Father of the Pride
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|Father of the Pride|
The series' logo from the opening credits
|Created by||Jeffrey Katzenberg|
|Developed by||Jonathan Groff|
|Directed by||Mark Risley|
|Creative director(s)||Felix Ip|
|Voices of||John Goodman
|Opening theme||"Viva Las Vegas" performed by John Goodman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15 (2 unaired and 1 unfinished) (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jeffrey Katzenberg|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||DreamWorks Animation
|Picture format||480i 4:3 (SDTV)
1080i 16:9 (HDTV)
|Original run||August 31, 2004– May 27, 2005|
Father of the Pride is an American animated television series that began broadcasting on NBC on August 31, 2004 and was part of a short-lived trend of CGI series in prime-time network TV (after Game Over).
The series, which was produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg and his company DreamWorks Animation, revolves around a family of white lions, the patriarch of which stars in a Siegfried & Roy show in Las Vegas. Despite heavy promotion, the series was unsuccessful and was cancelled after one season. Transmission and production were also delayed by the real-life on-stage injury of Roy Horn in October 2003.
In 2002, Jeffrey Katzenberg came up with the idea for the series when he visited Siegfried & Roy's show in Las Vegas: "I thought, I wonder what it's like for those lions. What must life be like from their point of view? [They're] living in Las Vegas, trying to raise a family and earn a living. In animation, we look for those things — a way to look at our lives through a fantasy world. It allows us to take on subjects that are too difficult to do with real people. It allows us to be more controversial. Edgier. There can be parody and innuendo and satire. Things can be sophisticated in a way that even our feature films can't be."
According to Katzenberg, the series was created for "an 18- to 49-year-old. It's not about checking to make sure you don't leave the 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds behind. This is purely an adult show."
It took more than 200 animators two years to make the series. Computer animation was produced at Imagi Animation Studios, in Hong Kong. Father of the Pride employed a small group of seasoned directors which included Mark Risley, Bret Haaland, Steve Hickner, John Holmquist, John Stevenson, and Mark Baldo. Felix Ip served as creative director for Imagi.
Long before its broadcast, the series was nearly cancelled, following the near-death of Roy Horn in October 2003; but after his condition improved, both Siegfried and Roy urged NBC to continue production. Katzenberg recalled, "There was a short period of time where we all just rocked out on our heels and couldn't be particularly creative and certainly not very funny. But Siegfried kept saying, every step of the way, that this show meant so much to them. So much to Roy. Then, even more than it ever did."
The opening sequence starts off with a red sports car, with the Nevada license plate "MAGIC1," being driven by Siegfried and Roy past many of the attractions in Las Vegas. Cast names are presented on the marquees of the Strip hotels that, along with the Mirage, belonged to the MGM / Mirage Group at the time, before the car swerves into the Mirage Hotel. The scene then changes to the lions' house. Larry wakes up, late for his performance, on the couch before dashing towards the stage (but not before having a beer given to him by Snack). Larry (voiced by John Goodman) sings a rendition of Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" as the background music throughout the title sequence.
The series' debut on NBC on August 31, 2004 attracted 12.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched series of the week on the American television. However, the series was expected to do better, especially considering heavy promotion during NBC's coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Its opening ranked only the 13th of 16 fall comedies that NBC introduced since 1999.
The series' ratings began to decline. By November 2004, it was pulled from NBC's sweeps line-up. In early December, Jeffrey Katzenberg announced that Father of the Pride was cancelled, a few months after it was initially aired; as well, Katzenberg added that he did not believe the series would be picked up for a second season.
Father of the Pride received a negative response from TV critics, who considered it to be little more than a gimmick and a shill for other NBC and DreamWorks properties (two early episodes extensively featured The Today Show's Matt Lauer and another featured Donkey from the Shrek franchise). Also, many TV critics noticed that the series' humor was very similar to South Park (one episode had a character say, "Screw you guys, I'm goin' home!").
According to Katzenberg, Siegfried and Roy's reactions were more positive: "They laughed. A lot. They kept asking us to create more contradiction. Literally, one's blond and one's dark, and every aspect of their life is as black and white as that. They are always playful with one another, always playing tricks on one another. They encouraged us to have fun with that."
Father of the Pride was released on DVD on June 7, 2005, containing the original pilot, an alternate pilot (which draws heavily on the original), an un-aired episode, and one episode that was voice-recorded and not animated (and therefore, remains at the storyboard stage).
|Larry||John Goodman||The main protagonist. Larry is a middle-aged, overweight white lion who, through a bizarre series of events, becomes star of Siegfried and Roy's world famous magic show (replacing his less-than-delighted father-in-law, Sarmoti). He tends to speak before he thinks. Larry can also be a bit overprotective of his family, especially his children (this is also hinted when he threatened to harm anyone who tries to harm Sierra in "Catnip and Trust").|
|Kate||Cheryl Hines||Kate is Sarmoti's daughter and Larry's wife. Primarily known for her relation to Larry and Sarmoti, Kate is constantly attempting to establish her own individuality. Kate is very loving and close with her father, but her relationship with her mother is unknown.|
|Sierra||Danielle Harris||Sierra is Larry's rebellious, outgoing 16-year-old daughter. She is an activist with left-wing views. Sierra can be somewhat antagonistic and sassy at times (even teasing Hunter), but she genuinely loves and cares about her family. In "And the Revolution Continues," it is revealed that she used to practice killing her prey as a young cub on an old home video, but Sierra was annoyed and told Larry not to watch it since she no longer commits "rodent hate crimes".|
|Hunter||Daryl Sabara||Hunter is Larry's friendly, sensitive, somewhat immature 10-year-old son. He is always shown wearing a plastic Elizabethan collar to stop him from biting himself and is portrayed as slightly mentally deficient. He is a diehard fan of Lord of the Rings as he has action figures of the characters, and in "Possession," he quoted Gollum's "My Precious" line. Hunter is the most rarely used main character, being entirely absent from a few episodes. Sarmoti suspects that Hunter might be gay, though he most likely might not be.|
|Sarmoti||Carl Reiner||Sarmoti is Sierra and Hunter's grandfather, Kate's father, Larry's father-in-law, and the former star attraction of Siegfried and Roy's show. Sarmoti has a dislike for and is jealous of Larry and is disappointed with Kate for marrying him, thinking she could have done better. He fancies himself the feline member of the Rat Pack. The name "Sarmoti" is an acronym of "Siegfried And Roy, Masters Of The Impossible."|
|Snack||Orlando Jones||Snack is a gopher and Larry's best friend. He is sneaky, manipulative, and constantly getting into trouble with the other residents of the park. In one episode, Snack had a girlfriend named Candy, but she ended up dumping him.|
|Siegfried Fischbacher||Julian Holloway||Siegfried is the more magically inclined of the duo and constantly argues with Roy, but still loves and respects him as his best friend.|
|Roy Horn||David Herman||Roy is the animal trainer of the Siegfried and Roy duo and frequently has to defend his animals from the criticisms of Siegfried. Despite he and Siegfried's arguments, they still respect and love each other.|
|Foo-Lin||Lisa Kudrow||A female giant panda who is very jealous of her younger, pregnant sister. Foo-Lin is very prone to becoming depressed because she has almost given up on finding a man. She constantly looks to Kate for comfort and finds Sarmoti's jokes about her mental state humorous instead of insulting as they are meant to be. At the end, Foo-Lin finally becomes Nelson's girlfriend.|
|Donkey||Eddie Murphy||Donkey, co-star of the Shrek films, visits the compound and he is known as a massive star by all of the animals. Larry tries to get him to go to Hunter's school.|
|Emerson||Danny DeVito||Emerson is an activist lobster who befriends Sierra, much to Larry's dismay. Emerson was later thrown into the sewers by Sierra after he insulted her father Larry, even though Larry saved him twice.|
|Blake||John O'Hurley||Blake is a white tiger and the main adversary of the white lions. The two groups constantly compete to be the stars of the show. Blake is a self-professed "whore for applause".|
|Chimmi & Changa||Tress MacNeille as Changa, Chimmi uncredited||A pair of lesbian or possibly bisexual "fiesta babe" gophers Snack hires to promote "Larry's Debut All-Night Fiesta". Snack catches them making out and excitedly photographs them as a gag before a cut to commercial and they again passionately kiss when Chimmi is impressed with Changa's 'intellect'.|
|Victoria||Wendie Malick||Victoria is Blake's wife. She also competes with the lions to act with her husband in Siegfried and Roy's show. She has a drinking problem, and has already had 2 liver transplants from baboons.|
|Nelson||Andy Richter||Nelson, nicknamed "Bong Bong," is a giant panda whom Larry and Kate try and introduce to Foo-Lin. He is extremely nervous about meeting other women as he had never seen other women because he was isolated before brought into captivity by Siegfried and Roy.|
|Bernie||Garry Marshall||Bernie is Sarmoti's poker buddy and friend. He is a bit of a suck up and acts like Sarmoti's assistant and yesman, constantly calling him "Boss" and agreeing with every single thing he says.|
|Tommy||David Spade||Tommy is a wise-cracking coyote who "guides" Larry and Sarmoti when they first meet him in "Road Trip." Eventually, Larry and Sarmoti realize that Tommy manages to get them lost and becomes a bit of an annoyance to them. In the end, Tommy gets invited by Roy as his temporary rescued pet at his doorstep.|
|Kelsey Grammer||Kelsey Grammer||Kelsey Grammer is a stand-up comedian and actor whom Siegfried and Roy take Larry to see in the revised pilot. Siegfried and Roy believe that Grammer is a real psychologist and Roy explains his lifelong problems and hard relationship with his father.|
|Roger||Greg Cipes||Roger the orangutan is a local at the Watering Hole pub. He has something of a short temper as he gets angry easily many times, being happy and cheerful one moment and then angry and disgruntled when he gets offended.|
|Hi Larious||Seth MacFarlane||Hi Larious is a snail comedian who is not very funny (though he tries to be). He features in a plot against the lions with the tigers.|
|Vincent||Don Stark||Vincent is a flamingo with a sexual interest in sombreros and a New Yorker's accent. He acts tough because he is self-conscious about being pink.|
|Snout Brothers||John DiMaggio||The Snout Brothers are a pair of steroid abusing, exercise enthusiast warthogs who are old friends of Sarmoti. They are right winged characters who are homophobic. When Sarmoti advises them to be careful with the steroids as "They cause shrinkage down there.", the two exclaim "Worth it!" before running off.|
|Lily||Amanda Peet||Although Lily is a lioness, she is a "cougar". Lily is the leader of a women's empowerment group, who encourages the compound's women to find the goddess within themselves.|
|Tom||John DiMaggio||Tom is an antelope who is an alcoholic, verbally abusive adulterer, who often tries to pick fights after he has had a few drinks.|
|Duke||Dom DeLuise||An exceedingly effeminate leopard, Duke is one of Sarmoti's poker buddies. He makes subtle but obvious allusions to his homosexuality, to which his buddies are oblivious.|
|Chaz||Denis Leary||Chaz is a panther and one of Sarmoti's poker buddies.|
|Edna Falvey||Kathryn Joosten||Edna is a lioness with a lisp who is the teacher of the "Gifted And Talented Class" of the compound's school.|
|Brittany||Julia Sweeney||Brittany is a warthog sow.|
|Chutney||Brian George||Chutney is an Indian elephant and one of Larry's friends. In one episode, it is revealed that he (rather than Lucy Vodden) is Lucy from "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". Through the series, the implication that he is in a gay relationship with his turkey "roommate" and that he is otherwise closeted is a running gag.|
|Justin||Pauly Shore||Justin is a Jewish adolescent lion with a mop-top haircut. He is Sierra's boyfriend and an aggressive (but unskilled) poker player.|
Episode list and air dates
Protest from the Parents Television Council
In October 2004, the Parents Television Council's launched a campaign against Father of the Pride. Reasons cited for their opposition were the aforementioned use of anthropomorphic animals and the use of "from the creators of Shrek" in their promotions. Shrek was a much more family-friendly film than this series, which the PTC used as an example, stating that Father of the Pride could inadvertently draw the wrong audience. Their campaign led to over 11,000 complaints to the Federal Communications Commission. In March 2006, the FCC ruled that the show was not indecent.
Awards and nominations
Father of the Pride won an Annie Award in 2005 for Character Design in an Animated Television Production. It was also nominated for a 2005 People's Choice Award in the category Favorite New TV Comedy Series.
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- He played poker with his leftover bar mitzvah money.
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- Baisley, Sarah (January 30, 2005). "The Incredibles & Brad Bird Soar at Annie Awards". Animation World Network. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
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