Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
His long and prolific career in television and film expanded to voice
acting in the late 80s. Among his Saturday morning credits was the recurring role
of Roland Daggett in Batman: The Animated Series;Vern in an
episode of Animaniacs (1993); Hudson in Gargoyles; J. Jonah
Jameson in Spider-Man: The Animated Series;Sgt. Mike Cosgrove in
Freakazoid!, which he would later reprise for an episode of Teen
Titans Go!;General Araneus in an episode of The Magic School Bus
(1994); Mr. Applegate in an episode of Life with Louie; Agent K’s
father in an episode of Men in Black: The Series;Granny Goodness
in Superman: The Animated Series;Thaddeus T. Third V in an episode
of Recess; Chuck Marshak in Max Steel (2000); Fixer in an episode
of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command; a guard captain in an episode of Duck
Dodgers; Uncle Ben in an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man; Kent
Nelson in an episode of Young Justice; and an angry old timer in an
episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.
After a tour in 2004, the band No Doubt decided to take a
break and explore some solo projects. Co-founder and lead singer Gwen Stefani
released her first album Love.
Angel. Music. Baby.that year, which
saw Stefani revisit and update the sounds of the music she grew up listening to.
Initially not planning on having a tour to support the album, Stefani ended up
going on one in late 2005, known as the Harajuku
Lovers Tour. Harajuku
is a district in Shibuya,
Tokyo known as the center of Japanese youth culture, teenage
fashion and cosplay. Stefani had a self-professed huge interest and love for
Japanese culture, hence the name of the tour, images of the area projected on
stage backgrounds, and the inclusion of a song serving as an ode to the
Gwen Stefani with her Harajuku Girls: (from left) Maya Chino, Jennifer Kita, Rino Nakasone & Mayuko Kitayama.
Harajuku Girls was also the name she
gave the group of backup dancers she hired for the tour that wore make-up and
clothing meant to be evocative of the Japanese aesthetic. The Harajuku Girls
were comprised of Maya
Chino, Jennifer Kita,
Kitayama, who performed under the stage names “Love”, “Angel”,
“Music” and “Baby”, respectively, after the album. Along with the tour, the
Harajuku Girls served as Stefani’s entourage in public (it was alleged that
they were contractually
obligated to speak only Japanese in that instance), appeared with her
on interviews (where part of her gimmick was that she considered them imaginary
friends), and starred in 8 of her music videos (three of them would also appear
in No Doubt’s “Settle
video, sans Harajuku styling). Stefani would go on to use the name “Harajuku Lovers”
for a line of fragrances,
which came in caricature bottles fashioned after her and the Girls, and fashion
for Target also adorned with those
caricatures. During this period, many critics would come to regard Stefani’s
Harajuku Girls as not so much cultural appreciation, but more along the lines
appropriation as well as reinforcing negative
An example of the kawaii design applied to the scenery.
Fast forwarding to 2014, Stefani
announced the next Harajuku-inspired product: an animated series. A desire to turn
the Harajuku Girls into some kind of media project existed since the initial
album’s release, but it wouldn’t be until 2013 that she pitched it at Kidscreen’s
Asian Animation Summit.
Australia’s Network Ten
liked the idea and greenlit the production. Although this would be Stefani’s
first animated series, she had a familiarity with their inner workings through
her brother, No Doubt co-founder and former member Eric Stefani,
who worked as an animator on cartoons like A
Pup Named Scooby-Dooand The Simpsons.
HJ5: Love, Angel, G, Music and Baby, along with their manager, Rudie.
Initially titled Koo Koo
Harajuku, the show was developed by Steve Aranguren,
Paxson and co-produced by Vision Animation,
Red Flags Fly and Moody
Street Kids, with DHX Media (now WildBrain)
handling distribution. Animated in Flash,
the series followed the adventures of teenaged band HJ5 as they often met with
challenges that prevented them from playing their gigs without interruption such
as unruly fans, fun-hating despots, or inventions gone amok. HJ5 was comprised
of leader G (modeled after Stefani, voiced by Maggie Cheretien), the glue of
the band who keept them together through tough times and represented bows; Love
(Daisy Masterman), the group genius whose inventions often caused more problems
than they solved and represented hearts; Angel (Emma Taylor-Isherwood), a
bubbly and cheerful fashionista who could be a bit of an airhead at times and represented
stars; Music (Sally Taylor-Isherwood), the sarcastic and strong-willed
second-in-command of the band who was both an amazing fighter and dancer and
represented musical notes; and Baby (Charlotte Nicdao), sweet and carefree to a
fault who loved adorable things and giving hugs (and was constantly hungry) and
represented cuteness. Their manager was Rudie Rhodes (Danny Smith), who was
enthusiastic but hard-lucked and clumsy and tended to get the band into trouble
through his antics and forgetfulness. Additionally, the band had a sassy
robotic personal assistant and chauffer named R.O.D. (Robotic
Obedient Driver), as well as several monster pets (cut little creatures that
could be domesticated or wild) and a Pomeranian named Chewie (based on
Stefani’s own pet). The characters, designed by Kyla May, were heavily
influenced by the Harajuku Girls while remaining ethnically ambiguous.
General Nofun holds HJ5 captive.
The series featured a number of
antagonists bent on ruining HJ5’s careers any way they could. Chief amongst
them was General
Ira S. Nofun (Paul Heng, Ian Bliss
in Australia), the leader of Nofunland who hated anything fun. His top man was Commander
Bo-ring (Bliss), who led a double life as pop star Baron Von Melody. Nofun
also had a cat, Moods
Meow, who had designs on world domination. Other antagonists included Madame Shhh, who
hated noise and wanted to soundproof everything through magic spells and
bubbles; Sammy Starr,
Rudie’s arrogant rival who used leet speak and tried everything to sign HJ5 to
him; Say-Wah (Nicdao), a technological whiz who wanted revenge on the band for
not accepting her into their ranks; The Kimberlys, a
rival band comprised of similar-looking girls all named Kimberly who wanted to
be famous without doing any of the actual work; Tizzie Lizzie (Natalie Bond),
the band’s biggest (and obsessive) fan and daughter of an incredibly wealthy
man who attempted to subjugate HJ5; Angelica (Amanda Harrison),
a young inventor and Love’s chief rial; Cici, the leader of a
mermaid singing group who felt they had sole performing rights in oceanic
territories; Panda Pete, a panda-obsessed businessman who wanted to make the
whole world kawaii (the
Japanese culture of cuteness); Mimi Di Pollo,
an extreme fashion designer who wanted revenge on HJ5 for firing her because of
her impractical outfits for them; and Bertrand, a smartphone modified by Love
to never become obsolete that evolved into a sentient despot, among others.
Baby and the monster pets.
Other characters included Colonel Spyke
captain of the Harajuku Defense Squad who disliked HJ5’s music but didn’t
hesitate to employ their services on missions when needed; Twisty-T
(Smith), a prominent music producer Rudie always strove to impress; Jo Jo Jolie, a
fashion designer and Twisty T’s wife; Mauve Madison (Brennan in Australia,
Chrehtien in the US), a popular talk show host; Trixie La Trill
(Bond), a hair stylist and Rudie’s aunt with a desire to be famous; Sparski, a sentient
computer virus; and Krispin Krouton,
a tabloid journalist, among others.
Much like Stefani’s Harajuku Girls,
reception to the series was mixed and labeled as cultural appropriation. Reviewers
pointed out the whitewashing
and Westernization of Japanese culture while simultaneously eliminating
anything remotely Japanese from the show. Despite that, the
series was able to churn out 3 seasons and was nominated for an Asian Television Award
in 2016. For the third season, HJ5 embarked on a world tour that took them out
of Harajuku City to new and exotic locations with their own crazy themes, such
as bubblegum, musical instruments or yo-yos, via a teleporting tour bus
concocted by Love. The last five episodes of the series aired initially on Disney
Channel Australia before airing on 10 Peach.
A G figure with the tour bus playset.
Mattel acquired the
license to produce
based on the show, including fashion dolls and playsets, as well as packs of
small charms to decorate the dolls or an included wearable ring. Shout! Factory
struck a deal with DHX to release home media for the series. To date, they’ve
only released 20 episodes from the first season across three
An official YouTube
contains full episodes and clips. The entire series was made available to
stream on Amazon
Prime Video and Pluto
TV, and most of it on Google
Play. In 2016, Nickelodeon uploaded a music video of Stefani
singing an expanded and remixed version of the show’s theme.
EPISODE GUIDE: Season1: “Totally
Teen Genie / Angel’s Flight” (11/1/15 AU, 10/3/16 US) – Angel discovers a sassy
genie in a bottle of hair gel. / Angel is determined to restore her reputation
when an unflattering picture of her is released online.
Baby / Wanted Audience” (11/8/15 AU, 10/4/16 US) – A gig in Newfunland ends up
with the band being arrested by General Nofun. / The band discovers that their
gig is missing something: an audience.
Over / Phony Ponies” (11/8/15 AU, 10/5/16 US) – The band ends up sucked into a
computer game. / Baby enters her new ponycorn into the Ponycorn Cup which
unfortunately has been targeted by a disgruntled former rider.
Puppy / G, This is Awfully Deep” (11/15/15 AU, 10/6/16 US) – G is given a new
puppy that isn’t quite what he seems. / A sinkhole swallows the band and their
stage and dumps them into an underground city.
Birthday / Labor of Love” (11/29/15 AU, 10/7/16 US) – Opening her presents
early causes Baby to accidentally unleash one of Love’s inventions. / An
advanced computer virus attacks HJ5’s headquarters.
Boy and Little Girl / Yummy Bear Nado” (11/29/15 AU, 10/8/16 US) – Baby ends up
stuck in the cockpit of their mecha robot. / Love befriends a monster pet that
helps upgrade her weather invention.
of Doom / Adventures in Housesitting” (10/15/16) – When Angel neglects her new
drums, they take to playing themselves. / In order to audition for Twisty T,
the band must housesit for him.
Kawaiifler / Super Kawaii Sunday” (12/20/15 AU, 10/22/16 US) – General Nofun is
determined to spoil the Kawaiification Festival. / Things get out of hand when
the band enters a contest to get on the cover of a magazine.
/ Kablooey Chewie” (10/29/16) – A gig in Bubble Land is interrupted by the
silence-loving Madame Shhh. / Chewie gets himself not only blasted off into
space, but cloned numerous times.
Baby / Music Zoo” (11/5/16) – The band’s gig is interrupted by an Octacorn
attack. / Music becomes Muzaka and the band has to get her back to normal to
salvage their zoo gig.
Dotted Line / Life is But a Dream” (11/12/16) – The band is offered a recording
contract with one provision: they have to change absolutely everything about
themselves. / Love invents a machine that will let the band share a concert
dream to help G overcome her stage fright.
G / Greenhouse” (5/7/16 AU, 11/19/16 US) – A painting comes to life and
anything it touches turns into a work of art. / Rudie forgets to tell the band
that he promised they would take care of Twsity T’s rose garden while he’s
+ Alt + Dimension / Angel Hair” (2/4/17) – Love’s latest invention sends her to
another dimension where she encounters an evil HJ5. / A bad case of bedhair
sends Angel to Trixie La Trill for a makeover.
Job / Sea Monkeying Around” (2/11/17) – Rudie accidentally shrinks the band and
they get eaten by a monster pet. / Rudie’s promotional scheme goes wrong and
ends up flipping an entire undersea mall upside down, threatening to break the
dome that keeps the water out.
Your Inner Uniphant / Starr Power” (2/25/17) – Rudie lies to a zookeeper that
the band knows how to handle Uniphants in order to get a gig at the zoo. / Sammy
Starr wants to sign HJ5 by any means necessary.
G / Angel Food” (3/4/17) – Aliens take offense to an HJ5 song and crash their
concert. / Dressing in food costumes for their gig has the band looking like
lunch for a group of hungry monster pets.
Slam / Retro Fiasco” (4/7/17) – Baby uses one of Love’s rejected inventions to
try and improve her dance moves. / Retro Day at the mall is spoiled by a shop
full of retro clothing takes over.
/ Waves of Love” (4/14/17) – Invading aliens resembling HJ5 land in Harajuku. /
Love must choose between staying with the band and accepting a job at Harajuku
and Deliver / Moods Meow” (4/21/17) – A lightning strike brings sculpted sand
bunnies to life. / The band must rescue a cat to save their gig.
in the House / The Young and the Reckless” (4/28/17) – Music must overcome her
Yeti phobia in order to help the band get him back home. / An old children’s TV
host wants to reclaim his glory days by reverting his audience back to a young
on Board / Womzilla” (7/9/16 AU, 5/5/17 US) – The band takes on Rudie’s cousin
as an intern. / While making a film, Rudie accidentally unleashes a great
wombat on the city.
/ The Big Time” (5/12/17) – Emoticuddlies with an advanced AI become vicious
Emotizoms and disrupt the biggest wedding in the city. / Baby’s Queueby doll
runs into some experimental fertilizer and becomes giant.
/ Snowy the Frostman” (5/19/17) – Rudie uses a bear that says uncomfortable
things to apologize for hurting Angel’s feelings. / An event’s mascot tries to
Cake Mix Up / Angel Fever” (6/2/17) – The girls shrink themselves to find a
micro-sized USB key with their latest song that fell onto a cupcake. / Angel’s
new shoes puts the city under a spell.
Blossom Flower Festival / Princess Power” (6/9/17) – A kiss on the forehead
transfers some of Shu Shu the Silver Shimmer Squirrel’s powers onto Music. /
Rudie causes a mechanical dragon to go berserk during a gig.
A Quarkle! / The Ends of the Earth” (8/13/16 AU, 6/16/17 US) – Love
accidentally creates an energy organism that threatens Jo Jo Julie’s new
fashion launch. / The band uses Love’s time machine to find a way to play their
gig without ending the world.
Day / Multi Tasking” (7/1/17 AU, 7/7/17 US) – Performing for passengers causes
the band to miss their train. / The band tries to play the two concerts Rudie
booked them for at the same time.
Rod / Over and Out” (7/8/17 AU, 7/14/17 US) – Love’s upgrade for R.O.D. makes
him a hit with all the electronics in town. / A prank goes wrong when The
Reversilator turns Baby into a bad girl that wants to leave the band.
Magic / The Sixth Wheel” (7/15/17 AU, 7/21/17 US) – Rudie decides to add magic
tricks to the band’s act. / Rudie pretends to be the band’s leader to impress
Talk / iTeeth” (7/22/17 AU, 7/28/17 US) – The band tries to stop Krispin
Krouton from spreading lies about them on his blog. / Candy causes Baby’s
retainer to pick up radio transmissions, making her unable to sing at an
Like Spyke / The Fabulous Baron Von Melody” (7/29/17 AU, 8/4/17 US) – Spyke
recruits the band to help catch a thief at Jo Jo Jolie’s winter ball. / HJ5
learns their opening act has a double identity.
Show Offs / Monster Mash” (8/5/17 AU, 8/11/17 US) – Rudie and the band are
pitted against each other on a game show. / The band gets their minds swapped
with monster pets right before an important concert.
Are What You Eat / Supersonic HJ5” (8/12/17 AU, 8/18/17 US) – Snacks from a
vending machine gives the band new powers. / The band uses supersonic speed to
keep Say-Wah from bombing their photos.
Lizzie / Caught in the Web” (8/19/17 AU, 8/25/17 US) – Playing a private
concert for their biggest fan may become a permanent gig when she refuses to
let the band leave. / A computer malfunction causes the band to become trapped
on the internet.
Channels (and Nothin’ On) / Getting’ Kinda Late with Mauve Madison” (8/16/17
AU, 9/8/17 US) – Rudie and the band get trapped on the airwaves and must
navigate various channels to get to their gig on time. / Rudie takes over Mauve
Madison’s talk show.
Power / Wrestle Pop” (9/2/17 AU, 9/15/17 US) – Rudie’s game uses up all the
electricity for the band’s benefit concert. / A gig at a wrestling match
reveals Music’s wrestling past.
Changel / Coulda Been” (9/9/17 AU, 9/22/17 US) – A desire to quit the band
takes Angel on a journey through her history. / Love’s unfinished invention
traps Rudie in another dimension.
/ Roundabout Roundup” (9/16/17 AU, 9/29/17 US) – When HJ5 gives Moods Meow an
experimental voice chip, he announces his plans to conquer the world. / Nofun
sabotages a mechanical bull at a Wild West theme park, causing it to rampage
out of control.
/ Pandamonium” (9/23/17 AU, 10/6/17 US) – Angel goes undercover to put a stop
to the city’s villains teaming up together. / A toy maker plans to make the
whole world into Kawaii through Baby’s cuteness.
Fidelity / Rocky Road” (9/30/17 AU, 10/13/17 US) – The band has to figure out
why their new song transforms people into kawaii monster pets. / On their way
to meet an influential producer, the band’s van breaks down in a small town
they can’t find a way to leave.
Place is a Zoo / Wacky Wednesday” (10/7/17 AU, 10/20/17 US) – The band is
tasked with taking care of zoo animals while vying for a contract. / A
lightning strike causes Rudie and Music to switch bodies.
Escape / The Kimberlys” (10/14/17 AU, 11/3/17 US) – Creatures from Baby’s dream
escape into the real world thanks to one of Love’s inventions. / Rudie manages
a new band determined to replace HJ5.
G. Demille / Sky High Kawaii” (10/21/17 AU, 11/10/17 US) – Rudie informs the
band that they have 6 hours to film a new music video before it airs. / HJ5
competes against The Kimberlys to get the most-liked video on the internet.
the Winner is… / The Trouble with Trillbys” (10/28/17 AU, 11/17/17 US) – The
band is unaware that the contest they’re in is rigged to make them look like
fools. / Looking for his birthday present causes Rudie to unleash chaos with
one of Love’s incomplete inventions.
Are You Calling Cupid? / Beach” (11/4/17 AU, 11/24/17 US) – When Cupid loses
his contact lenses his arrows hit all the wrong marks. / Love’s competition
with Angelica gets out of control.
Golf / White Glitter Glider” (11/11/17 AU) – G is asked to throw a golf game to
get a music contract. / Angel desires a white glitter glider.
Fantabulous Five / Mist-ery Guest” (11/18/17 AU) – A meteor gives the band
superpowers. / The band’s tropical island adventure on a reality TV show is
going to be anything but a vacation.
Imaginary Friend in Need / Snowbound for Greatness” (11/25/17 AU) – Love’s new
invention accidentally brings the band’s childhood imaginary friends to life. /
G takes the band back to where they wrote their first song, disturbing a giant
snowman that just wants quiet.
Gnome Ultimatum / G Force” (12/2/17 AU) – A failed singing duo from the 90s
take over the band’s home so that they can relaunch their music careers. / Angelica
joins with The Kimberlys to help them beat the band in a competition.
Run / Feline’s Finest” (12/9/17 AU) – Love and Angelica compete against each
other in designing an eco-friendly car. / Rudie has the band enter Twisty T’s
cat into a local cat show to get him to notice the girls.
Album / Love’s Lamentations” (12/16/17 AU) – Using Twisty T’s studio to record
the band’s first album turns to chaos when Rudie causes everything to come to
life. / Unable to come up with a special kind of lip gloss, Love gives up on
No-No / The Gig is Up” (12/23/17 AU) – Getting to record in a prestigious
studio turns out to be a trap for the band. / The band plans to broadcast their
best concert ever and Nofun is determined to make sure it ends up being the
to the World Tour / Mind Games” (8/10/18 US, 8/11/18 AU) – The band rushes
around to try and prepare for a world tour within two hours. / When the
Bubblegumburg concert goes poorly, G has Love invent a mind-reading device to
find out how to reach their audience.
Bye Baby / Super Awesome Galacto Rudie” (8/17/18 US, 8/18/18 AU) – The band not
only leaves Baby behind but Nofun decides to steal their home. / When Rudie
sends out the bands’ costumes to be cleaned he gets a super hero’s super suits back
Affair / It’s All About Mimi, Me” (8/24/18 US, 8/25/18 AU) – The band learns
that Rudie’s family has been having a music feud with another family. / A rift
forms when Angel hires a fashion genius to make their wardrobe for the tour whose
designs the rest of the band doesn’t like.
Business / Southern Sparkles” (8/31/18 US, 9/1/18 AU) – Getting lost in a
jungle ends up getting the band captured by cute creatures that want them to
stay forever. / The band’s cruise concert is interrupted by a mermaid group who
claim dominance to perform in the water.
Pets on the Bus / Kawaii-Saurs” (9/7/18 US, 9/8/18 AU) – G tells Mauve how they
came to have monster pets staying with them on the tour bus. / Getting lost
after a concert leads the band to find three Kawaii-Saurs eggs that Baby
intends to make dinner, but end up hatching first.
Boya! / Rudie’s Law” (9/14/18 US, 9/15/18 AU) – Music ends up stuck to a pop
star she can’t stand via a virtual leash. / Rudie messes with a device to enhance
his gaming experience causing it to be projected in the real world while
shutting down the city’s internet.
High C / Aller-G” (9/21/18 US, 9/22/18 AU) – The girls try to relax to help G get
over being sick, but their cruise ship ends up trapped in the Harajuku Parallelogram.
/ G ends up developing an allergy to Rudie that causes her to sneeze into
various monster pet forms.
Beach Goes Bonkers / Smart Phone” (9/28/18 US, 9/29/18 AU) – The band
accidentally goes back in time and ends up replacing the star of their favorite
old beach movie. / Love decides to upgrade her smart phone so that it’ll never
go obsolete, causing it to come to life and declare humans obsolete.
Kawaii-fornia / Boo Boo Harajuku” (10/5/18 US, 10/6/18 AU) – The band checks into
a strange hotel that they can’t seem to check out of. / Angel discovers an
alternate universe inhabited by perfume scents that are big fans of the band.
Tense / Pamperlona” (10/12/18 US, 10/13/18 AU) – When Rudie knocks Love’s new
camera drone into another invention it begins producing recordings from the
future. / Mimi Di Pollo lures a tired HJ5 to an automated spa to enact her
revenge for their firing her.
Way or the Kawaii Way / Tinselfest” (10/20/18 AU) – A deranged hair stylist
sets out for revenge against the band when Angel asks for a slight modification
to her new hair style. / A decorating mishap as a child causes Nofun to seek to
destroy the Tinselfest celebration.
of the Rudies / Fan Fun Day” (10/27/18 AU) – A directional mishap lands the
band on a planet inhabited entirely by Rudies. / A fan wins a chance to spend a
day with the band for some fun, but no matter what they do they can’t seem to
put a smile on her face.
100th / The Sweet Life” (11/3/18 AU) – Rudie convinces the band to
go all-out for their 100th live show. / Rudie promised the band that
legendary fashion designer Gwen would make their costumes, not knowing she
retired after an unfortunate incident at the Ponycorn Cup.
the Show Go On? / Lights! Camera! HJ5!” (11/10/18 AU) – When Nofun learns
Bo-ring is making a musical about HJ5, he orders him to wreck the show on
purpose. / The band heads to Kawaiiwood to discover Nofun is directing a nasty
exposé film about them.
Madness / Social Media” (11/17/18 AU) – Baby rescues a living artifact to send
back home, but decides to have a day of fun with him first not realizing he’s
turning people into marshmallows. / Angel becomes obsessed with increasing her
social media follower count.
So Five Minutes Ago / Messy Magic” (11/24/18 AU) – Angel is determined to beat
her rival during fashion week, but she somehow seems to keep ahead of Angel’s
innovations. / A book Rudie gives G unleashes a cleaning magic that goes out of
Rinse, Repeat / Sing Thing” (12/1/18 AU) – Love and Angelica get into a feud
over who has the better super shampoo. / Love invents a robot to control the
sounds and lights during their shows, which Rudie promptly causes to
malfunction when he drops his phone inside of it.
Rudie / Rock Your Socks” (12/8/18 AU) – Attempting to grant their wish of letting
the day last longer, Rudie messes with the teleportation device and turns
himself into a baby. / Baby attempts to find out where socks disappear to in
the dryer and ends up sent to another dimension.
in a Name? / Joy Ride” (12/15/18 AU) – G suffers an identity crisis when she
discovers her name is “J” on her birth certificate. / Love’s smart phone kidnaps
most of the band, leaving Baby and Rudie to rescue them.
Fabulous Baron Von Rudie / Mappy Birthday Music” (12/22/18 AU) – Using one of
Love’s inventions, Rudie erases his memory and believes he’s Baron Von Melody.
/ Rudie gives Music a treasure map for her birthday that will lead her to the treasure
she needs most.
/ Good Old Rod” (12/29/18 AU) – Say-Wah haunts the band as a hologram
projection. / Believing G wants to replace him, Baby and Rudie attempt to make
R.O.D. more kawaii so she’ll want to keep him around.
Genie Strikes Back / Clueless in Sweetropolis” (11/5/19 AU) – Angel ends up
picking up Teen Genie’s bottle in a retro store, and she makes them grant her
3 wishes. / Baby is accused of eating the crown jellies meant to be worn by
the new queen of Sweetropolis.
Has It / The Princess and the Rocker” (11/6/19 AU) – When searching for her
missing monster pet causes Angel to miss an interview, the rest of the band
ends up misquoted and fake news about her is generated. / Music trades places
with a lookalike princess for a day.
/ Mind Over Manager” (11/7/19 AU) – Angel tries to solidify their chances at
winning a Bestie by hiring an unusual award-winning choreographer. / When Rudie
breaks Love’s mental image projector, the band ends up trapped inside the happy
place in his mind.
Dazzle / Project Runaway” (11/8/19 AU) – The band mistakes Love’s quantum 3D
printer for a graphics tablet, causing what they draw to become real. / The
band meets an influential fashionista who’s dedicated to ruining the city’s
to the Sun / That Sinking Feeling” (11/11/19 AU) – The band must teleport around
the world to make all the concerts Rudie booked for the same day. / Mimi
supposedly funds a concert to make amends with the band, but frequent bad accidents
has them suspecting an ulterior motive.
Born in Oakland, California,
Stanley Kirk Burrell got his start at age 11, earning money by performing dance
routines outside Oakland
Coliseum during Oakland
home games. Team owner Charles
Finley took notice of young Burrell and eventually made him
the team’s batboy. While working for the A’s, he performed at various clubs
while they were on away games under the moniker “MC” for “Master of
Ceremonies”. “Hammer” was soon added due to his resemblance to home-run king Hank
“The Hammer” Aaron. Hammer’s life probably would have played
out very differently if he made the cut for the San Francisco Giants
when he tried out.
Because Hammer’s lyrics were clean,
he had appeal to both adults and children. With that in mind, Andy Heyward
approached Hammer about developing a cartoon based around him and his music. That
series was Hammerman, which depicted Hammer as a rapping and dancing
superhero. In the series, the lead character was Stanley Burrell (Clark
Johnson), a rec center organizer in the city of Oaktown (named after Hammer’s other
record label) who loved to dance. He was discovered by
a man known simply as Gramps (Jeff Jones) and his granddaughter, Jody (Steve
Vallance). Gramps had been the superhero Soul Man (patterned after James Brown)
throughout his life, but it was time to retire and pass the mantle on. He gave
Stanley his magic talking dancing shows, Righty (Ron Rubin) and Lefty, and they
turned Stanley into Hammerman with a black shirt, black parachute pants, and a
gold chain. Hammerman could rap and dance his way through most situations;
using musical notes to bring inanimate objects to life or imprison bad guys,
defying the laws of gravity or physics, etc. His parachute pants also served as
an actual parachute. Because his powers were so ill-defined (and verging on
god-like), the actual threat in each episode came from Stanley’s opportunity to
transform in time either because he was already caught up in the action as Stanley
or his shoes were out of reach for some reason.
Fly, magical music notes!
Gramps knew about Stanley’s alter-ego, which was odd considering Jody was a
part of the search and aware of Gramps’ past tenure as a hero. Other characters
included Winnie (Susan Roman), who worked at the rec center and was an aspiring
veterinarian; Showbiz (Maurice Dean Wint), who was always trying to act like
Stanley’s manager and turn him into a professional performer; and, Ludwig (Neil
Crone) a street musician that played keytar (like his namesake, Ludwig
von Beethoven). Additionally, two identical girls dressed in spandex called Fly Girls
(Carmen Twille) would pop up from time to time, acting like a Greek chorus and seemingly
unnoticed by the other characters (however, they tended to get
caught up in the events of an episode). Among Hammerman’s foes were Defacely
Stocker), who loved graffiti and looked like an abstract
painting; Paula Bunion, who was obsessed with shoes; and Boss Grindenheimer (Dan Hennessey),
an evil genius and mad scientist.
Hammerman rescues Jody.
Hammerman debuted on ABC on September 7, 1991, a
co-production of DiC Entertainment
and Bustin’ Productions, a spin-off to Bust It. Reportedly viewing it as his
social responsibility, the series took inspiration from Fat
Albert and the Cosby Kidsby
having live-action wraparound segments featuring Hammer discussing the plot and
moral of the story with a group of kids on animated backgrounds from the show.
Hammer also interacted with his animated counterpart in the series’ intro,
rapping the theme song by him and Felton Pilate
that spelled out Hammerman’s origins. Additional Hammer songs were integrated
into the show’s soundtrack with additional music by The Music Team and Chase/Rucker
Productions. The series was written by Reed Shelly,
with the Shellys serving as story editors. Ed
Lee handled the character designs.
Hammer hanging out on set with kids to spell out today's moral.
DiC Entertainment had earned itself
a bit of a reputation in the industry for trying to produce a product as
cheaply as possible. Many would come to regard the company’s initials as
standing for “Do It Cheap”. However, while many of their productions still
looked decent despite animation limitations, Hammerman became the one
program that most embodied that distinction. While the intro, animated by
Milimetros Dibujos Animados, S.A., was animated smoothly enough, the show
itself, animated by Pacific
Rim Animation L.T.D., was horrendous by comparison. Instead of
the traditional 24 frames per second, Hammerman ran at 10 or less,
depending on the episode and scene. Many times, it looked as if the only things
animated were the keyframes (the start and ending positions of a movement),
with the in-betweens (the drawings that create the illusion of movement between
the keyframes) skipped entirely. Continuity mistakes were also common; such as
Jody being tied up and captured in one shot but free and escaping the next
without any kind of context.
Gramps with Ludwig and Jody.
Needless to say, the show performed
abysmally in the ratings and only lasted a single season of 13 episodes. This
also coincided with a turn in Hammer’s personal fortunes as Too Legit to
Quit failed to perform as well as the previous album. He spent the money
faster than it came in, resulting in his declaring
bankruptcy in 1996. Hammer eventually rebounded and continued
making music, working in the industry and investing, as well as riding a wave
of nostalgia to appear in reality
shows and commercials,
but had never reattained the level of success he originally experienced.
The villainous Defacely Marmeister.
Hammer the man continued on, Hammerman wouldn’t been seen again until
2014. The Cartoon
Network series Robot
Chickenran an episode called “Welcome to the Golf Jam”,
which saw disgraced
golfer Tiger Woods
attempting to rebuild his reputation by making his own Space
Jammovie. However, the only company that
would agree to partner with him was DiC. As a result, poorly animated versions
of several DiC characters appeared, including Hammerman (Zeb Wells).
Graffiti” (9/7/91) – Defacely Marmeister tricks neighborhood kids into
graffitiing up the buildings with his special paint that he can bring to life. “Winnie’s
Winner” (10/19/91) – Knowing Hammerman is always hanging around the rec center,
three villains drop off a bugged dog so that they can find and trap him. “Rapoleon”
(11/16/91) – Feeling like nobody pays attention to his beats because he’s
short, Raopoleon’s plan to turn himself larger ends up giving him the means to
make the world smaller. “Will
and the Jerks” (11/23/91) – UNAVAILABLE. “If
the Shoe Fits” (11/30/91) – Paula Bunion makes off with Lefty, who happens to
be in love with one of her boots. “Nobody’s
Perfect” (12/7/91) – Stanley’s brother invents a robot designed to make
everything perfect, but failed to take into account that we live in an
imperfect world. “Dropping
Out” – Hammerman tries to keep one of the rec center kids from dropping out of
school to play pro ball by taking him to the future. “Lights,
Camera, Hammer!” – Showbiz drags Stanley to a movie production and they both
end up captured on celluloid—literally. “Blast
from the Past” – Gramps is feeling pretty useless until one of his old foes
returns and gives Hammerman some trouble. “Who’s
Who” – UNAVAILABLE. “Work
This” – UNAVAILABLE.