Robert John Renzetti (born September 12, 1967) is a Chicago-born American animator, storyboard artist, cartoonist and author with a long career throughout a large number of sectors in American television animation.
He grew up in Addision and from a young age was interested in drawing and animation, eventually studying art history and later attending an animation program at the Columbia College Chicago, where he met Genndy Tartakovsky. He later went to study at the California Institute of Arts, once again with Genndy and also meeting Craig McCracken.
His first job out of school was animating on Batman: The Animated Series in Spain, then he joined Hanna-Barbera under the guidance of Fred Seibert and worked on several shows there. He was one of many who contributed to Cartoon Network's and Seibert's anthology project What A Cartoon! Show; his short, "Interlude with a Vampire", was based off his CalArts student film. It was the pilot for a full series Mina and The Count, but despite multiple parties being interested never quite made it. Rob was a prominent staffer on much of Cartoon Network's early material regardless, including staff jobs on the shows of his best friends like Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls (1998).
Fred Seibert would leave Hanna-Barbara a couple years later, formed Frederator Studios and created a nearly identical anthology show for Nickelodeon, Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Rob created several more shorts for this show, among them five more Mina shorts. Nick over time grew very uncomfortable with the concept, but Fred allowed Rob to keep his last slot for the show and develop another pilot. Some brainstorming with Fred led to the creation of the short My Neighbor is a Teenage Robot, which Nickelodeon eventually granted a full series in 2002: My Life as a Teenage Robot.
My Life as a Teenage Robot debuted internationally in 2002 and the United States the following August, and to this day remains Rob's sole full-length series he claims to his name. MLaaTR was notable for being Nickelodeon's first major foray into action and quickly became a critical darling, but the network not really knowing what to do with it led to declining ratings, resulting in its 2005 cancelation.
Rob himself ended up horribly burnt out by the heavy work schedule involved in handling his own show, which is partially why he hasn't helmed a show since then. In spite of that, time has treated it well and he's come to be really glad that MLaaTR now has a large internet following holding out hope for a revival.
After MLaaTR ceased production in 2006, Rob left Nickelodeon and jumped back to Cartoon Network to reunite with Craig for his newest show at the time and to start an anthology show of their own in Cartoonstitute; this show never actually hit the airwaves even though it did achieve its goal of starting new series to a degree. Working at Cartoon Network again with Lauren Faust led to his next big job as a story editor on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic's first two seasons, leaving the show around the same time she did.
Rob soon went to Disney and became fast friends with Alex Hirsch producing Alex's show Gravity Falls due to Disney wanting an animation veteran to work on Alex's first show for them. After Falls ended in 2016 with a wildly successful two-season run, he did stay with Disney for a couple more years as a co-executive on Big City Greens.
In 2023 he published The Horrible Bag of Terrible Things, his first original book and the first book in a trilogy.
Has a Twitter where he stays in touch with fans of the shows he has worked on, mostly prominetly MLaaTR, having posted a large amount of production material for the show there.
- Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) — in-between animator (5 episodes)
- 2 Stupid Dogs (1993-1994) — writer, storyboard artist, director
- Mina and The Count (1995-1998) — creator, writer, director, producer
- Dexter's Laboratory (1996-1997) — director (26 episodes), storyboard artist, animation director
- Oh Yeah! Cartoons (1998) — creator (10 episodes)
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998) (1998-2001) — director (2 episodes), writer, storyboard artist
- Family Guy (2000) — director (2 episodes)
- Time Squad (2001) — storyboard artist
- House of Mouse (2001-2002) — storyboard artist, timing director
- Samurai Jack (2001) — director (8 episodes), sheet timer
- Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? (2002) — director (1 episode), supervising producer
- My Life as a Teenage Robot (2002-2006) — creator, writer, director, executive producer, storyboard artist
- Alternaversity (2023-) — Author
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (2006-2008) — director (3 episodes and Destination: Imagination), storyboard artist, writer
- Cartoonstitute (2009) — executive producer
- Adventure Time (2010-2013) — sheet timer
- Sym-Bionic Titan (2010) — sheet timer, animation director
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010-2011) — story editor
- Gravity Falls (2014) — supervising producer, director (1 episode)
- Gravity Falls: Journal 3 (2016) — author (with Alex Hirsch)
- Big City Greens (2018) — executive producer
- Kid Cosmic (2020-2022) — director (9 episodes), writer, executive producer
- The Horrible Series (2023-present) — author
- Author Appeal: Tezuka-style anime, The Golden Age of Animation (in particular Disney and Popeye), robots, rabbits (having owned several as pets), superheroes, and a whole lot of influences from UPA shorts from the 1950's. He's also a big horror fan, which shows in Mina and the Count's subject matter while influences from various eras of it crop up into My Life as a Teenage Robot on occasion.
- Creator Cameo: Cameos in the first episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot as an ice cream truck driver. And again in the second episode.
- Creator's Oddball: He directed two episodes of Family Guy, which remains his only work that has never had children as part of its intended audience. It does fit him in a different way in that in that Seth MacFarlane is yet another What a Cartoon! / Oh Yeah! Cartoons alumni (being one of a few animators who provided shorts for both).
- Demographically Inappropriate Humor: Much like with Craig and Genndy, this type of humor is very prominent when he's writing jokes.
- He Also Did: Aside from cartoons, he is an author and has written a few books for Disney.
- Minimalism: Another part of his art style, mostly due to strong UPA influence.
- Production Posse: Works with Craig McCracken, Genndy Tartakovsky, Lauren Faust and to a lesser extent Dave Wasson very often. Both of his own shows feature Candi Milo voicing major characters.
- Production Throwback: Larry 3000's head from Time Squad makes a cameo in the first episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot. Not surprisingly, that show's creator Dave Wasson was on the staff for Teenage Robot.
- Retraux: Rob is a big fan of classic animation and art of many decades' past, and as a result many tropes from them tend to bleed into his work. Teenage Robot liberally employs Rubberhose Limbs, Pie-Eyed characters and very minimalist art common in the 50's and 60's.
- Rule 34 – Creator Reactions: When there was a debate on Facebook over some fan-art of Jenny, Rob stepped in and offered his views, saying that while he doesn't find outright porn of his characters as tolerable, simple "sexy" pinups were A-OK.Rob Renzetti: "Let me say that this particular piece of art is okay with me. It is 'sexy', which is okay with me. What I object to is 'Sex' images where things range from very suggestive to completely explicit. I hope that is clear enough for everyone but, if you aren't sure whether an image might be appropriate or not, then don't post it."
- Thick-Line Animation: One of many key figures in bringing this style back into vogue in the mid-late 1990s. His own shows, especially Teenage Robot, really bring it home.