Johnny Bravo's Moonlighting Homage!
Don't miss: Cartoon Network on August 20th (check your local listings)
Special Guest Stars: Allyce Beasley & Curtis Armstrong
Artwork used by permission of Van Partible
Ten Questions with Johnny Bravo Creator, Van Partible
Johnny Bravo is an animated cartoon about the misadventures of a buffed-out, self proclaimed ladies man who always wears sunglasses, has a huge blonde pompadour, has moves like Michael Jackson, and talks like Elvis Presley. It's also a kid's cartoon. I write for my own amusement yet still try to keep it within the children's viewing standards.
Anyhow, in this particular episode, we find Curtis and Allyce trying to cast "real people" for their new show "Who wants to star in their own pilot for a prime time series as a detective or a detective's sidekick?" Of course, they try and cast Johnny Bravo, but not without the help of the self absorbed star of their pilot: Marina Draskovic (voiced by Lori Loughlin from "Full House" and "Summerland").
I had met Allyce and her son at The Museum Of Television and Radio back in 1997 and told her that I would find some way to work with her on a project some time in the future. It only took me seven years. I've always wanted to do a "Moonlighting" styled episode and everything just came together in a strange sort of kismet.
Getting the two together was easier than I thought. I simply had my casting director call Curtis and Allyce's representatives, and that was that. Since that was relatively effortless, I thought that I would try to get Bruce & Cybill to do a cameo. Unfortunately, they both had to pass. But hey, I had to try. :-) My casting director did send me an e-mail that relayed a message from Bruce's representatives that said "he and his kids love the show... but he is out of the country and then he comes back to start producing a new show in November and just does not have the time." So at least it was a nice turn down.
I have to admit, it was really exciting. I have no idea why they don't work together more often because they have such a unique chemistry. Their reads and their timing were classic. I usually don't look at the actors when they're reading their lines so that I can separate their vocal performance from their physical performance. I made an exception this time because it was such a treat to have them in the booth. I couldn't not look! There's one particular line that Allyce delivers in the show where she says, "Thank you Miss Draskovic." It's almost a throw away gag, but she read it in a way that gave me chills and had me cracking up because it was quintessential DiPesto.
First and foremost, I wanted Marina and Johnny's relationship to be reminiscent of David and Maddie's. I wanted them to have incessant banter, for him to always be making come-ons to her, and for them to attack the problem from opposite ends of the spectrum. I also wanted to keep it ridiculously silly as I know that old Warner Brothers cartoons were a big influence on the show. At one point, I even have Allyce say "It's like watching lightning in a bottle!" which is how David and Maddie were once described in an interview.
As far as the technical stuff, I tried to overlap the dialogue a little more than usual to give it that rapid fire sense of timing. Also, I had my composer, Lou Fagenson, watch a few episodes so that he could try and emulate the musical flavorings that the original series had.
A big homage to the show is that Allyce's introduction in the episode is through rhyme. She delivers an opening monologue the way she answered the phone at The Blue Moon Detective Agency. And finally, although it's only mentioned in the credits, the first damsel in distress is named Madeline.
I was actually born in 1970 so I guess you could do the math as to how old I was during the run of the series. But whatever age I was, I was totally into the show. I have a self portrait that I made in my art class where you took a silhouette of your head in profile and drew things inside that were symbolic of you. In the bottom right hand corner I drew a portrait of Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis. I was such a Bruce Willis fan. My favorite album at the time was "The Return of Bruno." I still have a video copy of his performance at The American Music Awards when he performed "Jackpot." I even remember that the series finale was up against the series finale of "Family Ties" which I kept flipping back and forth between. If I'm wrong, then the fact checkers can cry foul, but that's my recollection.
Johnny and David are both unabashed risk takers. Also, they both have these personalities that make you want to be around them to see what's going to happen next.
The funny thing is that, from the beginning, Johnny Bravo was heavily inspired by "Moonlighting" in that it often breaks the fourth wall, it overlaps dialogue, and it has it's own distinct rhythm.
When I was writing Johnny Bravo's origin, I kept "A Womb With A View" in the back of my head. I thought it was brilliant the way that the audience got to find out Maddie was carrying David's baby (instead of Sam's) but the characters on the show had no idea. If I'm correct, that episode was written by Glenn Caron who I consider a genius. I mean, it takes an amazing writer to make a miscarriage so sweet and tender.
I don't know if this "Johnny Bravo" episode reminds me of any past episode. If any, it would have to be the pilot because the two leads are first meeting each other and Marina has this "I'm better than thou" complex and Johnny is just being himself trying to impress his new partner.
The show is tentatively scheduled to air on Cartoon Network at 9:30 PM on August 20th. You're probably going to have to check your local listings as the air dates are subject to change. I hope everybody that wants to watch it gets a chance to because I really feel that I was able to stay true to the vision of Glenn Caron and the characters he created. And believe you me, I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, and utilized as many resources as I could to make this vision come alive. So essentially, it's a group effort put together by people who truly love "Moonlighting."
This is not meant to violate or infringe on any copyrights.