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Ed, Edd n Eddy: A Unique Approach

by Matt Shumway and Lamont Wayne

© Cartoon Network

Editor's Note: In our February issue of Animation World Magazine, Terrence Briggs reviewed Ed, Edd n Eddy in "Ed, Edd n Eddy: Caught in a Circle" and, frankly, wasn't too impressed. Over the next few months, letters of support for Ed, Edd n Eddy poured in, two of which were featured in the April and May "editor@awn.com" section of the magazine. After so much praise for this Cartoon Network/Danny Antonucci show, we decided to take another look...

In a unique style of story and character design, Ed, Edd n Eddy is based on three kids going through the struggles of growing up whose most difficult problem is trying to make enough money for jawbreakers. Ed is a goofball and not very intelligent. His stupid and crazy comments highlight everything the trio does. Edd, or "Double D," is the sensitive thinker, who always has the concerns and doubts about everything. Eddy is the ambitious, hot-headed leader who thinks up all the projects the trio does. The three find themselves placed in several situations throughout each episode. You never know where they are going to end up.

Definitely Made for Kids
One of the definite strengths of Ed, Edd, n Eddy is the creator's approach to the story structure. In the cartoon, the characters go from one adventure to the next with little or no transition at all. The stories are totally spontaneous from plot to setting. "This show leaves all concept and plot wide open," says college student Matt Gorball. Upon first viewing of the show we were expecting a typical cartoon with a simple plot that ran the course of the show. This is where we were surprised. We where happy to see a new approach to storytelling for kids. Normally in animation, stories need to be strong for audience comprehension, but the concept behind this cartoon makes a strong case for the exception. This unusual approach to storytelling will be eye-opening for adults, but perfectly in tune with kids. Ed, Edd n Eddy is the story of three kids having adventures with friends in their neighborhood. When regular kids play with their friends in their neighborhoods, there is no structure. Kids are famous for short attention spans, so they go from playing one game to another whenever they get bored. The fact that Ed, Edd n Eddy plays off of this is what makes it so successful. "Ed, Edd n Eddy does not follow conventional humor," says college student Gianina Lopategui. "Its distinctive and bizarre style is what brings the laughter."

Aside from this new approach to story, the animation itself tries to be distinctive in its own way. The animation style matches the spontaneous tone of the show. The line quality of the characters varies and shakes, giving motion even to holds. It isn't as overpowering as the line quality change on Comedy Central's Dr. Katz, but is just enough to add a little texture to the look of the show. It is very successful, almost giving the look of rough animation and the viewer the feeling that the show was drawn by kids. This look in the animation continues to make Ed, Edd n Eddy a notable and new approach for today's cartoon.

The humor of the show is extremely fast-paced. Don't blink, or you'll miss the gag. It is sometimes hard to grasp what has just happened. However it seems that this would completely appeal to kids. It moves along at a kid's pace, and creates the feeling that a little kid is presenting the gags.

We Want More!
Ed, Edd n Eddy's humor is usually based on the situations they get into. Even though the situations they encounter are funny, we would like to see some deeper exploration into the characters. Maybe an episode with just one of the 'Eds,' focusing on how he would solve a problem without the other two, or an episode based on Jimmy or Lisa. This is the problem we find with the different approach to story. It is very hard to establish a deep character with the plot changing every few minutes. Without getting the audience involved with the characters it will be hard to gain long-lived support for the show. Being a fairly new show there is still time to allow the characters to grow. That, above all else, is our biggest critique. Let us make clear that we did enjoy the show, and at points it had several of us in tears because we were laughing so hard. Our favorite character wasn't even one of the Eds. We especially liked Jimmy. Despite the fact that it is hard to understand him sometimes because of his braces, he is one of the funniest characters on this or any other show. We would love to see him used as much as possible.

Ed, Edd n Eddy is a fresh show with very different approaches. We are glad to see, as college students, a show that attempts to be unique. Many current cartoons seem to be just hybrids of others. Ed, Edd n Eddy pushes old ideas aside and introduces us to a whole new world of story and characters.

The Classical Animation Society is a student organization at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Devoted to character animation and the animation industry, the Society was founded to unite the animation students at SCAD to promote learning about the art, craft and industry of animation.

The Savannah College of Art and Design exists to prepare talented students for careers in the visual arts, design, and building arts. The college emphasizes individual attention in a positive environment.

Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.