The Wuzzles (1985)

“The hell is this?” That was my first reaction when I came to discover this program. For the longest time when I was younger, I always had the notion that Adventures Of The Gummi Bears was Disney’s first animated cartoon. I was pretty surprised to find a show had been produced prior to that one, as I knew a lot of Disney titles but never heard of this show up until that point I found out about it.

It was more than likely because The Wuzzles was a flop. With only 13 episodes made, it still stands with the lowest amount of episodes of any animated television program Disney has put out thus far. That, and with a long passage of time, has made a show like this almost forgettable. I can’t recall this show ever airing in Canada, and this is the only Disney series I have never laid eyes on. Truth be told, I never even saw the opening credits until I searched for the show on Youtube while writing this entry. I can kind of see why it wasn’t a big hit – because it looks weird. Of course readers who actually saw this series could prove me wrong, as I can’t base any real opinion on it since I’ve never seen any of the episodes.

The Wuzzles premiered the same day as Adventures Of The Gummi Bears on September 14, 1985, with one show airing on CBS and the other on NBC. It was Disney’s first venture into animated television for kids. From what I’ve researched the idea of the show came from then CEO of the Walt Disney Company Michael Eisner, in association with toy manufacturer Hasbro, to create a group of animal characters with a roughly even and colorful mix of two different species of animals. Yes, it’s really that weird. And the theme song mentions “livin’ with a split personality” as a reference to this, which sounds even weirder. And they all have wings on their backs…no I’m not making this up. It gets better…all of the Wuzzles live on the Isle of Wuz. Is this meant to mean “Wuztf?”, because that’s basically all I can say about this cracked “what were they smoking?” type of cartoon. Another reason it failed: while Disney later on would become known for making shows about entertaining kids first with good stories and characters, this series was the opposite. It carried with it the standard marketing ploy of the time to get products to sell, and The Wuzzles were marketed extensively with books, plush toys and a board game, among other things. And while not a huge factor as voice actors can be replaced, one of them who voiced one of the main characters died, which only nailed another nail into the coffin for the series.

While The Wuzzles was not successful here, it did fairly better in the UK where its pilot episode aired as a theatrical feature. What the show did have was a catchy opening theme, which would become a trademark of many Disney cartoons to follow. There are some random clips of the show on Youtube. I quickly viewed them, and just shook my head at lameness.


Anonymous said...

There is nothing weird about “livin’ with a split personality”, if you know what trauma based mind control is. This cartoon was just one of the first attempts to employ it on the big scale. Some today's cartoons are based on it, but if you are not a specialist you won't understand it.

Anonymous said...

This is the first cartoon I fell in love with. I was born in 82 so I was the prime demographic for this show in 85 when it hit the air. I had the plush toys and would gather them around me as we watched the show. While I won't comment as to the series story line ect. I will say that like most shows if you aren't the target audience watching the series when it originally aired you probably won't get it. I hate sponge bob for instance, but it isn't marketed to me. In the same way kids today don't watch thunder cats; it doesn't work today as it's era has passed. It's simply not a fair assessment to look at a kids show from a bygone era as an adult today and try to judge it.

Anonymous said...

This show was great and I had a few of the stuffed animals! I loved them because they were bright, unusual and made a combination of creatures that could never exist, but were fun and friendly.

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