The Amazing World of Gumball
The Amazing World of Gumball is a British-American animated television created by Ben Bocquelet for Cartoon Network. Produced primarily by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, it first aired on May 3, 2011 and ended on June 24, 2019. The series revolves around the life of Gumball Watterson, a 12-year-old cat who attends middle school in the fictional city of Elmore. Accompanied by his adoptive goldfish brother Darwin Watterson, he frequently finds himself involved in various shenanigans around the city, during which he interacts with his other family members—sister Anais and parents Nicole and Richard and an extended supporting cast of characters.
Bocquelet based several of the series' characters on rejected characters from his previous commercial work and making its premise a mixture of "family shows and school shows", which Cartoon Network was heavily interested in. He pitched The Amazing World of Gumball to the network and Turner Broadcasting executive Daniel Lennard subsequently greenlit production of the series. It is the first series to be produced by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, and is currently co-produced with Studio SOI and Great Marlborough Productions Limited.
One unique feature of the series is its lack of stylistic unity. Characters are designed, filmed, and animated using different styles and techniques (stylised traditional animation, puppetry, CGI, stop motion, Flash animation, live action, etc.) The series has made multiple stylistic changes throughout its production, specifically in the transition between its first and second seasons. Such changes include character redesigns, an increase in the use of VFX, higher quality animation, and a shift towards a much more satirical comedic style.
The series revolves around the life of a 12-year-old sky blue cat named Gumball Watterson and his frequent shenanigans in the fictional American city of Elmore, accompanied by his adopted goldfish brother/best friend Darwin. Gumball's other family members—his intellectual sister Anais and stay-at-home father Richard, both rabbits, and workaholic mother Nicole, a cat—often find themselves involved in Gumball's exploits. Gumball attends school with his siblings at Elmore Junior High, where throughout the series he interacts with his various middle school classmates, most prominently his love interest and eventual girlfriend Penny Fitzgerald.
One prominent feature of the series since its third season is "The Void", a dimension inside of Elmore where all the universe's mistakes reside. This includes references to aspects of reality as well as in-series elements. Rob (Hugo Harold-Harrison, David Warner for episodes "The Nemesis" to "The Disaster") is a background character from the first two seasons who became trapped in The Void after becoming "irrelevant". He later escapes in Season 3, after which he becomes Gumball's nemesis and main antagonist. He is shown to be aware of his fictional existence in the Season 4 episode "The Disaster", and his hatred towards Gumball is a result of his role as the protagonist.
Why It Rocks
- Impressively creative, beautiful and colorful animation, which is some of the best looking shows ever created on Cartoon Network.
- Great and likable characters such as Darwin and Penny.
- Indian intro is hilarious (made in comic book-esque style).
- Awesome and very expressive voice acting.
- Entertaining and fast-paced plots.
- Many of the characters' designs are mixed with various art styles such as 2D, 3D, claymation, live-action/puppet, traditional (mostly flash, digital ink and paint, as cel animation (hand-drawn) is no longer standard in the animation industry since the late 1990s/early 2000s), and CGI, which looks very unique for a show and still do to this very day.
- Many good, clever and hilarious jokes, with a mostly perfect mixture of black comedy as the show progress.
- Numerous pop culture references, such as: video games, movies, TV shows, and anime. These are normally very hard for other shows to get right.
- Several excellent catchy songs like "Weird Like You and Me", "The Vermin Man", "I Am Free", "Without You" and "Books are Violent".
- Rob's transition from being a background character into an antagonist was well executed.
- The concept where a dimension is full of the world's mistakes is a pretty interesting and clever idea.
- The show greatly improves as it goes on after season 1 with better plots, better animation, more reasonable stories, and most importantly, more refined comedy, mostly meta humor.
- Despite the show being aimed at kids, it could easily be enjoyed by adults as well due it's surreal humor and some adult jokes.
- Several hilarious, awesome, and memorable episodes such as "Christmas", "The Shell", "The Choices", "The Agent" and the list goes on.
- Some emotional songs such as "Out of Sync" from The Silence, "No More Gi" from The Gi, "Life is Beautiful" from the Faith as well as the near-ending song heard in the episode The Others.
- Some jokes can be unpleasant, particularly in season 2.
- Season 1, while decent, was a weak start to the series thanks to the animation looking nowhere near as recognizable as Season 2 did, and it had a few more mediocre or bad episodes compared to the other seasons. This is excusable for most of the time, as the show was only just starting and the writers had little to work with.
- Some bad or mediocre episodes like "The Girlfriend" (the most infamous episode of the show), "The Parents", "The Apprentice", "The Rival", "The Hero", "The Coach", "The Triangle", "The Laziest", and "The Robot"
- The final episode, "The Inquisition", was not well-received due to it ending with a cliffhanger. However, this will most likely be resolved with the premiere of the upcoming movie on Cartoon Network.
- Some gross-out toilet humor.
- The show's writing began to slightly go downhill around season six (despite some good episodes like "The Faith").
- Like Regular Show, it has a very short intro.
- There is a much longer version, but it's rarely used.
- Some unlikable characters, such as Felicity and Jamie.
- The main characters can be unlikeable at times, mostly the Wattersons. They can be annoying at times, mostly Gumball himself (in first two seasons he used to be a crybaby). Also Richard can be a Karma Houdini (The Laziest, The Prank). Richard's real father, Franky is a lazy bum. Nicole's parents are perfectionists, who want their daughter to be the empress.
- Some of the background characters can suddenly disappear for the whole time in certain episodes and don't return for quite a lot of episodes. Multiple background characters get very little episodes to themselves.
The Amazing World of Gumball has received mostly positive reviews from critics. In a favorable review, Brian Lowry of Variety described the series as "mostly a really clever spin on domestic chaos" and "first-rate silliness." Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly was also positive, writing: "There are few examples of mainstream children's programming as wildly imaginative, as visually and narratively daring, as The Amazing World of Gumball."
The A.V. Club's Noel Murray graded the DVD release of the series' first 12 episodes a B+, writing that "what sets [The Amazing World of Gumball] apart from the many other super-silly, semi-anarchic cartoons on cable these days is that it features such a well-developed world, where even with the eclectic character designs, there are recognisable traits and tendencies." Wired writer Z noted that the series "manages to have genuine heart even as the plots themselves transition from well-worn TV tropes to all out madness." Meredith Morgenstern of Medium praised the show for its diversity, with specific mention of the Watterson's adopted child Darwin, the stay-at-home dad and working mom dynamic of the family, and the casting of young black actors for the aforementioned main character Darwin.
- There is a Chinese knockoff of the show called Miracle Star, which was later parodied by this show in the episode The Copycats.
- The first voice actor of Darwin, Kwesi Boakye, also voiced Gossamer on The Looney Tunes Show.
- Christian J. Simon, who played Darwin Watterson in the 6th and final season, is currently portraying Leo (young Max’s friend) on the Disney Channel original series Sydney to the Max. His former co-star Nicolas Cantu (the actor who played Gumball Watterson in the last two seasons) guest starred as Dominic in the Season 1 episode "Dude, Where's My Car Wash Money?"
- This is the 5th longest running Cartoon Network show behind Johnny Test, Ed, Edd n Eddy, Adventure Time and Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu.
- Speaking of Adventure Time, Kyla Rae Kowalewski, voice actress of Anais Watterson, also voiced Me-Mow on that show.
- After the negative reception of the final episode, Ben Bocquelet, the creator the show, stated on his twitter that it was not his choice to end up the show like this, and he will retribute the fans with the upcoming movie, that still doesn't have a release date.
- Kyla Rae Kowalewski, Teresa Gallagher, and Dan Russell are the only three actors to voice Anais, Nicole, and Richard Watterson in all of the episodes.
- Darwin Watterson has about 4 voice actors of the show. Gumball has 3. So He has the most voice actors than Gumball.
- The same studio that brought you this series later went on to make another Cartoon Network show, Elliott from Earth premiering March 29, 2021.
Episodes With Their Own Pages