Western Animation: Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is an animated television series that aired from August 2004 to May 2009 for a total of 79 episodes in six seasons. The premise is based on a simple question. In a World where imaginary friends are living, tangible beings, what happens to those friends when the kids grow up?According to Cartoon Network and Craig McCracken, they come to Foster's, of course! A home for imaginary friends whose kids have outgrown them, Foster's is a place where friends can live together until they are adopted by a child who needs them. The show follows Mac, a shy and creative 8 year old boy, whose imaginary friend Bloo is thrown out of Mac's home and forced to come live at Foster's. Mac doesn't want Bloo to be adopted by another kid, so it's agreed that Bloo will not be put up for adoption, provided that Mac come and play with him every day. Bloo's egotistical, mischievous nature is the complete opposite of Mac's, and together the two cause all manner of chaos throughout the house.Everyone can see and hear the friends, not just their creators. Since almost all of the characters are imaginary friends dreamed up by children, the show's cast consists of an array of impossible creatures, sometimes bordering on the surreal. There's strong characterization throughout, however, even as the highly comedic plots tend to rely on Bloo causing ever-escalating mayhem. Is known to have loads of Parental Bonuses as well.Over the course of the series, two Made For TV Movies have been released: Good Wilt Hunting in 2006, and Destination Imagination in 2008. Both of them are noticably Darker and Edgier than the series itself.In 2012, the series returned to Cartoon Network as a part of Cartoon Planet, although strictly the 11-minute minisodes, since the block doesn't incorporate any 22-minute episodes of former network series. Also as of 2012, reruns began airing on Boomerang. In March 2013, the series was put on Netflix.Has a Best Episode Crowners page.Also see the Shout Outs and Memes pages, and go here to vote for best episodes.
This show provides examples of:
Absentee Actor: Mac doesn't appear in "Pranks for Nothing", even in the beginning. The events right at the beginning took place right after he left, or he was sick and couldn't come to Foster's anyway. It also could have been before he even came, considering that Mr. Herriman said the trip would be 7 hours long.
Bloo: Hey, Mr. Herriman! How long till we get there?
Mr. Herriman: 7 hours.
Mac similarly does not appear in the comic book story "Block Rockin' Feats" (Cartoon Network Block Party #35).
Accent Adaptation: Hispanic imaginary friend Eduardo has a US accent in the Spanish dub.
Accidental Misnaming: Bloo constantly forgetting Berry's name in "Berry Scary." He does, however, remember her as "Heather."
Morsey is a parody of Morissey, fitting in with the 80s allusions.
Alien Geometries: Foster's itself, as proven by the episode "Dinner is Swerved". At one point, Mac even opens a door that leads to an oncoming train, then nonchalantly closes it, with the train never once making contact with the door!
Arbitrary Skepticism: Imaginary friends are well-known to be real, and include all kinds of monsters and other weirdness, yet Mr. Herriman seems quite certain in "Bloooo" that there are no such things as ghosts. Also, in the pilot, Bloo is clearly about to say "There's no such thing as monsters" before Wilt cuts him off.
Are You Done Yet: Verbalized by Bloo a few times, while Frankie asks with just an annoyed look.
Art Evolution: While relatively minor, there are some color/appearance differences in the earliest episodes, which is seen mostly in Mac and Eduardo. Also notable in season five is that Mac's height increases slightly.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Eurotrish. She's basically a relentless parody of this trope. She says she's from Europe, and seems to mean that literally... in that she wears clothes that combine stereotypes of at least six different European nationalities (Dutch clogs, a french beret, a shirt with the British flag, among other things) her accent keeps changing, and she always says she wants to go home to Europe, not to any specific country. At the end of "Foster's Goes To Europe", we see her "back home in Europe" in a little stereotypical village that could be almost anywhere. The locals promptly get fed up with her singing and throw her out, just as they did when she lived there at an earlier time.
Ax-Crazy: Mac is a very Nice Guy, right? But he's completely lunatic if he gets even the smallest amount of sugar.
Baby Talk: Frankie, in "Dinner is Swerved". "I'm sowwy, Mistuh Hewwiman."
Bedsheet Ladder: Attempted in "Dinner is Swerved", to get down to the dining hall. Unfortunately, the rope is too short, and Mac and Bloo bounce off the pile of mattresses they dropped and end up right back on the roof.
Back Blocking: In the episode "Camp Keep a Good Mac Down". Eduardo does when after he swat all the bees attacking Bloo, and he reveals Bloo covered in bee stings.
In the episode One False Movie Coco's subtitles are French for "I do not speak French!".
Birthday Episode: There were several such episodes. The birthday celebrated in those episodes were Madame Foster, Mac and Bloo.
Bittersweet Ending: The ending to Bloo Tube, when the Monsoon Lagoon-obsessed Bloo has to stay at the home, in bandages and a wheelchair, while the rest of the cast gets to go to the aforementioned water park; the final shot shows the house as we hear Bloo crying hysterically. Sad, yet Bloo spent the entire episode being horrible to everyone else.
Bizarrchitecture: The titular Home. It looks odd enough from the outside, but it's full of Alien Geometries and Chaos Architecture inside. Showcased early on in "Dinner is Swerved" (Mac and Bloo arrive on the roof: "But... we went down!") and "Bloooo" (Bloo ascends an impossibly long, spindly, unsupported staircase to get to his room).
Black Comedy: In the last episode, Bloo's first idea to prevent Mac from moving away was to kill him.
Book Ends: The opening intro to the series starts with the world of Foster's being drawn out in pencil line-art until it changes to color with a calliope theme in the background. At the end of the TV finale, "Goodbye to Bloo," the world of Foster's is essentially un-drawn and the calliope theme plays backwards.
Brick Joke: Happens in Nightmare on Wilson way. Oscar (The big green friend) decides to go Trick or Treating as Blossom from The Powerpuff Girls, Frankie decides to go Trick or Treating as Blossom as well, which leads to Oscar walking away muttering "I should have gone as Bubbles..." In all later scenes he appears in, he's dressed as Bubbles.
Broken Treasure: Madame Foster's bust. Turns out it happens so often, Mr. Herriman has a closet full of replacements.
Cloudcuckoolander: All the imaginary friends are like this to some extent, but Coco, Cheese, and Eduardo deserve special mention.
Colon Cancer: Parodied on One False Movie, with Bloo's movie being called "Trexatron Alienwolf III: A Prequel In Time: The Unrelenting".
Continuity Nod: "Bloo Tube" shows that the viral video from "World Wide Wabbit" is still wildly popular.
In "Bad Dare Day" a "I *heart* FB (Funny Bunny)" cap can be seen in Madame Foster's room
When Bloo and Madame Foster realize that they've lost some movie tickets right as they arrive at the premiere, he compares it to "that stupid trip to Europe that we never took".
Some episodes still show the Extremosaur cage.
In the last episode, while trying to think up things to do with Mac, Bloo rattles off several suggestions that are things the two did in previous episodes throughout the series. Mac even lampshades it.
In Destination Imagination, Mac foils the sleeping powder attempt with a pretty Badass Boast: "You don't know this about me: I. Can't. Eat. Sugar."
Control Freak: Mr. Herriman, complete with long lists of obscure rules and regulations on such items as placement of toilet paper and how to properly wipe up spills.
The entire series may fall under this when compared to the other comedies on Cartoon Network at the time of its premiere.
Depending On The Episode: Lots. How much of a jerkass is Bloo - is he a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk or is there a heart of gold in there somewhere? How mature is Mac - is he an always do-gooding Only Sane Man or is he a wise and sensible but still generally childlike and rambunctious kid (sometimes this will change mid episode, with Mac doing something childish and then turning sensible to stop it from going too far)? How mature is Frankie - is she a laid-back Cool Big Sis who's always getting dumped on from Mr. Herriman or is she not only very responsible but the only sane adult in the house? Etc, etc - all the different sides of the characters that can be shown at any given time make for a lot of interesting ways plots tend to go.
At the end of Foster's Goes to Europe, Eurotrish finally returns to her owner in Europe. Naturally, she must sing a song to express her happiness — only to be interrupted by her owner shouting out the window, "Stop the singing! Why do you think we sent you away in the first place?" Afterward, Eurotrish dejectedly sulks away, singing, "I'm-a going to America..." There's also the ending for Mac and everyone else, where it turns out that they end up not going because MADAME FOSTER STOLE THE TICKETS. And everyone blames Mac, who had spent the entire episode trying to get them out the door.
The end of "Imposter's Home for Um... Make 'Em Up Pals", when Frankie misses the concert and Goofball turned out to be right about being an imaginary friend. Although Frankie apologizes and Goofball thanks her for taking care of him, the ending was still mean-spirited towards Frankie.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Frankie and World in The Movie. Frankie finally gets what she wanted all along, to be treated fairly and respected for all she does, Mr. Herriman finally fairly splitting the house work among everyone in the House instead of all on her. World, the Big Bad of The Movie and an emotionally unstable Reality Warper whose been sealed in a toy chest by himself for who knows how long, is finally freed from his prison and has the friends he'd wanted the entire movie. But both had to go a long way to get it.
Election Day Episode: In the episode "Setting a President", Frankie challenges Mr. Herriman for the position of house manager, and they hold an election. Bloo briefly posts himself as a candidate (mostly for the attention), and after coming last on the polls, becomes Herriman's campaign manager.
Episode Title Card: All the episodes have these, typically with a relevant sound effect over it. We only see the episode's title in this, as writing, directing, etc. credits are typically played over the first few minutes of the episode.
Mac is based on a one-time Powerpuff Girls character, Mike, who had an imaginary friend of his own. Also, his early design had a lot in common with Linus van Pelt, which is particularly telling when you remember that Bloo's design was based off a child's security blanket. And after the pilot premiered, Craig McCracken's family told him Mac is pretty much what McCracken was like when he was little. His name's even "Mac".
Wilt's creator, Jordan Michaels, is an obvious expy of famous basketball player Michael Jordan.
Mr. Herriman is based on the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, being a white rabbit with a waist coat and an obsession with being on time, as well as the eponymous character from Harvey, being imaginary and six feet tall.
Coco's been explained, and it's kind of sad. Her creator was a girl who was trapped on a deserted island for a long time, and created an imaginary friend to keep herself sane. Coco is an amalgam of things that the girl could see around her: the crashed plane (Coco's body), the deflated life raft she tried to get off the island with (Coco's beak), a palm tree (Coco's head), and her own sunburned feet (Coco's...feet).
Fiery Redhead: Frankie, as Mr. Herriman and Bloo learn when they push her too far.
Gentle Giant: Eduardo is a giant purple minotaur who appears frightening to Mac at first, but he turns out to be sweet and (to be honest) a coward - unless his friends are in danger. Wilt is a very, very tall fellow with one arm who is polite to the point of neurosis.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Bloo fails to glue Madame Foster's stone head back together with toothpaste, he quips, "A bust this big needs ample support!" When discussing what to build the replacement out of, Ed suggests saline, as he is crying at the time.
In the episode "Affairweather Friends", the title is just the beginning.
In the episode "Squeakerboxx", Bloo is inside of the men's room squeaking an elephant. Granted, it's literally an elephant and made of rubber, but still....
In "Mac Daddy", Mac and Bloo's argument about Mac possibly creating a new imaginary friend sounds a lot like an argument about romantic infidelity.
In "Squeeze the Day" Mac suggests while he and Bloo are home alone, they watch Frankie's videos that are for "grown-ups only." We see them watching a video looking shocked. It turns out to be a dramatic period piece that a kid like Mac would find really boring.
Bloo's ninja costume in "Duchess of Wails" is quite phallic.
Grand Finale: Destination: Imagination and "Goodbye to Bloo". Depending on your views, you might assign either the last episode or the movie as the true finale. "Goodbye to Bloo" essentially brings up the point that started the series in the first place — Mac having to say goodbye to Bloo for good. Through classic shenanigans, it becomes a huge misunderstanding that Mac and family will move away and leave Bloo up for adoption. In the end, it's strongly disproved... and Cheese ends up being sent to live at Foster's, followed by a thank you note to the viewers in the credits. The movie, on the other hand, ends with all the friends at Foster's jumping into the toy box, Mac and Bloo the last ones in, which gives a nice closing shot that basically says the characters are going away now, back into the toy box like stuffed animals — say your goodbyes.
Growing Up Sucks: The premise is that nearly all kids grow out of needing their imaginary friends, so Mac will likely end up leaving Bloo. However, we've seen some creators as adults, and they still care a great deal for their imaginary friends. Madame Foster says that Mac's imagination is the purest she's seen since her own, and she never gave up her imaginary friend...
Interrupted Cooldown Hug: Happens during Destination Imagination. Frankie had just calmed World down and made him friendly towards her friends when Mr. Herriman comes barging in and basically reinforces every one of his fears in one fell swoop before attempting to push everyone out of the toy chest. Cue the Unstoppable Rage that literally tears the entire reality of the toy chest apart.
It's a Small Net After All: Averted in "World Wide Wabbit." After finding out a video of him is popular on the internet, Herriman tries throwing out the computer, but Frankie explains to him that's not how it works.
Mathematician's Answer: The seeing-eye friend they try to help in one episode apparently discards any information not related to "this is a danger from which I must keep my child", because when he loses track of the kid, he can't provide a helpful answer; he was in a place when he lost Stevie, and as for Stevie himself, well, he's got arms, a face...you know, standard-issue human stuff.
The Millstone: In "Berry Scary", Berry tries to convince Bloo that Mac is the Millstone who is preventing him from getting the world record. Ironically, Bloo himself is generally the Millstone to everyone else at Foster's, to the point where in the very same episode he mentions that being a burden is his 7th favourite thing.
Miniature Senior Citizens: Madame Foster. She's one of the shortest of all the main characters - hair notwithstanding, she's roughly the same height as Bloo - while Frankie, her granddaughter, is of average human height.
Mock Millionaire: In one episode, several charities compete for the attention of a character pretending to be a millionaire.
Mundane Fantastic: Anything a child imagines can come to life in this world. Despite this, the world is otherwise much the same as ours.
Mythology Gag: In "House of Bloo's", Bloo is shown at one point watching a Lassie parody. The boy in the show has the same character design as Mac's prototype appearance.
Never My Fault: Bloo refuses to accept it's his own fault Eduardo ran away in that episode.
Noodle Incident: In "Bloo's Brothers", Mac's classmates imagine weird clones of Bloo, only to leave them at Foster's; Frankie sees the clones and angrily asks the original if he played with Mac's chemistry set again... he says he did, but "these" clones did not come from it.
Note that the show, which had a new episode weekly, never featured anything of the sort - the joke there is on the audience.
Meta Example: Candy Milo revealed in an interview that Coco's lines were never written a "Coco", she was given dialogue in the script and told to just read it as "coco". Meaning, somewhat out there are written translations of what it is Coco is really saying!
One-Winged Angel: World, an emotional unstableReality Warper, does this when Herriman threatens to leave him locked in his trunk alone again. He goes absolutely berserk and creates a chimera body for himself to destroy the ones who are trying to take Frankie away from him.
Only One Name: Most of the imaginary friends have no last name. Neither does Mac.
Averted, however, with Blooreguard Q. Kazoo.
Only Sane Man: Mac and Frankie most of the time - in situations where one of them is joining in on the craziness, the other will tend to be the sane man. If both are being immature, one of them will probably come to their senses by the end of the episode to fill the role.
Our Founder: Elwood P. Dowd, of Harvey fame, appropriately enough. The Home itself also has a bust of its founder, Madame Foster, which Bloo promptly... busts.
Most of the human supporting characters — Goo, Terrance and Mac's mom — are largely absent in seasons 5 and 6.
Paper People: Duchess is made of paper, befitting somebody who looks like a Picasso.
Parental Bonus: A fair lot of it. In particular, Mac waking up next to Cheese and having to explain his "mistake" to Bloo is played a lot like marital infidelity.
Parental Obliviousness: Mac's mom has no idea that he still goes to Foster's every day to visit Bloo. Though maybe she knows, considering Terrence could have easily told her by now, but lets him do it because it has more positives than negatives.
Reality Warper: Goo has an overactive imagination, which means that she runs the risk of calling new Imaginary Friends into existence by accident (and somehow, she manages not to be creepy). Frankie's new friend, World, controls an entire dimension inside a toy box.
Sadist Show: The series went from whimsical to mean-spirited in only a few episodes.
Sealed Evil in a Can: This is how the parents of the boy who created World viewed him when they locked him in his toy box, and apparently told Foster's such as they kept him in there. However, this is a subversion as World wasn't evil, just misunderstood and just wanted friends.
In one episode, when Bloo gets punched in the face by a young girl for taking some toy glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth.
In another episode, Bloo is spying on who was supposed to be "the best imaginary friend ever", and he knocks out Bloo with a shovel this way.
Selective Enforcement: Inverted as a Springtime for Hitler in the episode "Crime After Crime". The episode's B-plot has Frankie cooking something disgusting for dinner, so Bloo causes trouble in an effort to get sent to his room without dinner. Unfortunately the episode's A-plot was Mr. Harriman acting hyper-paranoid over someone discovering his addiction to carrots, leading him to punish everyone else in the house for relatively minor infractions due to thinking they're "on to him" while completely ignoring or even congratulating Bloo.
Sibling Rivalry: One-shot friends Imaginary Man and Nemesister were created by a boy and his sister as an extended outlet for their rampaging animosity. Their creators come back at the end of the episode to adopt them for their own kids.
Spotting the Thread: Mac is forced to decide between Bloo and a near perfect impostor, and picks the real one because the impostor's friendship speech is too nice. Mac knows Bloo is a Jerkass.
Squashed Flat: Bloo in "Adoptcalypse Now", when a giant, gorilla-like imaginary friend is launched through the window and lands on him.
Squishy Wizard: Mac is highly intelligent for an 8-year old, but one drop of sugar and he goes from being the Only Sane Man to making Goo look perfectly sane.
Cheese has a few of these: Mac created Cheese. You know, "Mac and Cheese?"note Macaroni and cheese is a popular, easy to make dish in many English-speaking countries. Making Mac's two creations Bloo Cheese.
Cheese actually isn't Mac's creation. He belongs to Mac's neighbour, Louise. Like "Cheese Louise".
Bloo and Berry. As Berry has a crush on Bloo, this is not accidental.
Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Bloo's the Boss" Bloo finds a cat and names him Chuck. Later when the cat's owner comes to collect him it turns out Chuck just happened to be his real name.
In "Duchess of Wails" when Mac's mom tells him they're moving Terrence tells him they're going to Singapore, which Terrence says is all the way in Wisconsin. Cut to Bloo asking Mac, "So you're saying Singapore is not in Wisconsin?"
Straw Feminist: Subverted with Nemesister, who doesn't really have a political agenda. She just likes to destroy or sabotage anything that guys like.
Super OCD: Mr. Herriman, to the point where he once made the entire house alphabetize trash.
In the episode "Race for Your Life, Mac & Bloo", Mac tries doing this to Bloo to make him lose the race.
In "The Bloo Superdude and the Great Creator of Everything's Awesome Ceremony of Fun That He's Not Invited To", one of Bloo's hallucinations involves him receiving this from Frankie to make him eat his soup.
Toilet Humor: Done a lot with Cheese (and to a lesser extent, Bloo)
Took a Level in Jerkass: Bloo after the pilot episode. The show in general became incredibly cruel and mean-spirited after the whimsical pilot.
Troll: Bloo in spades. About 95% of his screen time is devoted to him finding creative ways to troll people.
Tulpa: The imaginary friends are thoughtforms taking on lives independent of their creators.
The Unintelligible: Coco. Her only dialogue is sequences of "Coco!". Certain characters seem to be able to understand her, notably Wilt and Eduardo, but to most of the rest of the cast she's as unintelligible as she is to viewers.
Villainous Breakdown: While he's not intentionally a bad guy, World has one at the climax of The Movie when Mr. Herriman threatens to leave him sealed in his toy box alone again, causing him to snap and reduce his world to a white void and go One-Winged Angel. It takes Frankie's kindness to snap him out of it and calm him down.
Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The main series has Berry, a sociopathic Stalker with a Crush who's willing to commit murder to get what she wants. Good Wilt Hunting has Foul Larry, a rude, violent friend who caused Wilt to lose both his arm and his eye.Destination Imagination has World, a Reality Warper who's severe emotional problems makes him violently dangerous and selfish.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Mac and Bloo sometimes, particularly in episodes where Bloo is especially obnoxious and Mac is especially mature. Other episodes show very well that they have more in common than they seem.
"House of Bloo's Part 1" at the beginning with Terrence where he chases Mac and Bloo. And again with Eduardo and Bloo when Ed is being chased by Bloo.
"House of Bloo's Part 2" with Mr. Herriman as he's walking to his office.
"Dinner is Swerved" when Bloo is chasing a giant chicken leg.
"Adoptcalypse Now" happens twice in a row when Mac chases Coco
"Store Wars" with Bloo when he goes up an escalator.
"Bloooo" when Wilt, Coco, and Ed chasing white Bloo, Ed fills the screen.
"World Wide Wabbit" with Herriman when he goes to his office looking for a file.
"Partying is Such Sweet Soiree" when Ed is riding his bike his face fills the screen.
"Sight For Sore Eyes": happens twice in a row two times with Bloo and Mac. Once when Bloo is goes after some kid mistaking him for Stevie. And again when he charges at a birthday party.
"Squeakerboxxxx" while Bloo is replacing the new squeak toy with the broken one, Eduardo runs in.
"The Land of The Flea" Twice. At the beginning when Eduardo is skipping out of his room to the salon. And again when he runs away from monkeys screaming "WHHHHYY?!"
"The Big Cheese" with Mr. Herriman when he tries to demonstrate the security system. And again with Cheese and Bloo while all the friends are chasing Cheese.
"A Room With a Feud" while Bloo and the others are chasing Peanut Butter, Mac, looking annoyed, walks into the camera
"Nightmare On Wilson Way" Three times. When Eduardo hears Frankie come back in the house, he runs screaming her name; then Bloo and Coco follow him. And then Ed, Bloo, and Coco altogether as they run to the foyer.
You Won't Feel a Thing: "Seeing Red": Terrance says to Mac before beating him up "This will only hurt for a second." The line becomes a Running Gag throughout the episode, and at the end is given an Ironic Echo by Bloo: "Don't worry, it'll only hurt for a week."
Zombie Apocalypse: Subverted It was only a Halloween prank meant to get back at Bloo. Pretty convincing though.