On this topic, this is the best question to ask first. After all, I was in seventh grade when this show premiered on Nickelodeon in 2001. I should have been too old to care about it. Just to be clear though, this should not be because "Cartoons are for kids" or whatnot. No, absolutely not. Not when CGI movies have wide appeal (even with something as light as Despicable Me), adult cartoons have heavy clout on the Fox network, or when adults are even willing to watch children's animation like Adventure Time.
But what of The Fairly OddParents? Why did I ever find this particular show "good"? Well, at least initially beneath its loud, overly absurd style it had a good story and characters. There was genuine chemistry between the core three characters and a supporting cast with grand potential to boot. There were a lot of great fantasy concepts established too. And it was funny on occasion, sometimes with subtle adult humor. With the right approach this could have been a great show for both kids and adults.
So what happened? Over the course of ten years, the writers got lazy. The show was cancelled and revived, more than once in fact (!). When it returned, more questionable creative decisions were made. We got more basic jokes and references to specific pop cultural elements appealing to the creator. Only poor fantasy and mythology decisions were made from here on out, and any narrative value was drowned out by the horrendously cynical attempts at social satire.
So I should just let this show die, right? Maybe, but for some reason Nickelodeon isn't. Like I said it was revived twice and I heard nothing about it fading from the air now or anytime soon. This is probably because Nick in recent years has really struggled to launch a new hit cartoon show. (It's gotten so bad that they just up and bought the Ninja Turtles. I'm convinced it was so they could have a solid franchise.) Supposedly a good show should come along at some time, but I'm convinced that The Fairly OddParents could be rebooted and reworked into a vastly superior show. Perhaps the hit Nickelodeon needs.
After all, I've seen a truly "hopeless" show before that did reasonably die out, Chowder on the Cartoon Network. And expect that show to come up again very easily on this blog. Between the rapid rate of quality decay and the obsessed female love interest, there are potent parallels to be made with The Fairly OddParents.
Watch this space for more essays over time. I will review individual episodes, discuss characterization (specifically the supporting cast), and go over certain fantasy concepts. I will laud points when the show did work, offer suggestions for improvement, dissect why the worst moments were so inexcusable, and try to comprehend the thought that went into the production based on the final product. After all, I'm a fan. I want to see it be good. But there's one tiny issue:
This Show Drives Me Crazy!