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Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends

Entry updated 7 June 2021. Tagged: TV.

US animated tv series (2004-2009). Cartoon Network Studios. Created by Craig McCracken. Directors include Robert Alvarez, Robert Cullen, Craig McCracken, Randy Myers and Eric Pringle. Writers include Darrick Bachman, Lauren Faust, Craig Lewis and Tim McKeon. Voice cast includes Grey DeLisle, Keith Ferguson, Tom Kane, Sean Marquette. 79 22-minute episodes and eighteen shorts. Colour.

Aged eight, Mac (Marquette) is getting too old to have an imaginary friend, or so his mother tells him. As they are real, created from a child's imagination, Mac's – Blooregard Q Kazoo, or Bloo (Ferguson), a blue earplug-shaped creature – joins Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, a Victorian mansion that houses discarded friends until they are adopted by a new child. But Mac has no wish to lose Bloo – and he is told that if he visits every day Bloo will not be adopted.

The Home is owned by elderly Madam Foster (Milo), though it is her granddaughter, Frankie (DeLisle), who does most of the work; also in a position of authority is the formal and aristocratic Mr Herriman (Kane), a giant British rabbit who is Madam Foster's own imaginary friend. Mac, Bloo, Frankie and their pals at the Home have a series of adventures; they tend to be non-fantastic in themselves, save for the presence of the imaginary friends. However there are exceptions: Imaginary Man is a Superhero who saves the town from a rampaging Extremosaurus, which are "vicious and destructive imaginary friends ... created by jerky teenage boys". Watching the film Brainsucking Aliens from the Moon convinces Bloo another Imaginary Friend is an Alien – and he might well be right. Bloo's imagination is vivid and undisciplined: he writes and directs a film called "T-Rexatron Alienwolf III, A Prequel in Time: The Unrelenting", whose brief runtime manages to cram in most SF movie Clichés (plus several Fantasy and action ones to boot). He also recounts a relatively mundane day's events at the Home to Mac in the form of a Space Opera. There are several nods to Douglas Adams (such as two Scientists named Douglas and Adam), as well as references to numerous genre films, including Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978); Flash Gordon (1980); Star Wars (1977) and Yellow Submarine (1968).

Clearly much fun was had designing the Friends, whilst the House's interior architecture is enjoyably gothic. Indeed, the show is memorable more for its distinctive animation rather than its stories, which have fairly routine conflicts often triggered by Bloo's selfishness and lack of foresight; however, it is often amusing. It won many awards, including seven Emmys and five Annies. [SP]


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