Recently, NickJr.com spoke with Bob Boyle, the creator of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Here's what he had to say about the show and what he hopes preschoolers and their parents take away from it.
Where did you come up with the idea for the show?
Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! started as an idea for a children's book and then was developed into the animated TV show. (It's my dream that someone will want to do a Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! ice-skating show in the near future!)
It all started with a trip to visit my niece and nephew in Sacramento. Usually they would run me ragged with games, so when my niece said, "Hey Bobby! Will you draw a story for me?" I leapt at the chance to save my back from any further damage. My niece had come up with a crazy story about a little guy who had gotten his tail bitten off by a big long thing and was seeking help from his friends. As I quickly sketched out the story, she gave me either her approving laugh or complete silence, which I understood as a writer to actually mean "Don't mess with my words." We came up with a cute little four-page comic called The Tail of Flopsy, Mopsy, and Ted, and I jumped on a plane back home with my vertebrae still intact.
A year or so later, I was trying to come up with an idea for a children's book and I remembered our little comic. After clearing it with my niece's legal team, I moved forward with developing Flopsy, Mopsy, and Ted into what ended up being Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! starring Wubbzy, Widget, and Walden. My niece is still upset that I changed their names.
What makes the show different from other preschool shows?
First and foremost we want to entertain kids and make them laugh. We use humor to drive our stories. In fact we have joked that "comedy is our curriculum!" We use classic cartoon physical comedy as a way to keep the kids laughing so that they just naturally soak up the underlying message. Just like a good kitchen sponge!
Tell us how an episode is made.
The show is created by elves in a magical far-off land! Well, actually, they aren't really elves, and the far-off land is Burbank, California. But it's still magical!
The real magic is that we create the show in a program called Flash. It helps us reuse animation elements in a really efficient way and allows us to achieve the really crisp clean graphic style that we were going for. But if you know of any out of work elves, please send them our way!
What do you hope kids will take a way from the show?
Hopefully the show will help kids find the humor in everyday problems. It's okay if things don't go exactly like you planned, and actually sometimes it can be more fun when things go wrong. But most importantly, I want kids to know what to do when a robotic chicken is running amok!
Are the characters modeled after any real-life people?
Nah! The characters are based more on archetypes rather than real-life people--although I do have a friend with a long bendy tail. Hmmmm. . .
How is music important to the show?
When I was working on the Fairly OddParents I would notice how very young kids would react really well to the songs that we had in some of the episodes. So I really wanted to make songs be a big part of this show.
The songs are high-energy catchy pop songs that I like to refer to as "Power Pop for Preschool." Plus, I've always wanted to be in a band so I get to live out my fantasies by writing the lyrics and working with a great musician/composer by the name of Brad Mossman. He takes my silly lyrics and turns them into wonderfully crafted pop gems that I can listen to on my iPod!
What books or shows inspired you as a child?
I loved the classic Warner Brothers cartoons, the Peanuts comic strip, and Dr. Seuss books. I also watched a lot of National Geographic shows, which might explain my obsession with the Hairy-nosed Wombat.
What other shows have you worked on? How is it different doing something for preschoolers?
Prior to Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! I worked as a Producer and Art Director on Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom. Working on a preschool show is very different in many ways. We are playing to a younger audience so we have to be a bit more deliberate with the way we communicate things and the type of humor that is right for a preschool audience. But at the same time, it really just comes down to just telling stories that are entertaining and make people laugh. Hopefully we have created a show that can be enjoyed by a parent and their child. And the family dog. There's lots of good solid dog humor.
Tell us about Wuzzleburg. It seems like a wonderful town.
Wuzzleburg is whimsical place where everything is just a little bit different from our world. The great thing about animation is that you can create just about anything. So we tried to have some fun with things. The buildings all have pastel colored zigzag walls, polka dot floors, and swirly roofs. They defy all building codes. The trees have purple bendy trunks and pink leaves that would make most arborists scratch their heads. And it's filled with all sorts of animals that you would never find on Animal Planet! It's a place where anything is possible and everything is fun! Wow! It sounds like I work for the Wuzzleburg Chamber of Commerce!