July 24, 2021

BACK AT THE BARNYARD

 

BACK AT THE BARNYARD
(Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, September 29, 2007-November 12, 2011)
 
Omation Animation Studio, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

 
 
MAIN CAST:
Chris Hardwick – Otis, Sheep, Boil the Chick, various
Leigh-Allyn Baker – Abby, Etta, Sheep
Jeff Garcia – Pip
Tino Insana – Pig
Cam Clarke – Freddy, Sheep
Rob Paulsen – Peck, Sheep, Skunky, Tony Twocheeks, Pizza Twin, Joey the Cow, Max, various
Dom Irrera – Duke
Wanda Sykes – Bessy
Fred Tatasciore – Farmer Buyer
Maria Bamford – Noreen “Nora” Beady, Jessica Allspice
Steve Oedekerk – Eugene “Snotty Boy” Beady, Nathaniel Randall Beady III, Pizza Twin


 
            Before Toy Story changed the animated film landscape, Steve Oedekerk was trying to pitch his own computer animated film. But producers and studios weren’t quite ready to buy what he was selling. After Toy Story, however, and the creation of his hit show Jimmy Neutron, that was a different story. When Nickelodeon executives visited him at his clubhouse during production of the series, he showed them the demo of what he wanted to do. They loved it, and Barnyard was greenlit to begin production in October of 2003.



            Barnyard followed Otis (Kevin James), a slacker cow (yes, who was a male—Oedekerk thought it was funny to give them udders) that was found and adopted by the farm’s leader, Ben (Sam Elliott). Ben tried to instill a sense of responsibility into Otis, but he preferred to waste the day away hanging out with his friends: Pip the mouse (Jeffrey Garcia); dim-witted Freddy the ferret (Trevor Howard); intelligent Peck the chicken; (Rob Paulsen); gluttonous Pig the pig (Tino Insana); overzealous Duke the sheepdog (Dom Irrera); or Daisy (Courteney Cox), a pregnant cow that came to the farm and Otis fell for. After Ben is killed protecting the farm from coyote Dag (Dave Koechner) and his pack, Otis was elected the new leader. And, of course, he shirked those responsibilities allowing the coyotes to return and help themselves to his friends.

Promo art featuring Abby, Pip, Bessy, Otis, Pig, Peck, Freddy and Duke.


            Oedekerk wrote, directed, produced and even voiced some characters in the film. It was the inaugural project of Omation Animation Studio, a division of his O Entertainment production company. The film was comparatively low-budget compared to other CGI features around the time, however that didn’t stop Oedekerk from courting the talent he wanted or ensuring every scene featured characters actually “living” in the backgrounds rather than the wide-open static spaces of the other movies. The result was over 180 characters being created and their animation being achieved with a process they used on Jimmy Neutron: motion capturing actors on a set in the studio. The film was released to theaters on August 4, 2006 by Paramount Pictures, and grossed over $116.5 million, despite lukewarm reviews.

Abby hanging out with Bigfoot.


            Even before the positive box office, Nickelodeon had ordered a series spin-off of the film. Picking up where the story left off, Otis (now Chris Hardwick) was in charge of the farm and learning to balance that responsibility with his desire to just goof off and have fun—which often led to wild schemes that caused chaos for the farm’s residents and neighbors. Always with him or causing their own trouble were his friends Pip, Pig, Peck, Duke (all with their original actors) and Freddy (now Cam Clarke). Having none of Otis’ nonsense was sassy cow Bessy (Wanda Sykes, reprising the role), who served as the principal of the barnyard school and judge of their court. A running gag had Pip constantly vie for her affections, only to be repeatedly (and often physically painfully) rejected. Newly created for the series was Abby (Leigh-Allyn Baker), Bessy’s best friend who was athletic and allergic to petunias with an OCD for organization. She replaced Daisy and her calf, who went unreferenced throughout the show. Also missing were the coyotes, Ben’s old friend Miles the mule (Danny Glover), and Maddy (Madeline Lovejoy), a young chick that enjoyed playing with Otis.

Mrs. Beady, always determined to prove the animals aren't what they seem.


            Much like Toy Story, the animals had to constantly be on the lookout for human beings; acting like normal animals whenever they were around. Only the farm’s neighbor Nora Beady (Maria Bamford) was aware of their real nature. Taking a cue from Bewitched, she always tried to expose them to the world but was constantly thwarted in her attempts. Her husband, Nathan Beady III (Oedekerk), often tried to convince her she was mistaken.

Snotty Boy and his friends.


            Other characters included Farmer Buyer (Fred Tatasciore), the owner of the farm whom Otis frequently tricked away with prank phone calls so that they could operate in peace (in the film, he would always be knocked unconscious when he saw the animals being themselves); the five sheep (Hardwick, Baker, Clarke, Paulsen and Jeff Bennet) that Duke was charged with watching and were always outsmarting him to escape; Etta (Baker), the lead hen; Skunky (Paulsen), Pig’s pet skunk and best friend; The Jersey Cows: Eddy (S. Scott Bullock), Igg (Maurice LaMarche) and Bud (John DiMaggio), who enjoyed pranking humans and ignoring rules; Tony Twocheeks (Paulsen), a gopher who frequently conned people into buying stuff from him; Everett (Lloyd Sherr), the farmer’s old bloodhound and the oldest resident; Bigfoot (Dee Bradley Baker), the mythological creature who managed to become a celebrity; the Pizza Twins (Paulsen & Oedekerk), unintelligent twin brothers who frequently delivered pizza to the farm; Joey the cow (Paulsen), Macy the Sheep (Maile Flanagan) and Boil the Chick (Hardwick), three children who attend school in the barnyard in Peck’s class; the vet (Audrey Wasilewski & Julia Sweeney), a female veterinarian who came to the farm to maintain the animal’s health; Root (Nathaniel Stroman), Peck’s rival who held a weekly talent show; and Eugene “Snotty Boy” Goldner (Oedekerk), the Beady’s bratty nephew who enjoyed antagonizing animals and Mr. Beady when Mrs. Beady wasn’t looking.

Farmland superheroes.


            Back at the Barnyard debuted on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2007. The majority of episodes were broken up into two story segments, with a couple spanning a full half-hour and some segments airing independently of each other. Whenever an episode was running short, a filler segment hosted by Pig was inserted covering a variety of things like “viewer mail”, medical advice or makeovers. The series was written by Jed Spingarn, Gene Grillo, Aaron Hilliard, Luke Del Tredici, Chris Painter, Brandon Sawyer, Andrew Nicholls, Darrell Vickers, Jessica Gao, Sam O’Neal, Neal Boushell, Adam Cohen, Joel Bergen, Alex Muniz, Lazar Saric, Tom Sheppard, Dan Serafin, Ned Goldreyer and Teresa Trendler, with Oedekerk and Hardwick contributing a script each themselves. Because it was computer animated, they were able to reuse the assets they had developed for the film in the show, saving time and money on character design and set building. Additional character designs were handled by Mark Beam, Phil Cruden and Bill Schwab. Cruden, along with his company Go For Launch Productions, also handled the production design for the series as they had for the film. The theme was written and performed by Michael Fitzpatrick and Mickey Petralia, with the rest of the series’ music done by Guy Moon.



            While the show performed well enough to receive a second season, it didn’t continue to live up to Nickelodeon’s expectations. The show was removed from the network with just 8 episodes left to air, which they would eventually do almost a year later on sister channel Nicktoons. 52 episodes aired in all. In 2008, a video game based on the show was developed by Firemint (now Firemonkeys) and released by Play THQ for the Nintendo DS. Back at the Barnyard: Slop Bucket Games (Cowlympics in Europe) was a collection of mini-games unlocked by completing fetch quests around an overhead 3-D render of the barnyard. It contained limited voice acting from Hardwick, Insana, Irrera and Julie Nathanson.

DVD cover.


            Beginning in 2008, Nickelodeon released several compilation DVDs containing 4 episodes each: Escape from the Barnyard, When No One’s Looking and Cowman, the Uddered Avenger. Additionally, Lights, Camera, Moo! and Club Otis were released overseas with bonus SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. A digital-only DVD, Nickelodeon Shocktober! Vol. 2, was also released to iTunes containing “Barnyard Idol / The Haunting”. 2011 saw the release of the complete first season, with the second coming a few months later (preceding the airing of two episodes). In 2012 digital-only DVDs were made available on iTunes: On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! containing 2 episodes from season 1, the Orange Collection containing 8 episodes from season 1 and Nickelodeon’s Christmas Stocking which included “It’s an Udderful Life”. The complete series was made available to purchase for streaming on Amazon Prime.
           
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“The Good, the Bad, and the Snotty / Escape from the Barnyard” (9/29/07) – Otis tricks the farmer off the farm so he can have a birthday party, but the farmer hires Snotty Boy to look after things. / The appearance of a grill has the animals worried they’re about to be eaten so they attempt to escape.
 
“Cowman and Ratboy / Cow’s Best Friend” (10/6/07) – The animals are unamused when Otis and Pip pretend to be superheroes. / After Otis saves Duke’s life, Duke becomes devoted and helpful to him to the point of annoyance.
 
“Chez Pig / The Right Cow” (10/13/07) – The animals decide to sell Pig’s delicious pies to humans to make some money, but they quickly become greedy in the process. / A space test monkey crashes onto the farm and is invited to stay, but he has his sights set on replacing Otis as leader.
 
“Saving Mrs. Beady / The Farmer Takes a Woman” (10/20/07) – After their antics get Mrs. Beady institutionalized, the animals attempt to bust her out. / Otis tries to set up the farmer so they can have their Saturday nights free again, but his new love wants to get rid of the animals.
 
“Hypno-A-Go-Go / Fowl Play” (11/24/07) – Otis accidentally hypnotizes himself to destroy the farmer. / When Freddy is found sleeping on a bed of Peck’s feathers, the animals assume he ate him and ban him from the farm.
 
“The Barnyard Games / War of the Pranks” (1/19/08) – Tried of losing, Otis tries to find Abby’s weakness so he can win some of the Barnyard Games. / Otis attempts to get revenge on Bessy for her constant insults but all his pranks backfire.
 
“Lights! Camera! Moo! / Animal Farmers” (2/2/08) – Otis goes overboard remaking the barn’s safety film. / Otis accidentally injures the farmer in his rush to see his favorite country music star, forcing the animals to handle all of the farming for him.
 
“Raging Cow / The Great Sheep Escape” (2/16/08) – A hedgehog convinces Otis to wrestle for him, not knowing all the matches are fixed except the last one. / Otis and Duke chase the sheep across the country before they get to New Zealand.
 
“The Big Barnyard Broadcast / Dead Cow Walking” (3/15/08) – The animals attempt to sabotage Mrs. Beady’s video of them from being broadcast on the news. / Overhearing the vet leads Otis to believe he’s dying.
 
“Otis Season / Cow’s Night Out” (3/29/08) – Otis disguises himself as a moose so he can get attention from the humans during Moose Appreciation Week. / Otis decides to go for a wild night on the town with The Jersey Cows.
 
“Big Top Barnyard / Pigmation” (4/12/08) – Otis volunteers the gang to take over a circus when they accidentally injure the lead. / A birthmark on Pig’s backside leads him to believe he’s of royal blood and begins to act like a snob.
 
“A Barn Day’s Night / Meet the Ferrets” (4/26/08) – The animals become stars when Pip broadcasts one of their music sessions, causing egos to rise. / Freddy tries to hide the fact that he’s a vegetarian from his parents.
 
“A Tale of Two Snottys / Snotty’s New Pet” (5/10/08) – Snotty Boy gets amnesia and turns nice, becoming unrecognizable to Mrs. Beady. / Pip gets captured by Snotty Boy as dinner for his new pet snake.
 
“Home Sweet Hole / Otis’ Mom” (5/24/08) – Otis accidentally destroys Pip’s home, causing him to move in with the others and their contrasting habits. / Realizing Otis has the same bell as her long-lost kid, Bessy begins acting motherly towards Otis.
 
“Club Otis / The Chronicles of Barnia” (6/7/08) – After being excluded from Otis’ boys’ club, Abby makes a club of her own that everyone else wants to join. / Snotty Boy catches the animals playing “Dungeons and Barn Animals”.
 
“Barnyard Idol” (7/21/08) – Discovering Pig’s beautiful voice, the animals enter him into a singing competition to win the farmer a golden tractor.
 
“The Haunting” (7/22/08) – When Otis builds a fun shack on a pet cemetery a ghost bunny possesses Pig and attempts to conquer the world.
 
“Brave Udders” (7/23/08) – Otis fears the impending arriving of his childhood bully.
 
“Otis’ 11” (7/24/08) – Otis loses the barn in a game of Fizzbin to the gophers.
 
“Pecky Suave” (7/25/08) – Peck takes a “potion” to enable him to speak to his crush, but ends up becoming bold enough to challenge his rival to a duel.
 
“Otis vs. Bigfoot” (9/22/08) – Abby brings Bigfoot onto the farm and Mrs. Beady is determined to capture him to prove she’s not crazy.
 
“Cowman: The Uddered Avenger” (11/28/08) – Cowman must prove his innocence when he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
 
“Top Cow” (9/23/08) – An accident causes Otis to give up being the county’s top crop duster just as a swarm of locusts is on the way.
 
“School of Otis” (9/24/08) – Otis has to take over Peck’s class after injuring him and decides to make school less boring by teaching them pranks.
 
“Otis for Mayor” (9/25/08) – Otis decides to run against Mrs. Beady for mayor to prevent her from outing them.
 
“Dummy and Dummier” (9/26/08) – Helping Freddy find a talent has the animals get him into ventriloquism--which turns out to be a bad thing when the dummy starts trying to kill them.
 
“Some Like it Snotty” (10/24/08) – The animals dress up as girls to get into the bowling alley for free, but Snotty Boy and his friends want to date them.
 
“Pig Amok” (1/20/09) – Pig returns to his birthplace to get married, but Otis tries to keep him from his horrible future wife.
 
“The Sun Cow” (1/21/09) – A bee sting lets Otis’ new Kobe cow neighbors believe he’s the reincarnation of the 5-uddered Sun Cow, who usually ends up as a steak dinner.
 
“Doggelganger” (1/22/09) – When Duke is at the vet another dog attempts to take his place.
 
“Save the Clams” (1/23/09) – Abby rescues a clam from a nearby cafĂ©  and it ends up becoming an annoying farm resident.
 
“Cowdyshack” (2/23/09) – Otis gets his friends onto a golf course through a friend of his, but ends up having to win a tournament to get him a new appendix when Pig injures it.
 
“Adventures in Snotty Sitting” (2/24/09) – The animals take a babysitting job to make money and replace the farmer’s game system, only to end up having to babysit Snotty Boy.
 
Season 2:
“Wild Mike’s Dance Party” (2/25/09) – Otis frees Wild Mike for a dance party, but he escapes and ends up captured by humans.
 
“Buyers Beware” (2/26/09) – The animals fear the farmer is selling the farm and take steps to scare potential buyers away,
 
“Anchor Cow” (2/27/09) – Accidentally injuring the local newscaster has the animals taking over his job.
 
“Abby and Veronica” (5/18/09) – Abby’s cousin visits and uses her beauty to trick the other animals into doing stuff to please her.
 
“Bling My Barn” (5/19/09) – After blowing up the barn, the animals attempt to get on a home improvement show that will fix the barn for them.
 
“Udderado” (5/20/09) – When Otis gets the farmer arrested, the animals turn the farm into a Wild West theme park to raise money for his bail.
 
“Cupig” (5/21/09) – Pig writes a love letter to his favorite treat which Otis finds and thinks is for him from Abby.
 
“Happy Animal Fun Time” (5/22/09) – Otis tries to get out of going to a concert with Abby by creating a fake holiday where everyone has to stay home.
 
“Dream Birthday” (6/29/09) – The animals decide to throw the farmer a birthday party and make him think it was all a dream after.
 
“Lord of the Beavers” (6/30/09) – When Pip has to cover for an injured Otis, Otis returns to find out everyone liked Pip better in charge.
 
“Little Otis” (7/1/09) – Otis creates a tiny clone of himself to handle his chores, which ends up captured by Mrs. Beady.
 
“Kids in the City” (7/2/09) – Otis is put in charge of watching the barnyard kids and promptly loses them in the city.
 
“Snotty and Snottier” (7/3/09) – The animals have to help Snotty with his even worse cousin so that he’ll stop hiding in the barnyard.
 
“Paging Dr. Filly” (11/5/11) – Dr. Filly is called in to settle a dispute between Freddy and Peck but ends up making it worse.
 
“Barnyards and Broomsticks / The Barn Buddy” (10/5/09) – Pip tells the others a campfire story about a witch, and when they find an old woman’s house full of sweets in the woods Otis fears she’s her. / Buying a security system for the barnyard turns out to be a bad idea.
 
“Iron Otis / Too Good to be Glue” (10/6/09) – Otis disguises himself to save Peck from being cooked by a chef on a cooking show. / Pig invents a super glue that the animals try to sell, only to learn it explodes 2 hours after application.
 
“King Cud / Everett’s Treasure” (10/7/09) – Otis is knocked out and awakens believing he’s King Cudenhotep. / The animals find an old safe belonging to Everett’s former owner and Otis tries to recreate his memories of their adventures to help him remember the combination.
 
“Free Schmoozy / Man’s Best Fiend” (10/8/09) – The animals rescue a show whale from a water park only to end up on his menu. / The animals convince the farmer to get a playmate for Duke, which ends up being his rival which continually gets Duke in trouble.
 
“Fumblebums / Endangered Liaisons” (10/9/09) – The animals end up subbing in for injured football players. / The animals import an endangered ferret to the farm to keep it from being torn down, then must rescue a smitten Freddy from her black widow ways.
 
“Back at the Booyard” (10/25/09) - Otis gives out supposedly haunted candy to his friends so that he can win a prize for collecting the most Halloween candy.
 
“Mr. Wiggleplix / Chain Gang” (11/14/09) – Pig accuses Otis of killing his imaginary friend. / The animals get mistaken for costumed crooks and end up arrested.
 
“It’s an Udderful Life!” (12/5/09) – Otis convinces Donner and Blitzen to visit the barnyard, but when Santa gets sick as a result the animals have to finish his deliveries for him.
 
“Get Bessy! / A Beautiful Freddy” (1/2/10) – The animals try to figure out what Bessy does when she’s not insulting them. / A lightning strike turns Freddy into a genius, and the animals try to cash in on it on a quiz show.
 
“RoboPeck / Arcade of Doom” (1/16/10) – After accidentally breaking his body, Otis rebuilds Peck with machine parts to make him a big help around the farm. / It’s the animals vs. Snotty Boy to win enough tickets to buy a gaming console.
 
“Puppy Love / Rodeotis” (2/6/10) – Duke’s sister visits with a surprise: she’s engaged to his rival! / Otis plays a bull to help the farmer impress a woman he likes, but when he gets hurt the farmer ends up having to ride a real bull.
 
“A Catfish Called Eddie / Beady and the Beasts” (6/19/10) – Otis’ old best friend returns and tries to get rid of Pip. / When Mrs. Beady is kicked out of her house she moves in with the animals.
 
“Mission: Save Bigfoot / Mrs. Beady Takes a Holiday” (9/11/10) – The animals climb a mountain to rescue Bigfoot after he has an accident. / The animals get Mrs. Beady to take a vacation and leave them alone, but Otis ends up missing pranking her.
 
“Treasure Hunt” (9/12/11) – A group of crows distract the animals with a fake treasure map to leave their corn crop unguarded.
 
“Clonedemonium / Hickory Dickory Donkey” (9/18/10) – The animals clone themselves to give little Otis and little Abby friends, but the owner of the Clone-a-Torium threatens to expose them. / Bessy comes between Pip and his new donkey love.
 
“Clown and Out / Clan of the Cave Cow” (9/19/11) – Otis gets into a battle with Snotty Boy’s clown father. / Otis ends up taken by scientists who believe he’s a primitive cave cow currently attacking the farm.
 
“Four Leaf Otis / Cop Cow” (9/26/11) - The animals are on the hunt for a leprechaun. / The animals become cops and try to solve a donut store theft.
 
“Plucky and Me” (10/3/11) – Otis hatches a giant chicken egg so they’ll have a fifth for polo, but it ends up being a dinosaur that causes havoc.
 
“Pig of the Mole People” (10/3/11) – The mole people come seeking Pig to reclaim his throne and defend them from an abusive worm.
 
“Aliens!!!” (11/12/11) – The animals plan to scare Mrs. Beady off with a fake alien news story so she’ll leave their satellite dish alone, but end up calling on real aliens to invade the planet.

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