Engaging the Target
Tower use animation to ground and make immediate their portrayal of America’s infamous first school shooting 50 years ago at the University of Texas. By Tom McLean.
alistic a style and it could easily run off the rails.
“It has to be more cartoony than real, more ridiculous than believable,” says Povenmire. “That’s were the tone of this show is.”
The title sequence shows Milo averting disasters ranging from a herd of stampeding llamas to fires by simply averting them at the last minute. And he’s always smiling, no matter what’s falling apart around him. “Weird Al” Yankovic, who voices Milo, sings the title song as his character is nearly crushed by a falling toilet or run over by a rolling wrecking ball.
“We have an episode where a boat is sucked into midair,” says Marsh. “And that’s the kind of action we want, where it doesn’t seem like it’s actually something that could happen, except on this show, because that’s what happens on this show and it shows you how determined Milo is even when these things happen to him.”
The show landed a solid group of performers to voice their characters. In addition to Yankovic, Christian Slater voices a glorified crossing guard and Vanessa Williams is featured as Eileen Underwood, the mother of Milo’s good friend. Sabrina Carpenter, a rising Disney star from the show Girl Meets World, is the voice of Melissa Chase. The quality of the cast instantly expanded what the creators could do.
“Weird Al is genuinely musically talented and, even though we always imagined this show would have songs, having someone there who is also musically gifted helps because he brings that into every situation,” says Povenmire. “We auditioned hundreds of peo- ple for this role and Weird Al just had it.”
Slater came on board quickly when he found out Povenmire and Marsh were putting together this show. As a fan of their work, Slater just wanted to be part of the project and was willing to take any part offered to him. Povenmire decided to write the part of a crossing guard — Milo’s foe — specifically for the actor. Respecting the Audience Povenmire and Marsh come to this project with tremendous respect for the kids who watch their shows. They aim to write the kinds of jokes that don’t underestimate them. Marsh hopes the audience for the show will be “pretty much everybody,” because the show’s humor will operate on many levels, hopefully having something to offer to kids as well as the parents and caregivers watching with them.
“We’re always surprised by how much of the humor and the jokes that the kids get and we don’t want to back away from ideas just because someone says the jokes are too smart for the kids,” says Povenmire. “When people watched Looney Tunes, maybe your older sister or your mom got a joke you didn’t get and then you asked them about it, why it was funny, and then you understood something more after that.”
The show also reflects a classic style of animation — the kind of simple lines used for Phineas and Ferb — and that suits the creators because they’d like to keep focus on Milo’s attitude and the message behind it. Milo’s overthe-top optimism is matched with the same kind of broad lines and style in the visuals. It also makes the huge level of destruction on the show less serious. Photorealistic animation of things crashing into each other is not what the show’s creators are after here because “you want a sense that it’s not a real tragedy,” says Povenmire.
“Some of the kids online were talking about our show and they were saying that it looked a lot like Phineas and Ferb and then they realized that it’s because it’s from the guys who made that show, so now there’s excitement about it,” says Povenmire.
“We’re happy to have kids who want to see what we’re doing.” [ Karen Idelson writes about animation, visual effects and other stuff if the price is right. She lives in the South Bay where coyotes, skunks and possums routinely invite themselves into her yard.