Secret Mountain Fort Awesome

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Secret Mountain Fort Awesome
The phrase "Secret Mountain Fort Awesome" in a bold, black and raggedy typeface
Genre Comedy[1]
Created by Peter Browngardt
Directed by
Creative director(s) Chris Reccardi
Voices of
Composer(s) Mike Conte
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Peter Browngardt
  • David P. Smith
Producer(s) Pernelle Hayes
Running time 11 minutes
Production company(s) Cartoon Network Studios
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Original run August 1, 2011 (2011-08-01) – February 17, 2012 (2012-02-17)
Chronology
Related shows Uncle Grandpa
External links
Website

Secret Mountain Fort Awesome is an American animated television series created by Peter Browngardt for Cartoon Network. The show revolves around a fraternity of five monsters as they unleash their wild stunts upon the public from their eponymous mountain fort. It is loosely based off Browngardt's animated short, Uncle Grandpa, which attracted praise and an Emmy Award nomination. It employed Mike Conte of the heavy metal band Early Man as composer.

The show premiered as a sneak peek on Cartoon Network on August 1, 2011, and later as a formal premiere on September 26 of the same year. The show received multiple accolades, with Robert Ryan Cory and Chris Tsirgiotis both winning awards for "Outstanding Individual in Animation" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony. The Uncle Grandpa short that Browngardt had produced was eventually adapted as a full series of the same name, which he felt was a more lighthearted adaption for children.

Plot[edit]

The five main monsters of the series, show together in their living room, facing the viewer
The main characters of the show; from left to right: Slog, the Fart, Festro, Gweelok and Dingle

A fivesome of monsters known collectively as the Disgustoids are banished from society due to their unruly behavior and ghastly appearances. From their sentient and eponymous mountain fort, they unleash their crazy stunts on the public. Their leader, a purple tusked creature named Festro (voiced by Peter Browngardt), is a macho party animal willing to do anything to help out his group, even when his help is less than desired. Dingle (also voiced by Browngardt), scrawny and blue, acts as their faithful pet, intelligible only to the group. Slog (Steve Little), a black-furred monster, is likewise blindly loyal, but lacks critical judgement skills—the more hazardous something is, the more likely he will be to follow it. Gweelok (Paul Rugg), an acned green ball, has a demanding attitude and a knack for technology. The Fart (Pat Duke)—a monster made of buttocks who flatulates upon being touched—is the most sensitive and levelheaded of the group.

Production[edit]

At their 2011 upfront, Cartoon Network announced Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, along with various other series.[2] The show was created by Browngardt and based on his animated short Uncle Grandpa,[3] which garnered praise, a cult following and an Emmy Award nomination.[4] Both were produced at Cartoon Network Studios.[5] Before landing his own show, Browngardt had worked at Augenblick Studios and MTV, as well as on individual programs, such as Futurama, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Chowder. Browngardt's work on the lattermost series began when its creator C.H. Greenblatt looked through one of his pitch bibles that he left at the studio.[6]

The show borrows elements and its design style from his Uncle Grandpa short, which was pitched to the network as a pilot. According to Browngardt, they were unsure about having a series centered around the titular protagonist. In an interview with Cartoon Brew, Browngardt called the process of pitching his pilot an "amazing learning experience" because it allowed him to propose an idea to the network and see "how it can manipulate and change while you're working on it".[3] Browngardt depicted the production schedule as "really tight", which called for them to manage their time and to pick their battles with the network.[6]

In the United States, the show is rated TV-PG.[1] Referring to his encounters with the network regarding content, Browngardt learned to let go and find the "right balance", as well as to ask himself, "Is my grandma going to notice this?"[6] For the music, Mike Conte of the heavy metal band Early Man was employed as composer. The score, which incorporates heavy metal elements and "lots of riffage",[7] was originally added to the animatics as a rough draft. Browngardt found that it harmonized with the imagery and what he envisioned for the design.[3] Conte noted Browngardt's inspirations from Garbage Pail Kids and Don Martin of Mad magazine, but called the result "definitely its own thing".[7]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Secret Mountain premiered on August 1, 2011 on Cartoon Network, as part of a sneak preview;[8] this broadcast was seen by 1.8 million viewers.[9] It premiered formally on September 26 as part of their Monday night programming block,[5] where it was seen by 1.3 million viewers, marking a slight decrease from the previous broadcast.[9] The show was moved to Thursdays upon its second season premiere on December 30, 2011.[10] Following the premiere of the eighth episode of the season on February 17, 2012, the show was pulled from broadcast. The network published the remaining eight episodes through iTunes a month later, from March 8 to March 29, thus concluding the show.[11]

Many critics were complimentary in regards to the series' art style. In his website Lineboil, Aaron Simpson compared it to Garbage Pail Kids and the works of Don Martin, two elements of his childhood.[12] Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew called Robert Ryan Cory's character designs "impressive" and "distinctively styled".[13]

The episode "Nightmare Sauce" received multiple accolades, including at the 2012 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for "Best TV Production" (of which Browngardt was the recipient[14]), and at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, where Cory and Chris Tsirgiotis were awarded "Outstanding Individual in Animation".[15] Cory also won at the 39th Annie Awards for "Character Design in a Television Production", while Tsirgiotis, Sue Mondt, Daniel Elson and Mark Bodnar were collectively awarded "Production Design in a Television Production".[16] At the 40th Annie Awards, Thaddeus Paul Couldron was nominated for "Character Design in an Animated Television or Other Broadcast Venue Production" for his work on the episode "Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa".[17]

Spin-off[edit]

Main article: Uncle Grandpa

The Uncle Grandpa short that Browngardt had produced was eventually adapted as a full series of the same name,[3] developed as part of the network's shorts development initiative at Cartoon Network. The series revolves around the titular character, who is simultaneously the grandfather and uncle of everyone in the world.[18] Browngardt explained that while the new series would retain some aspects of Secret Mountain, it would be a more lighthearted adaption for children. He ultimately expressed that he wanted "more variety in the music and be able to go [sic] sort of a happier place, though it does go dark and heavy at times".[3]

Footnotes[edit]

Work cited[edit]

External links[edit]