The weekend. That oasis at the end of the week. Two days free from work and school. 48 hours to do whatever you want: go out, play sports, hang out, or just veg. Yes, the weekend is beloved by adults and kids alike (unless you’re someone who also works on the weekends, then it’s just another day for you). Doug Langdale decided to take this love and freedom of the weekend and make a show about it.
|Tish, Tino, Lor and Carver chilling with some Chug-a-Freezes.|
The Weekenders followed four seventh graders and their adventures from Friday afternoon through Sunday night (and sometimes another weekday, typically Monday, as a story required) in the fictional California town of Bahia Bay. The lead character was the neurotic Tino Tonitini (Jason Marsden), who often served as the show’s on-screen narrator and talked directly to the audience (indicated by the background behind him gaining gray saturation in its coloring). Usually in his company was Lorraine “Lor” McQuarrie (Grey DeLisle), a sports-obsessed tomboy; Carver Descartes (Phil LaMarr), a self-centered fashionista who believed himself cooler than he actually was and had an unhealthy love of sneakers; and Petratishkovna “Tish” Katsufrakis (Kath Soucie), an intellectual that idolized William Shakespeare.
|Sometimes you just have to do homework.|
The show had numerous running gags throughout its run: the pizza place the kids hung out at had a different theme every time it’s seen; Lor’s many brothers and her inability to recall exactly how many; Tino’s mother (Lisa Kaplan) serving questionable food-like items; Tino relaying stories about the unseen character Chloe Montez and all her antics; Tish translating for her immigrant mother (Kerri Kenney) when she ultimately mixed up words, followed by her mother affirming “Is what I say”; Tino’s mother’s seeming omniscience about his problems; and a host of others. Sometimes, school would intrude on the weekend in the form of homework or a project due on Monday.
|Tish gets a makeover.|
The Weekenders premiered on February 26, 2000 as part of Disney’s One Saturday Morning programming block on ABC. Although it was a cartoon and the kids involved often overdramatized their problems and blew trying to solve them out of proportion, the show was kept fairly grounded as it dealt with issues like getting older; trying to get tickets to see their favorite band, Chum Bukket; being respectful of others’ feelings; dealing with fears; surviving the climb of the social ladder; being true to yourself; and more. Episodes typically featured two story segments, but a few presented a single story. The stories usually ended with Tino (or, occasionally, someone else) summing up the events that transpired to the audience and signing off with a “Later days”. The writing staff included Evan Gore, Heather Lombard, Brian Palermo, David Warick, Peter Gaffney, Steve Atinsky, Dan O’Connor, Rachel Powell and Jonahtan Rosenthal.
|The cool kids. You totally wanna be like them, right?|
The series’ theme was written by Wayne Brady and Roger Neill and performed by Brady. Neill handled the rest of the series’ music. Ginny Hawes and Steven Lyons served as the lead character designers. A unique decision was made to give the characters an actual wardrobe, which meant that in every episode they typically wore something different unlike normal characters who could go entire series in the same outfit. Lyons also directed every episode, which was fluidly animated by Wang Film Productions.
The Weekenders ran for three seasons on ABC, as well as in syndicated reruns on Sundays on UPN’s Disney’s One Too programming block. The show was well-received, at one point beating out Pokémon, its direct competitor, in the ratings. In 2001, it ended its initial run and was replaced by an expanded hour of Recess. It began airing on Toon Disney in reruns, and it was there an abbreviated fourth and final season aired from 2002-04. In 2013, Disney made the complete series available on DVD in two volumes through the Disney Movie Club, and later offered more widely. It became the first show by Walt Disney Television Animation and from One Saturday Morning to be completely released to home video. It was also one of Disney’s shortest, clocking in at 39 episodes whereas most Disney programs tended to run until they reached 65, the number needed for syndication. It was announced in 2019 that The Weekenders would be coming to the streaming service Disney+.