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“Periwinkle Around the World” by Aaron Springer

Here’s a real treat to start the weekend: Aaron Springer (SpongeBob SquarePants, Korgoth of Barbaria) created this series of Periwinkle shorts in the mid-2000s for Cartoon Network. Originally intended as a pilot, the network asked him to instead transform it into a series of two-minute vignettes that it wanted to use as cell phone content. They eventually aired them on a short-lived CN series called Sunday Pants and they’ve been out of sight since then. That’s a shame because they are among the most inspired, laugh-out-loud pieces of animation that Cartoon Network has ever produced. If I had to make a list of the necessary ingredients for a funny animated short, I couldn’t do better than what’s contained in Periwinkle: appealing characters who are fun to watch, simple set-ups that allow for visual storytelling, gags that build in intensity, and inventive animation.

  • Bob Harper

    I remembered when they showed us those internally and everyone and I mean EVERYONE laughed out loud. It was what I was hoping the Mr. Bean cartoon would’ve been.

  • jerome

    Genndy Tartakovsky participated as director, didn’t he ?

  • I’ve never heard of these before, but I really like them. Funny designs, great direction, wacky animation… What more do you need?

    Are these the only episodes that were made, or are there more?

  • Ah, I’ve been looking for this. Thanks!

  • thirty seven directions of excellent

  • Daniel

    These are too good for the direction CN chose to go.

  • These are superb ! Funny drawings, funny gags, good animation. Love the emphasis on visual, physical gags , not just yak-yak-yak “hip n’ cool” dialogue. Agree with Bob Harper: this is what the Mr. Bean animated series should have been like.

    Execs at CN who passed on developing this as a full on series made a huge blunder , imo.

  • Baron Lego

    The hell? CN passed on this as a ongoing show? WHY?! At the very least they could make more shorts and air them intermittently as filler.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It certainly wouldn’t hurt them to do so (“Shorties” anyone?)

  • Karl Hungus

    Ho hum, another brilliant opportunity squandered by the executives at Cartoon Network.

    Oh well, Atlanta was never known for being a hotbed of creativity so I guess we can’t be surprised that every television executive that lives there(and there are oh so many of them) is completely unable to recognize quality. But at the end of the day thats okay, the consequences of their bad decisions only affect the nameless faceless people on the other side of the country. It doesn’t affect the audiences that watch their channel, whatever they put on will garner average ratings so decisions don’t matter. We should get a list of the current interns making copies at the Atlanta CN headquarters. One or two of them will be executive VPs of programming in four years.

    Well done Cartoon Network!!
    *golf clap*

    • Karl Hungus

      I love that they selected this for “cell phone content”. Who in the industry doesn’t remember the quasi retarded fervor that executives had for that doomed platform.

  • Jon

    Wow. Amazing.
    And boy did Regular Show rip this guys style off… Only not nearly as good.
    Cartoon Network is retarded… Can you imagine having a company and someone brings you a product this good and saying NO to it???????
    And instead you make Urban Outfitter cartoons like Regular Show & Adventure Time

    • katty

      Don’t forget everyone’s favorite cartoon The Problem Solverz. Why have pleasing character designs, funny gags and actual plots when we can instead have terrible character designs, unfunny randomness and stories that seem to go all over the place?

    • Zeus

      How appalling that such sniveling is so well-liked. This was fun, but I would take Adventure Time and Regular Show over it any day. Ultimately, they’re just very different types of shows. Had this become a series, I’m sure it would have done pretty well (and yes, I would have watched it)… but I highly doubt it would be as well-received as Adventure Time or Regular Show (I suspect there is little crossover between the Mr. Bean fanbase and the Cartoon Network fanbase)

      Just out of CN’s recent developments, you could have bashed Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, Level Up (and CN Real in general), The Annoying Orange, etc. and yet you choose Adventure Time and Regular Show as CN’s iconic bad shows? Talk about “retarded”…

      • truth hurts

        You obviously don’t like real cartoons. It’s okay, visual humor, funny impeccable timing and creative animation isn’t for everyone. Maybe those sterile, watered-down, sitcom influenced, poor subtle acting, awkward pause, ironic, hipster-approved, animated shows are more up your alley.

      • Thomas Hatch

        I don’t understand why people are comparing these to CN’s current lineup? Periwinkle was developed way back in 2003. The idiot execs who passed on them are long gone, as are the shows greenlit instead (Class of 3000, Juniper Lee, Gym Partner, etc) Why aren’t you bashing these shows? Does your refined palate really see no difference in quality between Adventure Time and Squirrel Boy? That’s nuts. As for JG ripping off Springer’s style, have you ever been inside a museum? Artists have been “ripping off” other artists since the beginning of time.

        Also, the fuck is an “Urban Outfitter cartoon?”

    • tcd

      You know that many animators working on Regular Show share similar styles and that most of them have been working on the network since 2005 or even before? For example, J.G. Quintel started working on Camp Lazlo. Some could have worked on these shorts. Don’t bash Regular Show just because you don’t like it, that show, along Adventure Time saved the channel from sucking… even more than before.

      • joe

        I like Regular Show, but honestly, they do kind of rip off Aaron’s style. Working on Periwinkle isn’t really a good excuse.

        Like, in this comic from Aaron’s website (NSFW), a lot of the expressions I see were also used in Regular Show.

  • I love Periwinkle’s character design, its incredibly wacky but fun to look at. Really enjoyed these.

  • Murphy

    Such creative executive choices were and are not limited to CN. A brilliant Anime style Flash pilot was passed on by WB in favor of Coconut Fred a few years back.

  • Brandon Lyon

    These were a lot of fun! Anymore out there? Anywhere?

  • Sabrina

    This totally made my day.

  • GhaleonQ

    I had never heard of the man or this before, so, phew, thanks. Aside from the obvious compliments, the animation is rather good for its budget! Accessible, well-crafted, superbly written: what could have stopped it?

    • joe

      “Superbly written?” What the hell are you talking about? This is pure storyboard, baby.

      • GhaleonQ

        *laughs* I meant exactly that.

  • Mike birtwistle

    Thanks Amid! I’ve been looking for this for years. It boggles my mind that Aaron doesn’t have his own show yet. Hopefully someday someone with realize how great he is. By the way, if anyone is interested, Genndy Tartakovsky’s Cartoonstitute short “Maruined” is on YouTube now.

    • Bob Haper

      I agree Periwinkle and Korgoth were some of the funniest cartoons I’ve ever seen. I don’t get why they pass on Aaron either.

      • joe

        Simple, they hate having funny shows.

  • Celia

    I messed these when they aired. These are fantastic shorts! The comedic timing on these are excellent, and the backgrounds are great too. I hope Aaron makes more cartoons, regardless of whether CN is behind them!

  • Crystal

    This is cute. I liked Korgoth more, but I think Springer is very talented. I don’t get why all of you are using this as an example of what CN “should” be right now. I do think CN was in a bit of a rut when this was made, but while not everything is good (which is how I feel about all channels), they’ve gone through a bit of a renaissance–Adventure Time, Regular Show, Thundercats, Young Justice–and DC Nations looks promising. Their only recent strike (for me) against them was canning Sym-Bionic Titan.

    Is it just me, or do people think ALL unmade pilots are better than ALL picked up series, especially when most haven’t seen the pilot the produced series came from. Pilots are often very different from series they become, so comparing an unsold pilot to a sold pilot you haven’t seen doesn’t seem very fair.

    • You make a good point there.

      If ‘verne on vacation’ hasn’t been picked up yet, then I am of the opinion cartoons that are TOO entertaining are rallied against in the boardrooms of the money men

    • joe

      I can’t think of any cartoon pilots that are different from the main series, besides maybe the way it looks.

  • christy

    wow these are so great!!!!!!! the sound is really great too!!!!! so funny! i don’t get how this gets passed on…i could watch perrywinkle all day!