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