Clarence (2014 TV series)

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Clarence
Clarence-logo.png
Series logotype
Genre
FormatAnimated series
Created bySkyler Page
Written by
Directed by
Creative director(s)Nelson Boles
Voices of
Theme music composerSimon Panrucker
Ending theme"Good Habits" by Saba Lou
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Skyler Page (season 1)[1]
Producer(s)
  • Keith Mack
  • Supervising producers
Running time11 minutes
Production company(s)Cartoon Network Studios
DistributorWarner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channelCartoon Network
Picture format1080i HDTV
First shown inFebruary 17, 2014 (pilot)
Original runApril 14, 2014 (2014-04-14) – present
External links
Website
 
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For the 1988 TV series, see Clarence (1988 TV series).
Clarence
Clarence-logo.png
Series logotype
Genre
FormatAnimated series
Created bySkyler Page
Written by
Directed by
Creative director(s)Nelson Boles
Voices of
Theme music composerSimon Panrucker
Ending theme"Good Habits" by Saba Lou
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Skyler Page (season 1)[1]
Producer(s)
  • Keith Mack
  • Supervising producers
Running time11 minutes
Production company(s)Cartoon Network Studios
DistributorWarner Bros. Television
Broadcast
Original channelCartoon Network
Picture format1080i HDTV
First shown inFebruary 17, 2014 (pilot)
Original runApril 14, 2014 (2014-04-14) – present
External links
Website

Clarence is an American animated television series created by Skyler Page for Cartoon Network. The series revolves around a young boy named Clarence (voiced by Page), who is optimistic about everything, and his friends Jeff and Sumo (Sean Giambrone and Tom Kenny, respectively). Page, a former storyboard artist for Adventure Time and revisionist for Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, developed the series at Cartoon Network Studios in 2012 as part of their animated short development initiative.

The network has commissioned twelve 15-minute episodes, with the pilot airing after the 2014 Hall of Game Awards show on February 17, 2014. The series premiere was seen by approximately 2.3 million viewers, outperforming children's programming in its time slot by double and triple digit percentages. Critical reception was positive, and its pilot has been nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy Award.

Plot and characters[edit]

The main characters in the series; from left to right: Clarence, Jeff, and Sumo

The series revolves around a young boy named Clarence (originally voiced by Skyler Page), who is optimistic about everything, as well as his friends, Jeff and Sumo (Sean Giambrone and Tom Kenny, respectively). Jeff, who sports a cube-shaped head, is organized and calculated in his mannerisms while being rich in knowledge of mostly trivial facts. Cautious and mysophobic, Jeff longs to be a social butterfly. According to the network, Clarence's enthusiasm "offsets Jeff's fears and hang-ups; he can't help but have a good time when Clarence is around."[2] Contrary to Jeff's personality, Sumo is street-smart, using unorthodox tactics to get out of situations that often entail the trio getting dirty, much to the chagrin of Jeff. Page elaborated that "Sumo and Jeff probably wouldn't hang out if it wasn't for Clarence, but he kind of brings them together."[3]

Minor/Recurring characters[edit]

Along with Clarence's friends are his mother, Mary (voiced by Katie Crown), her sketchy live-in boyfriend, Chad (voiced by Eric Edelstein), his teacher, Mrs. Baker (also voiced by Crown) and his various schoolmates:

Production[edit]

Season one[edit]

Clarence was created by Skyler Page, a former storyboard artist and revisionist for the network's series Adventure Time and Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, respectively.[4] The series marks the fifth consecutive graduate of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) to receive a show on the network.[5][6] In addition, at age 24, Page is the youngest creator to be given his own show.[7] Page developed the series at Cartoon Network Studios as part of their animated short development initiative in 2012; two other shows, Steven Universe and Over the Garden Wall, also rose from this initiative.[8]

The idea for the series was conceived by Page, along with creative director Nelson Boles, while they were still students at CalArts. The concept was put into further consideration upon Page landing a job at the studio; the pilot episode was polished by a crew of two or three people. After being picked up by the network, the series is written by a crew of 30 to 35 writers, storyboard artists, storyboard revisionists, colorists and designers. Animation is outsourced to South Korea through Saerom; Page and Boles estimated that production of the first season was 60 percent finished as of April 2014, though they were too "harried by the production schedule" to give accurate estimates.[9] Page explained the hardest part of production is keeping pace: "Once you do an episode, and it's really good and you're proud of it, you have to start over. Every time. It's exciting, but it's very challenging."[9]

According to series writer Spencer Rothbell, Page wanted to create a show evoking a naturalistic tone, he feels, that are similar to cartoons of the '90s, combined with a "more modern sensibility".[10] He ultimately summarized that "it's all about empowering kids and having fun", and, given its intended realism, the writers can insert references to popular culture that have either inspired them or fit a particular genre of an episode.[10] Page had earlier explained that his inspiration for the series derived from programs he watched while growing up, which he felt invoked more poignancy and identifiable situations.[9] Rothbell avoids "pigeonhol[ing] into one type of story", and that some plots "are very character-driven," while others are "sort of based on one idea that we think is really funny."[3]

Page noted that, despite trying to be realistic, fantastical elements are allowed; he expressed that the ability to do convey both as incongruous is one technique he particularly enjoyed. Writing for Animation, Mercedes Milligan noticed the blend of realistic and imaginary elements to be reflected in the show's scenic and character design, favoring "ordinary (or even downright unappealing) locations made inviting with cartoony flair."[9] Boles explained that art direction is used to connect the series' inconsistent character design. In doing so, they also avoid having to fit model sheet with the universe perfectly – a result of what he dubs "the Simpsons effect".[9] Boles and Page also added that attention is paid to background characters in particular, in order to expand variety in plot as well as its universe.[9]

Future[edit]

In July 2014, Page was fired from the series and Cartoon Network Studios after allegations of sexual harassment, according to a confirmation to BuzzFeed from a Cartoon Network spokesperson. Despite his absence, the same spokesperson also confirmed that the series will continue.[1]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
Season premiereSeason finale
Pilot1February 17, 2014 (2014-02-17)
125[8][11]April 14, 2014 (2014-04-14)TBA

Release and reception[edit]

The series, along with Uncle Grandpa and Steven Universe, were announced to the public during the network's 2013 upfront.[12] The series was also previewed at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, along with the latter two series.[13] The network has commissioned twelve 15-minute episodes, and aired the pilot following the 2014 Hall of Game Awards show on February 17, 2014.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Fans of old school cartoons will appreciate Clarence's emphasis on character-based and physical humor. Clarence, after all, is not all that aware of how clumsy he is and frankly doesn't care how ridiculous he looks (a trait we should all be jealous of). Whether he's sneakily tiptoeing about while managing to knock over everything around him or flagrantly violating Jeff's personal space, it's all part of the plan as far as Clarence is concerned.

– Milligan on Clarence[9]

The series has received positive critical reception. Milligan called the series' premise "a breath of fresh suburban air."[9] She found it to celebrate "the joys of childhood" despite lacking talking animals and "magical embellishment".[9] Nivea Serrao of TV Guide expressed similar sentiments, contrasting it with animated series skewing towards fantasy.[10] Writing for USA Today, Whitney Matheson found herself interested in the series upon watching its trailer. She assessed it to blend "just the right amount of humor, weirdness and optimism", and concluded her review informing parents not to miss its premiere.[14]

Brian Lowry of Variety summed it as "a nifty little gem" when compared to live-action comedies with boys for protagonists; "so quirky and idiosyncratic as to feel fresh, even if it treads in well-worn territory."[15] He regarded the characters as unattractive, but noted its first episode as "certainly a lot of fun."[15] He closed his review applauding Page for conjuring "something with a genuine creative spark and relative lack of cynicism."[15]

Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media scored the series three stars out of five, alerting parents that much of the series features "a similar brand of absurdity and crudeness" as Adventure Time while noting it to be "less edgy".[16] While she praised the cast for being "oddly likable," she called the final result "a little uneven", raising "questionable issues" for children, namely the character of Chad and a subtle mocking of "a number of unusual physical characteristics".[16] Nancy Basile of About.com praised the script for providing "lengthy conversations, rather than quick one-liners, that let us get to know the characters and their various personalities."[17] She considered the relationships between characters as "dynamic" and "genuine, with a comedic twist thrown in."[17] She was ultimately reminded of a "thoughtful comedy, like Steven Universe, or even the early episodes of The Simpsons."[17]

Ratings[edit]

Upon its premiere, the series was met with an estimated 2.3 million viewers. It outperformed children's programming in its time slot by double and triple digit percentages, and preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research identified it as the network's most watched series premiere across all targeted demographics for 2014.[18] Its second episode marked an increase in viewership, garnering roughly 2.4 million viewers.[19]

Accolades[edit]

The series' pilot episode was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy Award at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony, hosted on September 15, 2013.[20]

Accolades received by Clarence
YearAwardCategoryNomineesResultReference(s)
201365th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy AwardOutstanding Short-format Animated ProgramSkyler Page, Peter Browngardt, Robert Alvarez, Brian A. Miller, Jennifer Pelphrey, Curtis Lelash, and Rob Sorcher (for the pilot)Nominated[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Aurthur, Kate (July 3, 2014). "Exclusive: The Creator of Clarence on Cartoon Network Has Been Fired After Allegations of Sexual Assault". New York City: BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on July 5, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Clarence". Cartoon Network. Burbank, California: Turner Broadcasting System. March 4, 2014. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Behind the Scenes of Clarence". Cartoon Network. Burbank, California: Turner Broadcasting System. April 4, 2014. See video. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (December 13, 2012). "Cartoon Network Greenlights Clarence". Animation (Calabasas, California). Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ Amidi, Amid (December 15, 2012). "Cartoon Network Orders Clarence". Cartoon Brew. New York City. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ Fraser, Paul (April 14, 2014). "Skyler Page’s Series Clarence Premieres on Cartoon Network". 24700. Valencia, California: California Institute of the Arts. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ Rusak, Gary. "Cartoon Network US & UK announce 2014 slates". Kidscreen (Brunico Communications). Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (December 12, 2012). "Cartoon Network Orders 1/4-Hour Animated Series Clarence". Deadline.com. Hollywood: PMC. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Milligan, Mercedes (April–May 2014). "CN's New Bundle of Joy". Animation (Calabasas, California) 28 (4): 20. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014.  See also: McLean, Thomas J. (April 16, 2014). "Skyler Page and Nelson Boles Talk Clarence". Animation (Calabasas, California). Archived from the original on June 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c Serrao, Nivea (April 14, 2014). "Cartoon Network's Clarence Finds Joy in the Ordinary". TV Guide (New York City: CBS Interactive). Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Heldenfels, Rich (July 25, 2014). "Cartoon Network renews 5 series – Heldenfiles". Ohio. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ Anderson, James; Swaney, Joe; D'Amato, Adrienne; Palaski, Courtenay (January 28, 2013). "Cartoon Network Gets In Front of the Upfront". Atlanta: Business Wire. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (July 22, 2013). "CN Sneak Peeks Rebecca Sugar's Steven Universe". Los Angeles: Animation World Network. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ Matheson, Whitney (April 14, 2014). "Clarence: Preview Cartoon Network's fun new series". USA Today (McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company). Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c Lowry, Brian (April 8, 2014). "TV Review: Cartoon Network's Clarence, The Tom and Jerry Show". Variety (Los Angeles: PMC). Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Ashby, Emily (May 27, 2014). "Clarence". San Francisco: Common Sense Media. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Basile, Nancy (May 6, 2014). "Clarence". About.com. New York City: CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 16, 2014). "Clarence Is Cartoon Network’s Most-Watched Series Premiere to Date in 2014". TV by the Numbers. San Francisco: Tribune Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (April 22, 2014). "Monday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs Lead Night + WWE Raw, The Boondocks, Basketball Wives, Black Ink Crew & More". TV by the Numbers. San Francisco: Tribune Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Clarence". Emmys.com. Los Angeles: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. September 15, 2013. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]