Father of the Pride
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|Father of the Pride|
The show's 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
Pacific Data Images
Imagi Animation Studios
|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 UPN's 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 show was unsuccessful and was canceled after one season. Transmission and production were also delayed by the real-life on-stage injury of Roy Horn.
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 cost an estimated $13 million and 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 almost 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 his favorite 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 was promoted heavily during NBC's coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece and garnered above average ratings for the network, but the show 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 - voiced by Eddie Murphy - from the DreamWorks movie Shrek and Shrek 2). Also, many TV critics noticed that the show's humor was very similar to South Park (one episode had a character say "Screw you guys, I'm going home!"). Siegfried and Roy's reaction was 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," said Katzenberg.
The show's ratings began to decline, and by November 2004 it was pulled from NBC's sweeps line-up. In early December 2004, the CEO of DreamWorks announced that the show was canceled, a few months after it was initially aired. A DVD version of the show has been made available, containing the original pilot, an alternate pilot (which draws heavily on the original), an un-aired episode, and one episode that was voice-recorded, but was not animated, and therefore remains at the storyboard stage.
The series first broadcast on Sky1 in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2005. It was also repeated on Sky3. The show was originally on the Global Television Network and on Teletoon in Canada, RTÉ One in Ireland (soon on RTE Two), MTV3 and Subtv in Finland, BTV in Bulgaria, NHK in Japan, Canal FOX in Latin America, vtm in Belgium, MediaCorp Channel 5 in Singapore, GMA Network in the Philippines, Telefé in Argentina, TV2 in New Zealand, ProSieben in Germany, TVN7 in Poland, Go! in Australia, and 2x2 in Russia.
|Larry||John Goodman||The main character. 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.|
|Kate||Cheryl Hines||Kate is Sarmoti's daughter and Larry's wife. Primarily known for her relation to Sarmoti and Larry, Kate is constantly attempting to establish her own individuality.|
|Sierra||Danielle Harris||Sierra is Larry's rebellious 16-year-old daughter. She is an activist with left-wing views.|
|Hunter||Daryl Sabara||Hunter is Larry's 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 one episode, 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 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 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 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.|
|Foo-Lin||Lisa Kudrow||A female giant panda who is very jealous of her younger, pregnant sister, she 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 cracks about her mental state funny instead of insulting as they're meant to be.|
|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, aka '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, he constantly calls him boss and agrees with every single thing he says.|
|Tommy||David Spade||Tommy, a coyote, is the wise-cracking 'guide' that Larry and Sarmoti meet in the Road Trip episode. Eventually Larry and Sarmoti realise Tommy manages to get them lost, and becomes a bit of an annoyance to them both.|
|Kelsey Grammer||Kelsey Grammer||Siegfried and Roy take Larry to see Kelsey Grammer in the revised pilot, as Siegfried and Roy believe that he is a real psychologist|
|Roger||Greg Cipes||Roger the orangutan is a local at the 'Watering Hole' pub.|
|Hi Larious||Seth MacFarlane||Hi is a snail comedian who is not very funny. 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.|
|The 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 airdates
Protest from the Parents Television Council
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 movie 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
- Rammairone, Nerina (August 31, 2004). "Siegfried and Roy's Troubled Toon". TV Guide. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- Wolff, Ellen (September 1, 2004). "Father of the Pride: Trans-Pacific CGI". Animation World Network. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- "24 Hours with Raman Hui". South China Morning Post. October 31, 2004. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Adalian, Josef (November 1, 2004). "NBC swallows its toon ‘Pride’". Variety. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- He played poker with his leftover bar mitzvah money.
- Halonen, Doug (2004-10-18). "PTC E-Mails Generate Results". Television Week. Parents Television Council. Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- Martin, Kevin, et al.. Notices of Apparent Liability and Memorandum Opinion and Order (PDF). FCC 06-17. Federal Communications Commission.