LazyTown

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LazyTown
LazyTown logo.png
TV Series Logo
Created by Magnús Scheving
Developed by Viacom
Written by Mark Valenti
Starring Magnús Scheving
Julianna Rose Mauriello (Seasons 1–2)
Stefán Karl Stefánsson
Chloe Lang (Season 3–present)
Country of origin Iceland
United States
United Kingdom
Original language(s) English, or Icelandic
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 79 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) LazyTown Entertainment
Distributor Turner Broadcasting System (Europe)
Broadcast
Original channel RÚV, Stöð 2 (Iceland)
Nick Jr. (2004–2007) (US)
(UK)
CBeebies
Channel 5
NBC
Picture format HDTV
Original run 16 August 2004 (2004-08-16) – present[1]
External links
Website

LazyTown (Icelandic: Latibær) is an educational musical children's television program with a cast and crew from Iceland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was created by Magnús Scheving, a gymnastics champion and CEO of LazyTown Entertainment, who also stars in the show. Originally performed in English, the show has been dubbed into more than a dozen languages (including Icelandic) and aired in over 100 countries.[2]

Fifty-three episodes were produced from 2004 to 2007, for the first and second seasons. It originally aired on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. in the US. Turner Broadcasting System Europe acquired LazyTown Entertainment in 2011[3] and commissioned a third season,[4] to be delivered at the end of 2012 and which premiered on April 6, 2013 in the UK on Cartoonito, due to this, Cbeebies (The Old broadcaster for LazyTown) no longer airs the series.

It has generated spin-off projects including stage productions and a TV program for younger children called LazyTown Extra.

Premise[edit]

The show focuses on a formerly inactive neighborhood named "LazyTown", whose residents' athleticism has been stimulated through the arrival and encouragement of a newcomer named Stephanie, who promotes exercise and health amongst her fellow citizens. Aside from Stephanie's influence, the community also has been prodded through the example set by the admirable, athletically themed local superhero, Sportacus. However, the activity of residents is frequently tempted or jeopardized through the sinister intentions of Robbie Rotten, a deceptive, lazy man residing in an underground lair, who is angered by their enthusiasm for sports and desires for peace, and who constantly devises schemes to restore LazyTown to its former state.

TV production[edit]

The show is part live action, part puppetry, and part CGI animation. It was filmed and produced at 380 Studios, a purpose-built studio near Reykjavík equipped with high-end HDTV production facilities and one of the biggest green screens in the world. The production floor area is 1,800 square meters (almost 20,000 square feet).[5][6] The budget for each episode was approximately ISK 70,000,000 (US$1 million), about five times the average cost for a children's television programme at the time, making it "the most expensive children's show in the world", according to Scheving.[7][8]

Its virtual sets were generated with an Unreal Engine 3-based framework, created by Raymond P. Le Gué, known as XRGen4. According to Le Gué, "We start with the live actors and puppets on a physical set with a green screen behind them as a backdrop. The green screen is replaced in real time with the sets created in XRGen4 using UE3. As we move the camera and actors around the physical set, the backdrop scene also moves in real time in complete synchronization with the movements of the real camera. All of this is recorded, and the director can watch the resulting composition in real time."[9]

Stephanie, Sportacus, and Robbie were the only human characters until episode 32 ("Dancing Duel"), the first to include Rottenella, played by Mauriello's stunt double, Kristjana Ólafsdóttir. The rest of the characters are depicted as puppets, made by the Neal Scanlan Studio and Wit Puppets. Later episodes, including "Little Sportacus" and "The Lazy Genie", extended the live cast. LazyTown was created by Magnús Scheving, who has also directed many of the TV program's episodes.

Syndication[edit]

The show first appeared on 16 August 2004, in the U.S. on Nick Jr., when it was a children's block on the Nickelodeon channel).[10] The second season debuted in the U.S. on Nick Jr. on 15 May 2006.[11] It aired again in the U.S. on CBS from 18 September 2004, to 9 September 2006, as part of the Nickelodeon on CBS Saturday morning block. It also aired briefly when "Nick Jr" was changed into Nickelodeon's Nick's Play Date block on 2 February 2009, but was removed after the season finale on 26 June 2009. As of September 2011, it is seen in the US on Sprout with new episodes, and a Spanish-dubbed version was aired on V-me. NBC began airing it every Saturday on 7 July 2012, as part of the new Saturday morning NBC Kids pre-school block. The Spanish-dubbed version also airs on Telemundo (a sister station to NBC) as part of the new weekend pre-school morning block MiTelemundo programmed by Sprout. As of October 2013, ten episodes from season 2 have been released on Netflix.

Networks that have aired LazyTown[edit]

Characters[edit]

Stephanie[edit]

Main article: Stephanie (LazyTown)

Stephanie is an energetic, active, enthusiastic, and sweet newcomer to town residing with her uncle, Mayor Milford Meanswell. Characterized by her solely pink-colored attire, Stephanie is disappointed with the slothlike, inactive lifestyles led by her new array of peers and coaxes them to partake in more athletic pastimes; however, her attempts may often be nearly thwarted by Robbie Rotten, who prefers to lead a sluggish, lazy lifestyle in an underground lair located beneath the town and is agitated by the sudden boom of physical activity. Nonetheless, Stephanie is eternally optimistic and hopeful, and always manages to triumph over any challenges at the end. She was first portrayed by Shelby Young in the pilot episode who was then replaced by Julianna Rose Mauriello for the first two seasons, and is currently portrayed by Chloe Lang.

Sportacus[edit]

Magnús Scheving as Sportacus at the UK Toy Fair 2009
Main article: Sportacus

Sportacus is the distinguished local superhero, athletically themed and admired by many. He resides in a blue airship that is commonly seen soaring above LazyTown, and can be contacted through the alerts of a beeping crystal implanted on the chest of his costume. Understanding, courageous, and helpful, he is fiercely devoted to exercise and physical activity and encourages others to follow his example, sparing them from the temptations of a lazy lifestyle. He has a rivalry with Robbie Rotten, who, as opposed to Sportacus's adoration of health and fitness, strongly opposes all forms of athleticism and yearns for the restoration of LazyTown to its sluggish, silent state. Sportacus lives on a diet consisting solely of vegetables and fruits, labelling them as "sports candy", and is vulnerable to his superhero weakness of junk food and entirely incapable of tolerating the consumption of it, falling into comatose inactive or powerless states following the ingestion of unhealthy food that can only be cured through the consumption of healthier foods. He is played by Magnús Scheving.

Robbie[edit]

Main article: Robbie Rotten

Robbie, desiring silence and peace, continuously formulates feckless schemes that often feature him masquerading in various disguises (with aliases including the word "rotten") as a means of hoodwinking or tempting residents away from an active lifestyle. He passionately abhors the influence of Sportacus and Stephanie, and a number of these schemes are intended either to do away with them or lure the people of town away from a fit lifestyle, or perhaps besmirch others' reputations.

Robbie's intentions are cunning and malevolent but he is not portrayed as a thoroughly evil villain and his antics or behaviors may categorize him as comic relief. He is portrayed by Stefán Karl Stefánsson.

Ziggy[edit]

Ziggy (puppeteered and voiced by Guðmundur Þór Kárason) is the youngest resident. He loves to eat candy and sweets—particularly taffy. After Stephanie came along he found that there is more to childhood than sugary treats. He is now active and participates in any sport the gang plays, but still enjoys candy. He can usually be seen holding a lollipop.

Stingy[edit]

Stingy (puppeteered and voiced by Jodi Eichelberger) is a selfish and possessive child. He still plays with the gang, but he will always care about his stuff, especially his car and his prized piggy bank. He often says "It's mine!" and has his own song by that name (which names everything in LazyTown as his, he even names 'this instrumental break' within the song as his). He can also play the harmonica and recorder. His toy car is a 1978 Mini Cooper.

Trixie[edit]

Trixie (puppeteered and voiced by Sarah Burgess) is a troublemaker, though she does like to play with everyone else. Trixie refers to Stephanie as "Pinky" when trying to get her attention. She also likes to draw moustaches on the mayor's posters.

Pixel[edit]

Pixel (puppeteered by Ron Binion and voiced by Kobie Powell and Chris Knowings) is a 10-year-old who loves computers, technology and gadgets. He fixes up all sorts of gadgets to help him avoid doing something himself, such as a machine to tie his shoes or a remote that "does everything for you". Pixel represents the disadvantages of technology replacing outdoor activity and exercise.

Other Puppets[edit]

  • Mayor Milford Meanswell (puppeteered and voiced by David Matthew Feldman) is a nervous wreck who has a crush on Miss Busybody. He loves his niece Stephanie very much and calls Sportacus if she feels sad or depressed. He is also famous for saying "Oh my!" all the time if something is wrong. In the episode "LazyTown Goes Digital", the Mayor is seen to be continually perplexed by modern technological terms and has to be corrected when foolishly trying to send a "b-mail" using a recently installed computer system.
  • Bessie Busybody (puppeteered and voiced by Julie Westwood) is an adult resident. Although patronizing, she tries her best to be motherly with the children. She is aware of every new trend, and is pompous but fashionable; she loves to talk on her cell phone.

Others[edit]

  • Number 9 (not seen, only referred to) was a superhero from an island in the North Sea who was LazyTown's protector and resident role model in times past. He had a big number 9 on his chest, whereas Sportacus is number 10. When Stephanie was trying to think how to get the kids to play outside, Mayor Meanswell told her about Number 9 and how they could send messages to him through a tube that Robbie Rotten had plugged up. Stephanie tried it and Sportacus got her letter asking for help.
  • Genie appears in an episode called "The Lazy Genie", in which Robbie Rotten is visited by a magical genie who grants him three wishes.
  • Rottenella, a dancing robot created from a music box figurine by Robbie Rotten, appears in the episode "Dancing Duel". The role is played by Kristjana Sæunn Olafsdóttir.
  • Chef Pablo Fantastico: A renowned Mediterranean Chef who loves to cook with "passion and love", and uses fresh ingredients. He opens a restaurant in Lazy Town in "Chef Rottenfood".

Episodes[edit]

Fifty-three episodes were produced between 2004 and 2007.

As of 2012, a third season has been commissioned,[4] with delivery scheduled for the end of 2012 and premiered in 6 April 2013.

LazyTown Extra[edit]

On 15 September 2008, a spin-off television series called LazyTown Extra debuted in the UK on CBeebies. A "magazine format style show" for 3- to 6-year-olds, it features characters from LazyTown in an assortment of short sketches.[12] 26 episodes of LazyTown Extra have been produced, each between 11 and 15 minutes in duration.[13][14] Several characters are voiced by different actors from those who performed in LazyTown.

Live shows[edit]

Prior to producing LazyTown, Magnús Scheving created two theatrical shows in Iceland. Áfram Latibær! ("Onward LazyTown!"/"Go Lazytown!", produced in 1996) had Scheving as an energetic elf who encouraged the townspeople to exercise and lead healthier lives. The show had a Stephanie-like character who was an out-of-shape dancer, but the Robbie Rotten character did not yet exist. Most of the secondary characters (puppets) seen in the television series also appeared in this show, although in human form. The second show, Glanni Glæpur í Latabæ ("Robbie Rotten in LazyTown", produced in 1999), introduced Stefán Karl Stefánsson playing his Robbie Rotten character, while Scheving's role changed from elf to hero in an airship.

The 2007–08 LazyTown Live show at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

A LazyTown Live! stage production toured the UK and Ireland between October 2007 and August 2008. It introduced a new cast to the UK, including Julian Essex-Spurrier as Sportacus.[7][15][16]

A Spanish-speaking version of the live show premiered in Mexico in 2008, followed by Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. As of 2009 it was scheduled to tour the United States in 2010.[17][18]

From 28 January to 29 November 2009, a live stage production entitled LazyTown Live! The Pirate Adventure toured the United Kingdom and Ireland. It featured characters and songs from LazyTown, performed by a new cast.[19][20]

New productions of LazyTown Live had their premieres in November 2009 in Portugal and in March 2010 in Spain by producers Lemon Entertainment.

A live show LazyTown in Schools premiered in Australia in 2012, touring schools to promote healthy eating and fitness for children.[21]

Awards[edit]

2005:

  • LazyTown won the EDDA award (the Icelandic equivalent of the BAFTA or Oscar) for Production Design. It also received EDDA nominations in four other categories: Costume Design, Cinematography and Editing, Screenplay, and TV Drama/Comedy of the Year.[22][23]

2006:

  • LazyTown won the BAFTA Children's Award in the international category.[24]
  • Julianna Rose Mauriello was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her role as Stephanie.[23][25]
  • Magnús Scheving received the lifetime achievement award at the Icelandic EDDA ceremonies for his work as founder and creator: the president of Iceland presented the award.[26]
  • LazyTown received a German EMIL award.[27]

2007:

  • LazyTown received two Daytime Emmy nominations – recognising Magnús Scheving and Jonathan Judge for Outstanding Directing in a Children's Series, and to composer Mani Svavarsson for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction & Composition.[28]
  • LazyTown was nominated for the BAFTA Children's Award in the international category.[29]

2008:

  • LazyTown was nominated for the BAFTA Children's Award in the international category.[30]
  • LazyTown was nominated for five EDDA awards: Best TV Show, Best Costumes, Best Makeup, Best Sound, and Best Stage Design.[31]
  • Magnús Scheving received the PROTOS Award from the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City.[32]

Music[edit]

Stephanie performs "Bing Bang" at the end of each episode.

The soundtracks and songs are composed by Máni Svavarsson, whose history with the company goes back to the original Icelandic theatre plays. The popularity of the songs and music has led to the production of soundtrack albums that feature music from the show, including LazyTown in the United States, Líttu inn í Latabæ in Iceland, Los geht's! in Germany, ¡Bienvenidos a LazyTown! in Latin America and LazyTown – The Album in the United Kingdom. A second UK soundtrack, titled LazyTown – The New Album was released on 15 October 2007.

The song "Bing Bang" was released as a single in the UK, and peaked at number 4 in the UK Singles Chart on 10 December 2006.

LazyTown's TV Series[edit]

  • LazyTown's TV Series 1 (2004)
  • LazyTown's TV Series 2 (2007)
  • LazyTown's TV Series 3 (2013)
  • LazyTown's TV Series 4 (2014)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.lazytownworld.com/specials/season-3-press-release/
  2. ^ "LazyTown on air in 103 countries". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-11-25. [dead link]
  3. ^ Turner, Mimi (8 September 2011). "'Lazytown' Founder Sells To Turner Broadcasting For $25 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ a b "Turner acquires LazyTown prodco"
  5. ^ 380 Studios – About Us
  6. ^ "Icelandic Eurovision song‘s video 'Is it true' filmed in the LazyTown studios". Lazytown.com. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  7. ^ a b "Action man: The world of Sportacus". London: The Independent. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-19. [dead link]
  8. ^ Moran, Caitlin (4 November 2006). "Mr Motivator". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  9. ^ "Unreal Engine 3 Powers Critical and Commercial Success LazyTown". Unreal.com. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  10. ^ "LazyTown wows the US as it debuts on Nick Jr. to very healthy ratings". 20 September 2004. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  11. ^ Bryson, Carey. "LazyTown Premieres New Second Season on Monday, May 15". About.com. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  12. ^ "CBeebies out and about with LazyTown Extra". BBC Press Office. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  13. ^ "LazyTown Entertainment Gives You Extra". Lazytown.com. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  14. ^ "BBC – CBeebies Programmes – LazyTown Extra". Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  15. ^ Fletcher, Damien. "Suffering with Sportacus". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  16. ^ Dyball, Richard (14 July 2007). "Yes, I'm the real Sportacus". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  17. ^ "LazyTown Live! En Español Coming to U.S."
  18. ^ Roberts, Katie. "US: Lazytown Live to hit the stage" Licensing.biz. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  19. ^ "LazyTown Live". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  20. ^ "Facebook – LazyTown Live! The Pirate Adventure". Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  21. ^ LazyTown in Schools
  22. ^ "LazyTown won an EDDA for Production design". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  23. ^ a b ""LazyTown" (2004) – Awards". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  24. ^ "BAFTA win icing on the cake of a stellar week in the UK for LazyTown". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  25. ^ "Awards and Nominations". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  26. ^ "YouTube – Edda 2006 – Magnús Segment (Subtitled)". Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  27. ^ "LazyTown welcomes a prestigious German EMIL award". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  28. ^ "LazyTown announces not one but two Daytime EMMY award nominations". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  29. ^ "LazyTown nominated for their second prestigious UK Children's BAFTA". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  30. ^ "Children's Awards Winners in 2008 – Children's – Awards – The BAFTA site". Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  31. ^ "LazyTown nominated for 5 EDDA awards". LazyTown Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  32. ^ "LazyTown Creator Scheving Awarded in Mexico". Iceland Review. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 

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