Cow and Chicken is an animated comedy television series created by David Feiss for Cartoon Network. The series follows the surreal adventures of a cow and a chicken named after their own species. They are often antagonized by The Red Guy who always poses as several different characters to scam them. Late into the series, the two characters I.M. Weasel and I.R. Baboon from the recurring segment, I Am Weasel, were given their own half-hour series of the same name.
Like other 1990s cartoon series from Cartoon Network, the original pilot of Cow and Chicken appeared as an episode of What A Cartoon! The series first broadcast on Cartoon Network from July 15, 1997 to July 24, 1999 with reruns airing until 2006. Reruns began airing on Boomerang on April 2, 2006. The series was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1996 and 1998.
On March 30, 2012, the series returned to Cartoon Network in re-runs on the revived block, Cartoon Planet.
The series centers on two unlikely, but biological siblings, the sweet-natured, dim, ecstatic, anthromorphic Cow and her older brother, Chicken. The series was set in an eccentric, surreal environment and was humored with laughily grotesque and repulsive comedy and animation and revolves around the surreal, strange escapades of Cow and Chicken that are often triggered by their odd, naked enemy, The Red Guy. The humor and storylines are often centered around childhood worries, anxieties, or phobias such as cooties or venturing into the girl's restroom, but still enhanced comically. The series also included Cow and Chicken's delirious, dimwitted human parents that only their waist down can be seen, and Chicken's two friends, Flem and Earl, along with his cousin, Boneless Chicken.
The idea for Cow and Chicken first existed as a story that he had made for his daughter. Feiss was a cartoonist who worked with Hanna-Barbera and related projects since 1978.
Later, Feiss was called to submit any ideas for the What A Cartoon! show. Hanna-Barbera decided to make Cow and Chicken into their own show because of many letters from fans asking for more cartoons of Cow and Chicken.
The series premiered July 15, 1997 and ran for 52 episodes through 1997 and reruns were shown on Cartoon Network until April 10, 2006. As a supporting segment, I Am Weasel ran in between Cow and Chicken cartoons which turned into their own independent show.
Cow and Chicken was noted that one single actor, Charlie Adler played three single rolls in the series. Other actors provided the voices of supporting roles, such as Dan Castellaneta (Earl), David Feiss also did the voice of a clown in an episode, and other supporting voice actors such as Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, and Seth MacFarlane also did some voices.
The series drew on several different types of cartoon humor during its run. The series also made use of cartoon violence; Cow and Chicken frequently placed in dangerous situations and The Red Guy was frequently pummeled by Super Cow. The series also made fun of cliches of cartoons, for example, Cow has an alter-ego, Super Cow, who has different characteristics of her normal character, such as the abilty to fly and and to speak Spanish and The Red Guy tries to discover Super Cow's secret identity so that he can "die happy." Another cliche made fun of in the series was that the children's parents can only be seen waist down, are called Mom and Dad by everyone, and their shadows stop at their waist and nothing else can be seen. A picture even exists on the wall of the parents from the waist down. Cow can even disguise herself as her dad just by wearing his pants. This makes fun of partially unseen characters such as the nanny from Muppet Babies who can only be seen from the end of her neck down. Many of the jokes were adolescent, which made the show somewhat controversial.
Recurring Jokes and GagsEdit
In some episodes the unseen body parts of Mom and Dad are used as a joke, for example in one episode the camera "accidentally" zooms out to far and shows them cut off at the waist. Cow and Chicken search through a closet by throwing everything outside, and for a small moment the upper human bodies which are rumored to be Mom and Dad's bodies are visible as a part of a discarded science project by Cow. They are occasionally scene driving with their feet. writing and grabbing things with their toes and dialling the phone by kicking the numbers.
When disguised, The Red Guy wears no pants and the names of the characters of which he poses as reflect in puns or more literal references such as "Mr. Likenopants," "Officer Pantsoffski," and "Bare Derriere," "Ivan Panced," "Lance Sackless," "Ben Paced," "Rear Admiral Floyd," "The Great Pantsini," "Larry Lackapants," "Mr. Jeans Begone," "Dr. Laxslax," and "Dr./Mr./Prof. Heiniebottom," and Supercow will refer to The Red Guy as "El Diablo sin pantelones," which being translated means "the Devil without pants."
Within the show, the characters of the show often refer to everyone else as ladies, girls, gals, or men, regardless of their gender, as well as constantly peppering their speech with malapropisms and using sarcasm.
Like The Garfield Show, the show also often brakes the fourth wall.
The two main characters, Cow and Chicken, made cameo appearances in Ben 10 Omniverse as aliens. They were the second Cartoon Network cartoon characters to make cameo appearances, the first being Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.
Cow and Chicken Season 1 was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia on September 12, 2007. The season 2 DVD was released by the same company on February 10, 2010 in Australia.
It is currently unknow if there will be any DVD releases in the United States.
Cow, Chicken, and The Red Guy have all been characters in the game Cartoon Network Racing. The Play Station 2 version includes Flem and Earl as playable characters. Cow, Chicken, The Red Guy, and Super Cow have all been characters in Cartoon Network Speedway. In the video game FusionFall, one of the character items is based on Cow and Chicken. Cow and Chicken's cousin, Boneless Chicken can also be seen on a billboard in the game. Though not in the game yet, Super Cow can be seen as a statue in Mt. Neverest in FusionFall.