Cousin Skeeter

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Cousin Skeeter
CousinSkeeterLogo.png
The Cousin Skeeter logo.
Created byPhil Beauman
Alonzo Brown
Brian Robbins
StarringRobert Ri'chard
Rondell Sheridan
Meagan Good
Angela Means
Bill Bellamy as the voice of Skeeter
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Brian Robbins
Mike Tollin
Joe Davola
Brad Kaaya
Jerry Perzigian
Camera setupFilm; Single-camera
Running time24 minutes
Production company(s)Tollin/Robbins Productions
Nickelodeon Productions
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Picture formatNTSC (480i)
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 1, 1998; 21 years ago (1998-09-01) –
May 19, 2001; 18 years ago (2001-05-19)
Chronology
Related showsKenan & Kel

Cousin Skeeter is an American children's sitcom, which ran on Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2001. It starred Robert Ri'chard as Bobby, a young boy whose life changed when his strange cousin Skeeter came to live with his family. With Skeeter's help, Bobby learns life lessons and tackles the ups and downs of growing up. The show also included Meagan Good as Bobby's friend Nina, Rondell Sheridan as Bobby's father Andre, and Angela Means as Bobby's mother Vanessa. Skeeter is portrayed by a hand puppet with Bill Bellamy providing his voice,[1] and Drew Massey performing the puppetry, assisted by Alice Dinnean.[citation needed] Within the show, Skeeter is treated like a regular human and no mention of him being a puppet is made. Although the series was shot in a single-camera format, the show used a laugh track.

The show's theme song is an alternate version of 702's 1996 hit "Steelo", written by Missy Elliott.

Overview[edit]

Cousin Skeeter first aired on September 1, 1998, sharing the 8–9 pm programming block with The Wild Thornberrys. Cousin Skeeter was one of many shows at this time to touch on the idea of multicultural themes in television around this time, with notable shows such as Dora the Explorer originating around this time as well. The show focused primarily on issues that many Black Americans were facing during this time period, by presenting them in a comical way via the use of Skeeter. Skeeter frequently causes mischief, which is often balanced out by Bobby having to correct the situation.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
120September 1, 1998 (1998-09-01)April 1, 1999 (1999-04-01)
223August 17, 1999 (1999-08-17)July 8, 2000 (2000-07-08)
39January 14, 2001 (2001-01-14)May 19, 2001 (2001-05-19)

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Skeeter (performed by Drew Massey, voiced by Bill Bellamy) - Skeeter is a puppet whose life changed when he moved from Atlanta, Georgia to New York City to live with his cousin Bobby. He is a loudmouthed, impulsive, and reckless ladies' man, who spends each episode getting Bobby into trouble. Skeeter is also friends with several notable celebrities, including Michael Jordan, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte (whose life he apparently saved), and Dennis Rodman. He does not anger easily, unless someone remarks on his extreme shortness, which causes him to fly into a rage. The fact that he is a puppet is never acknowledged on the show.
  • Bobby Walker (portrayed by Robert Ri'chard) - Originally from Inglewood, California, Bobby is smart and well-behaved. Often the victim of his cousin's mischief, Bobby often gets mad at Skeeter, but Bobby likes him nonetheless.
  • André Walker (portrayed by Rondell Sheridan) - Bobby's dad who is a record producer.
  • Nina Jones (portrayed by Meagan Good) - Nina is Bobby's best friend. She and Bobby have a crush on each other at the start of the show and later start dating. She is a fast talker and Nicole's best friend.
  • Vanessa Walker (portrayed by Angela Means) - Bobby's mom, a lawyer, is often annoyed by Skeeter just like Bobby is. She and Andre can't wait for the boys to go to college, and the couple will do anything to get Skeeter and Bobby out of their hair.

Supporting[edit]

  • Nicole (voiced by Tisha Campbell-Martin) - A female puppet character, Nicole has more class and manners than Skeeter. She first appeared as a new student in the second season's television movie, "New Kids on the Planet". Nicole quickly became friends with Nina and they are like sisters. She is depicted as tough, once wanting to join the high school football team, and threatening to hurt the school bully if he hurt Skeeter.
  • Duke - Bobby's pal Duke appeared in the first and second seasons of the series.
  • Geoff - One of Bobby's friends from school, Geoff always seems to be a bad role model for the boys.
  • Brenda (voiced by Lisa Lopes)

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

Cousin Skeeter received mixed reviews. A writer from The Hollywood Reporter described the shows characters as "undeveloped" and "dependent on a one-liner approach".[citation needed] Others note that the contrast between Bobby and Skeeter is meant to act as a kind of role model for children, but the message is lost in the strange behavior of Skeeter. Many viewers found it odd that the fact that Skeeter is an actual puppet is never acknowledged by any other characters, which left them to wonder why he was even a puppet in the first place. Ray Richmond, a writer for Variety, found the content borderline offensive, calling it an "a half-hour entrant in Nickelodeon’s primetime "Nickel-O-Zone" lineup" that sends "TVs view of black culture careening back to the Stone Age".[1] However, Rotten Tomatoes rated it as one of five 1990s children's shows that helped "pave the way for black representation on TV", with the article citing the episode "The Bicycle Thief" which tackled the issue of police interacting with black children.[2]

Ratings[edit]

According to a Variety article from February 1999, Cousin Skeeter was "consistently ranked as the top-rated live-action series for the [Nickelodeon] network".[3]

Award and nominations[edit]

  • 1999
    • Young Artist Award nominated for best performance in a TV Drama or Comedy series - Leading Young Actor: Robert Ri'chard
    • Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special: Bill Bellamy
  • 2000
    • Outstanding Youth or Children's Series/Special
    • Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs: Johnathan Winfrey
    • Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Performer: Rachel Glenn
    • Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Leading Young Actor: Robert Ri'chard
  • 2001
    • Outstanding Youth or Children's Series/Special
    • African American Achievement award for supporting actresses - Rissa JB Milhouse (episode 14)
    • Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Leading Young Actor: Robert Ri'chard

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ray Richmond (August 28, 1998). "Cousin Skeeter". Variety. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  2. ^ Joelle Monique (February 28, 2019). "Five '90s Kids Shows That Paved the Way for Black Representation on TV". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  3. ^ Richard Katz (February 22, 1999). "Multiyear marquee". Variety. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
Other sources

External links[edit]