The new animated series “Jellystone”, which will be broadcast on January 17 on Cartoon Network Portugal, will breathe new life into dozens of characters that were in the trunk of former cartoon giant Hanna-Barbera.
“It’s animation royalty, it’s everybody’s dream job,” executive producer and showrunner CH Greenblatt, who was asked to join the project by Warner Bros executives, told Lusa. . “I was told to do whatever I wanted. It’s been so long since anyone has done anything with these characters that there was no expectation,” he said.
Hanna-Barbera, meanwhile absorbed by Warner Bros. Animation, was the house that created iconic characters such as Yogi Bear, Atomic Ant, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Captain Caveman and many more.
“There are so many characters, there are dozens and dozens, more than I remembered,” Greenblatt said. “The idea for ‘Jellystone’ started forming when I realized it was so much more fun when they interacted with each other than if they each had their own ‘court’.”
This is how the concept of this city was born, where we see the reappearance of characters that were on the shelf, such as Yogi, Catatau, Zé Colmeia, Cindy or Huckleberry Hound, without any limit to what it is possible to create and recover.
“I felt the strength of the Hanna-Barbera universe was in the numbers and not in any particular character who was the main character,” Greenblatt described. “Everyone loves the Yogi and they’ve tried to bring him back over the years, but it’s complicated. In this version there are other characters to balance him out and give him a role in society, rather than just trying to steal a picnic basket”.
This opened up a world of possibilities. “I can put any character in any role in society. I can put Huckleberry Hound as mayor and Cindy as doctor, I can change Jabberjaw’s gender and put her as clerk of store,” Greenblatt explained.
The creators decided to change the gender of several characters to bring more diversity and creativity to the series, giving “Jellystone” a sense of novelty and renewal.
“This city is very European, a coastal city that seems almost timeless,” he described. “It’s a city that has been preserved in time, it has cobbled streets, but with modern amenities, like cars and cellphones. I wanted a charming city,” he added. “There’s something interesting about the idea that these are characters from another time, but I didn’t want them to feel like they were locked in a retro bubble.”
CH Greenblatt said one of the central themes of the series, which he hopes will appeal to children and parents alike, is the idea of solving problems together.
“Jellystone is a show about community, about people coming together and dealing with stupid crises every week,” he said. “They flood the city, burn everything, turn everyone to jelly, then get up and move on. They don’t come down and there’s something endearing about that.”
Although he started working on the project before the covid-19 pandemic hit, Greenblatt surmised that these features may say even more to an audience that’s been under that cloud for two years.
“There’s something interesting about a character who never gives up. There’s something inspiring about that, even if it’s just a silly show with talking animals,” said he joked. Basically, he says, “stupidity never goes out of style” and children always like silly things that make them laugh.
“The stories I like to tell are about society, people, their insecurities, their worries and their hopes,” said Greenblatt, famous for his work on “SpongeBob.”
“I hope people will give it a try and not be upset with the changes. Fighting nostalgia is hard,” he admitted. “The biggest goal of this series is to remind the next generation of how amazing these characters are. Many have been forgotten by people under a certain age and it’s good to make them relevant again.”
“Jellystone” airs at 8:20 p.m. on January 17 on Cartoon Network Portugal, with episodes Monday through Thursday at the same time.