The Amazing World of Gumball

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"I started looking back at the characters that I created for commercials. It was a big mash-up of 2D, stylized 3D, realistic 3D, and even stop motion. I lined them up and the result looked varied and unusual. I really liked the idea of a show without graphic unity. All these characters had been rejected; they served no purpose. I found that quite endearing. I integrated them into the photo of a schoolyard and was quite excited about the outcome".
-Ben Bocquelet

The Amazing World of Gumball
Gumball CN.jpg
"Nobody's a nobody and everybody is weird like you and me!"
Genre: Surreal comedy
Slapstick
Animated sitcom
Black comedy
Running Time: 11 minutes, one 22 minute special
Country: United Kingdom
United States
Release Date: May 3, 2011 - June 24, 2019
Network(s): Cartoon Network
Boomerang (2014-2023)
Created by: Ben Bocquelet
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Starring: Logan Grove (Seasons 1-2)
Kwesi Boakye (Seasons 1-2)
Jacob Hopkins (Seasons 3-5)
Terrell Ransom Jr. (Seasons 3-5)
Nicolas Cantu (Seasons 5-6)
Donielle T. Hansley Jr. (Seasons 5-6)
Christian J. Simon (Seasons 6-The Gumball Chronicles)
Duke Cutler (The Gumball Chronicles)
Kyla Rae Kowalewski
Teresa Gallagher
Dan Russell
Seasons: 6
Episodes: 240

The Amazing World of Gumball is a British-American animated television series 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. Two miniseries, Darwin's Yearbook and The Gumball Chronicles aired after the show's ending. The former aired from December 14, 2019, to December 28, 2019, and the latter from October 20, 2020, to June 20, 2021. 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 made 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 (stylized 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.

Plot

No, this animated series is not about anthropomorphic chewing gum, it's about a young cat named Gumball Watterson. Gumball has a penchant for getting into trouble, often resulting from schemes he comes up with, but he never seems to learn his lesson. Gumball's best friend is a fish named Darwin, who used to be the family pet until he grew legs and became part of the family. Gumball resents his younger sister, Anais, because she is the smartest member of the family. Gumball's mother is the breadwinner in the family, working long hours at the rainbow factory, and his father stays at home watching TV and playing video games.

Why It's Amazing

  1. It's an animated sitcom about a family just like The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy, but more focused on the family's kids than the parents themselves, something not so common to be seen in kids shows, and it's very captivating, especially for an early 2010's cartoon.
  2. In a similar manner to Drawn Together (yet much larger), 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 standing in the animation industry since the late 1990s/early 2000s), and CGI, which looks very unique for a show, even today.
  3. ​Impressively creative, beautiful, and colorful animation and art style, which is some of the best-looking shows ever created on Cartoon Network, and maybe of all time.
  4. Unforgettable cast, both for the Wattersons themselves and the secondary characters, especially Gumball's schoolmates:
    • Gumball Watterson, the protagonist, is a very kind yet irreverent at the same time blue cat that loves getting in trouble and adventures with his pals and his family. He's mostly loyal to his family and very respectful to his girlfriend, Penny, and has an incredible bond with Darwin.
    • Darwin, Gumball's "pet fish" and BFF, is a golden-heart walking goldfish, always optimistic, who looks for the solution to every problem, but he's a little bit naive and full of pity.
    • Anais Watterson is a tiny, nervous 4-year-old pink bunny who's ironically the most clever family member and Gumball and Darwin's main voice of reason. Despite this, still has her toddler's passions, in particular, her beloved Daisy the Donkey.
    • Nicole Watterson is a very strong, decisive mother who cares a lot about her job and primarily her kids' safety. However, she gets angry often when somebody messes with her (and when does that, turns out creepy), but when there's nothing wrong all around, is a very gentle mom.
    • Richard Watterson is the fatty lazy father with a comic profile in him, a friendly and very funny butterball who keeps on stealing the scene cause of his mediocre parenting, and is like a good combination of Homer Simpson and Patrick Star.
    • Penny is the sweet-horned peanut (at least used to be that) who cares a lot about Gumball and shares a great love with him. Furthermore, she has a great character development in which she changes aspect to reveal her true nature behind the shell.
    • Tobias Wilson is the rainbow fluffy character which is the classic 90's athletic boy, a little bit selfish, but not bad at all.
    • Banana Joe is a surprisingly good and friendly comic character with a quite low I.Q..
    • Carrie Krueger is the likable female emo ghost literally in 3D (one of the special sunglasses, not CGI), who's paranoid about her father and has a crush on Darwin.
    • Alan Keane is the hopeful and perfect balloon that is intelligent and defends everyone from anything.
    • Carmen Verde is the friendly female cactus who is Alan's girlfriend, despite she can always unintentionally "kill" him. Their bond proves how defects cannot stop the love among a couple.
    • Tina Rex is the dinosaur school bully with a cold character who likes to torment all the students, even Gumball. However, this is justifiable by the fact her father is way more aggressive towards guests, which explains her bad behavior.
    • Anton is an optimistic toasted bread loaf who's the school's chewing toy, mostly by Tina.
    • Idaho is a gentle and modest living potato who comes from an Amish-esque family.
    • Clayton is a shapeshifter red clay ball who's good at acting as a liar.
    • Masami Yoshida is the popular and snob female cloud who constantly criticizes everything. Despite this, is quite memorable and sometimes good.
    • Teri is a lovely she-bear paper cut who is afraid of germs.
    • Bobert is a robot with emotional problems but is very smart.
    • Ocho Tootmorsel is the 8-bit spider that has serious anger and trust issues and shoots lasers when he's it.
    • Leslie is Penny's close cousin and the funny male cartoon flower who acts like a girl and has a quite creepy personality.
    • Juke is a stereo-headed kid who is unable to talk normally.
  5. ​The Indian intro of the show is hilarious (as it is made in comic book-esque style).
    • Speaking of which, this is one of the few shows to receive a passable Hindi dub.
    • The Japanese outro of the show is also good.
  6. Awesome and very expressive voice acting.
  7. Entertaining and fast-paced plots.
  8. Many good, clever, and hilarious jokes, with a perfect mixture of black comedy as the show progresses.
  9. Numerous pop culture references, such as video games, movies, shows, and anime. These are normally very hard for other shows to get right.
    • There is even one episode where Gumball makes a joke about going to a brony convention, which is something Cartoon Network shows don't usually do.
    • There is also another episode making fun of shipping fanfics, with unusual pairs in the town falling madly in love.
  10. Several excellent catchy songs like "Weird Like You and Me", "The Vermin Man", "I Am Free", "Without You", "Books are Violent", and "I Can't Say Goodbye", and the list goes on.
  11. Rob's transition from being a background character into an antagonist was well executed.
  12. The concept where a dimension is full of the world's mistakes is a pretty interesting and clever idea.
  13. The show greatly improves after season 1 with better plots, better animation, more reasonable stories, and most importantly, more refined comedy, mostly meta-humor.
  14. Despite the show being aimed at kids, it could easily be enjoyed by adults as well due to its surreal humor and some adult jokes.
  15. Several hilarious, awesome, and memorable episodes such as:
    • The DVD (Where first impressions of the series were met with high expectations)
    • The End
    • The Responsible
    • The Quest
    • The Painting
    • The Mystery
    • The Pressure
    • The Gi
    • The Party
    • The Mustache
    • The Microwave
    • The Helmet
    • The Remote
    • The Knights
    • The Job
    • Halloween
    • The Words
    • The Treasure
    • Christmas
    • The Virus
    • The Game
    • The Tape
    • The World
    • The Kids
    • The Joy
    • The Name
    • The Vacation
    • The Fraud
    • The Void
    • The Boss
    • The Shell (Yet also one of the best episodes with character development between Gumball and Penny)
    • The Mirror
    • The Butterfly
    • The Safety
    • The Countdown
    • The Downer
    • The Money
    • The Return
    • The Others
    • The Routine
    • The Origins (Both parts)
    • The Nest
    • The Bus
    • The Slap
    • The Detective
    • The Fury (Features an anime battle scene)
    • The Scam
    • The Disaster/The Rerun (Ended season 4 and started season 5 with a positive reception.)
    • The Boredom
    • The Choices (Arguably the best episode)
    • The Code
    • The Copycats (Also counts as the best, made to mock its Chinese knockoff, Miracle Star)
    • The Matchmaker
    • The Console
    • The Sorcerer
    • The Menu
    • The Puppets (A good way to end season 5.)
    • The Shippening (Made to mock the show's fandom, shipping fanfics, and DeviantArt)
    • The Spinoffs
    • The Buddy
    • The Possession
    • The Master
    • The Silence
    • The Future
    • The Agent
  16. Some emotional songs such as "Out of Sync" from The Silence, "If It's Too Hard To Forgive" from The Parents, "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.
  17. Teresa Gallagher (Who later voiced the title character of Pip Ahoy!) did a perfect job doing a US Accent with the multiple characters she played (Nicole Watterson, Penny Fitzgerald, Banana Barbara, Jackie Wilson, Teri, Margaret Robinson, Polly Fitzgerald and Joan Markham)
  18. Seasons 5 and 6 are the best season with 2 of the best episodes of the series.

Bad Qualities

  1. Some jokes can be unpleasant, particularly in season 2.
  2. Some unlikable characters, such as Tobias (as well as his Harold Wilson parents), Granny Jojo, and Margaret Robinson.
    • Gumball, while likable, can also become annoying from time to time due to him causing the conflict in most of the episodes, his family (to a lesser extent), can get unlikable too sometimes.
    • Nicole, Gumball, and Darwin's mother, while a good character overall, can also be very unlikable at times as she always gets angry for no reason at all and even abuses everyone, although this can be justified since she was treated horribly by her parents, much like her husband Richard.
  3. Contains a handful of bad/mediocre episodes like
    1. "The Flower"
    2. "The Authority"
    3. "The Castle"
    4. "The Procrastinators"
    5. "The Girlfriend" (perhaps the most infamous)
    6. "The Saint"
    7. "The Parents"
    8. "The Apprentice"
    9. "The Rival"
    10. "The BFFs"
    11. "The Dress"
    12. "The Hero"
    13. "The Limit"
    14. "The Coach"
    15. "The Meddler
    16. "The Nobody" (According to some Fans)
    17. "The Triangle"
    18. "The Laziest"
    19. "The Robot"
    20. "The Bros"
    21. "The Ex"
    22. "The Worst" (A rather fitting title for such episode)
    23. "The Dream"
    24. "The Ad"
    25. "The Promise"
    26. The final episode, "The Inquisition", despite being good, was met with a mixed-to-negative reception from many for ending with a cliffhanger. However, this will most likely be resolved with the premiere of the upcoming movie on Cartoon Network.
      • Adding on to "The Inquisition", Gumball and Banana Joe floss in one scene, which is a poor attempt to be hip and cool with the kids.
  4. Some gross-out moments with toilet humor.
  5. Like Regular Show, it has a very short intro.
    • There is a much longer version, but it's not shown in the US.
      • It's only shown in a rerun in "The Procrastinators/The Shell".
  6. Too many unnecessary 4th wall and pop culture references, which can come off as filler and thus make the episode itself focus less on their plot (despite being mentioned on WIA#8).
  7. While not really a bad thing, they tend to reuse animation quite a lot, which can be particularly noticed in episodes with many characters on screen at once, such as “The Decisions“.
  8. Seasons 1, 5, and 6 while still good, have their share of flaws.
    • Season 1 is arguably the weakest season of the series as the animation (while decent) isn't as good as the later seasons and the comedy is less developed. Not to mention the characters were mean-spirited to the Wattersons.
    • Seasons 5 (although to a lesser extent) and 6 often rely on satirical comedy, which is quite dull, has some confusing episode plots, and makes some attempts to be hip and cool with kids. Despite this, the VFX and the animation improved a lot, and these seasons are still improvements over Season 1.
  9. The continuity is REALLY inconsistent, especially during the later seasons. In fact, in addition to the season finale, most episodes end on a cliffhanger simply by cutting to black right in mid-situation. Although some can be quite funny to viewers.

Reception

The Amazing World of Gumball received widespread acclaim from critics. In a favorable review, Brian Lowry of Variety described the series as "mostly a 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 recognizable traits and tendencies." Wired writer Z noted that the series "manages to have a 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 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.

Even though the show ended two years ago, it remains one of the most popular shows on Cartoon Network.

Trivia

  • 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?"
  • As of 2021 (along with Teen Titans Go!), the show takes up around 80% of Cartoon Network's daily schedule, two years after the show ended.
  • 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 of the show, stated on his Twitter that it was not his choice to end the show like this, and he would retribute the fans with the upcoming movie, which 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.
  • Gumball and Darwin have both had 4 voice actors throughout the show.
  • The same studio that brought you this series later went on to make another Cartoon Network show, Elliott From Earth premiering March 29, 2021.
  • The show is very popular in Japan thanks to its cuteness and overall weirdness. It's even beaten Tom and Jerry in terms of popularity in Cartoon Network Japan.
    • The show is also very popular in Latin America, and there are more videos in Latin American Spanish on YouTube than videos in English about the show.
    • The show is also immensely popular among kids and adults alike in the United States due to its clever humor and imaginative animation, with several fans who are unaware that the show is British (though the show is distributed by an American company and has a mostly American voice cast, the show itself is produced in the United Kingdom). The show got great ratings, was (and still is, despite having ended) beloved by Cartoon Network's American feed, and is considered one of the biggest factors behind Cartoon Network's recovery from Network Decay in the early 2010s.
  • It had two miniseries after the last episode came out called Darwin's Yearbook and The Gumball Chronicles, but both of them were poorly received for being very generic clip shows that have nothing to do with the rest of the series.

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