Why Did Chowder Never Get A Cookbook? – Animation Scoop

Why Did Chowder Never Get A Cookbook?

Earlier this week, VIZ announced that they are releasing a cookbook based on Frederator’s web series Bee & Puppycat by Natasha Allegri. It’s somewhat surprising news, but begs the question of why an even more well-known cooking-based cartoon never got the same treatment?

Remember Chowder? The Cartoon Network series about the eponymous plucky purple creature and his escapades as an apprentice in mentor Mung Daal’s kitchen? If ever there was a cartoon about food, cooking, and all the exciting adventures you can get into with them, this was it. Creator C.H. Greenblatt even went so far as to use actual food as interstitials cut scenes, and to include a mock recipe/advice segment in the end credits. Not to mention of course, that all the characters were given food-related names, and all the foods given whimsical substitutes in return.

chowder-mixer

Unfortunately, the show never received the merchandise it deserved, and always left me wondering why nobody thought to do the obvious and release a cookbook. It’s a match made in heaven if ever there was one, and besides, it would have helped Greenblatt’s desire and original reason for creating the show which was to get more kids interested in cooking. It could even have been a series of books! One for starters, one for deserts, one for eastern food, etc. Just imagine some of the wild and fanciful names of things that kids or grown-ups could have been creating in their kitchens.

Alas! It was not to be, and a great opportunity was lost.

Which makes the Bee & Puppycat announcement all the more confusing. The show isn’t primarily about food, and its fans aren’t known for being foodies of any kind. Perhaps there’s some secret data that suggests otherwise?

Animation-related merchandise has had to become ever more unique and exciting in order to attract buyers. Which isn’t a negative development by any means. The range of merch that fans can buy of shows today is well beyond what any fan could have hoped for in years and decades past. We ought to be welcoming a Bee & Puppycat cookbook as a sign that studios have at last recognized the need for things that satisfy needs that fans never knew existed.

chowder-book

Chowder should have been afforded the same degree of experimentation. But in a pre-Adventure Time success era, that was not to be. Which makes you wonder how the show would have fared if it were released today. It still holds up creatively, so there’s little doubt it would have been popular. If it were, then we undoubtedly would be seeing ‘Cooking With Chowder’ on the shelves in addition to the figurines, plush toys and fan-created merch that shows like Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic have been able to bring to market.

The lack of a Chowder cookbook is a good case study for animated shows and merchandising, and serves as a fine example of how great ideas can be denied their chance to shine. Here’s hoping the Bee & Puppycat cookbook manages to succeed where Chowder failed.

easy-eats

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
Share
Both comments and pings are currently closed.
  • Sometimes the best ideas never get heard I find. There’s always been quite a lot of missed opportunities for things like obvious merchandising deals to shine, often due to not being at the right place or time.

  • The best recent example is Wander Over Yonder.

  • Damn, those would’ve worked.

  • top_cat_james

    “COOK! COOK! Where’s my hasenpfeffer?!”

  • Tony

    I have never heard of gag recipes on the credits of Chowder. The problem is that Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon don’t show full final credits anymore, depriving fans of the full experience. Disney and Disney XD still allow credits, and some of their shows use them creatively, like with the coded messages at the end of Gravity Falls or the extra animatics in Wander over Yonder.

  • Those look awesome!

    From what I’ve read and heard, merchandise is fiendishly tricky to implement. Many of the large studios have existing arrangements in place, and if innovative products don’t fit in with the plan, they never see the light of day. There’s also the hole human factor to consider and corporate politics also plays a big role. Can’t have the artists coming up with better ideas than consumer products, etc. etc.

    IIRC on one of the Futurama episode commentaries, Matt Groening, et al take the time to voice their anger at FOX for doing nothing with a show that was made for all sorts of quirky merchandise.