Kids Shows Once Forgotten: Chowder

I love Chowder. No, not the food. Well, I guess also the food, but I mean the T.V. character! This Cartoon Network classic by the same name follows a purple cat-bear-rabbit thing with a can-do attitude and a positive outlook on everything. The series began on Nov. 2, 2007, and came to an end on Aug. 7, 2010, running for 3 seasons.
Chowder is the apprentice of Mung Daal, who makes himself out to be a ladies man and constantly battles with his enemy, Endive, about which of them is the better chef. Mung is married to Truffles, a short-tempered pixie with a toadstool hat. They work with a rock monster named Schnitzel, who usually does all of the heavy lifting and makes sure the kitchen is clean after all of their big fiascos. Some recurring characters include: Panini, Gorgonzola, Gazpacho, and Chestnut. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the characters in “Chowder” are named after food dishes.
The whole show is centered around food, but since all of the characters are named after food, the names they give for their foods and drinks are mostly made-up words. An example would be bluenanas, which are exactly what they sound like. This play on bananas comes from season one episode fourteen, “The Bruised Bluenana.” It is focused on Panini, a little pink bunny girl who has a severe crush on Chowder, watching him walk up to Gazpacho’s fruit stand. While he’s there, Chowder accidentally bruises some bluenanas and calls them his babies. Overhearing this, Panini gets the idea of pretending that the bluenana is Chowder’s and her baby and convinces him to help her nurse it back to health.
The whole episode centers around different ways Chowder tries to fix the baby bluenana before Panini continues to pester him about it. However, she finds out that Chowder makes things worse and decides that they need to be together to take care of the baby. Chowder tries and tries to get Panini off of his back, so he heads to Gazpacho for some advice. They come up with the thought of dressing up as the baby’s mother to take the bluenana back, but it backfires as Panini starts to beat up the pretend mother with the baby bluenana, right before the real mother shows up to take it away.
I love all of the episodes, but The Shopping Spree used to be my favorite just because of the live action scenes, which there aren’t very many of in the show. I don’t know why, but I love the change from cartoon to live action so much. When a show is mostly cartoon and then switches to live action, it’s one of my favorite things, not just in “Chowder” but also in “Spongebob Squarepants.” (Patchy the Pirate episodes are my favorites, they never fail to entertain me.) I think what makes me like them so much is that it’s almost a break from the animation, though that’s not to say that episodes with live action scenes are the only quality I enjoy in a show.
There are a lot of smaller things I really like about “Chowder,” as well. There are many fourth wall breaks and it’s what makes “Chowder” more appealing to me than some other shows: there’s a whole episode about Chowder finally realizing that they are in a cartoon. Continuing, the animation style is also interesting. They use patterns and colors for each character, but what makes “Chowder” unique is the way they do it. As the characters move, the pattern stays in the same place, so it creates a cool effect. The type of comedy “Chowder” has really manifests itself in me and the way I express comedy. Not all the time, as there have been other influences, but it is definitely there.
As much I love this show and its characters, I think the last episode is a bit anticlimactic and doesn’t really do the show justice. I felt it instantly the first time I watched the episode. It’s all about Chowder not wanting to ever grow up and he ends up singing a whole song about it. Towards the end of the song, he holds the last note for literally 20 years before finally losing his breath and finding out that he’s not a kid anymore. Not long after, Mung shows him how he has affected his friends’ lives. Panini, Gorgonzola, and Gazpacho have all had different lives than they were supposed to have had as a result of Chowder’s absence. Chowder sees what he has done and decides to find an apprentice. He goes through all of the candidates except for one, whom he names Scraps.
With the pressure of everyone counting on him, he runs away to The Shmahara Dessert with Scraps riding in his backpack in place of the food Chowder had intended to bring. It turns out that Gazpacho had been living in The Shmahara Dessert instead of all of the things he bragged about and saved Chowder and Scraps from frying in the sun. Along with this, he talks Chowder into going back and growing up. Chowder follows his advice and everyone approves of his first dish as a teacher. As Chowder finally grows up his voice changes, he marries Panini, and he lets all of his friends finally live their lives.
Before closing the episode, the child versions of Chowder and Panini come running in on screen. Kid Chowder doesn’t approve of this future, while kid Panini finds it adorable. There’s another part of the episode, though. To give some context, during the credits of every episode, puppet versions of the characters are in the kitchen just talking about what either happened in the episode or are trying a new food. At the end of this episode, Chowder and Schnitzel are in the kitchen while Chowder explains that he had a dream about having a dream about having a dream about having a dream about living 20 years into the future. Does this mean this whole episode was just a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream?
Even through all of this, “Chowder” has always had a huge impact on me and is the root of some of my humor. Everytime I watch it, I always have a good laugh and the more I watch it, the more I realize how much I relate to Chowder. Maybe it’s because of viewing this show and it having a strong influence over me, or just because I get very confused pretty easily. Either way, “Chowder” is a wonderful and really weird show that I think everyone should watch, no matter who they are.