The Mighty B!
|The Mighty B|
|Created by||Amy Poehler
|Directed by||Erik Wiese
|Creative director(s)||Erik Wiese|
Dee Bradley Baker
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Amy Poehler
|Running time||20–23 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Paper Kite Productions
Polka Dot Pictures
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
|Original release||April 26, 2008– June 18, 2011|
The Mighty B is an American animated television series co-created by Amy Poehler, Cynthia True and Erik Wiese for Nickelodeon. The series centers on Bessie Higgenbottom, an ambitious Honeybee girl scout who believes she will become The Mighty B (a superhero) if she collects every Honeybee badge. Bessie lives in San Francisco with her single mother Hilary, brother Ben and dog Happy. Poehler provides the voice of Bessie, who is loosely based on a character Poehler played on the improvisational comedy troupes Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade.
The Mighty B premiered on April 26, 2008, which was the morning after Poehler's film Baby Mama had premiered. She said that she would "go to bed and stay in my pajamas until 10:30 a.m. and watch Mighty B". Since its debut, the show has attracted an average 3.1 million viewers. In the second quarter of 2008, the show ranked among the top five animated programs on television.
In September 2008, the show was renewed for a second season with 20 episodes that premiered on September 21, 2009. The second season was the last, since The Mighty B! was not featured in Nickelodeon's list of renewed shows for the 2010–2011 TV season. The Mighty B has been nominated for six Annie Awards and four Daytime Emmy Awards, so far winning one Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. It has garnered one Artios Award nomination and one Golden Reel Award nomination.
Several years before The Mighty B premiered, co-creator Amy Poehler and a number of people at Nickelodeon were speaking and thinking about making a "female-driven" animated television series. Poehler stated that the series would be pitched as: "where this girl is at that great age [...] where you're not boy-crazy and you're not mean to other girls". She found that enthusiasm "fascinating" and wanted to "bottle it and take it like a pill".
The Mighty B was picked up for a pilot in early 2006 under the name of Super Scout. It was co-created by Poehler, Cynthia True and Erik Wiese. Brown Johnson, president of animation at Nickelodeon, was "absolutely thrilled to have a comedy team of the caliber of Amy, Erik and Cynthia create this iconic character for a new generation". Poehler said that she was "thrilled that the world will finally meet the funny and sweet girl-tornado that is Bessie Higgenbottom [...] Erik, Cynthia and I are so pleased to be working with the wonderful people at Nickelodeon. In the words of Bessie, it's been awesome!"
Bessie is loosely based on a character Poehler had played during her time at improvisational comedy troupes Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade as well as girls she looked up to when she was younger. She described Bessie as a "feisty, plucky, bossy, Honey Bee scout" and called her "our hero [...] who goes on all these adventures in hopes of collecting all these badges". Poehler referred to the show as "double the action, triple the adventures and quadruple the awesomeness". During an interview with TV Guide, when asked if Poehler was trying to appeal adults with the show, she wrote:
"Yeah. What I love about SpongeBob SquarePants is that it's very watchable for an adult. But kids like it because they don't feel like they're being pandered to. That was what we were looking to do with The Mighty B [...] We wanted to do a show that had a strong female character who didn't have too many rainbows and unicorns."
Amy Poehler voices Bessie Higgenbottom, a 9-year-old Honeybee scout. Poehler describes her as "superoptimistic and a super spaz" and "a bit bossy, but with good intentions". She is based on a character Poehler had played during her time at improvisational comedy troupes Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade, but also girls Poehler looked up to when she was younger, which she called "the leaders". Poehler provides the voice of Bessie only, but for the episode "Boston Beean", she provided the voice of Sissy Sullivan, a Honeybee scout from Boston whose voice sounded exactly like Bessie's. Dee Bradley Baker voices Happy, Bessie's dog which she found at the harbor in the first episode "So Happy Together". Andy Richter voices Ben Higgenbottom, Bessie's younger brother. Richter is also the voice of Mort on the Nick show The Penguins of Madagascar. Richter talked about The Mighty B!, quoting: "[...] another dream come true, to be able to do cartoon voices! And, also, to get to do cartoon voices for [Ben and Mort] two really funny, cool cartoons that my kids love and that I'm proud to have them love. It's pretty great." Dannah Feinglass voices Penny, Bessie's sidekick. Feinglass is also a writer for the show. Grey DeLisle voices Portia Gibbons, a Honeybee scout, Megan Cavanagh voices Hilary Higgenbottom, Bessie and Ben's single mother, and Jessica DiCicco voices Gwen, Portia's friend.
In addition to the main cast, Sarah Thyre, Kenan Thompson, Matt Besser, Keone Young, Jessica Chaffin and Kevin Michael Richardson voice supporting characters. Guest stars that have appeared on the show include Jill Talley, Jackée Harry, Rob Corddry, John Ross Bowie, Brian Posehn, Zachary Gordon, Paul Butcher, Niecy Nash, Dan Schneider and Audrey Wasilewski. Poehler's husband, Will Arnett, may guest star on the show. Poehler called him a "voice genius" and that she learned a lot from him, stating: "It's a skill to be in that booth and to figure out how not only not blow your voice out, but also how to make things come alive."
The show is set in San Francisco, California, and revolves around the adventures of Bessie Higgenbottom, an ambitious and optimistic 9-year-old Honeybee scout who wears her uniform every day. She believes she will become a superhero called The Mighty B if she collects every Honeybee badge. As of the first episode, she has 4,584 badges to go. Her loyal younger brother, Benjamin "Ben", aspires to be her sidekick. Happy, a stray dog with a torn ear, is Bessie's pet and best friend. Bessie and Ben live with their single mother, Hilary, who owns and operates a coffee shop called Hilary's Café. Bessie has an "imaginary friend"; Finger, which is her index finger with a smiley face on her left hand.
Many recurring characters appear alongside the Higgenbottom family, including the Honeybee scouts; Penny is Bessie's clumsy, dim-witted, obese best friend, who loves taffy. Although she and Bessie are best friends, Penny also shows loyalty to Portia and Gwen. Portia is a bratty, and snobby Honeybee scout, whose mother is the troop leader. Along with the business-minded Gwen, Portia is often opposing Bessie or tries to humiliate her. Bessie is also friends with Rocky Rhodes, an older, "cool" skater who works part-time at Hilary's Café.
The series received generally positive reviews from television sources and critics. One review from Brian Lowry of Variety explained it contains a "kind of crazed energy and inventiveness that isn't associated often enough with girl-oriented children's fare [...] [and] opts for a more elevated approach – like that aforementioned roller-coaster jaunt, taking a free-spirited jump off the tracks and trusting its audience to hang on for the ride." David Hinckley of Daily News gave the show four stars, while writing that The Mighty B! "has a decent shot at becoming a pre-tween fave." Aaron H. Bynum of Animation Insider called the series a "good, brainless cartoon [...] [Because] viewers shouldn't ever be bored with Bessie," but criticized part of its humor for not "try[ing] to do too much, which may ultimately work against it when the story calls for the characters to do too little.
Denver Post contributor Joanne Ostrow declared the protagonist of the series a "female answer to SpongeBob SquarePants". Among the favorable reception was a mixed review from Common Sense Media's Emily Ashby. She said while it "maintains a chaotic pace, and there are no real attempts to teach strong positive lessons [...] Young tweens will likely enjoy Bessie's outlandish, fantasy-fueled adventures – which are fast-paced and, on the surface, entertaining." Ed Liu of Toon Zone called The Mighty B! a show that he admires more than what he "truly love[s]", stating: "There is prodigious talent behind it and its wonderfully energetic, boisterous comedy. It's clearly trying very, very hard to be entertaining and largely succeeds [...] I almost feel bad for not liking The Mighty B! more than I do, and I'm still not sure why I don't enjoy it more". He noted it was worth pointing out that more recent episodes of the show seem "more assured and funnier" than the eight episodes on the We Got the Bee DVD.
The Mighty B! premiered at 10:30 AM on April 26, 2008, and scored "above average for Nickelodeon programming" in the Nielsen ratings. It ranked in the top ten of all programming for combined broadcast and basic cable shows, with 1.92 million viewers in the 2–11 demographic and a rating of 5.2/23. The Mighty B! had double the viewership as Bakugan Battle Brawlers, a show that aired simultaneously on Cartoon Network.
In September 2008, the show had an average of 3.1 million viewers, and in the second quarter of 2008, the show ranked among the top five animated programs on television. During the third quarter of 2009, it averaged 2.6 million viewers, and was number-one in its timeslot in the children's 2-11 and children's 6-11 demographics.
The Mighty B! and its crew have been nominated for six Annie Awards. The show has also been nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards, winning one. It has also been nominated for one Artios Award and one Golden Reel Award.
|2009 Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing – Television Animation||Nominated|
|2009 Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animation TV Programming||Sarah Noonan||Nominated|
|2009 Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||Nominated|
|Best Production Design in an Animated Television Production or Short Form||Seanna Hong
For "Bee Patients"
|Best Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production or Short Form||Eddie Trigueros
For "Name Shame"
|2009 Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||Larry Murphy||Won|
|Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Amy Poehler||Nominated|
|2010 Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||Nominated|
|Best Character Design in a Television Production||Bryan Arnett
|Best Storyboarding in a Television Production||Sunil Hall
|2010 Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Amy Poehler||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||Erik Wiese
A DVD of selected episodes from the series, entitled We Got the Bee, was released on February 24, 2009. It contained 8 episodes, behind the scenes footage, an animatic version of the episode "Bat Mitzvah Crashers" and a karaoke music video for "Running with the Rainbow Unicorn". Another DVD, named BEEing Bessie Higgenbottom, was released on December 8, 2009 exclusively at Amazon.com. This release contains 3 episodes as well as the karaoke music video for "Buzz Off" from the Dragonflies special. It is published on demand onto DVD-Rs.
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- Official website
- The Mighty B! at the Internet Movie Database
- The Mighty B! at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- The Mighty B! at TV.com