MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, a spin-off of the hit show OH YEAH! CARTOONS, premiered at 8:30 pm on August 1, 2003 on Nickelodeon. The series centers on a six-foot robot XJ-9 named Jenny (voiced by Jancie Kawaye) who is programmed to save the world with her incredible super powers and is really a sensitive teenager on the inside.
Created by Rob Renzetti, his work on DEXTER'S LABORATORY and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS obviously influenced the design of this new show produced by Frederator Studios in-house in Burbank, California, instead of the NickToons studio, where the OH YEAH! CARTOONS work is usually channeled. Renzetti serves as exec producer with Frederator founding head, Fred Seibert, whose other recent spin-off series include CHALKZONE and THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS.
Mad scientist and mother to Jenny, Mrs. Wakeman (Candi Milo) tries to keep her teenage creation focused on her mission to keep the planet safe. Jenny would like to hang out with non-metallic neighbor kids, the easy-going, good-looking Brad (Chad Doreck) and his little frenetic brother Tuck (Audrey Wasilewski).
Jenny has metallic pigtails, hip-hugging skirts, great gadgets and a body that morphs into an arsenal of weapons to fight off alien invasions, meteors and assorted super-villains like Vexus (Eartha Kitt) who finds it beneath her dignity to resort to violence, preferring to terrorize with ingenious evil plots.
The villains pale in comparison to the cruel Crust cousins Brittany (Moira Quirk) and Tiffany (Cree Summer,) Jenny's classmates who decide who is popular at their high school. The towering, muted green Jenny finds it hard to fit in at times. Comic book geek/inventor Sheldon (Quinton Flynn) would like to fit into her social life, and tries to woo Jenny with superhero gadgets gleaned from the pages of his comics. Unfortunately for Sheldon, Jenny has a crush on Silver Shell (Flynn), a mysterious metallic man who who shows up when danger calls.
Renzetti, a CalArts graduate originally from Chicago, helped develop, write and direct DEXTERS LABORATORY at the Hanna-Barbera Studios. He joined Nickelodeon in 1997 where he created original shorts A COP AND HIS DONUT, THE F-TALES and MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT for the OH YEAH! CARTOONS series. After a brief stink as a director on FAMILY GUY, Renzetti joined Cartoon Network studios in 2000 to direct episodes of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, SAMURAI JACK and became supervising producer on ROBOT JONES. In 2002, he joined Frederator to produce and direct TEENAGE ROBOT.
His experience on these shows is evident in TEENAGE ROBOT in both the look and pacing. The show has a definite anime influence with bold graphic characters against a muted background. When AWN asked Renzetti what inspired the design of the show, he responded, My art director Alex Kirwan and myself are fans of the general look of 1930s cartoons (especially the Fleischer Studios stuff) and also the UPA house style of the 1950s. We've tried to incorporate 30s design elements into a more flat, graphic show style.
Jennys color is a nearly translucent pale green, bordering on teal. Renzetti explains, For Jenny's color we wanted something that said 'robot' without going with gray. We thought of Jenny as more sleek, hi-tech plastic than clunky metal. What we ended up with happened to match the colors of the first iMac, but since the pilot was done before the iMac was out, I'd liked to fool myself into believing that Apple was inspired by us.
Future Deco," is how background artist Joseph Holt describes art style of the BGs. We try to replicate the feel and color sense of Deco poster art but with an added dash of cartoon whimsy, said Renzetti.
A crew of about 20 at Frederator did the pre-production before sending it off to Rough Draft Studios in Korea. Scott Mansz is overseas supervisor while Seong Ki Park and Hak Soo Mok are overseas animation directors. They've done a fantastic job of bringing the show to life, said Renzetti.
Debby Hindman is line producer on Frederators first in-house series. Writers are Mike Bell, Zeke K and Renzetti with music by James L. Venable and Paul Dinletir. Christopher Hink is supervising picture editor while Eric Weyenberg is post-production supervisor. Post-production services are done by Encore while post-production sound is provided by Hacienda Post, supervised by Timothy J. Borquez and supervising sound FX editor Tom Syslo.