The Amazing World of Gumball is a British–American animated television series created by Ben Bocquelet for Cartoon Network. Produced primarily by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, it first aired on May 3, 2011. The series revolves around the life of Gumball Watterson, a 12-year-old cat who attends middle school in the fictional city of Elmore. Accompanied by his adoptive goldfish brother and best friend Darwin, he frequently finds himself involved in various shenanigans around the city, during which he interacts with his other family members—sister Anais and parents Nicole and Richard—and an extended supporting cast of characters.
Bocquelet based several of the series' characters on rejected characters from his previous commercial work and making its premise a mixture of "family shows and school shows", which Cartoon Network was heavily interested in. He pitched The Amazing World of Gumball to the network and Turner Broadcasting executive Daniel Lennard subsequently greenlit production of the series. It is the first series to be produced by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, and is currently co-produced with Studio SOI and Great Marlborough Productions. One of the most notable things about this series is that it lacks stylistic unity so the characters are animated with techniques (stylized cell animation, puppetry, realistic CGI, etc.)
On June 2, 2014, Cartoon Network announced that the series had been renewed for both a fourth and fifth season.
When Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe was created in 2007, Ben Bocquelet was hired in order to help people pitch their projects to the network. However, when the studio decided to have its employees all pitch their own ideas, he decided to take some rejected characters he had created for commercials and put them all in one series, with a school setting. Daniel Lennard, vice president of Original Series and Development at Turner Broadcasting, was impressed by the premise and ultimately greenlit production of the series. The first series to be produced by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, thirty-six episodes were produced for its first season in collaboration with Studio SOI, Dublin-based Boulder Media Limited, and Dandelion Studios.
The series revolves around the life of a young cat named Gumball Watterson (Logan Grove, seasons 1–2; Jacob Hopkins, season 3–present) and his frequent shenanigans in the fictional American city of Elmore, accompanied by his adoptive goldfish brother and best friend Darwin (Kwesi Boakye, season 1–2; Terrell Ransom, Jr., season 3–present). Gumball's other family members—his intellectual younger sister Anais (Kyla Rae Kowalewski) and stay-at-home father Richard (Dan Russell), both rabbits, and workaholic mother Nicole (Teresa Gallagher), a cat—often find themselves involved in Gumball's exploits. Gumball attends school with his siblings at Elmore Junior High, where throughout the series he interacts with his various middle school classmates, most prominently his crush Penny Fitzgerald (Gallagher).
The first season of The Amazing World of Gumball premiered on May 3, 2011 with the episode "The DVD" and ended on March 13, 2012, with "The Fight". A 40-episode second season was announced on March 17, 2011, prior to the premiere of the series' first season. Speaking of the renewal, executive producer Daniel Lennard stated: "Commissioning a second series before the first show has aired shows our absolute commitment and belief in the series and we're hoping audiences the world over will embrace this show as much as we have."The Amazing World of Gumball was renewed for a third season consisting of 40 episodes in October 2012. In February 2013, the series was put on hiatus, but returned in June 2013.
In a favorable review, Brian Lowry of Variety described the series as "mostly a really clever spin on domestic chaos" and "first-rate silliness."Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly was also positive, writing: "There are few examples of mainstream children's programming as wildly imaginative, as visually and narratively daring, as The Amazing World of Gumball." Reviews from the Daily Mail praised The Amazing World of Gumball as a "gloriously surreal chunk of fast and funny telly" and "the kind of clever children's comedy that parents can also enjoy."
The A.V. Club 's Noel Murray graded the DVD release of the series' first 12 episodes a B+, writing that "what sets [The Amazing World of Gumball] apart from the many other super-silly, semi-anarchic cartoons on cable these days is that it features such a well-developed world, where even with the eclectic character designs, there are recognizable traits and tendencies."Wired writer Z noted that the series "manages to have genuine heart even as the plots themselves transition from well-worn TV tropes to all out madness."