Cow and Chicken is an American animated comedy television series created by David Feiss for Cartoon Network, and the 3rd of the network's Cartoon Cartoons. It follows the surreal adventures of two funny animal siblings, Cow and Chicken. They are often antagonized by the Red Guy, a caricature of the Devil who poses as various characters to scam them.
The original pilot appeared as an episode of the animation showcase series What a Cartoon!. The popularity of the original short allowed Hanna-Barbera to give it the green light for a full series, which premiered on July 15, 1997. Originally, Cow and Chicken was attached to another segment called I Am Weasel, which was later spun off into its own half-hour series on June 10, 1999. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Unlike the Hanna-Barbera animated series based on Cartoon Network properties (including What a Cartoon!, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls), it is one of only two Cartoon Cartoons original series that was owned by Warner Bros. Animation, the other one is I Am Weasel. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards.
The program focuses on the misadventures of two unlikely yet somehow biological siblings: the sweet-natured, dim, ecstatic anthropomorphic Cow and her cynical older brother Chicken (both voiced by Charlie Adler). The two are often caught in escapades with their flamboyant enemy, the Red Guy (Adler), who disguises himself under various personas to attempt to scam the two.
Supporting characters include Chicken and Cow's delirious human parents (Dee Bradley Baker, Candi Milo) who are only ever seen from the waist down, Chicken's two best friends Flem (Howard Morris) and Earl (Dan Castellaneta), and his appropriately-named cousin, Boneless Chicken (Adler).
The series draws on eccentric, surreal, grotesque, and repulsive humor. For example, Cow and Chicken always order "pork butts and taters" when in the cafeteria, and characters often pepper their speech with malapropisms and sarcasm. The humor and storylines depicted in the series are sometimes based around traditional childhood worries, anxieties, or phobias such as cooties or venturing into the girls' restroom, but enhanced comically.
Many of the slapstick antics involve Cow getting physically abused. Because Hinduism considers the cow a sacred animal, the series was largely ignored in India.
David Feiss first created Cow and Chicken as a story for his daughter. Feiss was an animator who had worked with Hanna-Barbera and related projects since 1978.
Years later, Feiss was called to submit ideas for What a Cartoon!, a series of various animated shorts from numerous creators and writers. Feiss submitted three ideas to executive producer Larry Huber, one of which was Cow and Chicken. Cow and Chicken premiered on What a Cartoon! in 1995. Later, Hanna-Barbera decided to turn Cow and Chicken into a full series, following many letters from fans asking for more.
Cow and Chicken was notable in that a single actor, Charlie Adler, voiced three leading roles of Cow, Chicken, and the Red Guy. Supporting voices included Candi Milo and Dee Bradley Baker as Mom and Dad, and Dan Castellaneta and Howard Morris as Earl and Flem.
The two main characters, Cow and Chicken, made cameo appearances as aliens in Ben 10: Omniverse. They were the second Cartoon Network characters to make cameo appearances in the Ben 10 franchise, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy being the first. Adler reprised his roles for the cameo.
Chicken made a cameo near the end of the Cartoon Planet episode " Tom Foolery".
During the Mad episode "Once Upon a Toon", Cow and Chicken are among the many classic cartoon characters being reunited in a spoof of ABC's Once Upon a Time.
Home media releases
Cow and Chicken: Season 1, a two-disc set featuring the complete first season which contains 13 complete episodes, was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia (Region 4 PAL) on September 12, 2007. Season 2 came out on February 10, 2010, by the same company in Australia. The entire series got released on DVD in Thailand as 4 season sets, containing Thai and English audio. The banned segment "Buffalo Gals" is missing from these releases.
|Title||Format||DVD Region||Country||Distributor||Release date||Ref.|
|Cartoon Cartoons: Cow and Chicken||VHS||Template:N/A||United States||Cartoon Network||1998|||
|Cow and Chicken: Season 1||DVD||4||Australia||Madman Entertainment||September 12, 2007|||
|Cow and Chicken: Season 2||February 10, 2010|||
|Cow and Chicken: The Complete Series||DVD||4||Australia||Madman Entertainment||TBA 2027|
The video game Cartoon Network Racing contains the episodes "Black Sheep of the Family" and "Child Star" (PS2 version only) as unlock able extras.
- Cartoon Network Halloween: "Cow with Four Eyes"
- Cartoon Network Christmas: "Me an' My Dog"
Cow, Chicken, and the Red Guy are playable characters in the game Cartoon Network Racing. The PlayStation 2 version includes Flem and Earl as playable characters.
Cow/Supercow, Chicken, and the Red Guy are playable characters in the game Cartoon Network Speedway.
In the video game FusionFall, one of the character items is based on Cow and Chicken. Cow and Chicken's cousin, Boneless Chicken, can also be seen on a billboard in the game. Though not in the game, Cow is seen as Supercow as a statue at Mt. Neverest.
- Cow and Chicken at Cartoon Network's Department of Cartoons (archive)
- Cow and Chicken at TV.com
- Cow and Chicken at the Big Cartoon DataBase
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