The adventures of a boy with a magic chalk stick that enables him to enter a world of chalk drawings and alter its reality at will.The adventures of a boy with a magic chalk stick that enables him to enter a world of chalk drawings and alter its reality at will.The adventures of a boy with a magic chalk stick that enables him to enter a world of chalk drawings and alter its reality at will.
Another problem with ChalkZone is that it doesn't usually make us laugh the way Rugrats, SpongeBob and Fairly OddParents do, which is not the worst problem for a show to have because it is more important, and easier to check that you have a coherent story with no plot holes than making sure each of your jokes work. I like the characters of Rudy, Snap and Penny, and they are almost always endearing to watch. In a way, Rudy and Snap also feel like a better version of Mac and Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends to me. Snap is Rudy's creation, and Bloo is Mac's creation. It is hard to make the concept of magic chalk work when Rudy can solve any problem with his magic chalk unless he loses it, but that on its own doesn't make episodes boring. Usually, the interesting part of the episode is the journey of the situation itself and not how long Rudy takes to solve it when he starts trying. So ChalkZone at least knows how to fill in the plot hole of Da Boom Crew's premise, where the kids are too stupid to know how to complete any level in 3 minutes for a game they designed themselves, and keep together a coherent plot that doesn't rely on everybody being stupid or amnesiac, but ChalkZone still does not know how to make itself interesting.
I guess the real problem is - ChalkZone focuses too much on what the characters do and not enough on who their characters are. ChalkZone doesn't have anything on stuff like - the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode Good Will Hunting, the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Band Geeks, the Friendship is Magic episodes Suited for Success and Sonic Rainboom, or the Steven Universe episodes Tiger Millionaire and Lars and the Cool Kids. However, that doesn't really sum up the heart that was missing from ChalkZone, which is very hard to deduce. All it is was just 4 short seasons of 40 half-hour episodes stretched from 2002 to 2008 and I was lucky enough to catch wind of it in 2008 when Nickelodeon was still airing reruns of it during its original run of new episodes. I think they stopped airing reruns after 2009. How do I explain this? Johnny Test and Clarence have minimal plots of the kids in the title doing ridiculous things and going on their own silly adventures, and more or less focus on the same title characters nearly all the time, but they still have more entertainment value and are easier to remember than ChalkZone. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has the aforementioned Mac and Bloo. Codename: Kids Next Door also has endearing kid characters going on adventures together (I always had a soft spot for Numbuh 3), but it still has more entertainment value than ChalkZone. Star vs. the Forces of Evil has two kids who fight monsters and travel through different dimensions like ChalkZone. Twelve Forever has another trio of kid characters who regularly travel to a secret fantasy world for young people and back home, but it is more interesting than ChalkZone because of episodes that focus on an individual character. Reggie has Birthday Forever, Dustin Forever and Fancy Forever, and Todd has Guy Pleasant Forever, Dance Forever and Audition Forever. Even some of the characters on Endless get their chance to shine. Mack and Beefhouse Forever focuses on Mack and Beefhouse, and Not Twelve Forever focuses on Big Deal. OK KO: Let's Be Heroes has a trio of kid superheroes who fight all sorts of bad guys of different species and robots, and-you know the rest. I guess the only memorable thing about ChalkZone is that I have seen so many animated shows have come after ChalkZone that share common elements with it and execute them much better.
In conclusion, I am not really sure what was so unmemorable about ChalkZone. I do not know why it did not have the spark I saw in other modern American animated shows like it. What was in Clarence, Codename: Kids Next Door, Fosters' Home for Imaginary Friends, Johnny Test, OK KO, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, and Twelve Forever that was not in ChalkZone? My best guess is that whatever ChalkZone doesn't have, it is because the creator Bill Burnett, and his writing team, put all of their effort into the musical numbers at the end of most episodes. Not that there is a problem with that; Bill Burnett is an excellent singer and he sang the theme song for this show. It is not a bad show by any means; ChalkZone is one of those "just OK" programs that does all the right things to appeal without having any flavor of appeal. It is what I taste when I eat Swiss Cheese, but not because of the holes. Friendship is Magic and Star vs. the Forces of Evil feel like eating Asiago cheese. They actually have a flavor that I remember, and I love to watch over and over again because they kick in my mouth, and the hits land. I only have the slightest idea why Bill Burnett couldn't make the hits land for ChalkZone.
I was especially disappointed when I learned from Nerdstalgic that ChalkZone could have gotten a Season 5 arc where Rudy and Penny go to college and start dating, and Snap has to come to terms with the fact that Rudy will outgrow doing ChalkZone things with him, much like Woody during Toy Story 2 and 3. He also would have a kid who was stuck in ChalkZone too long and then get banned team up with Skrawl. I was extra disappointed when I learned that ChalkZone never got to show us what happens to kids who were stuck in ChalkZone longer than 24 hours, because it implies that there are other kids who have White Lightning Chalk and it reminds me that Twelve Forever luckily didn't wait too long to make Spring Break Forever and A Stranger Forever, which are both about what happens to ordinary people who spend too much time in Endless. While I feel very bad for Bill Burnett not getting to do those cool stories in Season 5, I also do not blame Nickelodeon for under-airing ChalkZone when the execution of most of its ideas lacked the wide appeal it could have had. I know that is how I feel because I watched all 40 episodes. If Nickelodeon allowed me to reboot ChalkZone, I would do that if I wanted to make it a much more memorable show, but I would also bring Bill Burnett back as a consultant so he can help me stay true to his creative vision, and I can show him how to make new ChalkZone a better show in execution than the original ChalkZone.
- Jun 25, 2020