The Oblongs

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The Oblongs
The Oblongs title card.png
The Oblong family. From the left: Bob, Pickles, Beth, Biff (blonde conjoined twin), Chip (brown-haired conjoined twin), and Milo
Created by Angus Oblong
Jace Richdale
Voices of Will Ferrell
Jean Smart
Pamela Adlon
Lea DeLaria
Jason Sklar
Randy Sklar
Becky Thyre
Jeannie Elias
Billy West
Laraine Newman
Opening theme "Oblongs" by They Might Be Giants
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Jobsite Productions
Mohawk Productions
Warner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channel The WB
Adult Swim (episodes 9-13)
Picture format 4:3 SDTV
Original run April 1, 2001 (2001-04-01)  –
May 20, 2001
Episode 9-13:
August 25, 2002 –
October 20, 2002

The Oblongs (stylized as the Oblongs...) is an American animated television series aimed at teenagers and adults. It is loosely based on a series of characters introduced in creator Angus Oblong's picture book entitled Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children. The TV series was produced by Jobsite Productions and Mohawk Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and the theme song for the show was composed and performed by They Might Be Giants.

The Oblongs aired on The WB from April 1, 2001 until May 20, 2001, and then aired on Adult Swim from August 25, 2002 to October 20, 2002, with a total of thirteen episodes. There has been mention of a potential series revival with new episodes on Adult Swim, however, no other information has been announced.[citation needed] All thirteen episodes of The Oblongs were released on DVD on October 4, 2005.

Setting and premise[edit]

The series focuses on the antics of a family who live in a poor valley community and, as a result of pollution and radiation exposure, are all disabled or deformed. The pollution is the direct result of the lavish lifestyle of the rich community known as "The Hills", whose residents exploit and harm the valley residents with absolutely no regard for their safety or well-being.

Social commentary[edit]

Many reviewers and fans see the series as a commentary on social stratification.[1] While the residents of the Hills live in wealth and economically dominate those in the Valley, there is no rallying cry for wealth redistribution or fairer working conditions.

Broadcast[edit]

The show premiered on April 1, 2001 on The WB but failed to find an audience. On May 20, 2001, The WB aired "Disfigured Debbie", the second episode produced, as the season finale, leaving five episodes unaired. A fan of the series who was writing an episode guide at TV Tome informed creator Angus Oblong of the show's cancellation and rallied fans of the series to petition and encourage the network to renew the show. Ultimately, the petition was unsuccessful.[citation needed]

The series found a home on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, where it received high ratings when many fans discovered the series for the first time. In Australia, the show premiered on the Nine Network on December 8, 2001,[2] however due to insufficient ratings, it was withdrawn after one episode,[3] but was eventually shown in a late night/early morning time slot. The series aired from 2005-2006 on TBS's late night programming block, Too Funny To Sleep. Currently, reruns of the series air on Adult Swim.

Characters[edit]

The Oblong family[edit]

  • Bob Oblong (Will Ferrell) – Born without arms or legs, Bob works at a poison factory called the Globocide. Despite his deformities, he is very chipper and sunny, and is modeled after various fathers from 1950s TV shows.[citation needed] He has a happy-go-lucky attitude. He is married to Pickles and is the father of Biff, Chip, Milo, and Beth. The only time he had limbs was in the episode "My Name is Robbie".
  • Pickles Oblong (Jean Smart) – A chain smoking alcoholic who was originally a Hill resident but moved to the valley after marrying Bob. All of her hair has since fallen out due to the hazardous atmosphere of The Valley, and she is now regarded as an outcast by her former Hill friends. While not bitter about losing her privileged life, she often expresses disdain towards her self-centered former neighbors in the Hills. She is married to Bob, and is the mother of Biff, Chip, Milo, and Beth.
  • Biff Oblong (Randy Sklar) and Chip Oblong (Jason Sklar) – 17-year-old conjoined twins who are attached at the waist and share a middle leg. Biff is a hard worker obsessed with sports, while Chip is more laid back. It is frequently implied that Biff is gay and attracted to their coach;[citation needed] however, there are instances when the two are seen lusting after girls together.[citation needed] Biff and Chip each occasionally go into "trances" to give the other brother privacy.[4]
  • Milo Oblong (Pamela Adlon) – The youngest son and the series' protagonist. Often referred to by other kids as a “psycho”, he is afflicted with numerous mental and social disorders and is on "everything from Ritalin to Rogaine." Despite his afflictions, he is a very forthright and benevolent boy, though he envies the Hill lifestyle and wishes to rise above his economic status. He has a single hair sticking up on his head, a squint in one eye (which also occasionally twitches) and often wears a shirt that says "NO."
  • Beth Oblong (Jeannie Elias) – The youngest child and only daughter, she has a warty, elongated growth growing out of her head, but otherwise resembles the picture book character Madeline. Despite her appendage, she is shown to be better adjusted than the rest of her family. In the episode "Pickles' Lil' Amazons", it is revealed that the growth on her head is the result of eating meat containing bovine growth hormones. In the episode "My Name is Robbie", it is revealed that her birthday is June 7.
  • Grammy Oblong – Bob's vegetative state mother who resides in a motorized wheelchair and is unable to speak. Instead, she communicates using a green light which means yes, a red light which means no, and a flashing red light which means she has soiled herself.
  • Lucky – The one-lunged family cat who chain-smokes cigarettes and wears an uninterested, deadpan expression.
  • Scottie – Milo's narcoleptic dog, a result of perfume used on him during his tenure as a test animal at Globocide. Scottie was based on the short story "Narcoleptic Scottie" in Creepy Susie.

Milo's friends, "The Clubhouse Kids"[edit]

  • Helga Phugly (Lea DeLaria) – A fat, toad-like girl who will eat virtually anything. She lives in a fantasy world, believing that she is pretty and popular and that the "Debbies'" actually like her (she stubbornly believe this, as when told that the Debbies hate her, she covered her ears, shut her eyes, and started stomping around humming very loudly). At times, she is shown to have a crush on Milo, leading to her kidnapping him in the episode "Milo Interrupted". When her parents went on vacation and never returned, Helga was forced to live at home by herself, eating only rejected wedding cakes from a nearby wedding cake factory and the occasional animal that she spotted. Milo eventually locates her parents when Mrs. Hubbard, a Bible-thumping, gun-toting old woman, tries to adopt Helga.[5] Her last name, Phugly, is derived from the word "fugly", which is a term short for "fucking ugly".
  • Creepy Susie (Jeannie Elias) – A girl who speaks with a deadpan French accent and appears to float instead of walk, as her legs are never shown. She is obsessed with death, and has a problem with pyromania, but it has been revealed she does enjoy hula hoops.
  • Peggy (Becky Thyre) – A one-breasted girl who lacks a lower jaw, causing her to spit and talk with a lisp. Despite her deformities, Peggy is cheerful and upbeat. The daughter of a gay couple, she dreams of being president and marrying a handsome speech therapist.
  • Mikey (Jeannie Elias) – A boy saddled with a dangling, doubled posterior. Standard underwear will not fit him, so he wears his grandmother's old bra like backwards suspenders. He is also known to habitually probe his nose and ears with his finger. Because of his larger deformed posterior, he takes jokes about the area more literally especially since they often come true soon after. As a running gag, he is inflicted with severe misfortune in almost every appearance, ranging from being stung by bees to being attacked by dogs.[citation needed]

The Hill residents[edit]

  • George Klimer (Billy West) – Bob's rich and snobby boss. He represents the power and arrogance of the people of the Hills. He is very condescending to his employees, especially Bob and James. He is husband to Pristine and father of Jared and Debbie Klimer.
  • Pristine Klimer (Becky Thyre) – The wife of George and mother to Jared and Debbie. Pristine was good friends with Pickles before she married Bob, but abandoned her once she went to live in the valley.
  • Jared Klimer (Pamela Segall Adlon) – The arrogant son of George and Pristine and brother to Debbie. He likes to taunt The Clubhouse Kids, along with his equally snobbish best friend Blaine. He calls Milo "Obdong". In the episode "Get Off My Back", Milo retorts with the information that a rumor of Jared and Blaine claims the two have had sex with each other.
  • The Debbies (Becky Thyre) and (Pamela Segall Adlon, in some episodes) – A popular clique of identical girls who dress alike. The Debbies are often cruel to the valley kids, especially Helga who aspires to be accepted by them.
  • Mayor Johnny "The Mayor" Bledsoe (Billy West) – The town's mayor and a masked pro wrestler. He is corrupt, and his daughter is a Debbie.
  • Leland Bergstein (Billy West) – The kids' homeroom teacher, who is shown to be weak and easily cowed by the Debbies and the rich residents of the town. It is revealed that he lives in the Hills as seen in the episode "Milo Interrupted".
  • Sheriff Pepper (Maurice LaMarche) – Hill Valley's inept, corrupt law enforcer. He favors the people of the Hills and provides better law enforcement for them.
  • Dr. Hofschneider (Billy West) – The Oblongs' condescending and uninterested doctor.
  • Mrs. Hubbard (Laraine Newman) – The town's bible-thumping, gun-toting old biddy who is appointed czar of child and family services after a disturbance in the Hills is blamed on valley kids. She is a spinster who never married or had children. She wears a chastity belt called "The Forni-Guard 2000".

The Valley Residents[edit]

  • Anita Bidet (Billy West) – The owner of the bar Pickles frequents, The Rusty Bucket. Her name is a play on the phrase "I need a bidet." It is implied that she is a pre-op transsexual. Her assumed male form is seen during a flashback of how Bob and Pickles met, although when questioned about it in the present, Anita claims that she had a brother.
  • Nurse Rench (Laraine Newman) – The school nurse who is described by Peggy as "a godless butcher without a shred of legitimate medical training". She has a scary operating contraption in place of her right arm, has four breasts arranged in a pattern resembling a cow's udder, and a deformed left hand.
  • James (Billy West) – Bob's hunchbacked co-worker. He is a people-pleaser and lacks self-esteem, buying friends on eBay to attend his bachelor party.

Minor Characters[edit]

  • Yvette (Michelle Ruff) – An additional member of the Debbies, the only one who does not carry the same name. An extraterrestrial masquerading as a human, she has long blonde hair in a ponytail. She takes an interest in Milo, though only to experiment on his brain. When it appears that Milo has been killed, she is forced to self-destruct, as it is more cost-effective than returning to her base of operations. She appeared in the episode "Misfit Love".
  • Principal Davis (Debra Wilson) – The African American school principal. She appeared in the episode "Disfigured Debbie".
  • Homeless Bill (Billy West) – Hill Valley's resident street urchin. He appeared in the episodes "Narcoleptic Scottie" and "Bucketheads".
  • The Girl with a Beak (Becky Thyre) – An aptly named, bird-like classmate of The Clubhouse Kids. She often is spurned by the kids despite their own maladies. She was never given an actual name. She appeared in the episodes "Narcoleptic Scottie" and "Bucketheads".
  • Coach (Will Ferrell) – Biff and Chip's school coach, with whom Biff has an unhealthy obsession. He also teaches the sex and driver's education classes; however, he seems to confuse the two. He appeared in the episode "Bucketheads".
  • Verdelle Diver (Lea DeLaria) – The regional coordinator of The Li'l Amazons, a Girl Scouts-like troop. She and the organization in general are implied to be lesbian (hence her last name, referring to the slur "muff diver"). Verdelle hits on Pickles frequently during Pickles' court-ordered tenure as Beth's den mother. She appeared in the episode "Pickles' Little Amazons".
  • Tommy Vinegar (Maurice LaMarche) — Pickles' ex-boyfriend. He got rich after Pickles taught him how to be cool and popular, and then promptly dumped her after all his coolness went to his head. He appeared in the episode "Bucketheads".
  • Velva, the Warrior (Pamela Segall Adlon) – A version of Xena, whom Beth adores. Her name is a pun on "vulva", and her show has heavy lesbian/anti-male overtones (all of the villains are male while all the heroes are female), not to mention blatant advertising of Velva merchandise and numerous genital references. Her sidekick is named Majora, she has a horse named Fallopious, and a pet bird named Placentor. She appeared in the episode "Heroine Addict".
  • Dusty (Becky Thyre) – Bob's one-time co-worker and a lifeguard. It is heavily suggested that she has had a lot of cosmetic surgery. She appeared in the episode "My Name Is Robbie".

Episodes[edit]

No. in
series
Title Original air date[6] Production
code
1 "Misfit Love" April 1, 2001 236-001
Milo Oblong gets transferred to public school after his father, Bob, is taken off his job's insurance for filing too many claims, and falls for a beautiful, popular girl named Yvette who's really an alien. Meanwhile, Bob tries to find a second job to pay the medical bills.
2 "Narcoleptic Scottie" April 8, 2001 236-003
In an attempt to calm his hyperactivity, Bob and Pickles let Milo care for an injured Scottish terrier, but when the dog proves to be a bad influence on Milo, he's forced to give the dog up for adoption.
Note: This is the first Oblongs episode to have the full opening.
3 "Milo Interrupted" April 15, 2001 236-009
After a Hill kid chucks a rock at the window of Mr. Bergstein's house, the mayor hires a Bible-thumping, gun nut named Mrs. Hubbard to investigate the Valley for dysfunctional families and juvenile delinquents. Meanwhile, Milo discovers that Helga's parents are missing and must care for her, making Bob suspect that Milo is abusing drugs.
4 "Bucketheads" April 22, 2001 236-011
Milo becomes an unlikely trendsetter for the Hill kids after Pickles sends him to school with a bucket on his head, but the fame goes to Milo's head when Milo sets out to create his own line of offbeat attire.
5 "Heroine Addict" April 29, 2001 236-013
Pickles wins the chance at a shopping spree from a cigarette company, but when she passes out after smoking one too many cigarettes, Pickles decides to quit smoking (and drinking alcohol after inadvertently setting her finger on fire) -- and becomes a thrill-seeker after knocking out a woman during Tae-Bo class.
6 "The Golden Child" May 6, 2001 236-008
Bob Oblong becomes depressed after learning all his suggestions to make Globocide better have been used as kindling for the factory's furnace. Meanwhile, Milo creates an energy drink called "Manic", and is named "The Corporate Messiah" by the higher-ups at Globocide.
Note: On Adult Swim, the angry customer's line "Go back to France, you stupid kraut!" to the "A to Zed" shopowner had "kraut" (an ethnic slur against German people) muted.
7 "Flush, Flush, Sweet Helga" May 13, 2001 236-005
When Milo and his friends get caught crashing a Debbie birthday party, Helga ends up losing Debbie's locket and goes in the sewers to retrieve it, only to be stuck in the Valley's sewer pipes, and the Hill people don't see it as a problem -- until a failed attempt to get Helga out results in the Hill people annexing The Oblongs' house (which isn't affected by Helga being stuck in the pipes) for water.
8 "Disfigured Debbie" May 20, 2001 236-002
Milo runs for class president, but loses to Debbie, who ends up an outcast after falling in a thresher.
Note: This is the last episode to air on The WB before the series was cancelled.
9 "Pickles' Little Amazons" August 25, 2002 236-004
Pickles gets arrested for neglecting Beth after trying to rescue her from a giant Venus flytrap and is sentenced community service by working as a den mother for a vaguely lesbian Girl Scout-esque troop called "The Little Amazons."
Note: This is the first episode to air on Adult Swim after they picked up the rest of the unaired episodes from the show's first season.
10 "Get Off My Back" September 8, 2002 236-006
An accident involving Insani-Glue and Milo getting chased by Biff and Chip results in Milo getting stuck to Biff and Chip's back, which cuts into their training for the two-man triathlon against Hill kids Jared and Blaine. Meanwhile, Beth feels left out and begins sticking herself to others.
Note: On the Adult Swim version of this episode, Mayor Bledsoe's line after he pulls a gun on the other runners was "Move it, assholes!" (with "assholes" partially muted out). On the DVD, the line is changed to "Move it, pussies!" with no aural censorship to the last line.
11 "Please Be Genital" September 15, 2002 236-007
Bob gets his genitals crushed by a stripper wearing clogs during his best friend's bachelor party. When he confesses to Pickles that they can't have sex for two weeks, Pickles begins wondering whether or not her marriage to Bob is real. Meanwhile, Milo becomes an insomniac when Pickles and Bob stop having sex.
12 "My Name Is Robbie" October 6, 2002 236-010
Bob gets his jaw injured at his company's theme park and, at the advice of company attorneys, is given a robotic body with the arms and legs he never had, which gives him the confidence to quit his job and become a lifeguard.
13 "Father of the Bribe" October 20, 2002 236-012

Biff and Chip get their driver's licenses and crash Bob's car during a drag race. Biff and Chip then buy Bob a new car at a police auction, and come across the Mayor's bribe money, which they spend on themselves, despite nightmarish harassment from city officials.

Note: On the episode listings on the DVD cover, this episode is incorrectly listed as "Father of the Bride."

Possible revival[edit]

On July 22, 2008, Angus Oblong revealed on his Myspace blog that he was working on a special two part straight-to-DVD Halloween episode of The Oblongs, and also said that he will ask Will Ferrell to reprise his role as the voice of Bob Oblong, but does not expect him to return.[7] Angus Oblong said new episodes of The Oblongs will return to Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, a network that has been airing reruns of the existing episodes since 2002.[8] Adult Swim stated on July 4, 2010 that they asked studios to produce new episodes and "some said yes, some said no".[9] No other information has been revealed.

The Oblongs would be the fourth series to be revived as a result of Adult Swim; other series include Family Guy,[10] Futurama,[11] and Home Movies.[12]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Oblongs won the Artios award in 2001 for Best Casting for Animated Voiceover – Television Mary V. Buck Susan Edelman.[13]

Home release[edit]

The entire series released on two disc DVD set in the United States on October 4, 2005.

DVD name Release date Ep # Features
The Complete Twisted Series October 4, 2005[14] 13 "It's an Oblong World" – The show's concept, characters and casting, "The Art of the Oblongs" Angus Oblong-guided tour of his original artwork for the series, and "An Oblong Picture Book" – Angus Oblong drawings gallery.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'The Oblongs' Shapes Up As A Toxic Treat". Eric Mink. New York Daily News. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Nine’s summer programming blitz". http://www.encoremagazine.com.au. Retrieved December 2, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Off-beat cartoon gets chop.". The Mercury. Retrieved December 2, 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ Episode 10, "Get Off My Back"
  5. ^ "Milo Interrupted"
  6. ^ The Oblongs complete episode guide at TV.com.
  7. ^ Oblong, Angus. "NEW Oblongs Halloween script!". Retrieved 2010. 
  8. ^ Angus Oblong interview at an Owlism Art Show (2009)
  9. ^ "Oblongs Revival Question". bump worthy. July 4, 2010. Retrieved October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Family Guy returns with 22 new episodes to premiere in early 2005". Athens Banner-Herald. March 29, 2004. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  11. ^ Bill Gorman (June 19, 2010). "What Revived ‘Futurama’?: Some Lessons For Fans". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ Masters, Clay (21 November 2005). "'Home Movies' creator has a new cartoon on his drawing board". Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  13. ^ "Artios Award Winners". Casting Society of America. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ Kim, Mike. "The Oblongs – The Complete Series (2001)". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ Lacey, Gord (May 12, 2005). "The Oblongs – Oblongs Back Shot and Specs". TV Shows On DVD. Retrieved July 6, 2011. 

External links[edit]