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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

⏪ Classic Cartoon Rewind: Johnny Bravo (1997)

Johnny Bravo
Country of Origin: USA
Hanna-Barbera & Cartoon Network Studios
Number of Episodes/Seasons: 65 Episodes, 4 seasons
Characters: Johnny Bravo, Bunny ''Momma'' Bravo, Suzy
Ran from July 14, 1997 - August 27, 2004
Aired on Cartoon Network, Teletoon
'Whoa Mamma!'

Created by Filipino-born Van Partible for Cartoon Network and Hanna-Barbera, Johnny Bravo is an animated series set in Aron City, that centres on the (mis)adventures and tales of a huge, muscular, shallow, young man whose voice sounds just like singer Elvis Presley & of whom tries to woo and chat up women and to get them to go out with him. His efforts would come to no avail, however, with the women left unimpressed and be rejecting his advances in various ways, due to his inability to attract women, and this became the running gag of the series. Along the way, he ends up in bizarre situations that often result in hilarity and amusement. The other 2 main characters are Johnny's lively and animated mother, Bunny ''Momma'' Bravo & Suzy, a very young girl, who has a crush on Johnny. The cartoon functions as a comedy with slapstick and amusing oneliners and situations are thrown in. The name Johnny Bravo originally derived from Van Partible's actual middle name, Giovanni Bravo. Giovanni is the Italian name for John or Johnny. In addition to his gravity-defying blond hair-do, Johnny Bravo dons a short Black t-shirt, Blue jeans/trousers or pants (as known in the U.S), Black shoes & signature sunglasses. Personality-wise, beefcake Johnny is full of himself, always checking the mirror to look at himself and saying how 'pretty' he is, as well as flexing his large biceps. In a conversation with a woman, Johnny would try to turn the conversion around and make them talk about him. In a way also, he is and can be seen as a dumb blond stereotype but as a man, instead of a woman. 

Surprisingly, but no more so, Johnny Bravo was notable for its adult humour, sly adult jokes and is a far cry from Hanna-Barbera's other care-free older G-rated shows.

Van Partible pitched Johnny Bravo to Hanna-Barbera's What A Cartoon!, based on a thesis that he came up with whilst he was at university. The thesis was titled: ''Mess O' Blues'' and it was a short film about an Elvis Presley impersonator. After the film was shown to a friend, who worked at Hanna-Barbera, the studio was impressed. Then in 1995, when What A Cartoon! World Premiere Toons aired on Cartoon Network, a short Johnny Bravo pilot debuted, followed up by 2 more related shorts. It was so well-received by Cartoon Network that they commissioned a half-hour cartoon series, which premiered in 1997. The first 3 seasons of Johnny Bravo were produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and the fourth was done by Cartoon Network Studios. With seasons 2 and 3, the show was retooled but minus Van Partible. It was also notable for launching the careers of Seth MacFarlane, who went on to create Family Guy & Butch Hartman who did The FairlyOddParents. After season one, MacFarlane and Hartman left to do other shows. In 2008, Johnny Bravo reruns started airing on Boomerang, Cartoon Network's sister channel, but it was removed in 2015 as part of the network revamp. 

Johnny Bravo has had numerous guest stars who include basketball player, Shaquille O'Neil, Batman's Adam West, singer Donny Osmond, as well as cameos from other Hanna-Barbera characters in the cast of Scooby-Doo, Jabbajaw, Yogi Bear, The Blue Falcon of Dynomutt: Dog Wonder and Huckleberry Hound. 

In 2009 with co-production from Cartoon Network Asia, a TV movie by the title of Johnny Bravo Goes To Bollywood was released and this led to a spin-off show that only aired in Asia. Ever since I first saw the pilot on What A Cartoon! I fell in love with Johnny Bravo, not literally! But anyhow, what attracted my attention was this was so unlike any other cartoon series, Hanna-Barbera and otherwise, that I had seen. There was definitely something that would appeal to adults more than children, even though Johnny Bravo was technically a kid's animated show. It was also funny, silly, ridiculous that was in the vein of those skits from a TV sitcom or comedy sketch series with silly-yet amusing short scenes with slapstick moments by encompassing classic and modern styles of humour. I also thought the idea of the premise of an arrogant guy who thinks he is a chick magnet and women will fall for his charms and fall in love with him, only to get beaten up or whatever is both funny but also actually sad - sad for Johnny and I felt for him at times. Even when he is being a pervert, and yet he goes about it in a way that is not too freaky and disturbing. 

Johnny Bravo is one of Cartoon Network's best shows, heralding the golden age of CN, years before the channel went downhill, and in addition to being one of the best cartoons of the 1990s that has gone on to become a memorable and worthy classic. This is the one un-Hanna Barbera like animated cartoon, it's so distinctive it doesn't feel like one, but thanks to Van Partible, it's so much fun and when you don't want to take everything seriously and you want to watch a goofy, light-hearted cartoon, Johnny Bravo is definitely it and more. 


Johnny Bravo - Wikipedia 

Johnny Bravo - Johnny Bravo Wikia 

Johnny Bravo - TV Tropes

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