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Have you watched Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Wubbzy, the animated preschool show on Nick Jr. stars a bright yellow square of a guy who loves to play and makes you laugh. He gets stuck in awkward predicaments that he gets out of thanks to the help of his pals, Widget and Walden.

Bob Boyle is the creator and executive producer of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! for which he received the Individual Achievement in Animation award at the 2008 Emmys. Previously, he was a producer and art director for Nickelodeon’s hit show, The Fairly OddParents. Bob is also a fun loving Libra .

Wubbzy started when his niece said, “Hey Bobby! Will you draw a story for me?” She had come up with a crazy story about a little guy whose tail had been bitten off by a big long thing and was seeking help from his friends. You can see the original book online at the Wubbzy blog site: http://wubby.typepad.com/
What is cool is that she is 17 now and came to Los Angeles this last summer to intern for the show. What a great thing for both her and the show. As Bob says, “She has a lot of energy. Since I don’t have kids myself, it was great to have her around. Plus, she was working on a new show of her own while she was here.”
Bob went to college wanting to be an animator. The college he attended didn’t have an animation program so he studied illustration instead. After graduation, he moved to The Big Apple – NYC, where he worked with some major publications supplemented by working as a bellhop at the Marriot Marquee in Times Square. He often doodled on the guests’ claim checks – something that captured his colleagues attention who encouraged him to do more. Later, he moved to Hollywood, got a job at the Marriot there, then got a job at Film Roman where he worked on Bobby’s World and the Howie Mandel show. It was a great experience in that he learned everything there was to learn about animation production. Eventually that led to developing his own stuff. One weird thing happened after he got Wubbzy landed. He was in NYC meeting with the Nickelodeon folks. While standing in their offices, he looked out the window where he could see on the street below, the Marriot Marquee where he used to work. Later, he returned to give a motivational speech to the Nickelodeon employees.

I love this show! One of the things that is most refreshing about Wubbzy is its sense of humor which most other pre-school shows don’t even come close to. Bob talked about what it was like when he started designing a preschool show. It was something he had never done one before. He looked at other successful shows such as Dora and Blue and observed their educational content. “That idea terrified me. I didn’t know how to do that.” He had come from working on Fairly OddParents which is all about being funny all the time and thought it would be fun to translate that to a preschool show. It was an offbeat idea, and obviously it worked.

I asked Bob what would happen If Wubbzy ever appeared on David Letterman. “Hopefully he wouldn’t be there to do stupid pet tricks. Although, he could do that since he’s got the tail. He’d probably wonder what was in the cup on Dave’s desk or he’d stare at the gap in Dave’s teeth. He’d probably enjoy it because Dave is silly. He’d much rather be on Letterman than Leno. Letterman is kooky.”

I think that if Letterman had a Top 10 List of “Why It’s Fun to Be Wubbzy” it would look like this:

10. You don’t have to drive in LA traffic.

9. You can eat as much marshmallow lasagna as you want and not gain pounds.

8- Not having to wear pants

7- Being able to make funny cartoon sounds every time I fall on my head

6- Three words- Kickity Kickball! Ooops, I guess that’s just 2 words.

5- I get to pal around with Dora the Explorer on the weekends!

4- I get to work out my social awkwardness in front of millions of viewers. Hey wait! That’s not very fun!

3- Sure beats my last job in the fireworks factory.

2. I can terrorize my writers any time I feel like it.

1- Did I mention not having to wear pants?

All silliness aside, Wubbzy does have some deeper messages. They are different in every episode. Some of the bigger things are being yourself, knowing it’s okay to be different and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Wubbzy makes a lot of mistakes and he learns from them. It’s stealth learning at its best. There are songs at the end that wrap up the episode. So, you end up singing the lesson of something such as “don’t lie.”

Bob offered some advice to novice animators. “The key is – like the people at Nike say, ‘just do it.'” By that, he means – draw. Draw draw draw all the time. Create your own stories. You don’t necessarily go to animation school to get into this business. It helps to take drawing classes. Many people in this business that come from many walks of life who just stumbled into animation. There’s definitely not a straight path or set of rules. Once you’ve done your work, show it to other people. Don’t be afraid to show to others and get criticism. Listen to their feedback and take it to heart. Thanks Bob, can’t wait to see what you do next!

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