Friday, June 02, 2006

Boy! That's some Squirrel!

Animated Discussions
by Rudy Panucci and Melanie Larch

Squirrel Boy is a new show set to debut on Cartoon Network in July, but there have been so many sneak peeks that kids are probably already familiar with the cartoon. Created by Everett Peck, who previously gave us Duckman, Squirrel Boy is aimed at a younger audience, but in many ways it's a superior cartoon. For one thing, the quality of the animation is spectacular. It begs the question, "Why can't all TV cartoons look this good?"

Squirrel Boy chronicles the adventures of a boy, Andy, and his pet squirrel, a know-it-all named Rodney who manages to get the two tied up in a series of schemes and offbeat ventures. It's an entertaining enough premise, but the real star of the cartoon is the overall look.

The fluidity of motion and color design is better than many feature films, and the animation stands head and shoulders above almost everything else produced for television. In fact, it's a bit jarring seeing Peck's designs rendered in such a lush manner. Previously, his cartoons were produced on a shoestring budget and were purposefully crude-looking. The animation in Squirrel Boy is on par with the classic Warner Brothers and MGM cartoons of the 1940s, but the design work is from another era. Still, this is a classy-looking cartoon.

The voice work is impressive, too. Andy is voiced by Pamela Segall Adlon, who also provides the voice for Bobby Hill, from King Of The Hill. Rodney's voice is provided by Richard Horvitz. Squirrel Boy officially premieres on July 14, but it's a safe bet that Cartoon Network will have several more sneak previews over the next few weeks, so you may want to check their schedule regularly.

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