|Based on||Baby Blues|
by Rick Kirkman
|Opening theme||"It's All Been Done" by Barenaked Ladies|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2 (1 unaired)|
|No. of episodes||26 (13 unaired)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original release||July 28, 2000 –|
March 10, 2002
Baby Blues was an American adult animated sitcom, based on the comic strip of the same name by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, produced by Warner Bros. The first eight episodes of Baby Blues originally aired in the United States on The WB between July 28 and August 24, 2000, before being canceled. The five remaining episodes from the first season eventually aired on Adult Swim in 2002. A second season, consisting of 13 episodes, was produced but never aired.
The animated adaptation of Baby Blues differs from the comic by having it take place when Zoe was still an infant, even though she was the older sister to Hammie in the strip at the time. In addition, it focuses on Darryl and Wanda's relationship with supporting characters created for this series, including the Bittermans, a dysfunctional next-door family with three children; Bizzy, Zoe's babysitter; and Kenny, Darryl's laid-back close friend and co-worker.
Warner Bros. Animation produced eight of the season one episodes, with overseas animation done by Varga Studio in Hungary for five of them (including the pilot), and Sunwoo Entertainment in Korea for the three others. Rough Draft Studios in Los Angeles did five episodes, which include "Bizzy Moves In", "Rodney Has Two Daddies", "Hurtin' Inside", "Ugly Zoe", and "Wanda Moves Up".
In another attempt to compete with Fox's popular animated sitcoms, The WB made the series to be more adult-oriented than the comic strip (by having some sexuality, mild swearing, etc.). Because Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott had limited creative control over the animated version, they were not completely pleased about this kind of difference, though Scott said he liked "part of it".
The Baby Blues animated series took nearly five years to develop and produce, and what was initially the pilot, "A Baby Blues Christmas Special", was supposed to air in December 1998, but it was postponed more than once, while other episodes were being ordered and completed. The Christmas episode finally aired on Adult Swim on February 24, 2002. In 1999, the series was almost to be re-titled Bluesville without Scott's knowledge, but Baby Blues was kept as the title, given how popular the comic strip is with more than 60 million readers.
The opening theme song was a shorter version of "It's All Been Done" by Barenaked Ladies, from their 1998 album Stunt. The title sequence was designed by Renegade Animation, who would later be known for Cartoon Network's Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, and shows the characters at the Warner Bros. studios.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||13||July 28, 2000||March 10, 2002||The WB (episodes 1–8)|
Adult Swim (episodes 9–13)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"God Forbid"||Shawn Björklund||Robert Kurtz & Eric Brand||July 28, 2000||225-047|
|Darryl and Wanda reluctantly recruit their colorful next door neighbors, the Bittermans, to be the caretakers of Zoe should something happen to them.|
|2||"Bizzy Moves In"||Rich Moore||Joey Soloway[a]||225-048|
|Wanda, going through a mid-life crisis, starts hanging out with Bizzy (Zoe's babysitter). When Wanda, Bizzy, and Bizzy's friends get arrested for breaking into an aquarium, Darryl must bail them out, much to his chagrin.|
|3||"Rodney Has Two Daddies"||Ron Hughart & Chris Sauve||Story by : Jeff Martin and Peter Ocko and Leonard Dick and Jill Soloway|
Teleplay by : Jeff Martin and Peter Ocko
|August 4, 2000||225-049|
Rodney becomes interested in culinary arts, but he keeps his passion for cooking a secret from his family, due to fear of disappointing his father. Darryl secretly becomes Rodney's cooking teacher, and due to the secrets and late nights out, Wanda becomes convinced Darryl is cheating on her.This episode features the song "Alternative Girlfriend" by Barenaked Ladies.
|4||"Hurtin' Inside"||Susie Dietter||Leonard Dick||August 4, 2000||N/A|
|Wanda and Darryl, feeling concerned for Bizzy because of her physically abusive boyfriend, set out to find Bizzy a new boyfriend, with disastrous results.|
|5||"The Bitterman Hillbillies"||John Kafka||Joey Soloway||August 11, 2000||225-057|
|When the Bittermans become wealthy, Darryl becomes insanely jealous and feels his masculinity is threatened. Meanwhile, the Bittermans hire Bizzy to be a personal servant, leading to conflict between the MacPhersons and the Bittermans.|
|6||"World's Greatest Dad"||Bob Curtis||Jackie and Jeff Filgo||August 11, 2000||225-052|
|Darryl and Carl begin hanging out with their children at "Gumdrop Palace" (a Chuck E. Cheese-type location), where they enjoy watching the sexy, scantily-clad "Birthday Lady". Darryl feels guilty about this however, and begins showering Wanda with gifts and affection as a result.|
|7||"Rodney Moves In"||John Kafka||Jeff Martin & Peter Ocko||August 18, 2000||225-051|
|The MacPhersons discover that the only way they can get Zoe to cease her crying is by having Rodney sleep in her crib. Meanwhile, Melinda and Carl attempt to bring the spark back into their marriage, now that they have one of three annoying kids out of the picture.|
|8||"Ugly Zoe"||Brian Sheesley||Jeff Martin & Peter Ocko||August 24, 2000||225-205|
Wanda freaks out about Zoe's pinkeye, cradle cap and face scabs before an interview with a fancy, prestigious preschool. Meanwhile, Darryl pretends Bizzy is his wife to earn the attention and friendship of his boss.Note: This was the last episode to be broadcast on The WB, before the network canceled the series due to poor ratings.
|9||"Wanda Proof"||Shawn Björklund||Leonard Dick||January 20, 2002||225-053|
After Wanda accidentally injures Zoe by dropping her off the diaper changing table, Darryl begins to "babyproof" the house. When Wanda accidentally jabs an anal thermometer in Zoe's rectum, she rushes Zoe to the hospital, and attempts to keep the visit a secret from Darryl.Note: This was the first episode to premiere on Cartoon Network (Adult Swim), which aired the final five unaired remaining episodes from the first season.
|10||"The Bad Family"||John Kafka||Matthew Weiner||January 27, 2002||225-054|
|Due to a series of misunderstandings, the MacPhersons are ostracized as the "bad family" in the neighborhood.|
|11||"Teddy-Cam"||Bob Curtis||Leonard Dick||February 3, 2002||225-055|
|Darryl becomes jealous when Wanda befriends Bizzy's new boyfriend, and becomes convinced that Wanda might cheat on him. Carl talks Darryl into using a teddy bear stuffed with a camera to spy on Wanda while he is away at work.|
|12||"A Baby Blues Christmas Special"||Tony Cervone||Peter Ocko, Adam Barr & Jeff Martin||February 24, 2002||475-137|
|Serving as a prequel to the series, this episode revolves around the birth of Zoe around Christmastime, and Darryl and Wanda's struggles as new parents.|
|13||"Wanda Moves Up"||Peter Avanzino||Bill Freiberger||March 10, 2002||225-203|
|Tired of being a stay-at-home mom, Wanda rejoins the working world, and becomes unexpectedly successful. Meanwhile, Darryl, while staying home and taking care of Zoe, begins to miss going to work.|
In September 2000, Warner Bros. announced that a second season would be produced. Although a second season, consisting of 13 episodes, was produced, it has never aired. Kirkman stated that the second season was nearly complete, and only needed a few final edits (such as replacing the temp music), before it was ready for release. Despite this, however, Kirkman also states that the season was written off as a loss by The WB as an accounting practice, and "will probably never see the light of day".
The WB typically aired two episodes each week, thus enabling eight different episodes to be shown in the five-week run, but abandoned plans to air additional episodes which had been completed. Previously unaired episodes from the first season later aired on Cartoon Network's late night programming block, Adult Swim, and on Teletoon at Night in Canada.
When Baby Blues aired on The WB, it got moderate to low ratings, resulting in its cancellation in August 2000. The series also received mixed to negative reviews from professional critics. Particularly, on its premiere night, South Coast Today wrote that "'Baby Blues' is hardly perfect. Its teen characters are right out of the MTV/WB playbook; the notion of a nutty family next door is as old as the sitcom hills. But as a slightly silly, slightly sweet summer series that's not afraid to show it has a heart, it more than exceeds even this cranky critic's expectations." David Bianculli of New York Daily News was negative towards Baby Blues, giving it 1 1/2 stars, and called it "depressingly flat". Also in the article, he wrote "Timing and originality, even in comedy, may not be everything – but they count for a lot, and WB's new 'Baby Blues' series doesn't get high marks in either category. First, 'Baby Blues', which premieres with a double header tonight at 8, is an animated prime-time comedy, arriving the summer after a season in which there were too many dull entries in that particular genre. That's bad timing. 'Baby Blues' could overcome that by being funnier than the rest. Unfortunately, it's not. Second, 'Baby Blues', based on the syndicated comic strip by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, is a sitcom in two dimensions. That is, it's an animated show in which human beings engage in everyday activities – working, goofing off, sleeping, fighting and so on. At its best, this particular category of animated comedy gives you 'The Simpsons'. At its worst, it gives you 'Clerks'."
John Kiesewetter from the Television Critics Association wrote a negative article on the series. He calls it "an embarrassment to the newspaper comic's loyal readers, all 60 million", and criticizes The WB for turning "the sweet family musings into a cross between Dennis the Menace and Dawson's Creek", and for having it lack "the charm, wit and insights of the daily strip about weary new parents Darryl and Wanda MacPherson, and baby Zoe."
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