Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
|Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends|
|Created by||Craig McCracken|
|Voices of||Sean Marquette
|Theme music composer||James L. Venable|
|Composer(s)||James L. Venable
Jennifer Kes Remington
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||79
18 shorts (list of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||Craig McCracken|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cartoon Network Studios
Boulder Media Limited
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Cartoon Network|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||August 13, 2004– May 3, 2009|
|Related shows||The Powerpuff Girls
Wander Over Yonder
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (commonly abbreviated as Foster's) is an American animated television series created by Craig McCracken for Cartoon Network Studios. The series, set in a world in which imaginary friends coexist with humans, centers on an 8-year-old boy, Mac, who is pressured by his mother to abandon his imaginary friend, Bloo. After Mac discovers an orphanage dedicated to housing abandoned imaginary friends, Bloo moves into the home and is kept from adoption so long as Mac visits him daily. The episodes revolve around Mac and Bloo as they interact with other imaginary friends and house staff and live out their day-to-day adventures, often getting caught up in various predicaments.
McCracken conceived the series after adopting two dogs from an animal shelter and applying the concept to imaginary friends. The show first premiered on Cartoon Network on August 13, 2004, as a 90-minute television film. On August 20, it began its normal run of twenty-to-thirty-minute episodes on Fridays, at 7 pm. The series finished its run on May 3, 2009, with a total of six seasons and seventy-nine episodes. McCracken left Cartoon Network shortly after the series ended. Reruns have aired on Boomerang from August 11, 2012 to November 3, 2013 and again from June 1, 2014 to April 3, 2017.
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was praised by critics and received high ratings during its original run, becoming popular among both younger and older audiences. It received many industry accolades, including five Annie Awards and seven Emmy Awards, winning a total of sixteen awards out of thirty-five nominations. It has since been named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the best Cartoon Network shows and by IGN in their list of best animated series at number 85.
The series is set in a universe in which childhood imaginary friends coexist with humans. In the show's universe, imaginary friends take physical form and become real as soon as children think them up. Once children outgrow them, friends are relocated to the titular orphanage, where they stay until other children adopt them. The home is run by the elderly Madame Foster, its lovable, kind founder; her imaginary friend Mr. Herriman, the strict rule-abider and business manager; and her granddaughter Frankie, who handles day-to-day operations.
In the series' premiere episode, a young boy named Mac is pressured by his mother to abandon his imaginary friend Bloo, since she believes that he is too old to keep him. Bloo sees an advertisement on television about Foster's Home and tells Mac, who takes him there, only to find out the home is an orphanage and if Bloo were to reside there, he would be available to be adopted by another child. Mac then bargains with Frankie, Herriman and Madame Foster and they agree to guard Bloo from adoption so long as Mac continues to visit the center daily. During the series, Mac visits the home everyday after school. The show focuses on the escapades experienced by the mischievous Bloo, Mac, and the array of eccentric, colorful characters inhabiting Foster's, and the obstacles with which they are challenged.
- Mac (voiced by Sean Marquette) – A bright, and imaginative eight-year-old boy who is Bloo's creator and best friend. Mac visits Foster's every day. He is very attached to Bloo and his biggest fear is never seeing him again. Mac is often the voice of reason among his friends when they are making decisions. Mac becomes extremely high and hyperactive when he eats sugar. He also has a crush on Frankie.
- Bloo (voiced by Keith Ferguson) – Mac's imaginary friend and best friend. He is blue-colored and resembles a simple, domed cylinder. Bloo is often very self-centered, egotistic and narcissistic, as well as having a knack for getting in trouble. Despite all this, he still has a good heart and apologizes for his wrongdoings. Bloo loves paddle balls, even though he typically cannot make the ball hit the paddle. 
- Wilt (voiced by Phil LaMarr) – A very tall, friendly and incredibly nice red-colored friend with only a right arm and a crooked left eye-stalk. His overtly passive demeanor is often taken advantage of by the other imaginary friends. He is a basketball player and fan, and is the former imaginary friend of Jordan Michaels (a parody of Michael Jordan). After an accident during a basketball game, Wilt left Jordan, fearing the latter would be disappointed by Wilt's losing the game. Years later, Wilt goes on a search to re-encounter Jordan.
- Eduardo (voiced by Tom Kenny) – A Latin American friend created by a young girl, Nina Valerosa, to protect her in a dangerous neighborhood. Eduardo is big, hairy and violet-purple, has horns, a snout, a pointy demon-like tail and large teeth. Despite his large size, overwhelming strength, and menacing appearance, Eduardo is docile, timid and scared of almost anything. However, he can be ferocious if angered or when danger befalls his friends.
- Coco (voiced by Candi Milo) – A bird-airplane-palm tree hybrid friend who can only say or write her name. A talent unique to her is her ability to lay colorful, plastic eggs containing a plethora of objects, at will. Other characters usually understand her when she speaks. Despite her appearance and quirky behavior, she can demonstrate intelligence and kindness. Her creator is unknown, as she was found on a South Pacific island by two scientists named Adam and Douglas.
- Frankie Foster (voiced by Grey DeLisle) – Madame Foster's redheaded granddaughter, addressed as "Miss Frances" by Mr. Herriman. Frankie is the caregiver at Foster's and helps keep everything in order. She is usually very friendly, capable, easygoing, hard-working, thoughtful, caring, and sweet, but occasionally loses her patience with Bloo and Mr. Herriman. According to her driver's license, she was born on July 25, 1984.
- Mr. Herriman (voiced by Tom Kane) – A gray and white elderly anthropomorphic lop ear rabbit friend imagined by Madame Foster who speaks with a British accent. He wears a tailcoat, white gloves, a top hat and a monocle. He presents himself as head of business affairs of the house and later as President of the house, and is extremely strict about rules and the maintenance of order in the home. He frequently punishes Bloo for his various misdemeanors and scolds Frankie for her perceived laziness, despite all her hard work.
- Madame Foster (voiced by Candi Milo) – The caring founder of Foster's and grandmother of Frankie. She is the creator of Mr. Herriman. Despite being elderly, Madame Foster has childlike boundless energy and occasionally becomes hyperactive and mischievous.
Other recurring characters include Terrence (voiced by Tara Strong), Mac's older brother who constantly bullies him; Duchess (voiced by Grey DeLisle), a friend with a Cubist-looking face and a pompous, narcissistic personality; Cheese (voiced by Candi Milo), a dim-witted and childish yellow friend who first appeared in season two; and Goo (voiced by Grey DeLisle), a talkative young girl who is highly imaginative and constantly creates new friends, first appearing in season three.
The show has seventy-nine episodes in six seasons; it has also aired eighteen shorts.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||12||August 13, 2004||October 22, 2004|
|2||14||January 11, 2005||July 15, 2005|
|3||14||July 22, 2005||March 24, 2006|
|4||13||April 28, 2006||November 23, 2006|
|Shorts||18||July 7, 2006||August 7, 2007|
|5||13||May 4, 2007||March 7, 2008|
|6||11||March 13, 2008||May 3, 2009|
The series was created by Craig McCracken, who had also created The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network Studios. McCracken developed the idea for the series after adopting two dogs from an animal shelter with his then-fiancée Lauren Faust and Mike Moon; he adapted the concept of pet adoption to that of imaginary friends. The show has an art style which is meant to evoke, according to McCracken, "that period of late 60's psychedelia when Victorian stylings were coming into trippy poster designs". McCracken wanted Foster's to be similar to The Muppet Show, which he believed was a "fun, character driven show that the whole family could enjoy".
Animation for the show was done using a process involving Adobe software Illustrator, Flash and After Effects. McCracken directed, executive produced and story edited the series. Most of the episodes were produced at the Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California, while the rest were produced at Boulder Media Limited in Dublin, Ireland. The theme song was composed by James L. Venable, who had originally collaborated with McCracken on The Powerpuff Girls. Craig described the music as "psychedelic ragtime". Additional music was composed by Venable and Jennifer Kes Remington.
Collette Sunderman was the casting and recording director for the show. Sean Marquette was cast as Mac, and Keith Ferguson was cast as Bloo. The Powerpuff Girls voice actors Tom Kane, Tom Kenny and Tara Strong were cast in Foster's as Mr. Herriman, Eduardo and Terrence, respectively. Grey DeLisle was cast as Frankie Foster, and Candi Milo was cast as Coco and Madame Foster. From season two onwards, Milo also lent her voice to Cheese. DeLisle also voiced Goo after the character's debut in season three.
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends premiered on August 13, 2004, at 7:30 pm E/P as a 90-minute special titled "House of Bloo's". The series' run began on August 20 on its normal timeslot of Fridays at 7 pm. The special was Cartoon Network's highest rated premiere at the time. 18 shorts were produced from 2006 to 2007. In addition to the premiere episode, two other specials were produced: "Good Wilt Hunting", which premiered on November 23, 2006, at 7 pm, and "Destination: Imagination", which premiered on November 27, 2008, at 8 pm. The final episode, titled "Goodbye to Bloo", aired on May 3, 2009, at 6:30 pm, preceded by a six-hour marathon of other episodes from the series. McCracken expressed a certain sadness at the series' end, but stated that he was "crazy proud of the work" that he and the production team had done "on Foster's and the fact that it worked just the way [they] wanted it to". During its original run, Foster's was one of Cartoon Network's highest rated shows. The show proved to be popular among both younger and older audiences.
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends received critical acclaim. Anita Gates of The New York Times praised the series' premiere 90-minute episode and stated that the series would promise to be an "admirable tale of loyalty and adventure-based learning with a contagious sense of fun". Mike Pinsky, in a review on DVD Verdict, praised the art design and the characterizations, particularly singling out Cheese as possibly "the quintessence of Foster's surreal charm" in his season two review. David Cornelius of DVD Talk called the series "one of the best shows of any kind [then] on television, a winner for viewers of any age" and "a wildly inventive mix of creative wonder, comic genius, and well-crafted chaos". In a season two review, also on DVD Talk, Cornelius called the show "flat-out perfect". Joly Herman of Common Sense Media, an advocacy group focused on appropriate technology and media for children, was less enthusiastic about the show, rating it 2 stars out of 5. Herman praised the creativity and diversity of the characters and the show's premise, but criticized the storyline and writing, which presented "confusing messages" for young children.
The series was named the 85th best animated series of all time by IGN, which called it very funny and endearing. Entertainment Weekly named the show the 6th best Cartoon Network show in their top 10 list, praising its "catchy magical-realist setting" and the characters "you genuinely learned to care about".
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends received many industry accolades. The series received sixteen awards out of a total of thirty-five nominations. At the Annie Awards, the show received a total of twenty nominations from 2004 to 2009, and won five, including Best Animated Television Production in 2007. At the Emmy Awards, the show received nine nominations, and won seven awards, including five Outstanding Individual Achievements in Animation and one Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More) award. At the 2005 Pulcinella Awards, Foster's received the award for Best TV Series for All Audiences and Bloo was named "Best Character of the Year." At the 22nd TCA Awards, the show received a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming. At the 2007 Ottawa International Animation Festival, the series won Best Television Animation for Children.
Merchandising and media
There are two video games based on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. The first has the same name as the show and was developed by Crave Entertainment for the Game Boy Advance. It was released on October 17, 2006. In the game, players control Mac or Bloo while collecting items to complete objectives. Jack Devries of IGN rated it a 5.5 out of 10, stating that it "falls short" and is "skippable". The second game, titled Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Imagination Invaders, was released on November 12, 2007, for the Nintendo DS by Midway. In the game, the player controls Bloo, who performs tasks and completes quests while fighting against "Space Nut Boogies". Devries rated it 4 out of 10, calling it "terrible to play" and "completely worthless". Characters from the show also appear on the games Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion and FusionFall.
On May 15, 2006, Cartoon Network introduced an online game, Big Fat Awesome House Party, which allowed players to create an online friend to join Bloo and the others in a one-year game online, earning points that would give them gifts, cards and other on-line "merchandise" for their albums. A player's friend, made from one of over 900,000 possible characters, could wind up in a future episode of Foster's. Over 13 million users were registered to play the game after its launch in May 2006. Because of its success and popularity, Cartoon Network announced in May 2007 that the game would continue for six more months, into November of that year.
Promotions and other products
From 2006 to 2008, Cartoon Network furnished a Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends float as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The float was fashioned as a replica of the home. On Thanksgiving Day, 2006, characters from the show performed The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends". In 2007, the characters' performance of You're My Best Friend by Queen. In 2008, the characters' performance of Harry Nilsson's theme song to The Courtship of Eddie's Father was interrupted by Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up", reproducing the Internet phenomena of Rickrolling.
In March 2006, toys of characters from the show were featured in Burger King's Kids Meals. In December 2007, Cartoon Network and Hot Topic retail stores in the United States set up a boutique for a product line based on the series, with over 693 locations featuring products such as clothing, accessories and DVD releases by Warner Home Video. The episodes from the series are now available for download from Hulu, iTunes and Amazon Video. The show's second season was available on Netflix until March 2015. All 6 seasons were added to Hulu in May 2015.
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