which I felt is when the show really started going down the drain. Then, I will talk about S6, which introduced us to Poof, and eventually delve into how the show's writing has changed from the earlier seasons. Finally, I will be examining several interviews as well as podcast audio featuring key members of the show's current crew talking about the writing process, the characters and so on, and give you my thoughts on all this.


The Season (Almost) without Hartman

The fifth season of TFOP saw series creator Butch Hartman become relatively absent from the show. I do not know how little his involvement actually was (or was not), but based on facts that aside from a few writing credits at the beginning and the end of the season, as well as some storyboarding here and there, Hartman's name is not seen in most of S5's episode credits. I can only assume that it was due to him concentrating on his other series, Danny Phantom, as well as trying to launch a new show with writer Steve Marmel, called Crash Nebula (which never got turned into a series and soon got relegated as a TFOP episode where Timmy watches the pilot on TV).

Another reason what makes me believe that Hartman wasn't as involved with S5 is the strange way some of the characters were written. Around halfway into the season¹ Timmy and Cosmo had started showing rather unpleasant attitude towards Wanda (who admittedly was nagging quite a lot at this point), and some of the fans prefer to say that they had turned into jerks. This change did not sit well with me and it really clashes with the way both characters had been written earlier. While I had not liked Cosmo turning into a borderline retard character, at least that change had obviously been much more planned and it didn't happen that quickly; the seeds for that were planted during 'Power Mad!' (S1E02), emphasized in 'Apartnership!' (S1E08) and, in my opinion, had been fully cemented by 'This Is Your Wish' (S3E18).

Mostly because of this, as well as the writing taking a noticeable dip in quality, I would often refer S5 as the single weakest season in the series. In fact, my second²[SUP]a[/SUP] least favorite TFOP episode of all time, 'Something's Fishy!', is the 28th episode of S5. To quote myself²[SUP]b[/SUP], its "story is bland" and "it features probably the most horrendous pacing ever done in a cartoon". One of my earliest "essays" which I posted on my now mostly defunct Blogger page back in November 2008 was about this season and how bad it was when compared to all the previous ones³. In it, I pointed out the weird way Timmy and Cosmo acted, Vicky appearing noticeably less, bad pacing and generally subpar writing, especially when it comes to telling jokes and pulling gags (of course, I couldn't resist making a bad pun myself, saying that "the show should now be called The Fairly ADDParents").


The Cousin Oliver Syndrome

"As many of you may or may not have heard – and if you did hear, you didn't hear it from me, this is the first time I've spoken about this publicly – we are currently in the process of wrapping up our very last episode of FOP."

– Butch Hartman, regarding the show's (temporary) cancellation back in 2006
(retrieved on September 17, 2014, from List of The Fairly OddParents episodes/cancellation - Fairly Odd Parents Wiki - Timmy Turner and the Fairly Odd Parents!)

TFOP was quietly put on hiatus when the production of S5 neared completion, and the third Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour special featuring a cross over between TFOP and Jimmy Neutron thus ended up as the show's finale for the time being. The way Butch Hartman worded the news for his fans suggests he was under the impression that TFOP was now ending for good, as was the case for Danny Phantom which received a shortened third season. Whereas DP really did end and had a big, definite finale, TFOP would be resurrected over a year later for a sixth season which saw Hartman fully return to helm the show.

Whether or not it was his doing, I was very pleased to see some of that heart that had been missing from the show come back. All the ******bag mannerisms were gone from Cosmo and Timmy, and I think even Wanda's constant nagging was slightly toned down. Whereas S5 had plenty of mean jokes about Cosmo not loving the marriage he was in with Wanda (which clashes completely with the show's earliest episodes and what made the two characters so appealing in the first place; see Part I of this essay), S6 thankfully removed this aspect of his character... for the most part. The pacing was perhaps slightly improved as well, but I never felt it got as good as the early seasons. Nonetheless, S6 fared better than S5.

Oh, and we also got Poof, a fairy baby born from Cosmo and shaped like a bowling ball. I wonder if the crew got the idea from one of Manuel Hogflogger's one-page porn comics...

Yes, S6 saw the addition of a new major character. I was very skeptical of this particular aspect of the new season as it is generally seen as a sign of a show's decline when they start adding new major characters, especially ones that are underaged/children. In the end, I don't think Poof made that much of a difference beyond offering several episodes centered on him. These episodes didn't have as good stories as most of the pre-S5 had had, though; many of the Poof-centric stories never felt like they were truly inspired by Poof's presence, but rather they were crafted around him out of necessity to simply do something with the new character. Eventually, and especially in later seasons, Poof became relegated more or less into an object that has very little to do in most episodes. In S9, he sometimes doesn't even make an appearance, although this could be explained with him attending Spellementary School (ugh, the puns).

However, Poof turned out to be the least of my worries. As the resurrected series progressed, several new problems started to arise alongside the old ones that forced me to realize the show really was on its way downhill, and that this time it might just be too much.


Cheap Laughs over Solid Writing

Despite what John K. often says about cartoons and writing[SUP]4[/SUP], I personally believe a well-written story is very important in creating a solid cartoon. To quote one of my heroes, Brad Bird, animation is an art form rather than a genre[SUP]5[/SUP], and you can tell all kinds of stories with it. Simply stating that cartoons are best at portraying screwball comedy á la Golden Age Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies is, in a way, as restrictive as saying that "cartoons are for kids", despite the fact the those old cartoons really were fantastic. If anything, the later seasons of TFOP should serve as a warning to what happens when you approach writing for a cartoon show with a narrow-minded view.

Several common elements can be found in episodes that have been written during the show's later seasons, specifically S8 and S9:

* The rules written in Da Rules are constantly broken in ways that would've caused serious problems for Timmy in earlier seasons and the book itself doesn't make that many appearances.
* Timmy's parents often come into contact with Cosmo and Wanda without any ramifications.
* Timmy's Dad, Mr. Crocker and Foop are heavily featured as central characters.
* The episodes put emphasis on jokes and gags with plot/character writing taking a subsidiary role.
* Continuity is all tangled up and plot holes are everywhere (example: Poof was supposedly the first fairy baby to have born in 10,000 years... yet in S8 he attends a school with other fairy kids and babies... I suppose you could say they're older, but then how long does it take for fairies to mature?)
* Many of the jokes are very basic and often overuse non sequitur humor as well as basic slapstick comedy.

A good example of writing that fits into all the categories above would be the story for 'Desperate without Housewives' (S9E30), by Lissa Kapstrom. It's also a good example of a writer making the characters extremely stupid and/or absent-minded to allow jokes to be made that otherwise would not happen: for instance, the episode features Crocker and Cosmo interacting without the latter being in disguise even though he's face-to-face with the man who has tried to capture and enslave him/drain his powers for multiple times (and even temporarily succeeded in it more than once).


Insight from Interviews?

In my honest opinion, a rather large chunk of the blame can be put on Kevin Sullivan, Will Schifrin and Ray DeLaurentis, as well as on Butch Hartman himself. Sullivan, Schifrin and DeLaurentis are responsible for writing practically the entire eighth season as well as a majority of S9 episodes, and the latter two, alongside Hartman, have said several things on Rob Paulsen's podcast that I believe are very telling of the show's current direction and writing style. Hartman also gave out several interviews to coincide with the premier of S9.

Here are some select quotes:


"...fairy godfather Cosmo, for example, has become “really stupid” because “the dumber we made him, the more jokes we could write”..."

– EW.com interview with Hartman, posted on April 25, 2013
(retrieved on September 17, 2014, from 'Fairly Oddparents' returns to Nickelodeon May 4 | The Family Room | EW.com; underlines by :iconDLToon:)


""The main thing with 'The Fairly OddParents' is that with magic, you can have anything," Hartman muses about the theme of the series, "but once you have that, what's the drawback? What's the problem? It's like Superman, almost -- you have to give him a Kryptonite." Hartman says for his series, that Kryptonite is that fact that it's possessed by dumb people whose magical endeavors tend to spin wildly out of control."

"Like "The Simpsons," the focus of the series has changed gradually from one main character (Timmy) to one of the peripheral characters, Cosmo and Timmy's dad Mr. Turner (both [sic] voice actor Daran Norris). Hartman laughs when he says that both characters form a trio of idiocy with Carlos Alazraqui's Mr. Crocker, giving the series its heart of lunatic, dim-witted comedy. "Even though we have a show about magic, anyone can do anything we need them to -- like Timmy's dad can pull out a pistol," Hartman says about the show's surreal sense of humor. The more clueless the character, Hartman tells me, the more comedy that can come from it."

– MTV Geek interview with Hartman, posted on March 20, 2013
(retrieved on September 17, 2014, from MTV Geek – Exclusive: ‘The Fairly OddParents’ Creator Talks The Show’s New Magical Hound (Video); underlines by :iconDLToon:)


"I have a bunch [of favorite characters]! But I think the ones I turn to the most – the ones the writers and I like working with the most – are Timmy’s Dad, Mr. Crocker and Cosmo. Always guaranteed a laugh with them."

– OtakusandGeeks.com interview with Hartman, posted sometime during April, 2013 (exact date is not mentioned)
(retrieved on September 17, 2014, from Interview With Butch Hartman Creator Of The Fairly Odd Parents ~ Otakus & Geeks.com; underlines by :iconDLToon:)


(31:26) Butch Hartman: We love, we love- we love putting all the male characters in dresses as much as we can.
--
(42:38) Butch Hartman: The next few guys we're bringing up, uhh, we wouldn't have words to say without these guys, they've been on the show for about five years now and they've really, uhh, taken FOP to a new level, they're really, really funny... I want to introduce misters Ray DeLaurentis and Will Schifrin right now, bring'em up!
--
(43:12) Butch Hartman: Ray, who's one of your favorite characters to write on the show?
(43:14) Ray DeLaurentis: Crocker, Mr. Crocker.
(43:15) Butch Hartman: Mr. Crocker.
(43:15) Ray DeLaurentis: Yes.
(43:18) Butch Hartman: Why?
(43:19) Ray DeLaurentis: Be- because he's so tortured.
(43:21) Butch Hartman: Yes.
(43:21) Ray DeLaurentis: I lo-, uh, I love tortured villains who are emotionally flawed.
--
(44:01) Butch Hartman: And Will, who do you like to write most on the show?
(44:03) Will Schifrin: Uhh, I ha- I have to say Dad and Cosmo...
(44:05) Butch Hartman: Yeah, yeah!
(44:05) Will Schifrin: *???* Daran [Norris].
--
(44:29) Will Schifrin: We write the scripts like a primetime comedy.
(44:31) Butch Hartman: We do.
(44:31) Will Schifrin: We sit in a room, all of us...
(44:33) Ray DeLaurentis (joking): Really drunk... really drunk...
(44:33) Will Schifrin (joking): There's five writers... really, super drunk...
(44:35) Ray DeLaurentis (joking): Super drunk.
(44:36) Will Schifrin: And, uhmm... we just... sit and pitch jokes all day, we have a great time and, I mean, it's such a fun show to write.
--
(54:02) Butch Hartman (regarding Cosmo's voice changing in pitch): I thought we were just gonna do one episode and then as, as the years went by, we're like 'we just made him dumber, and dumber...'
--

(1:04:23) audience member: ...I was wondering... going from... where the show's already been going for so long, how was it like to... transition and like, still keep it fresh...
(1:04:30) Ray DeLaurentis: Right.
(1:04:30) audience member: ...uuhm, *???* still keep it true to, you know, the original vision when... the show first started?
(1:04:34) Ray DeLaurentis: Well, I'll... I'll answer it half *???*
(1:04:35) Rob Paulsen: That's a great question, yeah.
(1:04:36) Ray DeLaurentis: We'll, uh, give the second half to Will. I mean... the thing is, because it's such a fun show and it's such a great show, there's so many different character dynamics, Will and I started by looking at the strongest ones and seeing if we could turn them on their ear or do something new that hadn't been done... but, you know... he [Hartman] built a show with kind of unlimited potential for story, so you, y-... it's amazing, we keep thinking "we're gonna run out of ideas", but we never do... and, uhh, i- it's just a, like I said, it's such a blast to write an- and, and it was just...
(1:05:04) Will Schifrin: And, the... and the fact that there's a magic element to the show, it gives you so many story possibilities and we're- and... the fact that new characters keep getting introduced, we've had... we've had Poof and we've had Sparky and... there's Foop, which brought in a full, new series of... Foop is a great character.

– Transcript from episode 91 of Talkin' Toons with Rob Paulsen -podcast (The Fairly OddParents Live)
(retrieved on September 18, 2014, from Episode 91 Fairly OddParents (Live Ustream) | Rob Paulsen Live; transcript and underlines by :iconDLToon:)

Note: I was unable to make out some of the things that were said in the podcast, especially by the writers as they weren't properly mic'd and the audience as well as some of the other guests talked/made noises that partially drowned what they were saying.

Some observations (and opinions):

* Cosmo was purposely made dumber because Hartman felt it would bring in more jokes. This also applies to other characters as well. Cosmo's voice changing in pitch is also tied to his character being turned into a moron. This is character development? Seriously?
* In order to counter the omnipotence of magic, Hartman suggests that giving its powers to dumb people to wield provides a suitable counter-balance. Once again, the formula here is that stupid people = instant funny. It's not that simple in reality, though.
* Timmy is no longer necessarily the focal character of the show; this status is now occasionally taken by Cosmo, Dad and Mr. Crocker...
* ...who also happen to be Hartman's favorite characters.
* DeLaurentis' favorite character is Mr. Crocker, while Schifrin prefers to write for Cosmo and Dad. These three are also, as stated above, Butch Hartman's favorites. Still wonder why there have been so many episodes like 'Weirdos [sic] on a Train' (S9E23) lately?
* Hartman states that characters can be made to randomly present a plot-changing element if the writers feel like it, despite it making no sense. Keep in mind that the same man who said this got originally fired from My Little Pony (most likely the G1 cartoon) for pointing out writing-related fallacies such as that it's silly to have a pegasus yell for help while hanging from a cliff despite still having functional wings.[SUP]6[/SUP]
* DeLaurentis and Schifrin mention (with lame jokes about getting drunk) that the way they write for TFOP consists mostly of just pitching jokes after one another. Obviously they will write stories as well, but it seems to me their approach is closer to something that the likes of Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and John Belushi did during their legendary stints with Saturday Night Live where writing sometimes meant that jokes come first and a story is then built around them (or, alternatively, there's a vague premise for a story, then the jokes are written, and then the story is fleshed out as a whole). For a sketch show, this type of writing works wonderfully. For a serialized cartoon? Eh... maybe in the right hands. However, I seriously doubt the likes of Steve Marmel and Jack Thomas wrote all of the great S1 and S2 episodes in this manner... and if they did, then it can be argued that they knew how to pull it off... but DeLaurentis and Schifrin? Nuh-uh. They aim for cramming as many jokes as possible into each episode, no matter what the cost is to telling stories or caring about the jokes being actually funny.
* DeLaurentis suggests that he and Schifrin studied the earlier episodes for character dynamics, took the strongest ones and then started toying around with them... which to me sounds an awful lot like them ignoring what hadn't been utilized or fleshed out very much. He claims they're doing new things but I think all they've managed to do is to take already "flanderized" characters (as well as some of the new ones he and Schifrin had a hand in creating) and just amp them up even more, and then constantly use them while neglecting the vast amount of side characters the show already has...
* ...and in the meantime, we are getting even more new side (and main) characters because Hartman loves adding them since he apparently dreams of having a large cast that he can utilize with various plots in the same manner as The Simpsons (see Part III of the essay for the exact quote). However, if DeLaurentis and Schifrin prefer to stick to just a select few strong character dynamics and some of the new additions that they themselves had a hand in creating, then what's the point of adding new characters anyway, especially since they are only used to tell jokes that are not necessarily bound to them.
* The reason I wrote 'some' in italics in the previous bullet point is because Schifrin talks about the potential of new characters being introduced to the show and then lists Poof, Sparky and Foop. Yet, if you look at S9, both Poof and Sparky have been curiously absent in quite a few episodes. Also, Poof didn't really have that much to do about halfway through S6 because the writers probably realized by then that a baby fairy that does pretty much exactly the same things as his parents and yet can only say his own name like a pokémon is probably not going to be a breakthrough character that lends itself well for a variety of different stories.
* Also, speaking of dynamics, the original one of Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda worked very well. Did we honestly need a baby and a dog there to change it? Do a Google search of Cousin Oliver and you'll get what I mean.


Epilogue

This concludes first part of my TFOP answer essay. Stay tuned for the third and final part where I will concentrate on what I feel is the biggest problem with TFOP today: the writing. Everything in the final part will be tied to this single issue, such as the chapter concerning several "Hartman tropes", my quick opinion on what I'd consider the series' worst episode ever ('Country Clubbed') as well as the messy 'Wishology!' trilogy, the strange new "reboot" feeling of S9 and finally the live-action movies... and the shocking manner the third one ended.


Notes

¹) See the beginning of 'Big Wanda' for a good example of Timmy being a dick towards Wanda.

²[SUP]a[/SUP]) This used to be my all-time least favorite episode, but it got recently dethroned by 'Country Clubbed' (S9E16). See Part III of this essay for more info on that one.

²[SUP]b[/SUP]) MCT3K - S01E21 - Something's Fishy! Photo by dltart | Photobucket (retrieved on September 20, 2014)

³) I've since withdrawn the post as it is no longer factually accurate due to there being confusion on when and where the cutoff points would be for different seasons at the time being; in the essay, I keep referring to the latter half of S5 as 'season 6'. I still have it available on my computer, though, as well as hidden as an "unfinished" draft on my blog and this is why I'm able to recall what I wrote. In order to show that I wasn't simply bashing the show, I also pointed out some good parts, mainly having to do with there being lots of adult humor and merciless mocking of Captain Planet and the whole early '90s phenomenon where cartoons were utilized in an attempt to educate kids about protecting the environment. Still, these positive elements were not enough to counter all the negative ones.

[SUP]4[/SUP]) John K Stuff: Cartoons and Chainsaws 1 (retrieved on September 17, 2014)

[SUP]5[/SUP]) You can hear Bird explain his view regarding animation to producer John Walker on the director's audio commentary for The Incredibles (2004).

[SUP]6[/SUP]) You can hear this tidbit in the 12th episode of Talkin' Toons with Rob Paulsen -podcast, featuring Butch Hartman as a guest. I did not create a transcript for this since I felt it was slightly off-topic. Listen to it here: Episode 12 of Rob’s weekly podcast is out! | Rob Paulsen Live (retrieved on September 17, 2014)
 

SaneMan

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Messages
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The problem with Hartman is he seems to not take in any consideration on how the fans of TFOP feel or even has any respect or appreciation for them. That is rather sad. Hirsch, on the other hand, sees what his fans are saying about Gravity Falls and shows his appreciation to them with something like Pacifica's character evolving on the show. That's big with me and will go a long way in keeping the show fresh and enjoyable. Had Hartman did with Trixie or Veronica as what Hirsch did with Pacifica, he would've made a lot of his fans happy or at least keep them interested in watching. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

BTW, Part 2 of DLT's essay will be posted up today.

Especially since Hartman actually had something to work with from the start.
Trixie was shown in a rather positive light in the first two episodes she was in.

Pacifica was intended as a stereotype from the start, yet got to evolve beyond it
 

Lord Beckett

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Messages
1,117
The thing about Gravity Falls and its creator, Alex Hirsch, is that it consciously keeps up with the continuity of the show all the way from the beginning with some great character centric episodes and character development along the way. Hirsch had made it a point that his show won't follow the same tropes like Spongebob and TFOP. He's going to set the stage for a new kind of show we'd appreciate that'll hopefully influence other potential creators to emulate.

Alex Hirsch seems much more open with the fans. He does the usual cartoonist things like show up at ComicCon or cut mostly safe and rehearsed interviews, but you can tell he actually has a passion in doing so. He isn't just trying to appease a crowd or grab attention like Hartman always seems to be doing at his public appearances. A way of putting it is... When its an event about Gravity Falls, it's Gravity Falls (fineprint)by Alex Hirsch, and when its about one of Hartman's cartoons, it's THE ANIMATED WORKS OF ELMER "BUTCH" HARTMAN(fineprint) such as FOP, DP, etc. I think Hartman has too much of an ego, mainly because he has survived for so long on his routine, and that creates a serious roadblock to how he communicates with us lesser mortals.

The majority of complaints about FOP I see on the internet, highlighted many times by DLToon's essay, are flagrant violations of continuity and the perception that certain parts of the series are "retconned" as soon as a newer episode written by some intern-level writer comes up and contradicts it. A textbook example of such is Channel Chasers. Many people like the ending (Which was okay, but lets not try to ignore how stupid and cruel that Vicky robot idea was) and it at the very least established an outline for how most people saw the series coming to an end: Timmy parts ways with his fairies officially, grows up, has a family with one of his raven haired love interests, and C&W not forgetting about him and remaining tied to Timmy's family somehow. Then the live action movie came along and really tossed a wrench into this with a really stupid, horrid, should-have-never-made-it-past-the-editing-stage plot involving Timmy becoming a manchild and keeping his fairies well past the previously established due date of highschool graduation (17 or 18 for non-Americans). What did Hartman do when pressed in an interview about this act of stupidity? He gave a very vague and misleading answer which did not really answer anything. And while it's easy to say that a live action movie cannot exactly mess with the "integrity" of the cartoon or whatever his answer was because its different, this does not answer for when the cartoon itself contradicts itself. Poof existing for one, and then Sparky, and Timmy stopping time or being forced to lose his fairies at age 11 or many other minor gags which were intended to drive a plot forward rather than establish a backstory (but aren't taken by fans that way), all these go against the Channel Chasers ending, and the only call back to it has been the magic remote which appeared in some Unwish Island rehash.

If Hartman ever came out and said "Channel Chasers wasn't retconned" then it would give a lot of fans peace of mind and silence a lot of critics, but him doing such a thing is unthinkable. There are reasons, Hartman's reputation around the animation communties isn't steller, especially with the way he treated his shows in the recent years, he'd just get eaten alive if he ever tried to do a reddit AMA or something. Also, as I said before, I think Hartman fears throwing his own staff under the bus.
 

pacman308

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Messages
126
Especially since Hartman actually had something to work with from the start.
Trixie was shown in a rather positive light in the first two episodes she was in.

Yeah. That was rather infuriating how Trixie got flanderized beyond recognition after that. I really liked Trixie in those two episodes with her being more down to earth and sweet when she wasn't playing the queen bee to her popular friends. It gave something of a reason to root for Timmy to chase after her and win her affections. But after she became a complete one dimensional queen bee stereotype, all we could see was Timmy constantly tripping up all over himself in his futile attempts to even get her to notice him. That joke got so very old after a few episodes. We had a chance to see Veronica evolve too when we learned that she was secretly in love with Timmy. That would've been pure gold had they worked on that angle. Instead, nothing came of about it. That was even more infuriating and downright stupid. They wasted a good opportunity for some meaningfull character development, fan service and witty humor. Its beyond pathetic.

Pacifica was intended as a stereotype from the start, yet got to evolve beyond it.

Hirsch saw something could be done with Pacifica's character and went with it. Now we have a new character that can interact with Mabel and Dipper as either a foil, ally or even friend. I doubt she'd become a villain as is Gideon Gleeful or Bill Cypher, but she's great as Mabel's antagonist with a more complex background. I can see her becoming close friends with Mabel at the end of the series. Dipper/Pacifica remains to be seen, but the seed is already there with the obvious tension between them as Dipper seems to take Pacifica more personal than Mabel does. We'll have to wait and see what Hirsch will do on his show.
 

pacman308

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Messages
126
Alex Hirsch seems much more open with the fans. He does the usual cartoonist things like show up at ComicCon or cut mostly safe and rehearsed interviews, but you can tell he actually has a passion in doing so. He isn't just trying to appease a crowd or grab attention like Hartman always seems to be doing at his public appearances. A way of putting it is... When its an event about Gravity Falls, it's Gravity Falls (fineprint)by Alex Hirsch, and when its about one of Hartman's cartoons, it's THE ANIMATED WORKS OF ELMER "BUTCH" HARTMAN(fineprint) such as FOP, DP, etc. I think Hartman has too much of an ego, mainly because he has survived for so long on his routine, and that creates a serious roadblock to how he communicates with us lesser mortals.\

I really wish I could have attended one of those ComicCons with both of them there. I'd at least would have some idea how they presented themselves and, more importantly, how the fans/audience have reacted to their presence. Hirsch seems to be more humble in his presentation with his show taking much of the spotlight while Hartman is ALL ABOUT Hartman. That's enough of an idea about the differences between them. Hartman's ego must've been fed with his early successes and the latitude he was given by Nick as time passed. And now, all he has is his ego cause he doesn't have much left in him to give. Hirsch is still relatively new in the business, so he could develop an ego as well. But I think he has more to him than to let that get too much in his head, unlike Hartman.

The majority of complaints about FOP I see on the internet, highlighted many times by DLToon's essay, are flagrant violations of continuity and the perception that certain parts of the series are "retconned" as soon as a newer episode written by some intern-level writer comes up and contradicts it. A textbook example of such is Channel Chasers. Many people like the ending (Which was okay, but lets not try to ignore how stupid and cruel that Vicky robot idea was) and it at the very least established an outline for how most people saw the series coming to an end: Timmy parts ways with his fairies officially, grows up, has a family with one of his raven haired love interests, and C&W not forgetting about him and remaining tied to Timmy's family somehow.

Channel Chasers isn't the perfect finale to TFOP as it was, but it was a good way to bring some kind of closure to a great show up until that point. It sure beats the lame Timmy/Jimmy crossovers we've seen before its long hiatus.

Then the live action movie came along and really tossed a wrench into this with a really stupid, horrid, should-have-never-made-it-past-the-editing-stage plot involving Timmy becoming a manchild and keeping his fairies well past the previously established due date of highschool graduation (17 or 18 for non-Americans). What did Hartman do when pressed in an interview about this act of stupidity? He gave a very vague and misleading answer which did not really answer anything. And while it's easy to say that a live action movie cannot exactly mess with the "integrity" of the cartoon or whatever his answer was because its different, this does not answer for when the cartoon itself contradicts itself. Poof existing for one, and then Sparky, and Timmy stopping time or being forced to lose his fairies at age 11 or many other minor gags which were intended to drive a plot forward rather than establish a backstory (but aren't taken by fans that way), all these go against the Channel Chasers ending, and the only call back to it has been the magic remote which appeared in some Unwish Island rehash.

The introductions of Poof and Sparky, Wishology, Timmy's Secret Wish, and the LA movies were just horrid, embarrassing and incredibly, baffalingly stupid. Everything in those things just made the show unwatchable. I was wondering if Hartman and co. were just making this stuff up under the influence. There wasn't any integrity left once they took it on that road. How could Hartman explain himself after that? I couldn't see him do that with a straight face, unless he's a total moron or a sociopath. I don't think he even cares anymore and just wants to be done with it.

If Hartman ever came out and said "Channel Chasers wasn't retconned" then it would give a lot of fans peace of mind and silence a lot of critics, but him doing such a thing is unthinkable. There are reasons, Hartman's reputation around the animation communties isn't steller, especially with the way he treated his shows in the recent years, he'd just get eaten alive if he ever tried to do a reddit AMA or something. Also, as I said before, I think Hartman fears throwing his own staff under the bus.

It wouldn't matter at this point. He destroyed whatever reputation he had left with his shenanigans. And as for him fearing to throwing his staff under the bus; I'd bet it has to be a very good reason. I suspect they have much to say about the private workings and the mind of ol' Elmer and his treatment of them. I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them would come out of hiding and spill some juicy dirt on him that'll be hard to wash away, if not impossible.
 

SaneMan

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Yeah. That was rather infuriating how Trixie got flanderized beyond recognition after that. I really liked Trixie in those two episodes with her being more down to earth and sweet when she wasn't playing the queen bee to her popular friends. It gave something of a reason to root for Timmy to chase after her and win her affections. But after she became a complete one dimensional queen bee stereotype, all we could see was Timmy constantly tripping up all over himself in his futile attempts to even get her to notice him. That joke got so very old after a few episodes.

It's even more frustrating that they were kinda going back-and-forth with her characterization
Like how she was portrayed as a hero in "The Big Superhero Wish" only to be followed by the character assassination that was "Just the Two of Us"

We had a chance to see Veronica evolve too when we learned that she was secretly in love with Timmy. That would've been pure gold had they worked on that angle. Instead, nothing came of about it. That was even more infuriating and downright stupid. They wasted a good opportunity for some meaningfull character development, fan service and witty humor. Its beyond pathetic.

yeah, her hidden feelings for Timmy, and her unhealthy obsession with Trixie could make for a good source for some plots
Really wasted potential

Hirsch saw something could be done with Pacifica's character and went with it. Now we have a new character that can interact with Mabel and Dipper as either a foil, ally or even friend. I doubt she'd become a villain as is Gideon Gleeful or Bill Cypher, but she's great as Mabel's antagonist with a more complex background. I can see her becoming close friends with Mabel at the end of the series. Dipper/Pacifica remains to be seen, but the seed is already there with the obvious tension between them as Dipper seems to take Pacifica more personal than Mabel does. We'll have to wait and see what Hirsch will do on his show.

Yeah, Pacifica is not serious villain material.
She lacks the malice for that
She works much better as the rival / reluctant ally type
 

pacman308

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Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Messages
126
It's even more frustrating that they were kinda going back-and-forth with her characterization
Like how she was portrayed as a hero in "The Big Superhero Wish" only to be followed by the character assassination that was "Just the Two of Us"

I never understood her role in "The Big Superhero Wish." She was just there along with Veronica and did nothing to help Timmy in the story. And Trixie and Veronica were supposed to be on Timmy's side. Conversely, Trixie going crazy in "Just the Two of Us" is just another confirmation that Hartman likes to send the message that all girls are crazy. At least in his world. Neither of them showed Trixie in a positive light.

yeah, her hidden feelings for Timmy, and her unhealthy obsession with Trixie could make for a good source for some plots
Really wasted potential

They could've made an episode that Trixie and Tootie were insanely jealous over Timmy/Veronica had they become a pair. Or Veronica becoming her own woman as she broke from Trixie's clique. So much could've been done, but nothing came out of it. No creativity or imagination from Hartman & co.

Yeah, Pacifica is not serious villain material.
She lacks the malice for that
She works much better as the rival / reluctant ally type

Yeah. I think we'll be seeing more of Pacifica as she develops into a real character before the end of the series.
 

stephane dumas

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I never understood her role in "The Big Superhero Wish." She was just there along with Veronica and did nothing to help Timmy in the story. And Trixie and Veronica were supposed to be on Timmy's side. Conversely, Trixie going crazy in "Just the Two of Us" is just another confirmation that Hartman likes to send the message that all girls are crazy. At least in his world. Neither of them showed Trixie in a positive light.

"Just the Two of us" was written by Jack Thomas and Scott Fellows who also gived us the ill-fated episode "It's a Wishful Life" where Timmy wished he was never born. I know it's a take on the classic movie "It's a wonderful life" but the way Timmy was shown in that alternate world, I still wonder how they come with that?
Or Veronica becoming her own woman as she broke from Trixie's clique.

There was one fan on Deviantart who go a stepfurther by giving to Veronica her own fairy godparent for a wishful spin-off series. Speaking of spin-off series, we're been lucky then the Poof and Foop spin-off rumors never came to fruitition.


Yeah. I think we'll be seeing more of Pacifica as she develops into a real character before the end of the series.

I couldn't resist to compare Pacifica with Cyril Sneer from the Canadian cartoon the Raccoons (and it's inspired me to sketch a fanart of them ^^;). Cyril evolved from the stereotypical ruthless tycoon to the level of anti-villain/anti-hero towards the end of the series but that's another story for another thread. ;)
 

SaneMan

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I never understood her role in "The Big Superhero Wish." She was just there along with Veronica and did nothing to help Timmy in the story. And Trixie and Veronica were supposed to be on Timmy's side. Conversely, Trixie going crazy in "Just the Two of Us" is just another confirmation that Hartman likes to send the message that all girls are crazy. At least in his world. Neither of them showed Trixie in a positive light.

It's true that in "The Big Superhero Wish" Trixie was just kinda there, but interestingly enough, a throwaway joke at Veronica's expense provided an argument about Trixie being a noble individual.
Trixie was one of the kids turned into superheroes.
When the superheroes lost their powers, and only supervillains remained, Trixie was one of the people who lost their powers, yet Veronica kept hers along with the villains, with the explanation that "she was never a hero to begin with"
Which would mean that Trixie must have had some heroic qualities to begin with even before being turned into a superhero

I know, fanwank, but still
 

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