Western Animation: KaBlam!
"Wake up the masses! Assume the crash position. Hold on tight, take a deep breath for a new kind of cartoon show. It's KaBlam! Where cartoons and comics collide." Chris:KaBlam!
We crammed more cartoons into a half hour than anyone else. Will:
That was our promise, right?
is an animated anthology show designed to show off more animated shows (mostly failed pilots and experimental pieces), and the first spin-off of All That
Running only a half-hour, it crammed in four two-to-five minute programs per episode as well as various miscellaneous animated short series that would come and go. It spawned two spinoffs, Action League Now
(which was the centerpiece of KaBlam!
throughout its run) and Angela Anaconda
. It was masterminded by Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi
, the creators of The Adventures of Pete & Pete
(McRobb also wrote for Nick's original Doug
and The Ren & Stimpy Show
), as well as Robert Mittenthal, who co-created Nickelodeon's incarnation of Double Dare
It aired on Nickelodeon from 1996-2000, with many episodes left unaired, even when the show reran on Nicktoons TV (a Nickelodeon spin-off that airs any old or failed Nicktoons series).
It was hosted by Henry
, who resided inside a comic book (which was more notable earlier on; season four toned down most of the comic book references except for "turning the page") in which they frequently broke the fourth wall
, mocked cartoon cliches
, and got into their own adventures.
Common shorts on the show included:
- Sniz and Fondue, the story of two geeky Funny Animal brothers of indeterminate species (an anthropomorphic weasel/ferret type). Filmed in traditional animation.
- Action League Now, which followed the misadventures of a band of incompetent action figure superheroes. Filmed in a mix of stop-motion and live-action described as "Chuck-imation".
- Life with Loopy, the adventures of Loopy, a spunky girl who gets into bizarre situations, as related by her older brother. Filmed in a mix of stop-motion, puppetry and live-action performed by the short's creators.
- Prometheus and Bob, the dialogue-free chronicles of an alien (Prometheus) and his attempts to educate a caveman (Bob), made hilariously unsuccessful by Promethesus's arrogance, a meddling chimpanzee, and Bob's overwhelming stupidity. Filmed in stop-motion, using clay ("claymation").
These appeared in almost every episode, with the exception of Life with Loopy
which suffered frequent Schedule Slippage
in season one, and Sniz and Fondue
when their production company went under in the middle of season three.
Other recurring shorts were:
- Surprising Shorts, which had no recurring characters or plot or art style but seemed to be the overarching title given for a series of one-off cartoons. It appeared occasionally during the first two seasons.
- There were some one-off cartoons that did not fall under the Surprising Shorts title, but were presented as their own entities.
- The Offbeats, a traditionally-animated series created by Mo Willems of Sheep in the Big City, about a group of unpopular kids. Occasionally replaced Life with Loopy during the first two seasons. Although it was considered one of KaBlam!'s best shorts, it was the first of the regulars to end because of Willem's creating Sheep in the Big City for Cartoon Network.
- Race Rabbit, which was a live-action show about a rabbit who races.
- JetCat, about a girl with a cat-themed superhero alter ego. It, along with Race Rabbit, replaced Sniz and Fondue when it left and stayed for the rest of the series.
- The Brother Tiki, about two alien explorers (who look like tiki idols) that get stranded on Earth after their ship is mistaken for a barbecue grill and destroyed. Filmed with puppetry.
The show has a strong cult following among fans of '90s
Nickelodeon, and is currently being considered for TeenNick
's The '90s Are All That
block, although Nick would have to spend a ton of money for rights from the creators of the shorts in order for the show to air (The only parts of the show Nickelodeon flat out owns are the Henry & June and ALN material). For now, you're just going to have to make due with YouTube
uploads (provided they haven't been taken down due to copyright issues) and signing up for nickreboot.com (http://nickreboot.com/)
, which includes all of the live-action and animated shows from the 1990s and early 2000s, including this long-lost show.
Note: Action League Now and Angela Anaconda have their own pages. Any related tropes should be listed there.
This show features examples of:
- Action Mom: Loopy finds out her mom is a secret agent.
- Adobe Flash: Henry and June were animated this way.
- Aerith and Bob: Prometheus and Bob.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: In the Henry and June shorts, some crowd scenes show people with purple, green, or blue skin, as well as the usual flesh tones.
- Animated Actors: Henry and June occasionally appear to be this, especially in the later episodes.
- Animated Adaptation: The Jetcat shorts were based on the comic book of the same name.
- Animated Anthology
- Anime Hair: Henry
- Ancient Astronauts: Promethus of Prometheus and Bob
- Art Evolution: Compare the picture of Henry and June above with this image from the first season's opening.
- The animation for Sniz & Fondue also was cleaned up in season two, but that was because they got a new overseas animation department.
- Life with Loopy also improved after the pilot, "Goldfish Heaven". In the episode, Loopy's hair beads were 2-dimensional (like her head) rather than 3-dimensional, everyone had more square-er shoulders, and Larry had a longer neck. Not to mention the backgrounds were more basic, and the stop-motion was a bit more rough.
- Award Show: "Resistance Is Futile"
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Much fun was had at the expense of "the network" by way of moronic, meddlesome network executive Mr. Stockdale, along with some other gags, such as this one while trying to stop the lazy Mr. Foot from getting fired.
- Black Bead Eyes: Henry's mom, Sniz and Fondue (and most of the others in the short), and everyone in The Off-Beats
- Blind Without 'Em: Betty-Ann of The Off-Beats without her glasses.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the episode, "Art + Science = Fun", after seeing the first part of the "Danger Society" episode of Action League Now, Henry worries about the Action League losing to the Danger Society.
Henry: "They're dead meat! They're toast! They're dead meat on toast!"
- Bullet Seed: Henry and June do this with watermelon seeds in the pilot episode.
- Butt Monkey: Henry.
- Camera Abuse: Some notable examples:
- In "The Best of Both Worlds", June attempts to get into the real world by running right at the screen. She ends up smashing against it.
- Later in the same episode, Henry and June get into a catapult to launch themselves into the real world. They just end up smashing against the screen - and actually crack the glass.
- In "Won't Stick to Most Dental Work!", June's attempt to make the show more "intimate" involves singing a song while swinging from a series of horizontal bars. She doesn't get very far before smashing into the screen.
- Several Prometheus and Bob episodes end this way, such as Prometheus' ship crashing into the screen, and a mammoth blowing its trunk so loud it cracks the glass. There are several instances of Prometheus himself deliberately throwing something at the camera (the remote in "Laundry", a rock in "Furniture", a softball in "Softball", etc).
- Cartoon Creature: It's never been confirmed what Sniz & Fondue are.
- Censored for Comedy: One episode had Henry being bleeped randomly as a practical joke.
- Cheerful Child: Loopy.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Snuppa and Bianca, roommates of Sniz and Fondue, were removed from the main cast of the short after "Hello Dolly".
- Ironically, Snuppa and Bianca were the stars of the original Sniz and Fondue pilot, "Psyched For Snuppa"
- Constantly Curious: Loopy.
- Content Warnings: Being one of the first Nick shows (along with Are You Afraid of the Dark? [which warned viewers of its scary content] and reruns of The Ren & Stimpy Show [which warned viewers of its gross-out humor and cartoonish slapstick]) to be given a TV-Y7 rating when the ratings were introduced in 1997 (the rest were TV-Y and TV-G [the TV-G rating was mostly for the Nick at Nite line-up, which had a lot of old, family-friendly sitcoms], or not rated like game shows and The Kids Choice Awards), a parent warning was shown at the beginning to remind parents of very young children that the show had silly slapstick violence that sometimes went too far. By 1998, they got rid of those.
- Curtains Match the Window: Post Season 1, both Henry and June are drawn with eye colors the same shade as their hair - particularly noticeable, as they are usually not drawn with pupils.
- Dancing Theme: And a different dance for each season.
- Deranged Animation: A good amount of the shorts
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: June usually picks on and beats Henry.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Sheep made his first appearence in the Off-Beats short "Statistics". Sheep's girlfriend Swanky the poodle also made her first appearance in "Paddleball Record".
- Face Palm: September does this in the Off-Beats episode "Paddleball Record," with both hands/forepaws.
- Five-Episode Pilot: Three, actually. Two were televised, one wasn't (it was just to show Nickelodeon what the idea of the show is like)
- Flanderization: Henry started off the series relatively normal. It was only until after the first season that he became the unfunny Butt Monkey.
- Some episodes made June a victim of this, as she usually is just a bit of a prankster with an attitude problem, but in some episodes, she's a bossy brat. Depends on the writer, probably. It starts to end in the final season.
- Forgotten Birthday: In "More Happiness Than Allowed By Law". Henry and June are celebrating their birthdays, and June got Henry a really cool remote-controlled car. Guess what Henry got her? Nothing? Yep. She spends the rest of the episode making his life hell until the end, where he makes up for it by giving her a mood ring, and when she puts it on, the color goes from blue for "Sad" to green for "Happy". Until he makes a remark about how expensive it was, and it changes to orange for "annoyed", and then goes to red... Luckily for his sake, June admits to being self-centered and forgives him, and they wish each other a happy birthday.
- Framing Device: The Henry and June segments—a particularly odd choice, seeing as there's no reason for them to be watching animated shorts while living in a comic book. It makes sense when you find out McRobb and Viscardi's original pitch was for a live-action comic book.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Some of the wider shots in the Henry and June segments (particularly coming out of a short or the opening) show upcoming 'panels' that reveal the next short or an upcoming exchange.
- Glasses Girl: Betty Anne Bongo in The Off-Beats.
- Grossout Show: Life with Loopy on a few occasions.
- And some Henry and June shorts.
- Homicide Machines: Loopy made one (unknowing it was evil) to be her "friend".
- Horrible Camping Trip: In The KaBlair! Witch Project, Henry, June, Mr. Stockdale, Mr. Foot, Henry's mom, and Jimmy McGee go on a company camping trip. Almost immediately, Mr. Foot freaks out after they hear a roaring bear and escapes in the camper, leaving everyone else stranded. Hilarity Ensues.
- Hostile Show Takeover: One episode, "Tastes Like Paper", had The Mayor, from Action League Now!, taking over as director of research to torment Henry & June. And he did it because he wanted to turn the page. When Henry & June bust in on him, he comments: "You were expecting, maybe, Warren Littlefield?" At the end of the episode, H&J get revenge by trampling him with a marching band he hired (which had trampled Henry & June earlier).
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Variations on advertising slogans (with a few exceptions).
- I Will Show You X: Snuppa and Bianca make Sniz and Fondue fight for an action figure they both want. When the two decide to share the action figure instead, this exchange happens.
Bianca: That's it?
Snuppa: This is hardly an interesting climax.
[Sniz and Fondue glare angrily at them]
Fondue: "Interesting climax"? We'll show you an interesting climax.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Dawn looks very much like her voice actress, Julia Mcilvaine (who also voices June).
- Played with a bit with Henry, as Noah Segan, his voice actor, dyed his hair green for a little while after Kablam! premiered.
- Lampshade Hanging: Henry and June LOVE doing this.
- Lethal Chef: June was actually kicked out of her "Firelog Girls" troop because she's such a terrible cook.
- Limited Wardrobe: Every single character on the show. Larry of Life with Loopy actually had two regular outfits.
- Literal-Minded: Loopy.
- Loony Fan: One episode had to do with a fan visiting the set of the show, and constantly annoying Henry and June due to his huge obsession with them. He wears Henry's outfit, June's sweatshirt, and even has his hair blue dyed to match June's hair (either that or it's natural). June constantly refers to him as "Weird Ryan from school", meaning the duo already knew him. The obsessed June fans covered in Even the Girls Want Her could also apply.
- Meadow Run: Happened with Henry and June.
- Meaningful Name: Prometheus is an alien attempting to educate a primitive human, and is named after the Greek Titan who gave fire to mankind.
- Jetcat flies like a jet and fights like a cat.
- Medium Awareness: Henry and June know very well that they are cartoon characters.
- Medium Blending: Life with Loopy, with two recurring characters being paper-bag puppets and live-action footage occasionally being used.
- Also in the episode when Henry and June become live-action. And when they became popsicle-stick puppets.
- Milestone Celebration: One episode begins by announcing a ton of guest stars for the show's 100th episode, until it turns out that the show hadn't reached its 100th episode yet,
- Multiple Demographic Appeal
- Mundane Made Awesome: Henry and June watch as a stage hand adds a staple to the comicbook complete with drum roll and instant replay.
- Music Video: Occasionally ones from They Might Be Giants, amongst others, using a mixture of live-action and animation.
- The Musical: Henry and June once advertised KaBlam! The Musical in season three.....it doesn't exist.
- Network Red Headed Stepchild
- Never Say "Die": Averted when June has to fall and let Henry catch her in one episode:
June: You drop me... you die.
- Nice Hat: Fondue's chef hat.
- The Nudifier: The clothes-eating moths in The Little Freaks, a one-shot short, and when Henry accidentally used vanishing ink to do his and June's laundry.
- Odd Friendship: Henry and June oh so very much.
- Opera Gloves: June wears them in her musical number in the episode "Won't Stick to Most Dental Work".
- Out of Order: An extreme case of it. While "Now With More Flava!" may seem like a Downer Ending (it was the final episode aired and ended with Henry and June as security guards), the final episode made was "Going The Extra Mile".
- Overly Narrow Superlative: The KaBlammy for best acting while impersonating an egg went to Loopy from "Life with Loopy" and the award for best supporting monkey went to "Prometheus and Bob."
- Overused Running Gag: Henry gets hurt in every episode...and is not afraid to lampshade it.
- Panty Shot: In the Sniz and Fondue short, "Stunt Bike Sniz" from "It's Flavorific!", Bianca's white panties are shown when she does a front flip.
- Aside from that, none of the characters in this short appear to wear any kind of pants, so almost every character's underwear is exposed all the time.
- Parental Bonus: The two leads being named Henry and June, June's "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!", and more (what did you expect, it's from Nickelodeon).
- Playful Otter: Averted with Ed the Educational Otter.
- Potty Dance: Loopy does this due to Larry being in the bathroom too long... he's recently gotten muscular, and is admiring himself.
- Potty Emergency: June gets one in "Won't Crack or Peel!", and Henry gets one in "Timeless!".
- Potty Failure: Henry and June are astronauts in spacesuits in one episode. Henry commented that he needed to use the bathroom and June asks why he doesn't just do what she did: use her spacesuit like a real astronaut. June runs off embarrassed when Henry informs her that they aren't wearing real spacesuits, merely cheap Halloween costumes.
Henry: I think June just went where no cartoon character has gone before. In her pants!
- In one short, Fondue is addicted to Solitaire on the computer. He comments that he needs to tinkle, but continues to play. He soon notes he no longer has to go.
- Readings Blew Up the Scale: The KaBlam Instant Response Meter blew up after viewers watched "A Day In The Life Of Mr. Foot".
- Real Song Theme Tune: "2-Tone Army" by The Toasters. The tune for "Skaternity" by the same band was for the ending, with another song of theirs, "Everything You Said has been a Lie" in season two onwards.
- Real World Episode: Henry and June once entered a door leading to the "Real World", and went live-action for a short time (played by real (and uncredited) kids, but lip-syncing so the voice actors could do their lines, to avoid viewer confusion), until they realized "real world pain".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The KaBlam hosts, Henry and June, fit this.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Robot Girl / Robot Me: One early episode featured a mechanical double of June. While it looked just like the real thing, it didn't have any emotion, avoiding being a Ridiculously Human Robot.
- Running Gag: Mr. Foot throwing people Henry and June don't like into the trunks of cars, to do who knows what with. One episode implies he takes them to the dump.
- Samus is a Girl: Fuzzball, a one-shot character, often dressed and acted like a boy. June is like this in a few episodes also.
Fuzzball: And by the way, flapjack, I'm not a boy! It's a FASHION STATEMENT!
- Quite a few fans who watched this show have had this reaction to finding out June was a girl.
- Satellite Love Interest: Dawn's about as deep as a kiddie pool. Her episode ends with her admirer Henry realizing this, and deciding that she's not worth it.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Straight Man Henry and ditzy June in season one.
- Say My Name: In "Harold's Glow-In-The-Dark Brand Butter", the last H&J segment features June shilling the titular butter. Henry is less than pleased, and when he sees her wearing a Harold's Butter uniform, he snaps and lets out a hilariously angry-sounding cry of "JUUUUUUUUUUNE!!!".
- He also does in the episode where he gets a bad haircut, June "fixes" it, and he discovers her handiwork.
- Scare Chord: Happens a lot in Life with Loopy, even in the short's theme. But then again, this IS Life with Loopy...
- Scout Out: June is a former Girl Scou- uh, Logfire Girl.
- Series Fauxnale: Episode 29.
- Series Mascot: Henry and June, which is fitting as they're the hosts. They were even the mascots of Nickelodeon at one point.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: June.
- Ship Tease: June did not seem to like it when Henry fell for Dawn. Neither did the Henry and June shippers.
- Short Tank: June. She will wear a dress for formal occasions, although it's stated that she doesn't enjoy it.
- Shout-Out: June, despite her age, seems to be a fan of Beavis And Butthead, according to a season two episode.
- And in a Season 1 episode, she appears to be a Jimi Hendrix fan. Before being launched skyward in a chair (it doesn't work out very well), she says "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky!" while Hendrix-style music plays and her eyes light up in psychedelic colors.
- June's trademark outfit slightly resembles one of the many outfits worn by Stormer, not to mention sharing the same eye and hair color.
- Show Within a Show: Within a show, even. Life With Loopy's Charlie Chicken Show
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Loopy and Larry. Loopy is crazy and adventurous, while Larry is shy and intelligent.
- Ska: The main BGM in the Henry and June shorts.
- All of the Ska in the series was provided by early 3rd wave ska band, The Toasters, who were billed in the credits as "Moon Ska stompers."
- The episode "Kablam, James Kablam" features an intern character who dresses in an outfit appropriate for a ska concert, including a t-shirt that says "ska" on it.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: June with Henry.
- The Smurfette Principle: Henry, Mr. Stockdale, Mr. Foot.......poor, poor June.
- Action League Now! had seven (or eight depending on Justice (the dog)'s gender that episode) main male characters: The Flesh, Stinky Diver, Meltman, The Chief, The Mayor, and Bill The Lab Guy. Girls? Thundergirl. There was also the lab guy's daughter, but she was annoying and was taken out.
- Life With Loopy was the most gender neutral short (Although it had a female protagonist). It had 2 main females (Loopy and her mom) and 2 main males (Larry and his dad). The other characters were minor/one shot characters.
- Even worse in Sniz and Fondue; the only main female was Bianca!
- Averted in The Off-Beats, however, where Betty Ann Bongo is the leader of the Off-Beats and Tina is the leader of The Populars.
- The Nostalgia Chick's review of this trope mentioned that the only Nicktoons with female protagonists were The Wild Thornberrys, As Told by Ginger, and My Life as a Teenage Robot, except for Kablam!, which had three and a half (June, Loopy, Thundergirl, the "half" could either be Bianca because she doesn't appear in every S&F short, or Jetcat, because she's not in every episode).
- Spin-Off: Action League Now!, Angela Anaconda, the Off-beats holiday specials, The Life With Loopy special and the very short lived The Henry and June Show.
- The show itself is a spin-off of All That.
- A one-shot short, Stewy the Dog Boy WAS going to become a Nicktoon, but it was shelved when Disney's Teacher's Pet premiered.
- Speaking of spin offs, did you know that Sniz & Fondue was a spin off of the short cartoon "Psyched For Snuppa"?
- Spy Catsuit: Loopy's mom wears one.
- Squeaky Eyes: Henry, June, Sniz, Fondue, and the Off-Beats.
- Stock Footage: The season one episodes sometimes re-used old clips from the Henry and June shorts, but re-doing the lip syncing so it could match the episode's lines.
- Stop Motion: Action League Now!, Prometheus and Bob, and Life with Loopy.
- Stylistic Suck: Henry and June depending on who you ask.
- Sweet Dreams Fuel: When it's not terrifying.
- Take That: Weird Ryan is probably one to over obsessive fans (which weren't well known when the show was on)
- Mr. Stockdale seems to be one of Nickelodeon themselves!
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Loopy (and her mom) are the only major characters with eyelashes.
- In some episodes, June would usually make a cute face showing her eyelashes (which aren't usually seen, as this is only shown during her "cute act"). Usually her eyelashes are never shown (either due to the art style, or just to show her tomboyish nature), but she's cute enough without them.
- They Might Be Giants: Did two music videos; "Why Does the Sun Shine?" and "Doctor Worm".
- Thickline Animation: Henry and June, Depending on the Artist.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly one-shot Dawn and tough-talking tomboyish main character June.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Dear god, June. In Season 3, she becomes a lot more snarky, indifferent and, while nowhere near villainous, borderline sociopathic. However, she becomes a much nicer person in Season 4.
- Two Episode Wonder: The Henry and June Show.
- Tsundere: June
- Unintentional Period Piece. The references to popular culture and figures of the time - from Saved by the Bell to Rosie O' Donnell to Moesha to rapper Busta Rhymes - make it pretty obvious that this is a product of the mid-to-late 1990s.
- Unmoving Plaid: Tommy from "The Off-Beats" was the inspiration for starting the trope page in the first place. The cartoon did that with several other materials, too. September disguises himself as "the President," complete with wig with unmoving hair texture.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Slightly averted, as in the "Kablammy Awards" episode, June pulls the envelope (it says who won) out of the top part of her dress. However, since she's ten (and flat) it didn't get anything past the radar (unlike SOME stuff).
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Henry and June.
- Vocal Evolution: All the kids in The Off-Beats had lower voices in season two. This also happened with Loopy and Larry of Life with Loopy and more recognizably, Henry and June. Unlike most shows with kid voice actors, they were (thankfully) never replaced.
- Wheel o' Feet: Henry & June demonstrate this as "the bongo run".
- Who Names Their Kid Loopy?
- Like Fondue is any better off. Or Sniz.
- Fondue is actually his last name. Know what his first name is? Squeaky.
- With Friends Like These...: Henry and June define this trope.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Mr. Foot never hurts June, except for one time offscreen in "Timeless." Henry, however, is fair game all the time.
- You're Just Jealous: Henry says this to June when he thought Dawn liked him.
- You Gotta Have Blue (Or Green) hair: Henry, June, Sniz, and Loopy.
- Your Costume Needs Work: The episode "In It To Win It" has June meeting with a group of fans of hers who are dressed up like her, right down to the hair. But when she tries to interview them, they naturally don't believe she's the real June, mock her for her "lousy" costume and imitation, and get rather angry when she keeps insisting that she is the real June.
Join us again next time! Same KaBlam!
time, same KaBlam!