MR.BANKS - COSTUMES
Impersonating Mr.T in the park for some quick coin, Conning his way into the Olympics for hard earned gold, grabbing a Santa clause job, daydreaming of days as a pirate or a knight, even Zorro.
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Published: June 27, 2008
“Three Delivery” is a great-looking new prime-time cartoon on the Nicktoons network. Set in Chinatown in San Francisco, it features three young orphans who save the world nightly while delivering food for their adoptive Nana’s restaurant, Wu’s Garden. The action takes place after dark, and the animation is a riot of reds, greens and yellows: neon signs, rampaging dragons, rivers of hot-and-sour soup.
The show’s premise may prove limiting — the heroes must scurry around Chinatown gathering dangerous recipes once bound in a magical cookbook but set free years ago by the evil apprentice chef Kong Li — and the first two episodes already show some strain when it comes to keeping the narrative fresh. But the children the show is aimed at may not mind as long as the bicycle crashes and kung fu battles are sufficiently spectacular.
What struck this adult fan of Asian pop culture the most about “Three Delivery,” however, wasn’t the show’s quality. It was how little its Asian-ness, or Asian-American-ness, mattered. The loving, retro Chinatown backgrounds; the in-jokes (Shun Lee Park, playing off the New York restaurant; the villain’s name, pronounced Gong Li like the Chinese actress); the visual puns (during an earthquake, a restaurant worker juggles stacks of plates and bamboo steamers like a Peking acrobat) — they all say Asia, but nothing in the show feels like Asia. The overall effect is somewhere between “Flower Drum Song” and “Scooby-Doo.”
That’s an observation, not a criticism. (Another observation: The show’s nearly 30 producers, directors, writers and editors don’t include a single recognizably Asian name.) At the same time, though, there are any number of American cartoons, from “The Powerpuff Girls” to “SpongeBob SquarePants” to the one true American anime, “The Boondocks,” that show a love for the style and rhythms of Asian animation without being fanboy simulacrums of Asian culture.
Nicktoons, Friday nights at 7:30, Eastern time; 6:30, Central time; 4:30, Pacific time.
Produced by Animation Collective and Fatkat Animation for Nicktoons Network in the United States and for YTV in Canada. Created by Larry Schwarz; written by Adeline Colangelo and Kim Holmes; ; Alan Foreman, art director; Sean Lahey, story editor. For Fatkat Animation: Gene Fowler, Nikki Hilton, Andrew Dunnand François Trudel, executive producers; directed by Andy Coyle (episodes 1 & 2) and Tavis Silbernagle (episodes 3 through 26), Robbie Anderson and Doug Little, producers. For Animation Collective: Mr. Schwarz, Chris Fauci and Doug MacLennan, executive producers; Amy Feldman, producer.
WITH: Stephanie Sheh (Sue), Robby Duncan Sharpe (Tobey), Johnny Yong Bosch (Sid), Nan Wu (Nana), Michael Alston Baley (Mr. Wu), David Chen (Barney) and Lex Woutas (Kong Li).
LOS ANGELES/TORONTO, June 20: DIC Entertainment Holdings has entered into a merger deal with Toronto-based Cookie Jar Entertainment, in a transaction valued at $87.6 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, Cookie Jar will pay approximately $31.5 million for all of the issued and outstanding equity in DIC. Upon closing, DIC will continue as a subsidiary of Cookie Jar, which will remain a private company. Subject to approval by DIC’s shareholders and other customary approvals, the deal is expected to close by fall.
The transaction will result in a combined animation library of some 6,000 half hours of programming. It also includes the licensing and merchandising rights to brands such as American Greetings’ Strawberry Shortcake, which has earned $3 billion at retail since DIC relaunched the brand in 2004, and Mommy & Me, a parent-oriented, direct-to-retail product line, as well as Inspector Gadget, Horseland and Cake. The merger covers DIC’s one-third interest in the international children’s channel KidsCo as well.
‘‘We are thrilled to be joining forces with Cookie Jar’s highly respected team,’’ said DIC’s chairman and CEO, Andy Heyward. ‘‘Our two organizations are a perfect fit, with compelling brands, strong licensing and merchandising capabilities and a commitment to quality programming that reflects the needs and aspirations of children and families around the world. I look forward to working closely with Michael and Toper in bringing our two organizations together and charting our future growth.’’
“This transaction will bring together two dynamic and successful organizations with a shared passion for excellence in children’s entertainment,” added Cookie Jar’s CEO, Michael Hirsh. “With the greater scale and resources of the combined company, we will be in a much stronger position to deliver on our promise of bringing the best entertainment and educational content to children and families around the world through the medium of their choice. I first had the pleasure of working with Andy Heyward on the original Inspector Gadget series and look forward to welcoming him into our team.”
—By Kristin Brzoznowski
Labels: Cookie Jar