REN AND STIMPY has returned to the Nickelodeon airwaves and it now has a feline cousin in CATSCRATCH, a new series created by Doug TenNapel which resembles it remarkably in design, cartoony gags and character expressions. This is also not your typical kids fare and is appropriately scheduled in primetime, Fridays at 8:30 pm. The premiere episodes were broadcast back-to-back, 8-9:00 pm on July 9, 2005.
CATSCRATCH follows three rich felines who have inherited a fortune, mansion and butler from their doting owner. The brotherly trio is now free and funded to do whatever they feel like, something the three rarely agree upon, which sets the comedic escapades in motion. The show stems from TenNapels 150-page epic comic GEAR, which starred the comedic cats and grabbed the attention of a development executive at Nickelodeon.
The newly-minted billionaires are Mr. Blik (Wayne Knight, SEINFELD), Gordon (Rob Paulsen, THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS) and Waffle (Kevin McDonald, (THE KIDS IN THE HALL). Maurice LaMarche is their not-so-amused butler Hovis who grudgingly puts up with the fact that the former pets have become his masters. Sibling rivals with contrasting personalities, the cats exasperate each other and argue, but ultimately stick together in a world where most humans resent this fortune has been left to cats.
CATSCRATCH is wonderfully offbeat. The cats are a bit like The Three Stooges and The Beverly Hillbillies, and the results are chaotic and hilarious, says Nickelodeons Marjorie Cohn, evp, DEVELOPMENT AND ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING, adding, Whether the cats intentions are selfish, honorable or absurd, they always land in a big heap of trouble.
Mr. Blik, a sharply angled black cat, is a blustery, bossy, insecure tough guy, wholl steamroll anyone who doesnt see things his way. Winning is everything to Blik.
Gordon a calico, fat square of a cat with a Scottish brogue is honest, loyal to a fault and a very messy eater. He also harbors a secret crush on the cats 8-year-old neighbor and friend, sweet Human Kimberly (voiced by Liliana Mumy) and will do anything to impress her.
Waffle is a grey tabby with a long, stingy body, big soft eyes and heart. He is also giddy, dim-witted and enthusiastic, living totally in the moment. Waffle has a hard time keeping up with his brothers schemes, but occasionally he stuns everyone with a moment of brilliance.
In the premiere show, Bringing Down the Mouse, Waffle had to catch a mouse in order to go to the mouse catchers ball with his accomplished brothers. Waffle is tricked by the most devious rodent of all, Squeakus, who convinces him that Mr. Blik and Gordon are actually mice. In To the Moon, Mr. Blik is determined to win a barbecue rib cook-off; no matter that hes a terrible cook. When Gordon tells the story of a man who made delicious ribs using rocks from the Moon, Blik slaps together a makeshift rocket, and the three cats head into space adventure.
CATSCRATCH creator/exec producer TenNapel is the creator of EARTHWORM JIM, PROJECT GEEKER and the groundbreaking CD-ROM game NEVERHOOD for DreamWorks, as well as a series of childrens books, STRANGE KID CHRONICLES, for Scholastic Books. He is the author and illustrator of several graphic novels, including GEAR, TOMMYSAURAUS REX and EARTHBOY JACOBUS.
The author/illustrator/animator has a lifelong affinity for felines as subjects and pets. I owned all three of CATSCRATCHs cats, said TenNapel. Their personalities mirror my pets, but I dont really see them as animals. I pretend like theyre hairy people. He considers the show, a throwback to the slapstick-style, character-based, talking animal genre, which I love.
The show delivers plenty of that action, not frantically timed with funny, imaginative schemes and stories. But the short-legged, rectangular shape of the felines with their flat faces is jarring to cat lovers but a familiar style for TenNapel fans.
Co-exec producer Peter Hastings is a three-time Emmy winner for his work as a writer/producer on ANIMANIACS and PINKY AND THE BRAIN. Supervising producer Mike Girard has overseen the animation for shows such as THE SIMPSONS, DUCKMAN and Nickelodeons RUGRATS GO WILD MOVIE.
Producer is Christine Kolosov, Monique Beatty line produces and Mitch Watson is story editor. Terry Scott Taylor does the music.
CATSCRATCH is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Nickelodeon production exec is Eric Coleman
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