|Secret Mountain Fort Awesome|
|Created by||Peter Browngardt|
|Creative director||Chris Reccardi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Executive producers||Peter Browngardt|
David P. Smith
Brian A. Miller
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Production company||Cartoon Network Studios|
|Original network||Cartoon Network (2011–12)|
|Original release||August 1, 2011 –|
March 29, 2012
Secret Mountain Fort Awesome is an American animated television series created by Peter Browngardt for Cartoon Network that debuted in 2011. The show revolves around a fraternity of five monsters who unleash wild stunts upon the public from their eponymous underground mountain fort.
The series is loosely based on the antagonists that appeared in Browngardt's animated short, Uncle Grandpa, which Browngardt created for The Cartoonstitute. It employs Mike Conte of the heavy metal band Early Man as composer. The show's raunchy, surrealist humor was heavily indebt to the underground comix scene, and drew a mixed to negative reception, though it received praise for its art direction.
The show premiered as a sneak peek on August 1, 2011, and had a formal premiere on September 26, 2011. Designers Robertryan Cory and Chris Tsirgiotis both won awards for "Outstanding Individual in Animation" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony. The Uncle Grandpa short that Browngardt had produced was eventually adapted as a full series of the same name, which he felt was a more lighthearted adaptation for children.
The series last aired on television on February 17, 2012, with the remaining episodes being released on iTunes from March 8 to 29, 2012.
A race of monsters known as the Disgustoids are banished from society due to their unruly behavior and grotesque appearances. From their sentient and eponymous subterranean mountain fort, they unleash crazy stunts on the public. Their leader, a purple tusked creature depicted wearing a pair of underwear named Festro (voiced by Peter Browngardt), is a macho party animal willing to do anything to help out his group, even when his help is less than desired. Dingle (also voiced by Browngardt), a scrawny, blue dog-like monster, who acts as their faithful pet, intelligible only to the group. Slog (voiced by Steve Little), a furred proboscis monkey-like monster, is likewise blindly loyal, but lacks critical judgement skills—the more hazardous something is, the more likely he will be to follow it. Gweelok (voiced by Paul Rugg), an acned ball of mucus, has a demanding attitude and an obsession with technology. The Fart (voiced by Pat Duke), a giant monster made of buttocks who flatulates when touched—is the most sensitive and levelheaded of the group.
At their 2011 upfront, Cartoon Network announced Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, along with various other series. Billed as a comedy, the show was created by Peter Browngardt and based on his animated short Uncle Grandpa, which garnered praise, a cult following and an Emmy Award nomination. Both were produced at Cartoon Network Studios. Before landing his own show, Browngardt had worked at Augenblick Studios and MTV, as well as on individual programs, such as Futurama, The Venture Bros., Chowder, and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Browngardt's work on Chowder began when its creator C.H. Greenblatt looked through one of his pitch bibles that he left at the studio.
The show borrows elements and its design style from his Uncle Grandpa short, which was pitched to the network as a pilot in 2006. According to Browngardt, Cartoon Network executives were unsure about having a series centered on the title character, and felt the monster characters from the pilot had more potential. Character designer Robertryan Cory and David P. Smith (a director and storyboard artist on Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls) were brought on board to help shape the project's development, and the series was animated by the Chinese animation studios Hong Ying Animation (a studio that previously animated Chowder) and Sichuan Top Animation Company.
In an interview with Cartoon Brew, Browngardt called the process of pitching his pilot an "amazing learning experience" because it allowed him to propose an idea to the network and see "how it can manipulate and change while you're working on it". On the show, animation veteran Chris Reccardi served as creative director, whilst Sue Mondt (who had previously art directed Cartoon Network's Camp Lazlo) handled art direction and Robert Alvarez with Larry Leichliter directed the animation. Browngardt depicted the production schedule as "really tight", which called for them to manage their time and to pick their battles with the network.
Referring to his encounters with the network regarding content, Browngardt learned to let go and find the "right balance", as well as to ask himself, "Is my grandma going to notice this?" For the music, Mike Conte of the heavy metal band Early Man was employed as composer. The score, which incorporates heavy metal elements and "lots of riffage", was originally added to the animatics as a rough draft. Browngardt found that it harmonized with the imagery and what he envisioned for the design. Conte noted Browngardt's inspirations from Garbage Pail Kids and Don Martin of Mad magazine, but called the result "definitely its own thing".
Main article: List of Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Uncle Grandpa characters
Secret Mountain premiered on August 1, 2011, on Cartoon Network as part of a sneak preview; this broadcast was seen by 1.8 million viewers. It premiered formally on September 26 as part of their Monday night programming block, where it was seen by 1.3 million viewers, marking a slight decrease from the previous broadcast. The show was moved to Fridays upon its second-season premiere on December 30, 2011. Following the premiere of the eighth episode of the season on February 17, 2012, the show was pulled from broadcast. The network released the remaining eight episodes through iTunes a month later, from March 8 to March 29, thus concluding the show.
The series was universally panned by critics. Many critics were complimentary in regards to the series' art style. In his website Lineboil, Aaron Simpson compared it to Garbage Pail Kids and the works of Don Martin, two elements of his childhood. Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew called Robertryan Cory's character designs "impressive" and "distinctively styled", though he felt the art style's complexity made the limited animation quality suffer as a result. Abby Koenig of Houston Press compared its "ridiculous" nature to the film Little Monsters, and proposed that Howie Mandel (featured in the latter work) guest voice a monster on the show. Shannon O'Leary of Publishers Weekly wrote that the show, along with others on the network such as Adventure Time and Superjail!, bore resemblance to the aesthetics of established independent comics artists. Meanwhile, Jason Krell of io9 considered it a failure despite its influences from Adventure Time, which made way for many successful original series on the network.
The episode "Nightmare Sauce" received multiple accolades, including at the 2012 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for "Best TV Production" (of which Browngardt was the recipient), and at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, where Cory and Chris Tsirgiotis were awarded "Outstanding Individual in Animation". Cory also won at the 39th Annie Awards for "Character Design in a Television Production", while Tsirgiotis, Sue Mondt, Daniel Elson and Mark Bodnar were collectively awarded "Production Design in a Television Production". At the 40th Annie Awards, Thaddeus Paul Couldron was nominated for "Character Design in an Animated Television or Other Broadcast Venue Production" for his work on the episode "Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa".
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||10||August 1, 2011||December 16, 2011||Cartoon Network|
|2||16||8||December 30, 2011||February 17, 2012|
|8||March 8, 2012||March 29, 2012||iTunes|
|Title||Written and storyboarded by||Story by||Original air date||Prod.
|1||1||"Teleport-A-Potty"||Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||August 1, 2011||102||1.815|
|When Gweelok builds a teleport-a-potty, Festro and the monsters search for a place where pizza grows on trees. But when Festro went to go "boom boom" and flushed the teleport-a-potty, the monsters get stuck in another universe where they have to defeat an evil villain named Helmethead in order to reclaim the toilet of the land.|
|2||2||"Monster Cops"||Clay Morrow, Chris Reccardi, Noel Belknap, and Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||September 26, 2011||101||1.343|
|The Disgustoids disguise themselves as cops so they can walk on the surface, but whilst The Fart wants to follow the duties of a cop, all Festro, Gweelok, Dingle, and Slog want to do is pump up the jams.|
|3||3||"Secret Mountain Fort Love"||Clay Morrow, Noel Belknap, and Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||October 3, 2011||103||1.580|
|The Disgustoids are delighted when Secret Mountain Fort Awesome comes to life and starts wrecking havok on the surface world, but when Fort falls in love with another mountain, Festro tries to break up the relationship, but ends up having to repair his broken heart.|
|4||4||"The Bet"||Mike Stern||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||October 10, 2011||202||1.567|
|The monsters bet Gweelok that if he used the Internet within 24 hours, he would have to stop using it at all times so he can hang out with them forever and ever.|
|5||5||"Nightmare Sauce"||Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||October 17, 2011||203||1.355|
|Gweelok invents a special sauce to help Festro get rid of his nightmares, but after Festro overdoses on the batch, it causes his bad dreams to run amok in the real world.|
|6||6||"What It Do, Nephew"||Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||November 4, 2011||201||N/A|
|When Festro's nephews pay a visit to the fort, they turn out to be complete wimps, so the gang teaches them how to be "rude crude dudes with attitude", but their efforts go too far.|
|7||7||"The 6th Disgustoid"||Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||November 11, 2011||206||N/A|
|After giving all the gang's money to a deposed prince from Nawibawabi, Gweelok needs to find money to pay the fort rent. The Disgustoids try to find a new roommate, but it turns out that she is the prince from Nawibawabi.|
|8||8||"Secret Mountain Fart Awesome"||Ian Jones-Quartey||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||November 18, 2011||204||0.970|
|The bros make 1,000 The Fart clones after looking through his diary of juicy secrets, so they try to get rid of them before the real Fart finds out.|
|9||9||"The Broken Chair"||Mike Stern||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||December 9, 2011||207||N/A|
|When Festro's favourite chair is destroyed, he tries to find out who did it.|
|Ian Jones-Quartey||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||December 16, 2011||208||N/A|
|The Disgustoids discover that their newly repaired Megavision has the ability to see into the future.|
|Title||Written and storyboarded by||Story by||Original air date||Prod.|
|11||1||"Party Slog"||Chris Reccardi, Brett Varon, Clay Morrow, and Noel Belknap||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||December 30, 2011||104|
|Every time the Disgustoids have a party, Slog turns into "Party Slog" which annoys the bros, but when trouble strikes they need him to do so.|
|12||2||"Road Trippin'"||Greg Miller||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||January 6, 2012||205|
|The Disgustoids go on a road trip.|
|13||3||"Dingle Come Home"||Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||January 13, 2012||105|
|When Dingle abandons his friends they try to get him to come home.|
|14||4||"Colonel Monster's Monster Time Pizza Palace"||Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||January 20, 2012||213|
|When Festro finds out about a place called "Colonel Monster's Monster Time Pizza Palace" he goes there only to get trapped by the people who go there.|
|15||5||"President The Fart"||Mike Stern||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||January 27, 2012||214|
|The Fart is elected as the Disgustoids' new leader when everyone tires of being bossed around by Festro.|
|16||6||"Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa"||Pete Browngardt and Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||February 3, 2012||215|
Uncle Grandpa shows up at a lame birthday party and tries to make it cool.|
Note: This is one of the Season 2 episodes of Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, but was another pilot for a new spin-off series called Uncle Grandpa.
|17||7||"Festro Gets Glasses"||Stephen DeStefano||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||February 10, 2012||209|
|Festro gets glasses so he can look smarter, but he thinks wearing glasses means "smort".|
|18||8||"Funstro"||Greg Miller and Chad Coyle||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||February 17, 2012||107|
Festro experiences a personality change after getting an aching tooth pulled out.|
Guest star: Dee Snider as The Tooth Fairy.
Note: The Fart performs a spoken word rendition of the Mr. Belvedere theme song. this is the last episode to air on Cartoon Network
|19||9||"Labyrinth"||Ian Jones-Quartey||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 8, 2012iTunes)(||216|
|When Gweelok wishes that Jerry, the Goblin King, would come take his annoying friends away, he realizes how much he misses them and has to enter the twisted world of the Labyrinth to rescue them. This is the first time that Gweelok has legs for dancing.|
|20||10||"Gweelok Cracks"||Brett Varon, Greg Miller, and Chris Reccardi||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 8, 2012(iTunes)||110|
|Gweelok is excited to meet his science idol, but grows more and more frustrated when he starts taking an interest in Festro.|
|21||11||"Stealing the Sun"||Greg Miller and Chad Coyle||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 15, 2012(iTunes)||108|
|When the Disgustoids steal the sun and bring it underground, all the elderly people follow.|
|22||12||"5 Disgustoids and a Baby"||Pete Browngardt and Greg Miller||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 15, 2012(iTunes)||106|
|Festro learns the joys and horrors of parenting when Dingle steals Ham Sandwich (from Uncle Grandpa) and gives him to him for his birthday.|
|23||13||"Family Lies"||Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 22, 2012(iTunes)||210|
|While travelling to Dingle's family reunion, numerous setbacks keep Dingle and The Fart from making it, until The Fart realizes that Dingle is sabotaging their trip.|
|24||14||"Wrestlemaniacs"||Chris Reccardi and Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 22, 2012(iTunes)||109|
|Festro and The Fart take up wrestling and become hugely popular, all in the name of a single french fry.|
|25||15||"Just for Kicks"||Audie Harrison||Dave Tennant, Fred Belford, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 29, 2012(iTunes)||211|
|Festro goes on a quest to Alaska for some Velcro shoes.|
|26||16||"Secret Mountain Fort Werebaby"||Brett Varon||Dave Tennant, Pete Browngardt, and David P. Smith||March 29, 2012(iTunes)||212|
|When a werebaby bites all of the Disgustoids but Slog, they start turning cute, so Slog must find a way to cure their affliction and make them disgusting again.|
Main article: Uncle Grandpa
After Secret Mountain Fort Awesome got panned by critics, The Cartoonstitute's original Uncle Grandpa short that Browngardt produced was adapted as a full series of the same name. A preview was shown as part of Cartoon Network's shorts development initiative. The series revolves around the title character, who is simultaneously the grandfather and uncle of everyone in the world. Browngardt explained that while the new series would retain some aspects of Secret Mountain, it would be a more lighthearted adaption for children. He ultimately expressed that he wanted "more variety in the music and be able to go [sic] sort of a happier place, though it does go dark and heavy at times".