Robert Irwin Lends His Voice to a New Animal, on Smash Animated Hit “Bluey”

Robert Irwin on Bluey
(Disney+)

Robert Irwin has followed in his dad’s footsteps acting as a voice for animals and now he is literally a voice for an animal, as the Australian conservationist made his animated TV debut by voicing a character on the smash hit “Bluey.”

If you’ve been sleeping on Bluey, you’re doing it wrong – get familiar with it ASAP! The show is literally the most-watched ABC show ever in Australia and has become a huge hit for Disney in the U.S. (and beyond) for its realistic depictions of a fun and normal family (well, they are animals, but you get it).

In the episode “A Quiet Game” that aired in late February, Irwin voices a clerk at a toy store helping Bluey, Bingo and Bandit find a birthday gift for a friend. But, thanks to dad, the kids have committed to playing the silent game and Alfie has to guess the toy through a round of charades.

Irwin told the Associated Press this would be a new animal adventure for him.

“I’ve had so many hilarious and awesome and scary and fun and exciting adventures with animals. But I’ve never gotten to actually be an animal before or be the voice of an animal,” he said.

Irwin said it was fun to step into the mind of a dog and that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lend his voice to a new audience and help his legacy, the one his dad started and his kids carry on.

“It feels like the most amazing honor every day to make sure that the incredible work that my mum and dad started continues, especially after we lost dad,” he said. “I know that for us, our biggest priority was to make sure that everything that he lived and died for continues.”

You can watch the episode (and all of them, they really are terrific) on Disney+.

The Puma and Thundercats Collab Is the Purrfect Match

Thundercats Puma Sneakers
(Puma)

I’m not much of a sneakerhead, but I do love Thundercats! It might seem strange to lump these two things together, but it wasn’t strange to Puma.

Puma created a line of footwear inspired by the classic 80s cartoon, and they look incredible.

The Puma website describes the Puma X Thundercats collection:

“It’s time to rewind in the first-ever PUMA x THUNDERCATS collaboration. We dusted off the VHS tapes and pulled this one straight out of the archive, fusing futuristic PUMA silhouettes with vintage inspiration from some of the most cult-classic characters of all time. Collection silhouettes feature signature graphics and color references from fan favorites Lion-O, Cheetara, and the Cat’s Lair.”

Puma also released trailers for the new shoes, displaying them inside a ship clearly modeled on the one from the show:

Lion-O’s sneakers are blue and orange, just like the young leader, Cheetara’s include her signature spots, and the Cat’s Lair sneakers are black and white. They are available for adults, juniors, and little kids/toddlers, in case you want to indoctrinate your children into the majesty of the Thundercats.

Get them here and buy them up! If these sell well maybe we’ll get some Panthro, Mumm-Ra, and Snarf editions next!

Animators Create Recap of “The Mandalorian” Without Ever Watching It

Mando Recap by Animators
(TikTok/SmallbuAnimation)

The Mandalorian” is the most important thing to happen to Star Wars since the prequels (which opened the door to more Star Wars content). It took an unsettled IP and showed that there was still a lot of life in it and that new Star Wars movies and shows could be really good. And it energized a ton of Star Wars fans who were never satisfied with the prequel or sequel trilogies.

The show’s massive success was instrumental to Disney+’s rollout and opened the door to the 1,000 new Star Wars shows we’re getting. On top of that, it seemed like Baby Yoda was everywhere after the first season, from toys to drinks and anywhere in between. It felt like everyone had seen the show.

But most people, despite it being a hit, still had not! Two of those people felt like they knew enough about it though, just from hearing all the constant internet chatter about the show and its favorite little character, to recap it. So the two, award-winning animators Lindsay and Alex Small-Butera made an animated short recapping the Mandalorian, only based on tweets from their friends.

And honestly, they nail a good chunk of it.

@smallbuanimationWhat I think the Mandolorian is About ##mandolorian ##themandolorian ##StarWars ##babyyoda ##grogu ##animation ##funny ##cute ##parody ##fyp♬ original sound – Smallbu Animation

The duo who have co-created web series and worked for Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network, get a LOT of it right. And it’s fun to see someone take a guess at the show’s plot without seeing a single episode. The video got nearly a million views on Tik Tok and hundreds of thousands on Twitter, so it’s safe to say plenty of people enjoyed the recap, and they should continue to recap other Star Wars properties (and any popular shows) they’ve missed out on.

Bandit’s Best Dad Moments in ‘Bluey’

Bandit's Best Dad Moments
(Ludo Studio)

The hit Australian kid’s show ‘Bluey’ released back in 2018 to critical and commercial acclaim.  Since its debut on Disney+ last January though, ‘Bluey’ has really taken the world by storm.   It’s easily one of the best kids shows you and your family can watch, and mine can’t get enough of it.  I think it’s also essential viewing for dads everywhere.

I know it might sound a little ridiculous that I’m using an animated children’s program as an example of quality TV binging for dads to check out, but I’m serious.  Most shows play off the dad as clueless and irresponsible.  Bluey’s Bandit on the other hand is such a well-written character and a refreshing change from the stereotypical TV fathers (except for Goofy) we’ve come to expect, that you can’t help but love him.  He’s silly, playful, imaginative, caring, and even makes mistakes.  He’s also one hell of a dancer.

The Best Dad (Bandit) Moments in ‘Bluey’

(Ludo Studio/blueypedia)

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Bandit moments.  They’re just so relatable, they always make me smile.

It’s a Bushwee

Ah yes, the “bushwee”.  If your kid has to go to the bathroom, you know there’s no way in telling them they have to wait.  In the case of the episode “Takeaway”, things escalate very quickly.  While waiting for their spring rolls, Bingo has to go to the bathroom.  Like any kid, Bingo cannot wait and Bandit handles this like any dad would, by running to the nearest bush.  The eternal bushwee begins and chaos ensues as crows get into the spilled Chinese food, Bluey needs to figure out how to stop the water from flooding the world, and Bingo takes the time during all of this to ask her father if everything is made up of atoms.  It’s true, when a kid has to go to the bathroom it really can feel as chaotic as this.

Playing Make-Believe

Most of the episodes feature Bandit and the kids playing make-believe in some way.  Whether he’s dressed up as a baby, acting like a disobedient emu, or pretending to be a robot, Bandit does it well and could run a masterclass on the subject.  I think what’s so great about how he plays with his kids, is he lets them make the rules.  When Bluey & Bingo are pretending to work for Bandit at home, Bluey says that she is now the boss and quickly draws some random squiggly lines on a piece of paper and hands it to her father.  Bandit takes a quick look and instead of just dismissing her writing as gibberish, agrees and says it looks like it’s all in order.  He’s committed to his child’s imagination, and I admire that.  He even takes it one step further when his new “boss” asks him to clean the windows with his butt.  Now that’s dedication.

Teaching His Kids the Importance of Never Giving Up

‘Bluey’ is full of episodes that teach life lessons, but “Bike” is especially heartwarming.  Children are stubborn when it comes to learning new things.  Having taught both my kids how to ride their bikes, I can definitely vouch for anyone that it’s a tough but satisfying experience.  In the case of Bluey, she’s having trouble riding her bike, so she gets frustrated and sits down with her dad.  Bandit asks her to watch how it’s not just her and others are struggling to overcome their own challenges.  They cheer their friends on and it shows that even the littlest of triumphs (like putting on a backpack) can still mean a lot.  Bluey decides to get on her bike and try again.  Nice work dad.

Dads Can Be at Home Too

Too often is the stereotypical ideal family life brought up that the mom should be at home and the dad goes to work.  Even the idea of a dad being at home with his kids while their significant other goes out is often referred to as “babysitting”.  That’s not true or how every family operates and ‘Bluey’ understands that.  The show puts the spotlight on the dads that take care of chores and watch the kids.  Everything is equal in Bluey’s house and Bandit is a dad that can handle it.  Whether his wife is going out for the evening to a baby shower or off to work for the day, it’s not a big deal that dad is at home with the little ones, and that’s something I can appreciate.

“Oh man, is there some game where I just lie really still on a comfy bed or something?”

Bandit said it best.  Even though he loves his kids and shows a lot of patience, he still sighs when he’s asked to play certain games with them.  This screams parenthood and is a recurring theme that was established within the very first episode when Bluey & Bingo find the “magic” Xylophone.  When this specific Xylophone is used, it can freeze Bandit in place and he’s less than thrilled that they’ve discovered it again.  Parenting requires a ton of energy, and ‘Bluey’ doesn’t sugarcoat that.  It understands the struggle and any time the parents pout and moan at the idea of doing something that the kids want to do, it never ceases to make me chuckle.  If the game involves me laying down and not moving, wonderful.  It usually doesn’t, but maybe our kids should be more thoughtful about this sort of thing.

What Bandit moments are your favorite?  These are the few that I think showcase just how fantastic the writing team is behind ‘Bluey’.  It would have been so easy to just create another “dad” character, but ‘Bluey’ creator Joe Brumm has shown Bandit some real dedication and care, making him a major part of the show.  Bandit is so great, that he has even inspired me to approach everything that my kids do with a level of patience and excitement.  I mean… I’m not so sure I’d handle my take-out being eaten by crows as well as he does, but that’s a work in progress.

Watch Charlie Brown Meet Snoopy for the First Time in New Apple+ Trailer

Charlie Snoopy
(YouTube/Apple+)

It’s one of the most iconic friendships in TV history, and now we have our first look at how it all began. The trailer for AppleTV+’s “Snoopy Show” shows us the very first meeting between Charlie Brown and Snoopy. All it takes is a treat to win over the tiny pup’s affection, and then the two jump right into adventure.

Charlie Brown walks into a barn and finds a sad, black and white puppy on top of a hay bale. He pulls out a treat, and unlike the football trick his therapist will pull on him endlessly later, he doesn’t snatch it away at the last second. He instead starts a beautiful friendship with everyone’s favorite puppy slash WWI pilot.

“We’re going to be best friends,” he says to Snoop.

The Snoopy Show is based on the legendary comic strip from Charles Schulz and features Snoopy on his endless adventures with Charlie, Woodstock, and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Each episode features three seven-minute cartoons and we’ll see Snoopy in all of his classic characters, including the WWI Flying Ace battling the Red Baron, Joe Cool, the infamous arm wrestler, and more.

The show hits the streaming service on February 5th.

I Know I’m Late To the Party, but Yeah, ‘Bluey’ Really Is Awesome

Introduction to Bluey
(Ludo Studio)

Up until a month ago, the only things I had heard about regarding ‘Bluey’ came exclusively from one of my dads’ groups on Facebook.  The subject of ‘Bluey’ wouldn’t pop-up often, but when it did, the comments section would explode.  The guys would go off and discuss the details of their favorite episodes and how their kids would go to bed and they’d just sit there and watch ‘Bluey’ by themselves or with their significant other.  I was completely out of the loop.  The only kids show I had ever watched the odd time without my children was “The Amazing World of Gumball”, so I was curious.  What was the big deal with ‘Bluey’?

My wife and I have three kids.  Our youngest (who is 10 months) is constantly on the move and trying to pull things off of tables.  He will only find the time to sit down and give us a bit of solace if we watch ‘The Wiggles’ with him.  This was fine… for a while.  After roughly three days of “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy”, I had reached my breaking point. I was going to breakdown and curl up into the fetal position if I had to watch the other three Wiggles try to wake up Lachy with the power of singing for the 800th time.  Luckily, as fate would have it, ‘Bluey’ popped up during a conversation and I was told that I should check it out.  I didn’t hesitate.

For those who haven’t watched it, ‘Bluey’ is about, well, Bluey!  She’s an Australian puppy who gets up to all sorts of mischief with her sister Bingo, her dad Bandit, and her mom Chilli.  Each episode is around 7 minutes in length, which means you’ll fly through them fairly quickly.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this show that keeps my youngest son so entranced.  It might be the catchy theme song or the bright and colorful animation that pops off the screen.  He might not understand what’s going on but who cares, he loves it.  What I personally love about ‘Bluey’ though, is how it normalizes dads being at home.  Bandit is the one playing all sorts of games with his two daughters while mom heads out for some time to herself.  As a dad who spent time at home with his kids even before the pandemic, I love this kind of thing.  He shares the dishes and laundry duties with Chilli as well.   The show casts aside the tired stereotypes of mom doing the housework and dad going to work.

(Ludo Studio/seduff)

The other thing I enjoy about the show is Bandit & Chilli usually let out a reluctant sigh whenever Bluey & Bingo ask them to play.  As a parent, I’m sure we can all agree we’ve done this at some point.  I love playing with my kids, but if I can just sit back and let them do their thing while I catch my breath, even better.  Bandit & Chilli’s attitude is a refreshing change for a children’s show.  Of course, they still end up saying yes to playing with their kids, but it’s a realistic take on parenthood that always makes me laugh.  I never realized I’d have so much in common with a couple of animated dogs. Everything is equal in Bluey’s household, but it’s usually Bandit who’s the one getting up to all sorts of hilarious shenanigans.  Whether he’s playing make-believe or working for his kids, he’s always having fun with them.  One of my favorites is an episode where Bandit pretends he’s a magical crane game.  If the girls do chores around the house, they earn “Dollar Bucks” (money) to spend on the crane game.  It seems fun at first, but each time the kids pay to play, Bandit drops the toy “they” latched onto back into the toy pile so he can get his kids to do extra chores around the house.  It’s so genius I might have to try it sometime.

While there’s plenty of humor adults will enjoy, there are certain episodes that even my 11 and 8-year-olds enjoy watching it.  The flossing grandma’s episode is a big hit in our household.

‘Bluey’ has its funny moments, but it also pulls at your heartstrings.  One episode called ‘Copycat’ deals with death and how a child might cope with it.  It sounds harsh, but it’s handled extremely well.  Most kids’ programs shy away from this topic, so I commend ‘Bluey’ for actually having the guts to write an episode around this touchy subject.

All 52 episodes of ‘Bluey’ Season 1 are currently streaming on Disney+  (a season 2 is apparently releasing this July), so if you’ve been on the fence about checking it out, give it a shot.  I think you and your kids will be pleasantly surprised.  I’m also pretty sure that if you do, your family will start referring to money as “Dollar Bucks”.

I know I’m late to the party, but yeah, ‘Bluey’ really is as awesome as everyone says it is.

PBS Teams Up with Apple TV+ to Air Charlie Brown Holiday Specials

Charlie Brown Specials
(Apple)

When it comes to movies and TV, Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick. Halloween has tons of movies you can watch all Spooktober long, and Christmas movies dominate cable and streaming services from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.

Thanksgiving has Planes, Trains and Automobiles and not much else! Unless you count the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, which, despite being the third-best Charlie Brown special (Christmas and Halloween again!).

I remember loving it when I was a kid, and my kids definitely count it every year – there’s still something special about a holiday-themed TV episode! – but this year it seemed like they weren’t even going to get to watch it, because Apple TV+ snapped up the rights to the Charlie Brown specials and pulled them from network TV.

Despite having aired on ABC and CBS for decades, it seemed like their run was over, and any Peanuts fans without an Apple TV+ subscription was going to be out of luck.

Thankfully, someone at Apple had a change of heart, and Apple teamed up with PBS to air the Thanksgiving special on Sunday night. And if you missed it, you can watch it for free on Apple TV+ from 11/25 to 11/27.

Even better, you can catch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on PBS on December 13th, and catch that free on Apple TV+ from 12/11 to 12/13.

I won’t lie, I don’t totally get the appeal of these specials. They’re sort of depressing and not all that funny unless you like watching Snoopy pretend to be a fighter pilot. But they are nostalgic, and there’s something to be said for that.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s great that Apple and PBS found a way to make it happen. Even though I’m not a fan, I can’t pretend the holidays are the same without Peanuts!

Tom and Jerry Get Animated in New Live-Action Movie

Trailer for new Tom & Jerry
(YouTube/Warner Brothers Pictures)

When I was a kid, Tom and Jerry were huge.

The cartoon cat and mouse, or mouse and cat (I still don’t know!), were a staple of Saturday morning cartoons. The pair of enemies, constantly trying to outwit, outlast, and outthink each other, were as famous as cartoons get. So famous that they inspired the show-within-a-show of the most famous cartoon of the past 30 years.

The Simpsons‘ insanely homicidal Itchy and Scratchy were a direct commentary on the violence in those Tom and Jerry cartoons. And nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find a little kid, or even a college student, who knows who they are.

But that may be about to change. There’s a new Tom and Jerry movie coming out, and sure, the mix of animation and live-action (it worked for Space Jam) makes it look like a Paula Abdul video, but Rob Delaney and Michael Pena are in it, and he’s funny! Maybe it will be good! Regardless, maybe our kids will like it!

The plot revolves around Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse) moving to the big city, where Jerry moves into a hotel and the hotel hires Tom to exterminate him. Lizzo is on the soundtrack.

Enjoy:

Disney+ Debuts New Trailer for Classic X-Men Cartoon Along With All Five Seasons

X-Men Animated Series New Trailer Disney+
(YouTube/Disney Plus)

Since the 2008 release of Iron Man, Marvel Studios has dominated box offices with 23 game-changing movies and counting. Before there was Robert Downey Jr.’s badass Iron Man or Chadwick Boseman’s unforgettable Black Panther, there was Fox Kids Network’s classic animated series.

Saturday mornings were already the absolute best time to be a kid, plopping down in front of the TV with a bowl of Sugar-O’s and the whole weekend ahead of you. From 1992-1997, it was also a time to get lost in the Marvel universe with the X-Men animated series. For five glorious years and 76 unforgettable episodes, the series cemented X-Men in our hearts forever.

For those lucky and committed enough to own the series on DVD, you’ve been able to enjoy perhaps the best version of X-Men ever created uninterrupted. For the rest of us, there’s been no (respectable) way to watch the nostalgic series, save for the episodes we watched so many times we could essentially watch them on-demand if we closed our eyes. That is, until now.

Disney+ is quickly making a name for itself as the streaming service that brings us back to simpler times. Though you can stream some incredible original content like The Mandalorian, Disney+ is also the home of nostalgia. You can watch classics like the 1973 Schoolhouse Rock series, the 1987 version of DuckTales, the OG Mighty Ducks, and now, the X-Men animated series.

All five action-packed seasons are available on Disney+ now, and to celebrate, Disney released a more modern version of the show’s trailer. The new trailer still contains the same wonderfully grainy animation, but the brand new transitions and added graphics give the whole thing a more contemporary vibe.

As if being able to watch the quintessential Marvel series isn’t enough good news, rumors are circulating that Disney+ may take things one step further and continue the series where it left off. I know we’ve come a long way since the 90s in terms of animation, but if the rumors turn out to be true, hopefully, they can find a way to make sure the character’s lips absolutely don’t match up with the dialogue. Something about the puppet vibe really adds to the 90s ambiance.

South Park Is Tackling COVID in New Hourlong Special Episode

South Park Special COVID-19
(Comedy Central)

After 23-years, South Park has finally found a topic worthy of if its first hour-long episode: COVID-19. The iconic Comedy Central show is airing an hour-long pandemic special on September 30th and the coronavirus and life in 2020 will be skewered in a way only Trey Parker and Matt Stone can.

South Park has ably tackled apocalyptic and depressing stories before, injecting them with a cathartic amount of laughter. Their brand isn’t for everyone, and some people seem utterly intent on never laughing again, but for adults who like jokes, this is going to be a very funny special. We’ve seen COVID humor in 30 Rock and Parks and Rec pandemic specials, but those were limited by the format. This…will be something much greater.

Here’s the full episode description: “Randy comes to terms with his role in the COVID-19 outbreak as the on-going pandemic presents continued challenges to the citizens of South Park. The kids happily head back to school but nothing resembles the normal that they once knew; not their teachers, not their homeroom, not even Eric Cartman.”

The preview shows Randy trying to take advantage of the pandemic, Cartman afraid he might be forced back to school, and Kyle doing his best to practice social distancing. It also shows a classroom with masked kids in plexiglass dividers with a detective as their new teacher.

There’s no official word on the premiere for the show’s 24th season, but the pandemic special promises to be one for the pantheon. The “Pandemic Special” airs September 30th at 8:00 p.m. on Comedy Central and will be available to HBO Max viewers the next day.

Hulu Shares Behind-the-Scenes Footage of November’s Animaniacs Return

Animaniacs Behind the Scenes
(Twitter/Huli)

Of all the reboots and remakes and reimaginings and sequels and prequels and legacyquels that have bubbled up over the past few years, few are as universally approved of as the forthcoming Animaniacs relaunch.

Ever since it was announced, the internet has been nothing sort of delighted at the news that the irreverent, pop-culture saturated cartoon from the 90s was coming back. And animation is the one type of Hollywood production that was able to soldier on despite the pandemic and the quarantine and 2020 in general.

As we’ve previously shared, the new episodes feature the entire original cast, including Rob Paulsen, the voice behind Yakko and Pinky, of the beloved Pinky and the Brain.

The new series debuts in November, but yesterday, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the original show, Hulu released some teaser footage, complete with a behind-the-scenes look at the current production.

The footage was tweeted out with the caption: “Happy Birthday Animaniacs. To celebrate the 27th anniversary of the original series premiere, we’re giving you a special behind-the-scenes look of your favorite voice cast at work. Stream brand new Animaniacs on November 20th, only on Hulu.”
Check out the footage below and get ready for November 20th!

X-Files Coming Back To TV – as an Animated Comedy?

X-Files Animated
(20th Century Fox)

For years now, we’ve watched as Hollywood cannibalized itself, taking old movies and TV shows and turning them into new TV shows and movies. They adapt books, reboot trilogies, make new sequels; they’ll try anything to recapture the magic – and the profits – of something that was previously successful. There are few properties that haven’t been revamped, including the classic 90s sci-fi drama The X-Files.

Not only did the show stay on the air too long, attempting to continue after star David Duchovny left, they also tried to convert its television success to movie money, with a handful of movies that had diminishing returns. Then they brought the show back, to even worse returns, and the franchise seemed like it was done. But apparently not!

Fox is attempting to bring it back again, this time as an animated comedy called “The X-Files: Albuquerque” that is currently in development. Animation is one area that is able to circumvent COVID-19 complications because you don’t need to actors on set when all they’re doing is recording their lines. The man behind The X-Files, Chris Carter, is on board as executive producer, and the series will reportedly cover mysteries that were too out there for even Mulder and Scully.

Speaking of Mulder and Scully, neither Duchovny nor his co-star Gillian Anderson are thus far involved with the new show, with Anderson flat-out stating she was done with the character after the poorly-received season 10 and 11 revivals a few years ago.

But Chris Carter isn’t done and said so at the time.

“I think that certainly The X-Files has more life in it, there are more stories to tell, with Gillian or without,” said Carter. “I’m sorry to see her go, I’ve never actually considered doing this show without her, so is this the end? It’s the end of something, I don’t know if it’s the beginning of something new. But certainly we will have to all put our heads together and figure out where to go from here.”

It seems like he’s found a way to keep his franchise alive! We’ll see if even the show’s diehard fans are down for a cartoon version.

Far Side Creator Gary Larson Releases First New Comics in 25 Years

Gary Larson New Stuff
(Getty/Denver Post)

2020 already feels like a satire of itself, but there’s one key element missing – the cartoonish, offbeat, often animal-centered humor that only cartoonist Gary Larson can provide. The Far Side comics ran from December 31, 1979, to January 1, 1995 at which point the beloved cartoonist decided to retire. That is, until now. Much to the delight of his fans who have been subsisting on 25-year-old material, Larson added a New Stuff section to The Far Side website.

The website reads, “I don’t want to mislead anyone here. This corner of the website—“New Stuff”—is not a resurrection of The Far Side daily cartoons. (Well, not exactly, anyway—like the proverbial tiger and its stripes, I’m pretty much stuck with my sense of humor. Aren’t we all?).” Larson goes on to say that he became exhausted of the deadline-oriented process of cartoon creation. The only time the cartoonist has taken on a drawing project since has been Christmastime, where he would draw a holiday card from himself and his wife. After years of frustration with his perpetually clogged pen, Larson discovered digital art using a tablet – and his inspiration, along with his passion for drawing, returned.

So now, fortunately for us, we get to join Larson as he dives into the world of digital art. We are invited to watch as he experiments with a new medium, and we will be gifted an array of new content. There is no timed schedule for the release of Larson’s new comics because as he stated, the formerly schedule-driven artist is enjoying the freedom of drawing for the sake of drawing.

Fans are ecstatic, obviously.

And so are we. Welcome back, Gary – you could not have chosen a better time.