A Kitty Bobo Show
|A Kitty Bobo Show|
|Created by||Kevin Kaliher|
|Written by||Meaghan Dunn|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||7–8 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Cartoon Network Studios|
|Original network||Cartoon Network|
|Original release||August 17, 2001|
A Kitty Bobo Show is an American animated pilot created by Kevin Kaliher and Meaghan Dunn, and produced by Cartoon Network Studios for Cartoon Network. The pilot revolves around the eponymous character, Kitty Bobo (Dante Basco), as he tries to prove his coolness to his friends.
The premise is roughly based on Dunn's life as a Korean adoptee; the main character had previously been featured in a comic strip by Dunn titled Kimchi Girl. The pilot aired in August 17, 2001, on the network as part of their Big Pick competition, a marathon of ten pilots with viewers selecting one to be produced for the network's fall 2002 season. The series lost second place to Codename: Kids Next Door.
The pilot episode within A Kitty Bobo Show is "Cellphones".
Kitty Bobo is seen riding the subway to Pochee's Diner, where his friends, Paul Dog, Maggie and Monkey Carl, are waiting for him. Paul is wondering if anybody heard from Kitty Bobo, since he was late. He shows up at the window, with his new cell phone, and talks to someone, to make his friends jealous. He hangs up and greets his friends. His friends are wondering when he got the cell phone. He told them he just got it. As his friends looked at it, he snatched out of Maggie's paw, still boasting about his new cell phone, and showing his ringtone, which was "The Kitty Bobo Kool Kustom Ringer Song", to everybody. Maggie doesn't care, and says that cell phones are so old, and everyone has one. Paul corrects her, and replies, "Everyone, except us.".
Later, Maggie wants everybody to go to the movies with her. Paul and Monkey Carl can't. She is angry, and Kitty Bobo is still on his phone. She tells them that they are leaving, and he just tells them "goodbye" and reminds them of his cell phone. Maggie, still angry, grabs Kitty Bobo, and drags him into the movie theater, reminding him, that the movie would start soon. While they are at the movies, his mother finds that he has a cell phone, but his father didn't know that. Maggie gets excited for the movie, which is Blood Sucking Babies, as she has been waiting all summer for it. Kitty Bobo's cell phone rings in the theater, and his father calls. Maggie, angry with Kitty Bobo, tells him to turn off the phone, and is wondering what is wrong with him since they are in the theater. He shows her that he could put it on vibrate mode. Since, he puts it in his shirt pocket, during the movie, it vibrates a lot, and he shakes a lot. His phone got out of his pocket, since Maggie slaps him. He runs to the front of the theater to get it, and he answers his father, in front of the screen. Everybody gets angry and throws food at him, and he is kicked out of the theater.
That night, Kitty Bobo meets up with Paul, again. Kitty Bobo tries to prove that he is cooler than Garfitti, since he has a phone. So, he calls Paul through the payphone and tells Garfitti, that's his honey. When he thinks Garfitti walked away, he tells Paul that the plan worked, even though Garfitti hears them, and hits Paul away from the phone and calls Paul "Honey." He gets on Paul's payphone, and talks to Kitty Bobo, telling that he is there with his Honey. He also tells Kitty Bobo, that he will never be cool, even if he has a cell phone. He wants to try it on Coco, but Paul thinks that this is stupid, so they don't do it.
The next morning, he is on his bike. He calls Maggie and tells her that he is downtown, with his cell phone. Maggie tells him to give it a rest, with his cell phone. She also tells him that she has a busy morning, and she will see him later. He tries to call Paul, but he is heading out the door. He said he will see him at Pochee's, later that day. He knows that he can "Instant Message" his cell phone, so he contacts Monkey Carl. He asks Kitty Bobo if he is at the library, and he tells him what he is doing. Of course, he thinks Kitty Bobo is crazy! He tells him, that he is just being cool, but since isn't looking, he ends up in a construction site, and crashes his bike through the wall. He screams in horror, when his cell phone is broken.
He goes to Pochee's Diner and tells them the bad news. He then realizes that his friends, and almost everybody, but him has a cell phone. The story ends up with him, screaming in horror, again, as the camera zooms out to show everybody with cell phones.
- Kitty Bobo (voiced by Dante Basco) – A 19–21-year-old brown cat, who is the main character, Kitty Bobo is always trying to be fashionable, act cool before others, and become popular. Nevertheless, his awkward attempts to do so and his lack of consciousness of the world around him, constantly bring embarrassment to him and his friends, mostly for Maggie who considers Kitty Bobo's clueless personality a real nuisance. Despite being a cat, Kitty Bobo was raised by a couple of dogs "Mr. and Mrs. Bobo" whom he has a typical parents-child relationship.
- Maggie (voiced by Lela Lee) – A 19–21-year-old pink cat, who is one of Kitty Bobo's best and closest friends. Maggie is down-to-earth, moody, mature, hard to impress and somehow apathetic. Maggie is constantly annoyed by Kitty Bobo's awkward attempts to become cool and acts as the voice of reason in most of the cases. Nevertheless, despite Kitty's immaturity, Maggie might be somehow interested in kitty Bobo, as Paul suggested by saying "You two have a good time", before She and kitty Bobo entered in a cinema alone. Maggie works in an office company, she loves horror movies and is a fan of punctuality.
- Paul Dog (voiced by Chris Williams) – A 19–21 year old dog, who is one of Kitty Bobo's best and closest friends. Paul is laid back, easy going, he likes to stay in his comfort zone and cares little for what others think of him. Just as Maggie, he is irritated by Kitty Bobo's awkwardness, but in contrast to Maggie he is willing to help Kitty Bobo in his plans to impress others.
- Monkey Carl (voiced by Nick Jameson) – A 19–21-year-old monkey, who is one of Kitty Bobo's best and closest friends. Carl is lethargic, dispassionate, and the quietest of the group, but is constantly surprised by Kitty Bobo's lack of judgment. He likes computers and staying at home, he also has a very curious accent.
The pilot was created by Kevin Kaliher and Meaghan Dunn; both were married as well as Korean adoptees. Dunn, an adoptee of American-Jewish parents, based the main character on her life experiences as an immigrant. In years prior to making the pilot, she had started a nonprofit organization for helping adopted children locate their biological parents. The character of Kitty Bobo had also been featured a comic strip by Dunn titled Kimchi Girl, which had been published in Korean Quarterly since its inception in 1997. Kaliher felt much of the impetus for the pilot came while searching for his birth family in Korea. However, Dunn later remarked that the pilot "had nothing to do with" her life.
The pilot was optioned by The Walt Disney Company before being turned down. Cartoon Network first approached Dunn in Los Angeles, then a comic shop employee who had just moved in. The network, impressed by her work in independent comics, which had spread through word of mouth, landed her a job at Cartoon Network Studios, and a few years later, she and Kaliher produced the pilot.
Broadcast and reception
A Kitty Bobo Show aired on August 17, 2001, on Cartoon Network as part of their Big Pick competition, a marathon of ten pilots with viewers selecting one to be produced for the network's fall 2002 season. More than 200,000 votes were cast during the marathon, with 50,000 more being entered online. The pilot earned second place, losing to the pilot episode of Codename: Kids Next Door.
Editors of KoreAm reported that Korean-American adoptees would be able to see a reflection of themselves in the pilot. In a retrospective review of the show, Amid Amidi of the animation entertainment blog Cartoon Brew wrote that, relative to pilots produced by the network, Kitty Bobo had "some potential". He regarded its color styling and "appealing design" to be most memorable, while recalling it to have "decent storytelling" as well. Also writing retrospectively, Adam Finley of AOL TV, stated that, while "not side-splitting by any means," the pilot contained a few comedic elements. He praised the art style, contrasting it from other Cartoon Network programming. He ultimately opined that the short did not deserve to win, but that it would provide "a little more variety in style" for the network.
A storyboard for the second episode had been fully produced and completed in 2002, and it was ordered by Cartoon Network itself; in its plot Kitty Bobo is kicked out of his home and moves in with Monkey Carl (he proves to be a poor guest). Had the series been picked up, A Kitty Bobo Show would be the first to have a woman as a creator (before Julie McNally-Cahill as co-creator of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Rebecca Sugar as sole creator of Steven Universe and Julia Pott as the creator of Summer Camp Island). Dunn divorced Kaliher in 2005 and moved to the East Coast along with her daughter to work as creative director for a 3D pharmaceutical studio in Baltimore. In fall of 2005, Kaliher pitched to Walt Disney Television Animation a pilot's revised version, with the characters a bit younger. Kaliher released a 50-page bible in 2006, exploring the Kitty Bobo's universe in more depth.
Dunn returned in August 2010 to her hometown of Bucks County, Pennsylvania to start her own animation and graphic-design company named Dunnamic. Following a stream of strictly commercial work, she created an idea for another animated series titled Chloe and the Stars. Dunn kept files from her work at Cartoon Network on a hard drive, which needed to be repaired before they could be retrieved. With her company no longer a startup, she and her employees developed the final designs for the characters of Chloe and the Stars and storyboarded its pilot. Upon receiving an animatic of the pilot, Frederator Studios agreed to donate and promote the series on Kickstarter. As a perk for donating $75 or more to the series, backers would have receive the storyboard for the second episode of Kitty Bobo. It was later promoted as a "Staff Pick" on the website. Unfortunately it only made $11,623 out of its $35,000 goal. Dunn moved the project to Indiegogo but it made even less money than on Kickstarter since it made $831 out of its $10,000 goal.
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