Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mid June Studio Roundabout

Bento Box, a newer studio in sun-dappled Burbank, has a good hunk of board artists now working on Bob's Burgers (slated for Fox Television some months from now) with a couple of pilots in development.

The crew, one and all, think it's a funny show. Crews, of course, can be wrong about the quality of the product on which they're working, but usually when I hear divided sentiments I know something is up. In this case, there is a unanimity of sentiment that it's entertaining.

So ... we'll see. But most agree that the studio is a pleasant place to work. As one old hand told me:

"One of the guys stayed into the early morning to hit a deadline; management held a meeting and said: 'Don't do that. If you need some extra help, we'll get some help.'

I've worked a lot of places, and you don't hear that too often, if at all ..."

Bento Box has already worked on DreamWorks Animation's Neighbors From Hell, launched this month on TBS. A sampling of Neighbors' reviews:

"...In a TV trope as old as "The Addams Family" and "The Munsters," minimally updated by animation, much crudity and current pop culture references, TBS' new series "Neighbors From Hell" seeks to lampoon human depravity by contrasting it with the more reasonable behavior of supernatural beings ... The hell this time around may be full of requisite flames, but the preferred method of torture is lame irony ... [I]t's that kind of show, brimstone and treacle, which is difficult to make into a winning combination even by a talking dog."

"... [T]he bulk of the material is stubbornly humdrum, given its satirical potential. “Neighbors From Hell’’ is little more than another a fish-out-of-water comedy, with the Hellmans filling the role of the Munsters, the Addams Family, or the Beverly Hillbillies. ..."

"... The semi-obscure reference to the demon from The Exorcist is a wink at genre fans. There were a few other smart jokes, including the sign above Satan’s door: “Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enters My Office.” Cute.

We’ll see how long I feel inclined to keep up with a show that didn’t once make me laugh out loud—I’m less forgiving of subpar sitcoms than I am of dramas. But perhaps Neighbors From Hell can become something to tide me over ..."

(So you know, I want every animated project out there to succeed and prosper, because it enhances the lives of every artist working in the animation industry. So all the best to Neighbors From Hell.)

Meanwhile at DreamWorks Animation, I finally registered that almost all the artists are (now) in the larger and more opulent Lakeside building, while administrators and production support people now occupy the reconfigured spaces in the other Italianate structures sprinkled across the Glendale campus.

(I did run across a few story artists, story coordinators and a director type person in a building on the other side of Lake Katzenberg*, but I'm certain this is an anomaly.)

* My name for the large koi pond from which snowy egrets like to dine.


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