Looking Back at Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

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By: Jenny Moore

While talking to coworkers a few weeks ago about the concept of imaginary friends (because, you know, that’s normal), I suddenly remembered a great animated series on Cartoon Network in the early 2000s called Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. When my coworkers indicated that they were unfamiliar with the show, I immediately had to grab my phone and show them the first clip I could find. While watching, I was suddenly reminded of how hysterical the series was and why I enjoyed it so much. In fact, I loved the series so much that I may have owned a few Hot Topic graphic t-shirts with Bloo and Eduardo’s faces on them. From this, I thought I would revisit the series and try to discover what ever happened to Mac and the rest of the Foster’s gang.

Background on the Series:

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends was created by Craig McCracken (creator of The Powerpuff Girls and writer for Dexter’s Laboratory) and was introduced in 2004 with a 90-minute television film before moving to half-hour episodes on Cartoon Network until 2009. McCracken paid homage to 60s cartoons, like Rocky and Bullwinkle, that he grew up watching by deliberately slowing down the pacing of the story to give the characters a more engaging story and giving the animated show a hand-drawn look. The critically-acclaimed series took home six Emmy Awards and five Annie Awards during its six-season run. The idea for Foster’s came to McCracken, according to the New York Times article “Television; The Retirement Home For Imaginary Friends,” after adopting his two dogs from a shelter and soon after, wondered what their previous lives were like. He then took this question and set it into the realm of imaginary friends living their new life within a foster home and having each character’s personality be shaped by their past.

Premise:

In the pilot, called “House of Bloo’s,” we meet Mac (voiced by Sean Marquette), an adorable eight-year-old boy whose best friend is his imaginary friend named Blooregard or Bloo for short. Bloo (voiced by Keith Ferguson) is a small blue character who is often self-centered and has a knack for getting into trouble. After Mac and Bloo get into some mischief, Mac’s mother tells him that he is too old to still have his imaginary friend and it is time that he takes Bloo to Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. When they reluctantly arrive to Foster’s, Mac and Bloo are introduced to a variety of imaginary friends who are waiting for new kids to come and adopt them. After having a difficult time saying goodbye to Bloo, Mac strikes a deal with the founder of Foster’s, Madame Foster, that as long as Mac comes to visit Bloo everyday, he will not be put up for adoption.

The Characters:

Wilt (voiced by Phil LaMarr) – A very tall and overly friendly imaginary friend with only a right arm who dresses like an NBA player. The other imaginary friends often take advantage of his passive demeanor.

Eduardo (voiced by Tom Kenny) – A purple and monstrous imaginary friend with large horns and pointy teeth. Despite his hard exterior, this Spanglish-speaking character is scared easily and relies on other imaginary friends to help him through difficult situations.

Coco (voiced by Candi Milo) – An imaginary friend who only says her name and looks like a combination between a bird, palm tree, and an airplane. To add to this unique character, Coco is able to lay Easter-looking eggs that contain an item that the group needs during their adventures.

Madame Foster (voiced by Candi Milo) – The caring founder of Foster’s. Despite looking elderly, Madame Foster has childlike enthusiasm and occasionally becomes mischievous.

Frankie Foster (voiced by Grey DeLisle) – Madame Foster’s redheaded granddaughter who helps keep everything and everyone in order at Foster’s.

Mr. Herriman (voiced by Tom Kane) – A gray and white elderly rabbit, imagined by Madame Foster, and who speaks in a British accent. He wears a tailcoat, white gloves, a top hat, and a monocle. He is extremely strict about rules and the maintenance of order in Foster’s. He frequently punishes Bloo and scolds Frankie for her perceived laziness, despite all her hard work.

Cheese (voiced by Candi Milo) – a dim-witted yellow friend imagined by Mac during season two. He is very stubborn – like Bloo – and tends to do things like repeat words in quick succession, and scream or whine whenever he does not get his way.

What Happened?

Although McCracken found the ending of the series “bittersweet,” it seemed as though he was ready it to come to a close. In an interview with Newsarama in 2009, he stated that, “It’s sad that it’s over, but nice that I can slow down a bit and breathe. I still love the show and the characters but during that last season, we were really struggling to keep the show fresh and not repeat ourselves.” To wrap up the series, Cartoon Network ran a six-hour marathon of the entire series as well as five new episodes, culminating with the final episode titled “Goodbye To Bloo” in May 2009. Soon after Foster’s ended, McCracken worked on the new series, The Cartoonstitute, which was to establish a think tank and create an environment in which animators could create characters and stories.

After doing research on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, it made me realize how unique the series really was. Unlike most animated series out today where the viewer sees pretty much nothing but back-to-back action and explosions in their face, Foster’s really took the time to let the each episode breathe a little with a longer story arc. From this retro design, it seemed to cause a positive effect on older and young viewers alike. For more on why adults also loved watching the series, be sure to read the 2008 Boston Globe article “Fostering Adult Imaginations.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go dig through my closet to find my Eduardo graphic tee while I binge watch Foster’s all day today.

Please be sure to leave me a comment below on what your favorite Foster’s episode, character, or quote was!


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