October 16, 2021

BUNSEN IS A BEAST

 

BUNSEN IS A BEAST
(Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, January 6, 2017-Februay 9, 2018)
 
Billionfold, Inc., Nickelodeon Animation Studio

 
 
MAIN CAST:
Jeremy Rowley – Bunsen Beast, Mr. Munroe, Jerk Von Handsome, Amazing Eric, various
Ben Giroux – Mikey Morrice Munroe, Bog Beast, various 
Kari Wahlgren – Amanda Killman, Beverly, Sophie Sanders, Mrs. Munroe, various


 
 
            Bunsen is a Beast was the fourth and final show created by Butch Hartman during his tenure at Nickelodeon. The series centered on a blue monster named Bunsen (Jeremy Rowley) who decided to attend the human Muckledunk Middle School in an effort to show that monsters and humans could peacefully co-exist. He was befriended by Mikey (Ben Giroux) who helped Bunsen try to navigate the human world while also being introduced to the Monster World. Plaguing them every step of the way was classmate Amanda Killman (Kari Wahlgren), who thoroughly believed that monsters were dangerous and did whatever she could to prove it from sabotaging their ambitions to slipping Bunsen some beets to force him to turn into a more monstrous form. Despite their constant clashes, Mikey and Bunsen do try to help Amanda out of jams she may end up in and Amanda had a secret crush on Mikey.

Bunsen keeping an eye on Mikey.


            Other characters included Beverly (Wahlgren), Amanda’s right-hand preschooler henchwoman that helped in her schemes; Sophie Sanders (Wahlgren using a Valley girl accent), Mikey’s crush; Wolfie (Kevin Michael Richardson), Bunsen’s best beast friend; Miss Flapp (Cheri Oteri), Bunsen’s teacher; Commander Cone (Jerry Trainor), a miserable ice cream vendor; Darcy (Cristina Milizia), a home-schooled socially awkward friend of Mikey and Bunsen’s that sometime tagged along with them; and Mikey and Bunsen’s parents (voiced by Rowley & Wahlgren and Jennifer Hale & Jeff Bennett, respectively).

Amanda glowers on as Bunsen and Mikey stand with their classmates.


            Bunsen is a Beast debuted on Nickelodeon with a preview on January 16, 2017 before officially beginning on February 20th. The genesis for the series stemmed from a picture of a boy and a beast Hartman drew in 2009, which he considered for later use in a children’s book of some kind. After four years on his desk at Nickelodeon, executive Russell Hicks took notice of it and said he should pitch it for a show. The series was developed with the overlying message that “no matter who you are, you can always find a place to fit in.” This was the first of Hartman’s series to be completely animated in Flash as Nickelodeon was parsing down on the more expensive hand-drawn animation, and the first to be produced in the new dominant widescreen format. Hartman also changed up his art style for the characters’ designs, trying to give it a bit of a different feel than his previous programs. Additional characters were designed by Faruk Cemalovic, Dany Demysh and Phillip Williams. The series was written by Hartman, Ray DeLaurentis, Will Schifrin, Becky Wangberg, Bob Colleary, Grant Levy, Dominik Rothbard, Ellen Byron, Lissa Kapstrom and Max Beaudry, with DeLaurentis serving as story editor. Hartman also wrote the lyrics to the theme composed by Guy Moon, who handled the rest of the series’ music. Animation duties were handled by Elliott Animation, Inc.



            The day after the February premiere, Nickelodeon uploaded a video to their YouTube channel featuring a crossover between Hartman’s shows: The Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phantom, T.U.F.F. Puppy and Bunsen. It was followed-up by a digital comic written and drawn by Hartman with Benji Williams, Marcus Velazquez and George Goodchild depicting Hartman having to be rescued from the shows’ respective villains. Another crossover would take place within Bunsen’s show as The Fairly Oddparents’ Cosmo (Daran Norris), Wanda (Susanne Blakeslee) and Timmy (Tara Strong) appeared in the episode “Beast of Friends” under the premise that Bunsen and Cosmo had met at a convention and been friends ever since.

Bunsen and his best buds.


            After nearly 2 decades at Nickelodeon, Hartman decided to leave the company and pursue new challenges. Bunsen ended up being the shortest of his shows; having been planned for and running for only a single season. Apparently, Nickelodeon had no intention of continuing his shows without him as they also stopped production on The Fairly Oddparents. The series’ first 16 episodes aired on Nickelodeon, but then moved over to Nicktoons for the remainder of its run.  It received a nomination for an Annie Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting” in 2018.

Bunsen when he gets extra beastly.


           A point-and-click video game based on the show, Beast Day Ever, was released on the Nickelodeon website three days before its February premiere. Another game, Arm-A-Gettin’, followed and was a full-motion collect-a-thon. A third game, Are You a Beast or a Human?, was a simple pictorial survey to indicate what kind of being you were. Bunsen would also be made a playable character in Super Brawl World, one in a series of crossover fighting games featuring various Nickelodeon characters, with Mikey as a support character. The entire series was made available for purchase on YouTube and for streaming on Paramount+.
 
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
“Hide and Go Freak / Bunsen Screams for Ice Cream” (1/16/17) – Amanda disguises herself as a beast to expose Bunsen and learns not to cross his house. / Amanda uses an ice cream truck to lure Bunsen out of school and get him expelled.
 
“Bunsen is a Beast! / Body and the Beast” (2/20/17) – Amanda spikes Bunsen’s drink with beets, turning him into a people-eating monster. / Mikey and Darcy must help Bunsen find his body before it grows a new head and destroys the world.
 
“Bearly Acceptable Behavior / Beast Busters” (2/21/17) – Amanda tries to get herself attacked by the bear Bunsen brings to class. / Mikey and Bunsen must save Amanda from the sneeze beasts that escaped from Bunsen’s nose.
 
“Spelling Beast / Mikey is a Beast” (2/22/17) – Proving bees are experts at spelling bees gets Bunsen turned into a bee. / Bunsen becomes the mascot for Mikey’s hero, but Mikey soon finds himself left out.
 
“Fright at the Museum / Handsome Beast” (2/23/17) – Finding Bunsen’s uncle in a museum, they try to sneak him out for a decade-overdue date with Bunseun’s aunt. / A body spray turns Bunsen into a human hunk that Amanda falls for.
 
“Tooth or Consequences” (2/25/17) – Amanda vows to catch the tooth fairy to keep Bunsen from becoming rich with all the teeth he loses.
 
“Beast of Friends” (3/4/17) – Bunsen is set to introduce Mikey to Cosmo on their Friend-iversary, but Amanda follows them and teams up with Mr. Crocker.
 
“Thunder and Frightening / Eyes on the Pies” (3/11/17) – Amanda seeks to use Bunsen’s fear of thunder to chase him out of school. / The hiccups causes Bunsen to lose his memory.
 
“Happy Beastgiving / Beastern Standard Time” (3/18/17) – For a beast holiday, Mikey helps Bunsen deliver dream gifts to people around town. / Daylight savings time throws off Bunsen’s internal clock.
 
“Unhappy Campers / Hall of Justice” (3/25/17) – Bunsen uses a camping trip to help Mikey get over his fear of the woods. / Amanda attempts to sabotage Mikey and Bunsen when they’re named the new hall monitors.
 
“Astro-Nots” (4/14/17) – A tour of MASA ends up with Mikey and Bunsen being accidentally blasted off into space.
 
“Cookie Monster / Braces for Disaster” (6/3/17) – When Amanda eats Bunsen’s cookies she turns into a monster. / Amanda’s braces suddenly produce a mink every time she says “beast”.
 
“Hug It Out-ch! / Guinea Some Lovin’” (6/10/17) – Amanda is trapped in Bunsen’s hugging chair and won’t be freed until she’s happy. / Amanda seeks to spoil Bunsen’s new love affair with a guinea pig.
 
“Mikey-plication / The Case of the Cold Case” (6/17/17) – Bunsen clones Mikey so that they’ll have more time for their band. / Mikey and Bunsen set out to prove that Commander Cone didn’t steal Amanda’s phone case.
 
“Bunsen’s Beast Ball / Bromeo and Juliet” (6/24/17) – Amanda swaps out Bunsen’s beast ball to keep him and Mikey from having fun. / Bunsen tries to get the lead in the school play to kiss Sophie, and Amanda sets out to spoil his chances.
 
“Beast Halloween Ever” (10/14/17) – Mikey’s excited to introduce Bunsen to Halloween while Amanda plots to steal everyone’s candy.
 
“Bunsen Saves Christmas” (12/18/17) – When Amanda ends up on the naughty list, she stuffs Santa into a gift box and steals all the toys.
 
“Beastie Besties / By Hook or By Schnook” (12/19/17) – A beast ceremony turns Amanda into Bunsen and Mikey’s best friend. / Amanda sends Bunsen and Mikey on a fake treasure hunt with a bogus map.
 
“Boodle Loo / The Boy Who Cried Wolfie” (12/20/17) – Mikey and Bunsen search for Bunsen’s invisible dog after Amanda lures him away. / Bunsen’s beast fest friend comes for a visit and discovers he likes Mikey…for dinner.
 
“Adventures in Beastysitting / Wilda Beast” (12/21/17) – A package switch leads to Mikey and Bunsen having to deliver a beast baby. / Bunsen’s cousin visits and develops a crush on Mikey, which makes Amanda jealous.
 
“Bad Chair Day / Stupor Bowl” (12/22/17) – Miss Flap changes the seating assignments, splitting Bunsen and Mikey up. / Bunsen becomes hypnotized by swirling toilet water and Amanda uses this chance to convince him to return home.
 
“Remote Outta Control / Network Newbs” (12/26/17) – Bunsen eats Amanda’s universal remote, causing her to be attacked by her smart house. / Mikey and Bunsen compete with Amanda for a segment on the local news.
 
“Amanda Gets Schooled / Beast in Show” (12/27/17) – Mikey and Bunsen help Amanda avoid summer school. / Amanda tries to beat Bunsen in the local dog show with her robot dog.
  
“Snooze Alarm / Split Decision” (12/28/17) – Mikey tries to keep Bunsen up past his hibernation time before he goes to sleep for 50 years. / Bunsen and Mikey find they have trouble deciding what to use their gift card on, which gets more complicated when Bunsen splits and disagrees with himself.
 
“Hair Today Gone Tomorrow / Ice Cream” (12/29/17) – Mikey and Bunsen use Boodles’ fur to turn themselves invisible and sneak into a movie. / Mikey and Bunsen try to help Commander Cone find his dream job.
 
“Friend of Phony / Beauty or the Beast” (2/10/18) – A gameshow about their friendship threatens to end Mikey and Bunsen’s. / When Bunsen keeps interrupting their date, Sophie forces Mikey to choose between them.

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