Friday, July 19, 2013

RR Johnny Bravo

Hello, 911 emergency? There's a handsome guy in my house.

Oh, wait, cancel that. It's only me...

Name: Johnny Bravo: Season One 
Created by Van Partible
Original run 1997
Genre Cartoon comedy

Whoa, Mama!

If I tell you "Man, I'm pretty", chances are, you will think "Johnny Bravo".

And for a good reason!

Johnny Bravo. Remember this Cartoon Network classic? This extremely quotable fun comedy series that used to make fun of stereotypes and old clichés? If not, allow me to refresh your memory...

Johnny Bravo was a cartoon originally pitched by animator Van Partible for Cartoon Network's "World Premiere Toons" original animated shorts series.

The series follow the self-titled hero Johnny Bravo. A big bulky cliché hero (I'd even go as far as calling him a Duke Nukem parody) that seems to be inspired by mid-1950s James Dean-looking guys, with a touch of a young Elvis Presley-like person. That detail comes from Partible's own love for the King.

A typical Johnny Bravo episode would revolve around Johnny trying to woe a lady unsuccessfully... to the end where it only would get worse.

The series actually got 3 different pilots (all included on the DVD set) before it finally got green-lighted. A first pilot aired in 1995 in which we saw the basic pitch of a JB episode where he confronted a purple gorilla lose in the city. Then Van Partible and his crew pitched the cartoon Jungle Boy in 1996, it would later be merged with Johnny Bravo on the actual series. Finally Johnny came face to face with Amazon Women in a last pilot episode in August 1997 before the actual series was finally launched that same year.

The Johnny Bravo series lasted for 4 Seasons from 1997 to 2004. It was the one of the first "What a Cartoon!" pilot to be turned into an actual show. The first season is from 1997, Season 2 ran from 1999-2000, Season 3 in 2000-2003 and finally Season 4 ended the series in 2004. The show was entirely retooled during Season 2, adding several background characters to the cast and Johnny Bravo went through a redesign before things got back to normal near the end.

Johnny Bravo was the second original series to be spin off under the Cartoon Cartoons banner.

Johnny Bravo is a guy with a lot of confidence. Perhaps way too much self-confidence, more than simply full of himself. His only weakness? His love of women. It's the only thing he constantly has in mind to be precise.

Johnny tries to woe girls with his smooth Elvis voice while he flexes his pecs. And it never works.

At least there are two women who will always like his presence. His mama and the little neighbor Suzy.

Season 2 would then had his annoying "best friend" and nerd Carl Chryniszzswics and the local diner owner Pops.

Johnny would be probably a lot more popular had he been born in another generation!

Van Partible pitched this while trying to be original and have his cartoon stand out from what was being made at the time. Along with several of his friends such as Genndy Tartakovsky  (Dexter's Laboratory) or Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls) they decided to break free from the conventions of cartoons back in the 1990s and were responsible for some ground breaking animation.

Johnny Bravo plays with a lot of politically correct conventions and tropes of the genres.

The writing crew was formed with other "World Premiere Toons" animators and artists. Many great writers from the field debuted on Johnny Bravo actually. Seth MacFarlane, Butch Hartman, Steve Marmel and John McIntyre all had an hand on Johnny Bravo. And even cartoon legend Joseph Barbera was a consultant on the first season to help along this new generation of would be-cartoonists.

The series had also a the chance to count on a great voice cast.

Jeff Bennett really made the series with his role as Johnny Bravo, usually supporting up to 3 to more voice parts in every single episode! He mostly relied on his own Elvis impersonation for the role.

Other (now-)famous voice actors also worked on the series, like Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Frank Welker, Jeffrey Tambor, Mark Hamill and even Dan Castellaneta! (Tom Kenny would later join the cast as Carl)

But there also were a lot of fantastic cameo and guest apparances by Hollywood stars such as Farah Fawcett, Adam West, Donny Osmond, Jack Sheldon, etc.

For such a young channel, Cartoon Network was unexpectedly able to score a lot of actual celebrities instead of the usual cheap imitators.

Season One of Johnny Bravo (and the entire series for that matter) is now considered classic animation from the late 1990s. The show hold up pretty well, still to this day.

The first season sport such a clean artwork and simple but effective animation.

Johnny Bravo has almost a retro-ysh look compared to the rest of the Cartoon Network lineup. On purpose, that makes it stand the test of time. Very much in the style of Hanna-Barbera.

Johnny Bravoe episodes follow a pretty simple formula for the plot, that is flexible enough to warrant countless iterations different enough every time.

The show relied heavily on pop culture references and catch phrases from our extremely quotable hero.

The first season was the smaller one with a count of about 12 episodes (pilots excluded).

But it also was one of the most original first seasons I've seen for a cartoon series only starting to find its feet. When Johnny wasn't trying to impress Suzy's teacher or woe her adult cousin, he often finds himself in the wort of troubles in the middle of the jungle or facing clowns, criminals. The simpler episodes are also the funniest be it when he is simply meeting a celebrity like Adam West, or just getting a date that turns for the worst when the girl turns into a wereworlf, or going out on a date with an Antelope...

Overall, an hilarious cartoon series that has a lot more going on that you would think at first.

It's clearly aimed at children but definitively enjoyable as well for the whole family kids and adults alike.

Here's a timeless classic like so many others Cartoon Network produced in their "Golden Age of Television".

The show was revived for one final and first movie that aired in India first in 2009 and then in the rest of the world in 2010. "Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood" which saw Johnny ran amok in Mumbai.

Finally Johnny came back in 2011 in a direct-to-video second special episode of about 70 minutes also titled "Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood". This time Johnny arrived in Bollywood after confusing it for Hollywood. The story follows Johnny as he faces his Indian equivalent "Jiggy".

And more recently IDW has announced interest in bringing several old CN proprieties into comic books.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Felixes!

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