Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman
GenreChildren's game show
Reality television
Comedy
Created byKate Taylor
Developed byWGBH Boston
Written byGlen Berger
Jim Conroy
Directed byClifford Saito
Adam Dalley
Joe Truesdell
Peter Lyons
Wayne Simpson
Dean Raymond
Robert V. Lange
Chris Whitbeck
Presented byJim Conroy
StarringList of contestants
Voices ofJim Conroy
Narrated byJim Conroy
Theme music composerTerry Tompkins
Rocco Gagliese
Steve D'Angelo
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes100 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerKate Taylor
ProducersPaul Serafini
Marcy Gunther
Eric Handler
Alan Catello Grazioso[1]
Production locationsBoston, Massachusetts, and other parts of the USA
EditorsJessica Rueter Andrews
Lisa Wolf
Kathryn Farrelly
Jennifer Lorenz
Joe Headrick
Arnie Harchik
John Warren
Mark Geffen
Maureen Barillaro
Karen Silverstein
Cherry Enoki
James Rutenback
Camera setupMark C. Helton
Dan Lang
Stephen McCarthy
Ken Willinger
Multi-camera (For Studio Segments)
Running time26 minutes
Production companyWGBH Boston
Original release
NetworkPBS Kids Go!
ReleaseMay 29, 2006 (2006-05-29) –
November 4, 2010 (2010-11-04)
Related

Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (sometimes shortened as Fetch!) is an American live-action/animated television series that aired on PBS Kids Go! and is largely targeted toward children ages 6–10.[2][3] It is a reality-game show hosted by Ruff Ruffman, an animated anthropomorphic dog who dispenses challenges to the show's real-life contestants. The series ran from May 29, 2006, to November 4, 2010 on PBS across five seasons and 100 episodes, and featured 30 contestants. Although a sixth season was planned, with auditions taking place in January 2010, WGBH announced on June 14, 2010 that the series would end due to lack of funding. [citation needed] In June 2008, the series received its first Emmy for Best Original Song for its theme.

Synopsis

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Fetch! is a reality-based game show where young contestants (ages 10–14) take on various challenges to gain points. During these challenges, they must complete various tasks assigned to them ahead of time and on the fly by Ruff and surrogates, depending on the situation. There is also an educational component, as contestants often must learn something, such as astronomy, puzzles, carpentry, engineering, food science, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, to complete the task.

Not all contestants leave the studio each episode to complete tasks. According to Ruff, "As determined by the Fetch 3000", the contestants in the studio participate in the "Half-Time Quiz Show", in which he asks them up to ten questions, with the limited time based on the activities of the contestants out on challenges. While participating in challenges, contestants will have the potential to earn up to 100 points. The contestants in the studio can earn a maximum of 50 points in the "Half-Time Quiz Show". The show has a Fetch Fairness Guarantee; that every contestant will "compete for the same number of points" across thirteen challenges and six "Half-time Quiz Shows" before the final episode. Additionally, Ruff assigns "Bone-us" points, usually 5 or 10, but sometimes 15 or 20, to stand-out contestants. On rare occasions, there is the possibility to earn more than 100 points outside of bonuses. The record for most points earned in one episode was 125, by Brian, Noah, and Khalil in episode 5, season 1, "Ruff Fetches the Fetchers". In Season 4, contestants are able to have 1/2 points, such as 51512 points. At the end of the season, a final point tally is conducted, with the winner of the tally being declared the winner of that season. They win the "Grand Prize" and get a poster in the Fetch Wall of Fame.

Prizes are not always desirable, and sometimes the prize holder winds up with a "booby prize"; for example, in "Good Dancing and Bad Breath", Anna and Brian had to dance a waltz in the studio. During the first season, the contestant had the choice of either keeping the prize or giving it to a fellow contestant. During the remaining four seasons, there are two unknown prizes which the winner chooses between. The chosen prize may be "mailed" to the mailbox in Studio G, although occasionally large prizes are hidden elsewhere on the set. In season 2, episode 7, "The Small Fork is for Dessert (Unless You're a Dolphin)", Rosario gave his prize to Nina. In season 4, episode 15, "Ruff Needs His Herring Checked", Sterling returned his prize to the mailbox.

Cultural references and guest stars

Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman contains many cultural references, which makes up most of its comedic style. In the season 2 premiere, when Nina does a sloppy job at making chocolate candy, Ruff remarks that it is "Jackson Pollock candy." In the following episode, he mentions that he likes REO Speedwagon. In season 2, episode 4, when Rosario voiced Ruff for the first time, Ruff remarked: "Is that Ruff Ruffman or Marge Simpson?" In season 2, episode 15, when the scuba instructors arrived at the beach, Ruff claimed that they were "faster than Batman" and that he "hoped [Batman] was watching the show". In season 3, episode 13, when Sam and Harsha throw sacks in a pail, Ruff states that, "I feel like Shaq in the free throw line", referencing Shaquille O' Neal.

In season 4, episode 14, when Talia finds a horseshoe crab while working on a shrimp boat, Ruff states that it "Looks like Darth Vader's face with a billion legs coming out of it!" In season 4, episode 16, when Ruff calls Isaac, who is dressed as an old lady, he accidentally calls him Mrs. Doubtfire before correcting himself and calling him Mrs. Issacson. In season 4, episode 17, Talia gets to hold Roger Federer's tennis racket. In season 5, episode 14, when Rubye and Marc learn skydiving signs, Ruff remarked that one of the signs resembled "one of Beyoncé's dance moves." In season 5, episode 18, when Joe explains to the FETCHers and Michelle about the book she read, Michelle states: "I believe that was Green Eggs and Ham."

The show also had several guest stars. In season 1, episode 6, Aaron Carter and the contestants appear in his new music video. In season 1, episode 10, Anna and Noah earn quick cash by building a lemonade stand with the help from Norm Abram. In season 2, episode 2, Ruff sends Madi and Willie to meet the Blue Man Group. In season 2, episode 4, Bridget and Rosario met puppeteer John Kennedy posing as Bernie the Pig. In season 3, episode 4, Sam meets Senator Ted Kennedy. In season 4, episode 2, the host of Design Squad Nathan Ball, appeared in a pole vault challenge.[4] In season 4, episode 17, Gary Sohmers, an appraiser for 13 seasons of Antiques Roadshow, appears to challenge two of the contestants to explore Brimfield Antiques and Collectibles Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts.[5][6] In season 5, episode 4, Crush the sea turtle from the movie Finding Nemo appears via Ruff's Fetch 3000, with Andrew Stanton reprising his role.

Episodes

Main article: List of Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedWinner
First airedLast aired
120May 29, 2006 (2006-05-29)June 29, 2006 (2006-06-29)Anna Sheridan
220May 28, 2007 (2007-05-28)June 28, 2007 (2007-06-28)Michael "Mike" Spence
320September 29, 2008 (2008-09-29)October 30, 2008 (2008-10-30)Jay Brosnan
420September 11, 2009 (2009-09-11)[8]October 15, 2009 (2009-10-15)Liza Giangrande
520October 4, 2010 (2010-10-04)[9]November 4, 2010 (2010-11-04)[7]Marc "Marco" Frongillo

Cast members

FETCH! Cast member 1 Cast member 2 Cast member 3 Cast member 4 Cast member 5 Cast member 6
Season 1 (2006) Noah Ellis Khalil Flemming Taylor Garron Brian McGoff Julia Millstein Anna Sheridan
Season 2 (2007) Madison "Madi" Bader William "Willie" Bornkessel Rosario Corso Bridget O'Sullivan Michael "Mike" Spence Nina Wadekar
Season 3 (2008) Harsha Amaravadi Samuel "Sam" Blumenfeld Samantha "Sammy" Boucher Jay Brosnan Demetrius Joseph "DJ" Thomas Noel Um
Season 4 (2009) Isaac Bean Brian Conry Liza Giangrande Bethany Owens Talia Patapoutian Sterling Singletary
Season 5 (2010) Emeline "Emmie" Atwood Marc "Marco" Frongillo Rubye Peyser Marc Prophet[10] Jay Ricco[11] Shreya Viswanathan[12]

Characters

Main

Supporting

Production

Fetch! (an acronym for "Fabulously Entertaining TV with a Canine Host")[13] was produced at WGBH Studios in Boston. Seasons were filmed about a year before they aired. Season 4 was the first season to be filmed in High Definition (HD) in 2009.

The challenges were filmed mostly in Boston (as well as other areas in the US state of Massachusetts) and various other parts of the USA, depending on the challenges, during summertime when the children are out of school. The challenges, which were out on the field, are cut documentary-style, very similar to network reality TV shows.

After the FETCHers finished filming the challenges, contestants acted in-studio, with the voice of Ruff. Jim Conroy traveled to Boston from New York for the two weeks they spent shooting in the studio. The fourth camera simply captured Conroy doing his lines as Ruff in the audio booth. The kids heard him in the studio and he heard their reactions in his headphones. Ruff's lines were the only lines that were scripted out, though he would sometimes ad-lib an answer to a question or comment from a FETCHer. Once the lines were recorded, the show went into editing, where the challenges were sorted into the show order.

Then they were sent to Jim Conroy in New York City, to voice the dialog for Ruff's animation. Once that was complete, it was sent back to WGBH where editors placed audio clips of the animated characters. Once all of this was done, the episode was sent to Global Mechanic to animate the show. One out of the four editors had an off-set four-week system in place where one of them was ready to send a cut of a new episode to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada every Friday. It took about six months to complete one season of the show.[14]

Due to a lack of funding, WGBH announced that Fetch! would be canceled at the end of its fifth season even though casting had been completed for a sixth.

Studio G set

Studio G is the studio for Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Three segments of the show take place in the studio – the intro, half-time quiz show, and "Triumph Tally". In season 1, the contestants recognized that Studio G looked like a garage and asked Ruff why. This really annoyed Ruff, who told them it was not a garage but "Studio G". Over the course of the show's five seasons, the studio changed. For season 1 and 2, the studio remained relatively unaltered, but sizable changes were made to the studio for season 3. The television through which the contestants communicate with Ruff was changed to a more current flat-screen TV, and Ruff's owner parked her car, a dusty Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, in the studio. A flamingo and trees as well as a "Studio G" sign and a "wall of fame" displaying past Fetch! contestant season winners were added to the studio in season 2. In season 4, a new remote control mailbox was placed on the TV Screen, which popped out when a challenge was in the mailbox. Season 5's major renovation occurred during the season finale – it became the Go Get It! studio (Studio P), and was a remodeled version of the Studio G set with new carpeting and pink chairs.

Auditions

To audition for the program, potential contestants were required to be between the ages of 10 and 14[15] by the first day of shooting, and be able to live in the greater Boston area over the summer, during school vacations, and a few weekends during the school year. FETCHers needed to be filmed without missing school. Auditions were handled by Maura Tighe Casting.

Cancellation

The show had auditions for their sixth season in January 2010, but on June 14, 2010, due to lack of funding, WGBH Boston announced that Season 5 will be the final season. On June 27, 2010, Jim Conroy (the voice of Ruff) made the official announcement at the Daytime Emmy Awards ceremony. On his Facebook page, he said, "It's such an impossible task going up against Sesame Street, Cyberchase, and The Electric Company. So you have to consider the nomination as a win. Can't complain. PBS gave us 100 episodes and 5 seasons. Many good shows never saw that kind of time." [citation needed] Fetch! aired its fifth and final season in October 2010, with the final episode date being November 4, 2010. After the series ended, reruns aired on selected PBS stations until August 31, 2014. A few years later, the PBS Kids channel launched, and reruns returned to broadcast on January 16, 2017[16][17] through November 20, 2018.[18]

Spinoffs

Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius

In May 2014, a new spin-off was announced, called Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius.[19] This spin-off debuted in Fall 2014 and features short animations of Ruff Ruffman and Blossom, focusing on internet safety.

Episodes:[20]

  1. "Texting and You!" (November 2014)
  2. "Photos and You!" (November 2014)
  3. "Searching and You!" (November 2014)
  4. "Technology and You!" (November 2014)
  5. "Technology and You! Bonus Video: Chicken Island" (January 2015)
  6. "Hang Up and Drive!" (July 2015)
  7. "Hang Up and Drive! Bonus Video: Just Drive!" (July 2015)
  8. "Privacy and You!" (January 2016)
  9. "Privacy and You!: Deleted Scene" (January 2016)
  10. "The Internet and Chet" (March 2016)
  11. "Say! Cheese?" (May 2016)
  12. "Getting the Most From the Internet" (June 2016)
  13. "An Orange Dog Goes Green" (January 2017)

A new season of Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius centered on the utility of artificial intelligence was released by PBS Kids on March 1, 2024. In this season of shorts, Ruff has a new cat assistant named Lupine.[21]

Episodes:

  1. "Ruff Amuck"
  2. "Robot Helper"
  3. "Algorithms"
  4. "Poetry"
  5. "Meet Halley"

The Ruff Ruffman Show

Main article: The Ruff Ruffman Show

On July 30, 2017, PBS Kids and WGBH announced that Ruff Ruffman along with his two assistants Blossom and Chet will be making a comeback in a new digital series called The Ruff Ruffman Show, where they answer questions from real kids, take on challenges and learns the value of perseverance—all while modeling science inquiry skills. The digital series premiered on September 28, 2017.[22]

Team Hamster!

On December 15, 2020, a web series called Team Hamster! premiered. It is a spin-off focusing on Ruff Ruffman's hamsters - Sadie, Mateo, and Tasha. The series also ties-in with games on the PBS KIDS website.[23]

Cancelled spinoff: Spyhounds

WGBH and Global Mechanic had announced plans to produce a spin-off of Fetch! based on the online game Spyhounds. It would feature Ruff, Blossom, and Chet having a new career as super-spies, and Ruff is in way over his head. Luckily, he has much help: five clever kids, a purple poodle named Trixie, and millions of kids online.[24] The spinoff plans were announced but were later canceled.[citation needed]

Fetchtok

On July 21, 2022, WGBH and Jim Conroy released FetchTok, a TikTok-based challenge where Ruff (voiced again by Conroy) asks viewers to record themselves performing his challenges and posting them on the app.[25]

Reception

Critical response

The show was an instant hit with audiences and received critical acclaim. The New York Times praised the series, writing "The show’s creators have written in all the sarcasm and amazingness of a more sophisticated and harder-edged show, but not in a way that condones such behavior. There’s a kind of genius to the setup."[26] Larisa Wiseman of Common Sense Media gave the series four out of five stars, saying this entertaining PBS series combines the comedy of a cartoon, the challenge of a game show, and the best of reality TV.[27]

Awards and accolades

Fetch! has received numerous awards over the years.[28]

References

  1. ^ "Watch Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman Season 3 | Prime Video". www.amazon.com. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-17.
  2. ^ Zahed, Ramin (24 May 2006). "A Flash-Animated Game Show Host Wags his Tail on PBS's FETCH!". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  3. ^ Baisley, Sarah (22 May 2006). "'FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman' Unleashed on PBS KIDS GO!". Animation World Network. AWN, Inc. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  4. ^ "FETCH! . FAQ | PBS KIDS". pbskids.org. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2015-10-25.
  5. ^ "Show Summary: Ruff's Yard Sale Makes a Racket". PBSKids.org. Archived from the original on 29 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Fetch! S4 Press Release" (PDF). Streams.WGBH.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman – 'The FETCH Finale' Episode Info – MSN TV". Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  8. ^ "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman". Kentucky Educational Television. Archived from the original on August 5, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  9. ^ "Television · Oregon Public Broadcasting". Opb.org. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  10. ^ Anonymous (2010-10-01). "Cambridge resident to star in PBS kids series 'Fetch!' - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Cambridge Chronicle & Tab". Wickedlocal.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  11. ^ Chutchian, Maria (2010-12-03). "Arlington resident stars in WGBH educational reality show - - The Arlington Advocate". Wicked Local - Arlington. Wickedlocal.com. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  12. ^ Riley, David (2010-10-14). "Ashland teen takes her science to PBS television show - Ashland, MA - Ashland TAB". Wicked Local - Ashland. Wickedlocal.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
  13. ^ "Global Mechanic Launches New TV Series Division". Archived from the original on 2022-02-13. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
  14. ^ "Ruff". Newen Gland Film Magazine. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "Open Call: Fetch! Auditions". Eventful. 2008-01-05. Archived from the original on 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2015-10-25.
  16. ^ "WTTW TO LAUNCH FREE 24/7 MULTIPLATFORM PBS KIDS SERVICE". WTTW. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  17. ^ "PBS and Stations Launch 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel, Expanding Access to the #1 Children's Educational Media Brand on TV and Digital Platforms". PBS. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  18. ^ "Changes Are Coming to PBS KIDS Schedule" (PDF). nine Magazine. November 2018. p. 11. Retrieved 27 May 2023. Beginning November 21, PBS KIDS will sunset Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman, which has been out of production for many years.
  19. ^ "Ruff Ruffman". 15 May 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  20. ^ "FETCH! | PBS KIDS GO!". pbskids.org. Archived from the original on 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  21. ^ "Ruff Ruffman, Humble Media Genius | Compilation | PBS KIDS". YouTube. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  22. ^ "PBS KIDS Announces the Return of Fan Favorite with New Digital Series: THE RUFF RUFFMAN SHOW - PBS About". PBS. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  23. ^ "PBS KIDS Shows - PBS KIDS for Parents". PBS KIDS for Parents. 2021-01-20. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  24. ^ "GLOBAL MECHANIC". www.globalmechanic.com. Archived from the original on 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  25. ^ "FetchTok Fly a kite challenge - GBH". Tiktok. 2021-01-20. Archived from the original on 2022-08-05. Retrieved 2022-07-22.
  26. ^ Dederer, Claire (16 July 2006). "Ruff Ruffman, the Star of 'Fetch!' on PBS, Is a Host Who Chats and Chews". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Fetch! - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. 6 June 2007. Archived from the original on 27 November 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Testimonials From Teachers". www.pbs.org. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2021.