“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.