Harry Situation Reviews: The Fairly OddParents
So I made a decision lately. After ranting about animator-turned-jackass Butch Hartman, I figured that I should review each of his animated shows. So that’s what’s happening this month. I’m going to review all four shows that Butch has created during his time with Nickelodeon. And we’ll see if I’m still weak after this critique.
Let’s kick things off with his first animated series, The Fairly OddParents. Originally the series started off as a series of shorts that Butch made for Nickelodeon’s Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Due to the shorts popularity with young audiences Nick decided to go green and made the shorts into a complete series, making its first debut in spring 2001. I still remember that day too. The pilot episode for this show and the pilot episode for Invader Zim aired on the same night.
The series centered around a 10-year-old boy named Timmy Turner, just an average kid who no one understands. Mom and dad, and his evil babysitter Vicky were giving him commands (BED, TWERP!). Doom and gloom up in his room is broken instantly. But his magic little fish who grant every wish because in reality they are his Fairy Godparents named Cosmo and Wanda.
All paraphrasing that catchy-as-hell theme song aside, this show was the bomb back in the day when I was a kid. It had a simple formula. Timmy Turner is placed in a situation at his disadvangage, he uses Cosmo and Wanda to make a wish, things start to go well for Timmy Turner until he learns about the consequences of his actions, leading him to learn a valuable life lesson.
The series had a great voice cast. You have the voice acting goddess herself, Tara Strong, providing the voice of Timmy Turner. Then there’s Daran Norris and Susanne Blakeslee who provided both the voices for the wishgranting fairies Cosmo and Wanda, but also the voices for Timmy’s dad and mom. And of course, you have the perfect casting of Grey Griffin as the evil Vicky. I swear that was a role that woman was born to play.
There was also a large variety of side characters too that I remember. There was the alien Mark Chang (voiced by Rob Paulsen); Vicky’s little sister Tootie who also has a massive crush on Timmy; there’s Timmy’s best friends AJ and Chester (one of them was actually voiced by Frankie Muniz); there’s my personal favorite Jorgan von Strangle (also voiced by Daran Norris), the muscle-bound leader of the fairies; there’s the Dinklebergs, the Turner family’s neighbors whom Timmy’s dad greatly despises; and Timmy’s superhero icon the Crimson Chin (voiced by none other than Jay Leno himself). But of course I haven’t forgotten the most memorable character from the series: Chip Skylark (voiced by NSYNC’s Chris Kirkpatrick). You all remember him, right? His catchy-ass song “My Shiny Teeth and Me”. The kids in my class sang this all the time. You know how it goes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxAEY3l9BQ
But of course we can’t forget one of the show’s biggest antagonists, Timmy’s fifth grade teacher, Denzel Crocker (voiced by Carlos Alazraqui), who is obsessed with proving to the world that fairies exist. He was funny. He was insane. And the series developed his character extraordinarly well. Apparently it was revealed that he used to have Cosmo and Wanda as his Fairy Godparents when he was a kid. But then one day he lost them, had his memory erased of their existence, and has been obsessed with catching fairies ever since.
The show’s writing was great—at least in the first few seasons. It had great jokes, great stories, and important lessons. That’s not to say that every episode was golden. One of the most reviled episodes had Timmy wish himself that he was never born and then he sees that everyone’s lives are much better if he didn’t exist. It was an obviously terrible parody of It’s a Wonderful Life. Even Butch himself hated the episode. Regardless it still had a ton of more memorable episodes. The series also had some of the best TV specials I’ve seen as a kid. The ones I most fondly remember were “Abra-Catastrophe”, “Channel Chasers” and the specials where The Fairly OddParents actually crossed over with another of Nickelodeon hit animated shows, Jimmy Neutron. You have characters from both series flipping back and forth from 2D animation and 3D animation, and it was awesome. And they say Avengers: Endgame was the most ampicious crossover of all time.
Man, it was a good show. Key word: was.
As time went on, the series seem to take a downgrade in its writing, its lessons, its character development, its already interesting characters, and eventually its animation quality (more on that in a bit). And it all started in Season 6 with the hour long special “Fairly OddBaby”, which introduced a new character for the series, the fairy baby of Cosmo and Wanda, Poof (also voiced by Tara Strong). So yeah, we now have a baby in the character roster. What I oddly remember from this special was that Cosmo was the one who gave birth to baby Poof. So do fairies have anatomy of sea horses or something? What the hell? I don’t have much to say about Poof. I didn’t really think much of him at the time, and around the time he first appeared I started to grow out of Nickelodeon and started watching more adult shows like Family Guy and Archer.
And then the series was somehow still running with Season 9. That season also introduced a new character, a talking fairy dog named Sparky (voiced by Maddie Taylor before her transition), who acted as Timmy’s new pet. Oh boy. Upon his first appearance, the character of Sparky was not well received. The character was annoying beyond fuck. He caused more problems rather than helped. His voice was like barbed wire through your ear canal. Yeah, I really didn’t like Sparky at all. And worse, he existed when there really was no reason for him to exist at all. But Butch got another season out of his show, which was on life support at this point.
Then the series came into its tenth and final season, which introduced another new character to its damn roster, Chloe Carmichael (voiced by Kari Wahlgren). This season and Chloe was the straw that broke the camal’s back. Chloe was Timmy’s new neighbor who would be sharing Cosmo and Wanda as her Fairy Godparents due to a fairy shortage.
Now hold on! What shortage? When in the series was there a shortage? What caused this shortage? I don’t recall their ever being a shortage in the series before. That would have been something to really explore but I guess that wasn’t on Butch’s priorities.
But yeah, let’s talk about Chloe for a minute. Chloe was really unnecessary. Not long ago I invented the term John/Joan Neric as a way to combat the terms Mary Sue and Gary Stu. The reason being is because I generally don’t like those terms. The term Mary Sue is used to describe a character that is absurdly perfect in every way and can do no wrong. They are described as so flawless that it is ridiculous. Now a lot of folks like to identify Rey from Star Wars as a “Mary Sue”. I disagree but that is my opinion. The problem with the Mary Sue trope is that it can technically be slapped on any character. Tony Stark/Iron Man can be a Mary Sue. Luke Skywalker can be a Mary Sue. It’s a very generic and easy term. That being said, Chloe Carmichael on the other hand does fit the definition of a Mary Sue more than Rey. Everything she does and everything that she is defines absurd perfection. She has great, loving parents. She’s well liked in school. She does a bunch of volunteer projects. She is basically living a happy life. So why the fuck does she need Fairy Godparents? The show’s reason is because Chloe is so nice and helpful it tends to do more harm than good, and she’s apparently friendless.
I mean, really? Really? She’s liked by her classmates and teachers. She’s loved by her parents. How can she be friendless? How is this child miserable? There are kids with cancer, kids living in war torn countries, kids who have been molested that are far more miserable and deserve to have Fairy Godparents than her, both in the real life and presumably in this show’s universe. Seriously, she’s friendless? How can she possibly be friendless? She’s the hap-hap-happiest person since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.
They even changed the theme song in Season 10 to incorporate Chloe. Why would they do that? The song was already great. Why ruin it?
But it didn’t stop there. Half way through the final season of The Fairly OddParents the animation drastically changed and the episodes were done on Adobe Flash. If you look up the animation from all previous seasons and compare it to the animation in Season 10 you can tell that there is a great dip in quality. Everything just looks too bright. It looks too smoothed out. Not to mention the character movements felt very off. That’s not to diss flash animation in general. A lot of animated shows have done well with in flash. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a prime example. It’s just that the flash animation on Fairly Oddparents looked really bad.
Sadly, as I mentioned, this would mark as the final season for The Fairly Oddparents, Nick’s second longest running show behind SpongeBob SquarePants. Man, what a crappy way to go out too. There’s no grand special with high stakes. No big finale and thank you to all the fans. It just ended and I doubt anyone even noticed or cared. But the creative writer part of my brain does wonder: could there have been a way to save Season 10? Could there be a way to make Chloe more likable? Is there a way to give Fairly OddParents that spectacular finale it so deserved? Here’s what I’ve been thinking: what if they introduced another character alongside Chloe? And who would this character be?... THE DEVIL!!!
Or a demonic being or demon lord that was much like the devil. This character could serve as the season’s main antagonist. Chloe would serve as the adopted daughter of this demon lord and she’s working to befriend Timmy and his godparents in some effort to, I don’t know, gain more souls for the underworld or something. It could be used to explain why there might be a fairy shortage and tie into the old Celtic folklore of how the fairy folk would often make sacrifices to the underworld as some sort of payment. But her friendship with Timmy starts to conflict her and so she must find the strength to stand up to her adopted father.
If that doesn’t work then let’s get bold: make Chloe Nickelodeon’s first trans character. Chloe would have been born a boy but she identifies as a girl. It would also serve as a better reason why she would need Fairy Godparents. She’s miserable of being born in a gender she does not identify as and she is afraid of how everyone would react if they found out the truth. Timmy learns the truth, is a little uncomfortable at first, but understands Chloe’s story and accepts her for who she is. If you don’t think that Nick would have the brass to do something like this keep in mind that while The Fairly OddParents was still airing The Legend of Korra’s finale introduced the network’s first ever lesbian couple (Korra and Asami) and The Loud House introduced the first ever same sex married couple (The McBrides). But the question wouldn’t be if Nick would have went through with it but if Butch Hartman would have went through with it. I don’t know where the guy stands on LGBT rights and same-sex marriage given his holier-than-thou Christian attitude. I’m hoping he’s on the support side but I can’t say with certainty.
Now it does seem like I’ve spent a great amount of time ranting about this show but the truth is I don’t hate it. I can’t possibly hate this show. I do regard this show as being on of Nick’s best animated shows they’ve ever made and much of that credit does go to Butch Hartman. However some of the faults of the show is also because of Butch too. It’s important to both reflect on the good of something as well as the bad. The Fairly OddParents definitely had its fair share of problems and those problems worsened as the show continue to air on its last legs. But regardless of its faults it is really impressive that the show managed to say on air as long as it did. Sixteen years it stayed on television. But if you count the Oh Yeah! Cartoon shorts which first appeared in I believe 1998 or 1999, The Fairly OddParents has been on air for about twenty years. That’s a legacy that’s earned some respect. I’ll still remember the joy The Fairly OddParents gave me as a kid, even if I voice my disgust of Butch Hartman as an adult.
-Talented voice cast
-Some funny and clever jokes
-Awesome TV specials
-Catchy theme song
-One of Nick’s best
-Went on far too long
-Reducing to flash animation
Final Grade: B+
So those are my thoughts on The Fairly OddParents, Butch Hartman’s first cartoon for Nickelodeon. Have you seen this show? What were your thoughts? Have a favorite episode? Favorite character? Favorite moment? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
And stay tuned each week as I review all of Butch Hartman’s cartoons for the whole month because in my next review I’m going ghost.
Mr. Turner: ”Dinkleburg!”
#harrysituationreviews #television #opinion #animation #cartoon #fantasy #comedy #fairies #kids #Nickelodeon #Nicktoons #ButchHartman