Baby Blues (U.S. TV series)
|Based on||Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott|
|Developed by||Jeff Martin|
|Voices of||Mike O'Malley|
|Opening theme||"It's All Been Done" by Barenaked Ladies|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2 (1 unaired)|
|No. of episodes||26 (13 unaired) (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jeff Martin|
Rick Kirkman (co-executive producer)
Jerry Scott (co-executive producer)
Karen K. Miller
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Split the Difference Productions|
King Features Entertainment
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV|
|Original release||July 28, 2000 – March 10, 2002|
Baby Blues is an adult animated television series, based on the Baby Blues comic strip by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, produced by Warner Bros. The first eight episodes of Baby Blues originally aired in the United States on The WB between July 28 and August 24, 2000, before being cancelled. The five remaining episodes that had been unaired finally did air on Adult Swim in 2002. A second season consisting of thirteen episodes was produced but never aired.
The animated adaptation of Baby Blues differs from the comic by having it take place when Zoe was still an infant, even though she was the older sister to Hammie in the strip at the time. In addition, it focuses on Darryl and Wanda's relationship with supporting characters created for this series, including the Bittermans (a dysfunctional next-door family with three children), Bizzy (Zoe's babysitter), and Kenny (Darryl's laid-back close friend and co-worker).
Warner Bros. Animation has produced eight of the 13 aired episodes, with overseas animation done by Varga Studio in Hungary for five of them (including the pilot), and Sunwoo Entertainment in Korea for the three others. Rough Draft Studios in Los Angeles did five episodes, which include "Bizzy Moves In", "Rodney Has Two Daddies", "Hurtin' Inside", "Ugly Zoe", and "Wanda Moves Up".
In another attempt to compete with Fox's popular animated sitcoms, The WB made the show to be more adult-oriented than the comic strip (by having some sexuality, mild swearing, etc.). Because Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott had limited creative control over the animated version, they were not completely pleased about this kind of difference, though Scott said he liked "part of it".
The Baby Blues animated series took nearly five years to develop and produce, and what was initially the pilot, "A Baby Blues Christmas Special" was supposed to air in December 1998, but it was postponed more than once, while other episodes were being ordered and completed. The Christmas episode finally aired on Adult Swim on February 24, 2002. In 1999, the show was almost to be retitled Bluesville, without Scott's knowledge but Baby Blues was kept as the title, given how popular the comic strip is with more than 60 million readers.
The WB typically aired two episodes each week, thus enabling eight different episodes to be shown in the five-week run, but abandoned plans to air additional episodes which had been completed. Previously unaired episodes were later aired on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, and on Teletoon in Canada.
The opening theme song was a shorter version of "It's All Been Done" by Barenaked Ladies, from their 1998 album Stunt. The title sequence was designed by Renegade Animation, who would later be known for Cartoon Network's Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, and shows the characters at the Warner Bros. studios.
- Darryl MacPherson (Mike O'Malley) – Darryl is the uptight and responsible father of Zoe and husband to Wanda. He tends to think Wanda's heart-felt ideas are crazy, but will later agree with them if there is an advantage for himself. He wants the best for his baby daughter, but can overly protect her. Despite intending to do the right thing, he has done unexpected selfish things, such as pretending to grieve over going with Carl and their kids to a fun zone, only to watch an attractive dancer at the place singing every time it was a child's birthday. But in the end, he is faithful to his wife and daughter. Darryl often feels that his wife nags him and will always discuss his issues to his friend, Kenny at work. Most commonly, he will talk about a problem, the next day, talk about how happy he is to have solved the problem an easy way, then the next day, talk about how it did not work out. Darryl is quick to express jealousy—particularly of Carl, his next door neighbor.
- Wanda MacPherson (Julia Sweeney) – Wanda is Darryl's wife and Zoe's mother. She is caring, unpredictable, passionate and impulsive by turns. However, just as Darryl does, she loves Zoe and wants only the best for her. Wanda is a stay at home mom. Her closest friends are her neighbor Melinda and a teenage girl named Bizzy, who serves as Zoe's babysitter from time to time. Wanda generally has a cheerful disposition, but she is quick to let her emotions get the best of her. She will usually go through drastic measures to fix something, against her husband's wishes. Wanda is occasionally melancholy about motherhood, as suggested by the title Baby Blues. She is said to have a "crazy spark" in her that never left. This is seen at one point, when she wants to feel young again and escapes with Bizzy and her friends at night and gets caught by the police. Wanda's unpredictable and impulsive behavior is often a source of extreme stress for Darryl. However, in the end, they always settle their differences and make peace after the arguments and problems are resolved.
- Zoe MacPherson (E.G. Daily) – Zoe is the infant daughter of Darryl and Wanda. As a baby, Zoe's curiosity and emotions are expressed in her eyes, which show almost complete understanding when something happens or if somebody talks to her. Although calm and cheerful in the day time, she is very loud and cries nonstop at night, leaving her parents to stay up all night, taking turns rocking her, and carrying her until day time. Zoe appears to have a really close relationship with Rodney, the trouble kid next door who seems to be the only one who could stop her crying and comfort her.
- Melinda Bitterman (Arabella Field) – Melinda is Wanda's friend and neighbor whose family is dysfunctional. Melinda is always seen smoking in her yard as her husband and kids are working on some bizarre, dangerous or disastrous activity. Any time she sees Wanda, she always greets with the same line, "Hi Wanda, how's the baby?" Seemingly careless or tired, Melinda seems to desire the happiness and relationship she once had before she became a mother and somewhat envies Wanda's stable life, but is still content with her family. She always talks in a calm voice, even when discussing an insane thing that her family is doing, as if it were normal.
- Carl Bitterman (Joel Murray) – Melinda's husky, big-muscled and overweight husband. A seemingly bum like man, Carl claims that he gives his kids strict discipline, even though he has lowered himself to their level many times, particularly Rodney, who pesters Carl until he takes aggressive action. Carl is usually envied by Darryl, for his mechanic skills and other things Darryl fails at. Carl can be rude and obnoxious at times, but considers himself the "man of the house". He usually involves his children in several activities, such as practicing to shoot arrows or riding in a hover car without seat belts. He belittles Darryl's parenting skills, and self-confidence, either bluntly or through his children who have little respect for Darryl. Because of this, Carl and Darryl do not particularly get along, although Darryl has been talked into doing things he would not normally do, because of Carl's forceful insistence.
- Rodney Bitterman (Kath Soucie) – Rodney is the eight-year-old son of Carl and Melinda Bitterman. Rodney is also the antagonist. Rodney is very mischievous and is best known for causing a lot of trouble. However, he's the smartest of his siblings and is street wise. Rodney repeatedly pesters his dad by asking stupid questions, shooting knock-knock jokes to avoid going to bed, and placing his finger an inch from his father's tools immediately after being told not to touch them. Rodney's antics always makes his sister, Megan, laugh. Besides being a menace, he can be very sympathetic, particularly to Darryl and Zoe. The sensitive side of Rodney has shown his somewhat neglected or misunderstood relationship with his dad. At one time, Rodney had tried one of Darryl's cheesy mushrooms and realized how much he cared about good food and wanted to cook. However, his father thought it was silly, so Rodney had relied on Darryl to help him. This preference to Darryl over his own dad led Darryl to pride, despite Rodney's annoying and teasing Darryl many times previously. Rodney's sensitive side also shows through his a caring and loving relationship with Zoe.
- Megan Bitterman (Kath Soucie) – Megan is Rodney's younger sister and is very close to Rodney. Megan is most commonly known for laughing out loud at anything Rodney does to pester their father. Megan is almost always seen with Rodney and keeps a huge smile on her face all the time. However, when Rodney is not around, she is seen to get very sad and cry.
- Shelby Bitterman – Carl and Melinda's youngest son who is a sociopath and is always seen carrying a fat, green, baseball bat around which he hits things with, without expression. The episode "Hurtin Inside" revealed he is four years old. He never speaks, but often communicates by pointing, and was once seen to whisper to his mom at a game of baseball in "The Bitterman Hillbillies".
- Bizzy Carey (Nicole Sullivan) – Darryl and Wanda's teenage friend who babysits Zoe on many occasions. The MacPhersons have known her since she was a girl scout. Bizzy seems to look older than she actually is, since Darryl's boss once bought Darryl's lie about her being his wife. She dislikes Drew Carey, her faux morally responsible stepfather. Wanda and Darryl many times have had to question her about her many dysfunctional boyfriends. Bizzy is blond, very thin and has a fast metabolism, as she once claimed when Wanda discovered Bizzy had been sitting on the couch all day, eating a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies, with no worry, while babysitting. It is unknown if Bizzy is her real name or not.
- Kenny (Diedrich Bader) – Kenny is Darryl's smooth-talking friend and co-worker at the office. Kenny is something of a nuisance to Darryl, such as bragging about his life and family, or poking fun at Darryl's personal relationship with Wanda. Darryl normally talks to Kenny about his problems at home, to which Kenny advises with either agreeable or nonagreeble mischievous ideas. Kenny's personality is seen to be laid back and worry-free, however, he grew upset and anxious one time Darryl stopped working for a while. Even though Kenny seems to think his family's normal, it's hinted that his wife was cheating on him with a neighbor, and that he might be a neglectful father, since for one second in an episode he forgot he had a third child.
- Charlie (Phil LaMarr) – The MacPhersons' pet dog.
Recurring and minor
- Rex (Phil LaMarr) and Josie (Wendy Raquel Robinson) – An African-American couple who are close friends of Darryl and Wanda's. Rex is known for appearing in sweaters similar to what Bill Cosby wore on The Cosby Show, while Josie's favorite pastime is gardening.
- Sylvia (Kath Soucie) and Midge (E.G. Daily) – A lesbian couple who are close friends of Darryl and Wanda's. Sylvia has black hair, while Midge is blonde.
- Mrs. Johnson (Alice Hirson) – An elderly lady, and another one of Darryl and Wanda's neighbors. She has an unseen son named Howard, a "man-child" who still loves to read comics in his treehouse.
- Officer Murphy (Diedrich Bader) – An obese police officer who speaks with a stereotypical Irish accent.
- Dr. Gruber (Steven Weber) – The MacPhersons' big-nosed, big-eared family doctor who likes to make jokes. He appeared in two episodes straight, "Ugly Zoe" and "Wanda Proof".
- Hugh (Jim Cummings) and Maggie Wizowski (Julia Sweeney) – Wanda's parents who appeared in two episodes, "Rodney Moves In" and "A Baby Blues Christmas Special", along with Darryl's parents. Darryl criticized his father-in-law for telling lousy stories.
- Pauline (Arabella Field) and "Mac" MacPherson – Darryl's mother and silent father.
- Bunny (Kath Soucie) – A close friend of Wanda's, and the only character from the comic strip, besides the MacPherson/Wizowski family, to appear in this show. However, unlike in the strip, where she has a son named Bogart, she has a baby boy with long blond hair named Haget.
- Rodney Bitterman (Kath Soucie) - The eight year old son of the bittermans. He touches the tools after Carl tells him not to.
- Megan Bitterman (Kath Soucie) - The seven year old daughter of the Bittermans and the middle child. She laughs after Rodney does those revolting knock-knock jokes. She is six or seven when in Season 1.
- Shelby Botterman (n/a) - The five year old and youngest son of The Bittermans. He doesn't say anything such as Gromit.
Season 1 (2000–02)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"God Forbid"||Shawn Björklund||Robert Kurtz & Eric Brand||July 28, 2000||225-047|
|Darryl and Wanda reluctantly recruit their colorful next door neighbors, the Bittermans, to be the caretakers of Zoe should something happen to them.|
|2||"Bizzy Moves In"||Rich Moore||Jill Soloway||July 28, 2000||225-048|
|Wanda, going through a mid-life crisis, starts hanging out with Bizzy (Zoe's babysitter). When Wanda, Bizzy, and Bizzy's friends get arrested for breaking into an aquarium, Darryl must bail them out, much to his chagrin.|
|3||"Rodney Has Two Daddies"||Ron Hughart & Chris Sauve||Story by : Jeff Martin and Peter Ocko and Leonard Dick and Jill Soloway |
Teleplay by : Jeff Martin and Peter Ocko
|August 4, 2000||225-049|
|Rodney becomes interested in culinary arts, but he keeps his passion for cooking a secret from his family, due to fear of disappointing his father. Darryl secretly becomes Rodney's cooking teacher, and due to the secrets and late nights out, Wanda becomes convinced Darryl is cheating on her.|
|4||"Hurtin' Inside"||Susie Dietter||Leonard Dick||August 4, 2000||N/A|
|Wanda and Darryl, feeling concerned for Bizzy because of her physically abusive boyfriend, set out to find Bizzy a new boyfriend, with disastrous results.|
|5||"The Bitterman Hillbillies"||John Kafka||Jill Soloway||August 11, 2000||225-057|
|When the Bittermans become wealthy, Darryl becomes insanely jealous and feels his masculinity is threatened. Meanwhile, the Bittermans hire Bizzy to be a personal servant, leading to conflict between the MacPhersons and the Bittermans.|
|6||"World's Greatest Dad"||Bob Curtis||Jackie Behan & Jeff Filgo||August 11, 2000||225-052|
|Darryl and Carl begin hanging out with their children at "Gumdrop Palace" (a "Chuck E. Cheese's-type location), where they enjoy watching the sexy, scantily-clad "Birthday Lady". Darryl feels guilty about this however, and begins showering Wanda with gifts and affection as a result.|
|7||"Rodney Moves In"||John Kafka||Jeff Martin & Peter Ocko||August 18, 2000||225-051|
|The MacPhersons discover that the only way they can get Zoe to cease her crying is by having Rodney sleep in her crib. Meanwhile, Melinda and Carl attempt to bring the spark back into their marriage, now that they have one of three annoying kids out of the picture.|
|8||"Ugly Zoe"||Brian Sheesley||Jeff Martin & Peter Ocko||August 24, 2000||225-205|
Wanda freaks out about Zoe's pinkeye, cradle cap and face scabs before an interview with a fancy, prestigious preschool. Meanwhile, Darryl pretends Bizzy is his wife to earn the attention and friendship of his boss.Note: This was the last episode to be broadcast on The WB, before the network cancelled the series due to poor ratings.
|9||"Wanda Proof"||Shawn Björklund||Leonard Dick||January 20, 2002||225-053|
After Wanda accidentally injures Zoe by dropping her off the diaper changing table, Darryl begins to "babyproof" the house. When Wanda accidentally jabs an anal thermometer in Zoe's rectum, she rushes Zoe to the hospital, and attempts to keep the visit a secret from Darryl.Note: This was the first episode to air on Cartoon Network (Adult Swim), which aired the final five unaired remaining episodes.
|10||"The Bad Family"||John Kafka||Matthew Weiner||January 27, 2002||225-054|
|Due to a series of misunderstandings, the MacPhersons are ostracized as the "bad family" in the neighborhood.|
|11||"Teddy-Cam"||Bob Curtis||Leonard Dick||February 3, 2002||225-055|
|Darryl becomes jealous when Wanda befriends Bizzy's new boyfriend, and becomes convinced that Wanda might cheat on him. Carl talks Darryl into using a teddy bear stuffed with a camera to spy on Wanda while he is away at work.|
|12||"A Baby Blues Christmas Special"||Tony Cervone||Adam Barr, Jeff Martin & Peter Ocko||February 24, 2002||475-137|
|Serving as a prequel to the series, this episode revolves around the birth of Zoe around Christmastime, and Darryl and Wanda's struggles as new parents.|
|13||"Wanda Moves Up"||Peter Avanzino||Bill Freiberger||March 10, 2002||225-203|
|Tired of being a stay-at-home mom, Wanda rejoins the working world, and becomes unexpectedly successful. Meanwhile, Darryl, while staying home and taking care of Zoe, begins to miss going to work.|
When Baby Blues aired on The WB, it got moderate to low ratings, resulting in its cancellation in August 2000. The series also received mixed to negative reviews from professional critics. Particularly, on its premiere night, South Coast Today wrote that "'Baby Blues' is hardly perfect. Its teen characters are right out of the MTV/WB playbook; the notion of a nutty family next door is as old as the sitcom hills. But as a slightly silly, slightly sweet summer series that's not afraid to show it has a heart, it more than exceeds even this cranky critic's expectations." David Bianculli of New York Daily News was negative towards Baby Blues, giving it 1 1/2 stars, and called it "depressingly flat". Also in the article, he wrote "Timing and originality, even in comedy, may not be everything – but they count for a lot, and WB's new 'Baby Blues' series doesn't get high marks in either category. First, 'Baby Blues', which premieres with a double header tonight at 8, is an animated prime-time comedy, arriving the summer after a season in which there were too many dull entries in that particular genre. That's bad timing. 'Baby Blues' could overcome that by being funnier than the rest. Unfortunately, it's not. Second, 'Baby Blues', based on the syndicated comic strip by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, is a sitcom in two dimensions. That is, it's an animated show in which human beings engage in everyday activities – working, goofing off, sleeping, fighting and so on. At its best, this particular category of animated comedy gives you 'The Simpsons'. At its worst, it gives you 'Clerks'."
John Kiesewetter from the Television Critics Association wrote a negative article on the show. He calls it "an embarrassment to the newspaper comic's loyal readers, all 60 million", and criticizes The WB for turning "the sweet family musings into a cross between Dennis the Menace and Dawson's Creek", and for having it lack "the charm, wit and insights of the daily strip about weary new parents Darryl and Wanda MacPherson, and baby Zoe."
- "Baby Blues: God Forbid". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Rough Draft to produce "Baby Blues", fueling rumor of Warner layoffs". Animation World Network. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Network puts too much blue in 'Baby Blues'". enquirer.com. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Baby Blues Celebrates 10 Years!". kingfeatures.com. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Baby Blues: A Baby Blues Christmas Special (a.k.a. The Christmas)". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- The Big Cartoon DataBase (24 February 2002). "Cartoon Characters, Cast and Crew for A Baby Blues Christmas Special (The Christmas)". Big Cartoon DataBase (BCDB). Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "WB's 'Baby Blues' exceeds critic's (low) expectations". southcoasttoday.com. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "'BABY BLUES' CRIES OUT FOR ORIGINALITY".