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Watch 12 Nickelodeon Cartoons From Their Shorts Program

Every few years, a TV network launches an internal shorts program in an attempt to identify new talent and show ideas. These initiatives rarely produce the results the networks desire because artists aren’t court jesters who can perform on demand and create show-ready ideas the moment a network asks for one. Talent development is a years-long investment that requires patience, commitment, and yes, failure. To put it simply, the people who run show development today lack the foresight or knowledge of how animation works to adequately develop the immense pool of talent that is already employed at their studios.

Of course, that won’t stop them from launching ridiculous shorts programs that result in ridiculous shorts, and artists who may or may not be cut out for show creation. Last year, Nickelodeon launched yet another in a long line of these in-house network shorts programs. Remember, this is the network that passed on Adventure Time so identifying talent is not their strong suit. They commissioned twelve micro-shorts for the program, and made them available via a Nick phone app. They haven’t promoted them online, but they are posted on the Internet and we’ve gathered links to all of them below.

From these pitches, Nickelodeon recently said in a press release that “six are currently in series development and two will get pilot orders.” One of the ideas that was pitched to the shorts program, but which didn’t get made as a micro-short was Breadwinners created by Gary DiRaffale (aka Gary Doodles) and Steve Borst. That show was recently picked up for a 20-episode order.

Here are the twelve shorts made last year:

Pam and Sid’s Port A Party created by Annie Sertich and Mindy Sterling
Watch the film

Baby Stache created by Gary Anthony Williams
Watch the film

Lucas created by Kyle Dunnigan
Watch the film

Austin Oliver created by Greg Worswick
Watch the film

Wing Dings created by TJ Fuller
Watch the film

Level 15 created by Wolf-Rudiger Bloss
Watch the film

Zombie Brothers created by Eric Robles
Watch the film

Carrot and Stick created by Derek Iversen and Miles Hindman
Watch the film

Marty’s Exotic Animals created by Andrew Friedman
Watch the film

Cabrito and Chewy created by Allan Jacobsen and Chuckles Austen
Watch the film

Odyssey Squad! created by Ben Adams
Watch the film

Tallie Peer Counselor created by Laura Sreebny
Watch the film

  • Paul Badilla

    Unavailable from my location :(

    • coolzone

      it’s for the best.

  • Roberto Severino

    There seems to be a common look to some of these short films. I haven’t watched any of these yet, but that’s just the first observation that came to mind. Nickelodeon is trying to capture lightning in a bottle like the What a Cartoon series that Cartoon Network produced back in the 1990s did!

    However, besides for Adventure Time, I can’t really think of too many cartoons from these anthology kind of series that have reached such massive success as something like Dexter’s Lab or The Powerpuff Girls.

    Maybe it would have been a better idea for Nick to have gotten more seasoned veterans to come up with some ideas for them. We could always use another fantastic cartoon from the wonderful mind of Pat Ventura and I always thought of Vincent Waller as a guy who really deserves to have his own cartoon show greenlit and can competently apply his experience in the animation industry to make something cool happen!

    Check out this awesome pilot from Kaz if you weren’t too satisfied with any of the shorts you linked to.


    Don’t forget Chris Reccardi and Lynne Naylor. The only people I’m familiar with in this list are Eric Robles and Derek Iversen.

    • Mark Neeley

      @ Robert – the idea, as with the What a Cartoon! series that you mentioned (and several others, like the unaired “Cartoonstitute” CN did a few years ago that they got Regular Show and Uncle Grandpa from) is to get shorts created by new creators and animators. So if they wanted to do what you said and get veterans to create new stuff, I’m sure that would be a different route entirely than the premise here. Of course, the ones I mentioned did have a few shorts created by veterans as well (even from the likes of Ralph Bakshi and Hanna/Barbera themselves), but the vision was still to reach out and get shorts externally to see if anything sticks.

      By the way, I think at this point you can add Regular Show alongside Adventure Time like you mentioned for successful shows in that vein. In the past it had seemed like it was always in AT’s shadow as far as both popularity and as far as experimenting with merchandising, etc. … I’d see they’re almost on an even playing field at this point.

      I’m with you on Pat Ventura, though. I can’t believe he actually put out a blog of his sketches, storyboards and various tidbits … he’s one animator I never expected that from. Although it’s a shame it hasn’t been updated since December of last year.

      • Roberto Severino

        Oh yeah! I completely agree with you on Regular Show. I remember really liking JG Quintel’s student film The Naive Man From Loliland several years ago back in 2006 and the way the characters were set up. It was around the time the Nicktoons Film Festival was still pretty big.

        Quintel’s other short “2 in the AM PM is like a much more adult version of what Regular Show ended up being like with the humor being pretty subtle and laid back and insistence on having the voices sound like regular people. I’m surprised that Regular Show wasn’t turned into an Adult Swim show instead!

        I watched more of the shorts and there were a few that stood out like Cabrito and Chewy, Level 15 and Carrot and Stick that were very interesting! A lot the other shorts however don’t seem to understand the importance of having a clear, coherent story structure or believable characters at all.

        Maybe the short length of the films might have had something to do with it, but that is one of the reason why I linked Kaz’s pilot here. I noticed a big difference between that and a lot of the pilots that were posted here and a general trend towards aimless, crazy randomness if that makes sense.

    • JK

      Nickelodeon, like Cartoon Network, had a few successes with they’re Oh Yeah! Cartoons. True, Cartoon Network’s shows probably left a more lasting impression, but from Nickelodeon’s OYC did come shows such as Fairly Odd Parents, My Life as a Teenage Robot and Chalk Zone.

      • AmidAmidi

        A distinction needs to be made here that my comments were directed at internal development programs at studios, whereas Oh Yeah Cartoons was a TV program of shorts. One of these does not necessarily produce better results than the other, but it still needs to be pointed out that discussing Oh Yeah Cartoons/What-A-Cartoons in this post is shifting the discussion toward something else entirely.

  • Samuel

    ok.. I just sat through a load of adverts and nothing came on :/

  • Michael

    Tallie Peer Counselor and Lucas are actually pretty funny. The rest are just kind of unremarkable and unfocused.

  • Scott Shaw!

    Here are my immediate reactions:

    Pam and Sid’s Port A Party created by Annie Sertich and Mindy Sterling — Weirdly funny but i dunno how the concept could be sustained for more than a few minutes.

    Baby Stache created by Gary Anthony Williams — Not very funny and too Chuck Jones-y for my tastes.

    Lucas created by Kyle Dunnigan — Painfully neurotic and feels live-action-y.

    Austin Oliver created by Greg Worswick — “Extremely irritating” is an understatement.

    Wing Dings created by TJ Fuller — Not bad but this has a very short half-life built into its premise.

    Level 15 created by Wolf-Rudiger Bloss — I liked this one a lot. Good designs, voices, premise; it has a lot of room for stories and game parodies.

    Zombie Brothers created by Eric Robles — Again, not bad but it needs more story.

    Carrot and Stick created by Derek Iversen and Miles Hindman — Reminds me of ANNOYING ORANGE but funny like ACTION LEAGUE NOW!

    Marty’s Exotic Animals created by Andrew Friedman — A good premise with embarrassingly unlikable characters.

    Cabrito and Chewy created by Allan Jacobsen and Chuckles Austen — Pretty funny with a promising premise.

    Odyssey Squad! created by Ben Adams — Kinda funny but an obvious variation on THE REGULAR SHOW.

    Tallie Peer Counselor created by Laura Sreebny — This seems aimed at middle-school kids and girls, which seems odd considering the other shorts.

  • Kristen

    Cartoon Network never looked better.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    As the totally “not a novice with tons of lee way to talk” that I am, I’m going to say something totally not bold. The lot of these feel forced in either design, story, or both. And frankly, I sense dishonesty either by the artists in an attempt to please Nickelodeon or by Nickelodeon themselves pushing the artists to make a show that “is like X on Cartoon Network or X on Nick in the 90s”. And I just want to say knock it off and let what YOU want to do fuel YOUR creations! Adventure Time and Regular Show, I’m not a big fan of either, but when I watch them there is something that honestly draws me in despite that. And I speculate, from watching lots of Pendleton Ward, J.G. Quintel, and staff interviews, that these shows for the most part accurately reflect the personalities and beliefs of them. Quintel even said ” Make the things that you want to see, not what you think other people want to see. It’s way too much work to be making something that you’re not even into.” The same goes for 90s animation. John K, Mike Judge, Joe Murray Trey Parker, and Matt Stone. All their shows seem to be an adequate reflection of who they are and what they believe and do. In other words, it’s ART! That’s why they are so memorable and addicting to watch. At least to me they are. “Talent Search” my butt. Let Nick come to YOU if they’re interested. There’s other networks and this radical new thing called the internet. You be in the driver seat and find what works best for you. And I am not saying this out of spite for anyone. I see a lot of talent and potential in these people, and I wouldn’t be saying this if I didn’t because I wouldn’t care. Maybe it’s just these people are a bit older and experienced than me, and in turn, dampened by “reality”. But all I’m saying is it’s been done before and I see people like Aaron Long and other various Indie artists trying really hard to do it their way and getting it sometimes. So it’s not totally radical and out there. I just hope Nick didn’t by the rights and chain them down to these. That would suck.

  • jm

    There must surely be a lot of creative talent out there that is being overlooked. As a schoolteacher, I have quizzed children as to what they are allowed to watch. Spongebob seems to be mentioned most, and Family Guy is banned altogether. Kids need genuinely funny, creative cartoons, that inspire good feelings and that have meaningful substance or say something. Potty humor is old and uninspiring. Rehashing day-to-day routines seems also old. Otherwise why go through all the bother and money to have non-art and the same-old same-old stuff. Level 15 was very creative and had wonderful humor and animation. Isn’t there a better way for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon to get pitches for shows? I know there’s a lot of talent and creative people that can top these shorts–especially in substance, humor and enduring content–surely. Keep looking, please, for future childrens’ sake!!

  • KoH-FaO

    Idea’s are a dime a dozen, it’s how you execute them that counts; and overall, I thought the execution on most of these we’re lackluster. You could tell there was a certain degree of passion behind all of them, but for the most part I felt they were just trying to do what they thought would work and not what they thought was good. It’s tough though, trying to keep your sense of artistic integrity while at the same time try to appeal to the networks and what they’re trying to throw at the youth of today.

    Favorite 3:

    Carrot & Stick
    Marty’s Exotic Animals


    Least Favorite:
    Baby Stache
    Zombie Brothers
    Odyssey Squad.

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    Has anyone else woken up with that “Wing Dings” short stuck in their head? I don’t why, I’m just hooked on it’s blended style. And that owl reminds of another cartoon character, I just can’t pin which one!

  • CM

    Snooze. Some have okay visuals but none are funny and the stories are tired. Who’s in charge of development there??

  • Jabril Mack

    Cabrito and Chewy was My favorite for sure! Nice quick funny story with some sweet animation!

    Also Kyle Dunnigan’s Lucas must be based off of his Reno 911 character! hahaha

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    *cough* It would most certainly NOT help to ask someone in the US to download them off Firefox and send you the files.*cough*

  • truteal

    – Pam and Sid’s Port A Party reminds me of the Mouse House
    – Baby Stache reeks of lolrandumb humor
    – Lucas and Austin look generic
    – Carrot and Stick looks good (reminds me of Chowder) and Marty looks interesting
    – Odyssey Squad! reeks of trying to hard to be Regular Show and Adventure Time (Just like Sanjay and Craig!)
    – The rest look alright

  • Ryoku240

    Just going off the screencaps I began questioning how creative these shorts could be, a few of them looked original while the others all looked like they were mimicing modern cartoons, if not cartoons of the late-90’s,

    But I decided to keep an open mind for judging them.

    Pam and Sid: Way too hecticly paced, this one throws any sense of timing or character out the window in a vein attempt to cram as many jokes into one solid minute as possible, I wasn’t far off from one of those “sped up” videos
    you’ll find on youtube. Visually it was fine, but needs better writing and less choppy animation.

    Baby Stache: Uhm, I guess this would work for in-between shorts when a films on or something, this would grow stale as an actual show though. Visually was fine, but the animation struck me as stiff. I was expecting an ad shaving at the end.

    Lucas: Felt and looked like an obnoxious Regular Show copy.

    Ausrin Oliver: Remember that brief time where stiff Canadian flash cartoons were abound in Cartoon Network? Well it looks like they’ve migrated, deravitive style and mediocrity wrapped in one cartoon!

    Wing Dings: Whats up with these shows and dancing? Visually and animation-wise this show actually looks good, but the humor wasn’t cutting it for me “ZOMG A pup in a jar meme? lulz”, the story and characters were fine but I could do without the internet random humor.

    Zombie Brothers: Because we don’t already have enough zombie-based franchises! I really did not get the appeal of this one, I swear that Nick used something similar to this for ad bumpers a few years back.

    Carrot and Stick: More ad bumper stuff, it was okay but felt a bit obnoxious with all the screaming.

    Mcfly’s Exotic Animals: Average animation, obnoxious humor, unfunny characters, will the absolute aura of averageness end? I could’ve sworn that Nich had some old bumpers featuring a Crocodile Hunter-ish kid that was similar but a bit more clever. This felt like a forgery of a Spongebob episode.

    Cabito and Chewy: This one was okay visually, but I feel that fart jokes are quite dead for me, on the other hand this one could actually become an interesting show, its not half-bad I say.

    Level 15: Is this Wreck it Ralph with animals or something? Visually nice, a few gags were fine but the animation was your usual flash work, yay more poopfartbutt jokes!

    Odyessey Squad: Dood speak and 8-bit music! That’ll make this show an instant success with our target audience! I wanted to like this one, but I cannot ignore that it feels more akin to a cold calculated product in the
    vein of Sajev and Craig. The gag timing and pacing were fine, but they should be if you rigorously study Adventure Time.

    Tallie Peer: Where have I seen this art style before? Oh yea, everywhere, along with stiff flash animation, should’ve been called “the Miss Adventures of Ms Peer”.

    Well a few of these were creative I’ll admit, but at the same time they feel like the work of students being taught “how to fit in”, utilizing similar obnoxious pacing, Spongebob character copies, and fart jokes. I’m not demanding totally original ideas, but I’d like a bit more variety in execution.

    I await a batch of shorts that’ll hopefully be a bit more creative and less concerned with winning over TV executives..

  • Confusion

    I think that, in terms of visuals at least, these are all more interesting to look at than Cartoon Network’s recent pilots, which for the most part looked pretty samey imo.

  • Mallow

    WAS incredibly sweet and HAD depth. Spongebob has been a train wreck of a show for years now.

    • Animator606432

      Once the original show’s creator left there is no reason to go on. All it is for the network is an easy cash and grab.

  • Mark Neeley

    As far as everyone saying “Odyssey Squad” is too AT/RS-esque … the creator was a character designer/storyboard artist on Regular Show. Just pointing this out because with the generic name I didn’t recognize it at first but now it’s a little more understandable. I thought the short was nice but yeah, the dialogue of the main characters at least needed to be differentiable and more creative or the overlap is just too much for me (and from the sound of it, for others).

    Now that I’ve watched them all I’ll chime in and say that Cabrito and Chewy was my favorite as far as potential goes.

  • a

    I love the art style of “Austin Oliver”.
    It’s just so cool looking.

  • Keen Bean

    Kyle Dunnigan has been using the same character for years now.

  • Mizecarter

    My thoughts. THESE ARE OPINIONS
    1.Pam and Sids Port a Party-I didn’t watch this show for over 30 seconds… it was that bad in my opinion.
    2.Baby-Stache-Uuuuuhhh.., I think it might work but probably for the younger audiences. It seems a little too…simple.
    3.Lucas- Meh. I sort of liked this one although I could tell where the plot was going in 2 seconds. I would rather a bit more creativity in something other than the characters for once.
    4.Austin Oliver-The story seemed funny, but for some reason the show became very annoying very quickly.
    5.Wing Dings-I think this show has potential, but it was stupid. Pup-in-a-Jar?! That was just really, really messed up.
    6.Level 15-Just watch this one yourself. I don’t really know what to say.
    7.Zombie Brothers-Someone please explain to me how you can add another 14 minutes to this episode. I don’t think I will ever get through a full episode of this show if it hits television.
    8.Carrot and Stick-One of the better ideas of the 12. The humor is a bit better and more suited for older kids, plus the art style just makes movement look hilarious.
    9.Marty’s Exotic Animals-Another good pilot. This show seems like it already could have multiple seasons locked in, unlike the Port A Party pilot.
    10.Cabrito and Chewy-This was the first pilot to actually make me laugh even though I didn’t like the plot much. The zany characters and their personalities are awesome, but I hope that if is made into a series it won’t be too stupid.
    11. Odyssey Squad- I think this is trying too hard to be like adventure time: Video game and weird retro everything, crazy music and dialogue, plus zany and surreal characters. Nick, don’t try to be something you are not.
    12. Tallie Peer- This show was crazy and funny yet not overly weird at all. It seems like the most un-forced (see Jason Cezar Duncan’s comment) show on here besides maybe Carrot and Stick.

    In a nutshell, most of these pilots seem mediocre to me except for a select few. Most of them sound like ideas tailor made for Nick’s current style (which I dislike) too.

  • Ryan

    The Modifyers pilot back in 2007 was a lot better than any of these. At least the animation and storyline had some depth….

  • Cloverena

    I think Tallie Peer counselor shoud be a show. It makes me think of my own idea for a show I wanted to make.

  • Whaaaat

    Powerpuff Girls, Dexters Lab, It should be noted that making an animated tv show work is harder than live action. Making characters and dialogue seem natural is tough with actors on a set. At least they’re trying to look for talent.