Cow and Chicken

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Cow and Chicken
Cow and Chicken logo.png
Genre
Created byDavid Feiss
Written by
Directed by
Voices of
Theme music composerGuy Moon
Opening theme"Cow and Chicken"
Ending theme"Cow and Chicken" (Instrumental)
Composer(s)Guy Moon
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes52 (104 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Running time14 minutes
Production company(s)Hanna-Barbera Cartoons
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkCartoon Network
Picture format480i SDTV
Audio formatDolby Surround
Original releaseJuly 15, 1997 (1997-07-15) –
July 24, 1999 (1999-07-24)
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website
Production website

Cow and Chicken is an American animated comedy television series created by David Feiss for Cartoon Network, and the third of the network's Cartoon Cartoons. It follows the surreal adventures of two funny animal siblings, Cow and Chicken. They are often antagonized by the Red Guy, a cartoon Devil who poses as various characters to scam them.[1]

The original pilot appeared as an episode of the animation showcase series What a Cartoon!. The popularity of the original short allowed Hanna-Barbera to give it the green light for a full series, which premiered on July 15, 1997. Originally, Cow and Chicken was attached to another segment called I Am Weasel, which was later spun-off into its own half-hour series on June 10, 1999. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards.

Premise[edit]

Poster for the series' pilot, featuring the Red Guy (left), Cow (center), and Chicken (right).

The series focuses on the misadventures of two unlikely yet somehow biological siblings: the sweet-natured, dim, ecstatic, anthropomorphic 7-year-old Cow Steer and her cynical 11-year-old older brother Chicken Steer (both voiced by Charlie Adler). The two are often caught in escapades with their flamboyant enemy, the Red Guy (Adler), who disguises himself under various personas to attempt to scam them.

Supporting characters include Chicken and Cow's delirious human parents Dad and Mom (Dee Bradley Baker and Candi Milo, respectively), only seen from the waist down; Chicken's best friends Flem (Howard Morris) and Earl (Dan Castellaneta); and his cousin, Boneless Chicken (Adler).[2]

The series draws on eccentric, surreal, grotesque, and repulsive humor. For example, Cow and Chicken always order "pork butts and taters" in the cafeteria, the Red Guy always shows his butt, and characters often pepper their speech with malapropisms and sarcasm. The humor and storylines depicted are often based on traditional childhood worries, anxieties, or phobias such as cooties or venturing into the girls' restroom, but enhanced comically.

Many of the slapstick antics involve the main characters getting physically abused.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

David Feiss first created Cow and Chicken as a story for his daughter.[3] Feiss was an animator who had worked with Hanna-Barbera and related projects since 1978.[3]

Years later, Feiss was called to submit ideas for What a Cartoon!, a series of various animated shorts from numerous creators and writers. Feiss submitted three ideas to executive producer Larry Huber, one of which was Cow and Chicken.[4] Cow and Chicken premiered on What a Cartoon! in 1995. Later, Hanna-Barbera decided to turn Cow and Chicken into a full series, following many letters from fans asking for more.[4]

Voice actors[edit]

A single actor, Charlie Adler, voiced the three leading roles of Cow, Chicken, and the Red Guy. Supporting voices included Candi Milo and Dee Bradley Baker as Mom and Dad, and Dan Castellaneta and Howard Morris as Earl and Flem.

Guest stars included Feiss, Will Ferrell, Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Jill Talley, Dom DeLuise, Michael Gough, Mark Hamill, Jess Harnell, Pamela Adlon, and many others.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotNovember 12, 1995 (1995-11-12)
113July 15, 1997 (1997-07-15)October 7, 1997 (1997-10-07)
226May 16, 1998 (1998-05-16)November 7, 1998 (1998-11-07)
313April 26, 1999 (1999-04-26)July 24, 1999 (1999-07-24)

Cow and Chicken has a total of 52 episodes in 3 seasons that were produced from July 1997 to July 1999. Each half-hour contains 2 Cow and Chicken and 1 I Am Weasel segment.[5] Cow and Chicken premiered as a full half-hour on July 15, 1997.[6] The series ran for 52 episodes through 1999. As a supporting segment, the show included a cartoon called I Am Weasel; this segment was spun off as an independent series late in the show's run. Typically, an episode would consist of two seven-minute Cow and Chicken shorts playing back-to-back, then followed by a seven-minute I Am Weasel short before the end credits.[6] The exception to this structure was episode 105 ("The Ugliest Weenie"), which had the Weasel short ("I Are Big Star") play in-between the two Cow and Chicken shorts, possibly because said shorts were one storyline.

"Buffalo Gals" controversy[edit]

The second season segment "Buffalo Gals", first paired with "Cow and Chicken Reclining", was banned by Cartoon Network after receiving one letter of complaint from a parent about the episode's liberal visual and verbal innuendo about the titular biker group being lesbians. In the segment, the Buffalo Gals break into people's homes to chew on the carpet, a biker named Munch Kelly has a carpet swatch for a calling card, and when Dad freaks out over the Buffalo Gals in the house, Mom says, "They're not after you."[7] In addition, the Buffalo Gals play softball and talk about pitching and catching. Although it was only shown on air once, it was replaced by "Orthodontic Police" in future airings, including on Netflix streaming and reruns on Boomerang. The episode was also discussed on an installment of Rob Paulsen's Talkin' Toons special featuring Cow and Chicken creator David Feiss and voice actor Charlie Adler when an audience member asked why "Buffalo Gals" only aired once.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
1996 Annie Award Best Animated Short Subject[8]
Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)[9]
Nominated
1997 Annie Award Best Individual Achievement: Storyboarding in a TV Production[10]
  • Nora Johnson
  • for "Orthodontic Police"
Won
1998 Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Television Production[11]
  • Bill Burnett and Guy Moon
  • for "The Ugliest Weenie, Part 2"
Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Producing in an Animated Television Production[11] Vincent Davis Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production[11]
Nominated
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing — Sound Effects[12] Greg LaPlante Nominated
Best Sound Editing — Television Animated Series[12] Cartoon Network Nominated
Best Sound Editing — Television Animation — Music[12] Cartoon Network Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)[13]
Nominated
1999 Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production[14] Nominated
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing — Television Animated Series — Sound[15] Cartoon Network Nominated
Best Sound Editing — Television Animation — Music[15] Cartoon Network Nominated
2000 Best Sound Editing — Television Animation — Music[16]
Nominated
2000 Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production Nominated

Other media[edit]

The two main characters, Cow and Chicken, made cameo appearances as aliens in Ben 10: Omniverse. They were the second Cartoon Network characters to make cameo appearances in the Ben 10 franchise, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy being the first. Adler reprised his roles for the cameo.

Chicken made a cameo near the end of the Cartoon Planet episode "Tom Foolery".

Cow makes a cameo in the beginning of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Herbicidal Maniac" giving General Skarr fertilizer.

During the Mad episode "Once Upon a Toon", Cow and Chicken are among the classic cartoon characters reunited in a spoof of ABC's Once Upon a Time.

In the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Crossover Nexus", Chicken and I.M. Weasel (with Michael Dorn reprising his role as Weasel for a speaking cameo) made cameo appearances as two of the Cartoon Network heroes that were summoned by Strike, and also Cow (as SuperCow) appears as one the Cartoon Network heroes that Ben Tennyson (Ben 10) shapeshifts into.

Home media[edit]

Cow and Chicken: Season 1, a two-disc set featuring the complete first season which contains 13 complete episodes, was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia (Region 4 PAL) on September 12, 2007.[17] Season 2 came out on February 10, 2010, by the same company in Australia.[18] The entire series got partially released on DVD in Thailand as 4 season sets, containing Thai and English audio, with the segment "Buffalo Gals" banned from these releases.

The video game Cartoon Network Racing contains the episodes "Black Sheep of the Family" and "Child Star" (PS2 version only) as unlockable extras.

All 4 seasons were released on iTunes and Amazon as of August 16, 2018.

Title Format DVD Region Country Distributor Release date Ref.
Cartoon Cartoons: Cow and Chicken VHS N/A United States Cartoon Network 1998 [19]
Cow and Chicken: Season 1 DVD 4 Australia Madman Entertainment September 12, 2007 [17]
Cow and Chicken: Season 2 February 10, 2010 [18]

American releases

  • Cartoon Network Halloween: "Cow with Four Eyes"
  • Cartoon Network Christmas: "Me an' My Dog"

Video games[edit]

Cow, Chicken, and the Red Guy are playable characters in the game Cartoon Network Racing. The PlayStation 2 version includes Flem and Earl as playable characters.

Cow/Supercow, Chicken, and the Red Guy are playable characters in the game Cartoon Network Speedway.

In the video game FusionFall, one of the character items is based on Cow and Chicken. Cow and Chicken's cousin, Boneless Chicken, can also be seen on a billboard in the game. Though not in the game, Cow is seen as Supercow as a statue at Mt. Neverest.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 218–219. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ a b "Animator Profile: David Feiss". cartoonnetworkla.com. Cartoon Network. Archived from the original on 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  4. ^ a b "Cow and Chicken, and I Am Weasel — two animated cartoon series". h2g2. BBC. 2002-09-05. Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  5. ^ Feiss, David (January 12, 2000). "Episode Guide: Cow and Chicken and I Am Weasel". Archived from the original on 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  6. ^ a b Gallo, Phil (July 15, 1997). "Cow and Chicken". Variety. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  7. ^ Scibelli, Anthony (August 6, 2010). "The 6 Creepiest Things Ever Slipped Into Children's Cartoons". Cracked. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  8. ^ "24th Annie Award Winners Announced". Animation World Magazine. Animation World Network. 1 (9). December 1996. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  9. ^ "Cow and Chicken in No Smoking". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  10. ^ "25th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1997)". AnnieAwards.org. ASIFA-Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  11. ^ a b c "26th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1998)". AnnieAwards.org. ASIFA-Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  12. ^ a b c "Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA (1998)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  13. ^ "Cow and Chicken". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  14. ^ "27th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (1999)". AnnieAwards.org. ASIFA-Hollywood. Archived from the original on 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  15. ^ a b "Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA (1999)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  16. ^ "Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA (2000)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  17. ^ a b "Cow and Chicken Season 1". Madman.com.au. Madman Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2012-04-11. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  18. ^ a b "Cow and Chicken Season 2". Madman.com.au. Madman Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
  19. ^ "Cartoon Cartoons: Cow and Chicken | VHSCollector.com". vhscollector.com. Retrieved 26 December 2019.

External links[edit]