Daytime Delights

How do you choose your favorite baby? Let’s face it, it’s hard! We challenged these TAG members to pick their favorite episodes from their past season’s work. Plus, we found out what inspires them and what shows helped them survive the pandemic.

An electric fan eventually bonds Dave and Benson in Kipo and the Wonderbeasts’ “Requiem for a Dave.”
Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation.
Dan Holland
Character Designer
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
DreamWorks Animation
What do you think makes Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts unique?

One thing is the visual style of the show. The characters’ design style that [show creator] Radford Sechrist created—I haven’t seen anybody take a very Asian- or Japanese-inspired style and mix that with, let’s say, the round and bubbly design that DreamWorks does. Kind of like Kung Fu Panda mixed with Japanese anime. That stood out to me and attracted me to want to work on the show. 

What is your favorite episode from the past season?

Besides the finale, the episode ‘Requiem for a Dave.’ That episode had really strong character development and a ton of funny moments with Dave. I always take questions about Dave and Benson: Dave’s back story, and how Benson and Dave became friends in that hectic, chaotic, post-apocalyptic world. I think it was really interesting and fun [to address that]. 

What animated shows inspired your career?

Growing up, when I was really young, it was Looney Tunes and anything Disney. Then anime hit the scene in America, and I watched Ninja Scroll. That changed everything. It went from these funny characters to very realistic. Then Pixar came into play [for me] and then anything by Studio Trigger. More recently it’s been French animation. There’s a school in France called Gobelins. I watch their shorts every year. It’s always fresh and new. It went from American to Japanese to French and European, and currently Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and Soul. Those two are pushing me to want to do new things. 

What animated show helped you get through the past year? 

The majority of the time during the pandemic, I was at home. I would go out once a week to one of my best friend’s apartment. Of course, we’re all masked up and everything. We would catch up, order some food—usually Thai—and watch an episode of anime called The God of High School. That was my weekly dose of normalcy during the pandemic.

Roman Laney
Art Director
Warner Bros. Animation
What do you think makes Animaniacs unique?

The core structure of Animaniacs is a variety show. This isn’t all that common on television … animated or live action. As an art director, it is a dream environment to play in. We’re allowed, encouraged, and expected to experiment with all sorts of different looks, and we keep challenging ourselves to keep up with where our wacky characters go next. It’s not often you get to use all the crayons in the box.

Three cartoon mice
Animaniacs’ first season’s Episode 7 features an eclectic medley of rap, murder mystery, and French Revolution.
Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Animation.
What is your favorite episode from this past season?

It’s hard to pick a favorite when there are so many. Episode 7 [‘Warner She Wrote/France France Revolution/Gift Rapper’] has a special place in my heart. It’s just sprawling in the number of things we did in that show. The art department generated over 800 individual art assets to create a French revolution spoof, a murder mystery on a steam engine, and finally a rap battle. Watching it reminds me of the talented crew and all the hard work they put in to bring it to life.

What animated shows inspired your career?

Any answer to this question will date me. Let’s just say I was a child in the ‘80s, so there were a lot of shows to watch on Saturday morning that got me interested in television animation. None, though, that would be considered essential viewing for a serious student of animation. I recently went back and showed He-Man and the Masters of the Universe to my 12-year-old son as a lesson about how much television animation has changed since I was a kid. I figured he’d want to turn it off right away, but we actually had a great time watching it.

What animated show helped you get through the past year?

This will sound strange, but I just got around to watching Attack on Titan. It’s an anime about a medieval world where naked giants are terrorizing tiny humans. Such a bonkers idea, one that I imagined would be one-dimensional at first, but has all these twists and turns and true shocks in the plot. I love it. Obviously, it wouldn’t be everyone’s favorite during a pandemic, but a good reminder it could be worse, maybe?

Sylvia Liu
Production Designer
Trash Truck
What do you think makes Trash Truck unique?

I like that Trash Truck is tonally quiet, simple, and slower paced. I also think that a trash truck being the best friend is an interesting idea since it’s a memorable moment to see a large and loud trash truck in the very early morning. And it’s cool that the original idea was inspired by [creator] Max Keane’s son.

CG boy, raccoon and bear with garbage truck
Trash Truck’s “Movie Night” is rescued by the creative use of headlights.
Image courtesy of Netflix.
What is your favorite episode from the past season?

My favorite episode would be the first one because [my fellow art director] Eastwood Wong and I got to work on the color script together. A lot of the main sets and stylizing were established in this episode, so there’s a lot of great paintings and designs from the team.

What animated shows inspired your career? 

I’ve always been a pretty visual person, and anime in general caught my eye as a child because the styles/animation were somewhat realistic/relatable with a twist. And story-wise something about the culture described in those shows also spoke to me as an Asian American. Shows like Sailor Moon or Cowboy Bebop had a lot of emotional range and learning experiences that I felt really immersed in. For me these shows displayed a lot of diversity in character/story/setting that was also very specific/distinct. Even if I may not have understood the meanings of everything until later on, I could generally feel the intent, and I think it’s great in animation that you can express many different points of views in unlimited settings that can potentially speak to different people on different levels.

What animated show helped you get through the past year?

I only worked on City of Ghosts for an episode or two toward the end, but I was always admiring it on the sidelines. City of Ghosts is such an amazing show, visually and story-wise. I think the pacing is great, and the concept is so well-executed.

Dashawn Mahone
Supervising Director
Craig of the Creek
Cartoon Network Studios
What do you think makes Craig of the Creek unique?

To me, nothing like it has been done before. I have not seen a cartoon about a young black boy, in a leading role, playing in the creek with his friends. There’s so much more to the show than that, though. We let the kids be whoever they want to be in the creek, and imagination plays a big role in the stories we tell. And who has a bigger imagination than kids? By telling the stories from a child’s perspective, I believe it resonates more with them. While I believe tons of children would love to be a superhero, every one of them can be a creek kid. It’s cool.

Animated children with dad
“Snow Place Like Home” keeps Craig and his friends indoors in Craig of the Creek.
Image courtesy of Cartoon Network Studios.
What is your favorite episode from the past season?

This is a tough question. It’s probably ‘The Ground Is Lava!’ Or maybe ‘Trick or Creek.’ I loved ‘Jessica Shorts,’ though. And ‘Ferret Quest’ was fun, too. But then there’s ‘The Ice Pop Trio’ and ‘Snow Place Like Home.’ It’s too hard to pick just one. I can tell you that my favorite one to storyboard on was ‘Fall Anthology.’ I love working on the wackier episodes.

What animated shows inspired your career? 

Shows like Dexter’s LaboratorySpongeBob SquarePantsDragon Ball Z, and Samurai Champloo. I tend to like action, anime and comedy. This selection is very interesting, even to me, but I loved these shows growing up. My art style and tastes are an awkward amalgamation of all of them.

What animated show helped you get through the past year? 

I watched a lot of Futurama last year. I guess it’s a comfort show of mine. The episodes never get old to me, so I re-watch them when I want to have something on. Considering how uncomfortable last year was, I’m sure you can imagine how often I had it on.