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Father of the Pride was an Americanmarker animated television series that began broadcasting on NBC on August 31, 2004 and was part of a short-lived trend of CGI series in prime-time network TV (after UPN's Game Over). The show, which was produced by Jeffrey Katzenberg and his company, DreamWorks Animation, revolves around a family of white lions, the patriarch of which stars in a Siegfried & Roy show in Las Vegasmarker. The show was unsuccessful despite heavy promotion. Transmission and production were also delayed by the real-life on-stage mauling of Roy Horn.

Voice talent

The show featured the voice talent of John Goodman, Danielle Harris, Cheryl Hines, Carl Reiner, Orlando Jones, Julian Holloway, Daryl Sabara and David Herman. The per-episode cost of the series was reportedly US$1.6 million and each episode took nine months to create. Due to costs, physical animation production was contracted to the Hong Kong-based Imagi Animation Studios.

Directors

The series employed a small group of seasoned directors which included Mark Risley, Brett Holland, Steve Hickner and John Holmquist.

Opening sequence

The opening sequence starts off with a red sports car, with the Nevada license plate "MAGIC1", being driven by Siegfried and Roy past many of the attractions in Las Vegas. Cast names are presented on the marquees of the Strip hotels that, along with the Mirage, belonged to the MGM/Mirage Group at the time, before the car swerves into the Mirage Hotel. The scene changes to the lions' house. Larry wakes up, late for his performance, on his favourite couch before dashing towards the stage (but not before having a pre-show beer). John Goodman voices a rousing rendition of Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" as the background music throughout the title sequence.

Series run on NBC

The show was almost cancelled long before its broadcast, following the near-death of Roy Horn in October 2003; but after his condition improved, both Siegfried and Roy urged NBC to continue production. The show was promoted heavily during NBC's coverage of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athensmarker, Greecemarker and garnered above average ratings for the network, but the show received a negative response from TV critics who considered it to be little more than a gimmick and a shill for other NBC and DreamWorks properties (two early episodes extensively featured The Today Show's Matt Lauer and another featured Donkey - voiced by Eddie Murphy - from the DreamWorks movie Shrek and Shrek 2). Also many TV critics noticed that the show was very similar to South Park'.

The show's ratings began to decline, and by November 2004 it was pulled from NBC's sweeps line-up. In early December 2004, the CEO of Dreamworks announced that the show was cancelled, a few months after it was initially aired. A DVD version of the show has been made available, containing the original pilot, an alternate pilot (which draws heavily on the original), an un-aired episode, and one episode that was voice-recorded, but was not animated, and therefore remains at the storyboard stage.

International airings

It first broadcast on Sky1 in United Kingdommarker on March 6, 2005. It was also repeated on Sky3. The show was originally on the Global Television Network and can currently be seen on Teletoon in Canadamarker, RTÉ One in Irelandmarker, MTV3 and Subtv in Finland, NHKmarker in Japanmarker, Canal FOX in Latin America, VTM in Belgiummarker, Channel 5 in Singaporemarker, GMA Network in the Philippinesmarker, Telefé in Argentinamarker, TV2 in New Zealandmarker , ProSieben in Germanymarker, TVN7 in Poland, and Go! in Australia.

Cast

Major characters

Character Voice Actor Profile
Larry John Goodman The star of Father of the Pride, Larry is a middle-aged, overweight white lion who through a bizarre series of events becomes star of Siegfried and Roy's world famous magic show (replacing his less-than-delighted father-in-law). Larry tends to speak before he thinks.
Kate Cheryl Hines Kate is Sarmoti's daughter and Larry's wife. Primarily known for her relation to Sarmoti and Larry, Kate is constantly attempting to establish her own individuality.
Sarmoti Carl Reiner Sarmoti is Kate's Father. He has a dislike for Larry and is disappointed with Kate for marrying him, thinking she could have done better. He fancies himself the feline member of the Rat Pack. The name "Sarmoti" is an acronym of "Siegfried And Roy, Masters Of The Impossible".
Snack Orlando Jones Snack is a gopher and Larry's best friend. He is sneaky, manipulative and constantly getting into trouble with the other residents of the park.
Sierra Danielle Harris Sierra is Larry's rebellious teen-aged daughter. She is an activist with very left-winged views.
Hunter Daryl Sabara Hunter is Larry's somewhat immature 9 year old son. He is always shown wearing a plastic Elizabethan collar to stop him from biting himself and is portrayed as slightly mentally-deficient. He's a fan of Lord of the Rings. He is the most rarely-used main character, being entirely absent from a few episodes. Sarmoti suspects he might be gay.
Roy David Herman Roy is the animal trainer of the Siegfried and Roy duo and frequently has to defend his animals from the criticisms of Siegfried.
Siegfried Julian Holloway Siegfried is the more magically-inclined of the duo and constantly argues with Roy.


Supporting characters

Character Voice Actor Profile
Foo-Lin Lisa Kudrow A female giant panda who is very jealous of her younger, pregnant sister, she is very prone to becoming depressed because she has almost given up on finding a man. She constantly looks to Kate for comfort, and finds Sarmoti's cracks about her mental state funny instead of insulting as they're meant to be.
Donkey Eddie Murphy Donkey, co-star of the Shrek films, visits the compound and he is known as a massive star by all of the animals. Larry tries to get him to go to Hunter's school.
Emerson Danny DeVito Emerson is an activist lobster who befriends Sierra, much to Larry's dismay. Emerson was later thrown into the sewers by Sierra after he insulted her father Larry, even though Larry saved him twice.
Blake John O'Hurley Blake is a white tiger and the main adversary of the white lions. The two groups constantly compete to be the stars of the show. Blake is a self-professed "whore for applause".
Victoria Wendie Malick Victoria is Blake's wife. She also competes with the lions to act with her husband in Siegfried and Roy's show. She has a drinking problem, and has already had 2 liver transplants from baboons.
Nelson Andy Richter Nelson, aka 'Bong Bong', is a giant panda whom Larry and Kate try and introduce to Foo-Lin. He is extremely nervous about meeting other women as he had never seen other women because he was isolated before brought into captivity by Siegfried and Roy
Bernie Garry Marshall Bernie is Sarmoti's poker buddy and friend. He is a bit of a suck up, he constantly calls him boss and agrees with every single thing he says.
Tommy David Spade Tommy, a coyote, is the wise-cracking 'guide' that Larry and Sarmoti meet in the Road Trip episode. Eventually Larry and Sarmoti realise Tommy manages to get them lost, and becomes a bit of an annoyance to them both.
Kelsey Grammer Kelsey Grammer Siegfried and Roy take Larry to see Kelsey Grammer in the revised pilot, as Siegfried and Roy believe that he is a real psychologist
Roger Greg Cipes Roger the orangutan is a local at the 'Watering Hole' pub
Hi Larious Seth McFarlane Hi Larious is a snail comedian who is not very funny. He features in a plot against the lions with the tigers.
Vincent Don Stark A flamingo with a sexual interest in sombreros and a New Yorker's accent.
The Snout Brothers John DiMaggio The Snout Brothers are a pair of steroid-abusing, exercise enthusiast warthogs who are old friends of Sarmoti. They are right winged characters who are homophobic.
Lily Amanda Peet A cougar, Lily is the leader of a women's empowerment group, who encourages the compound's women to find the goddess within themselves...and advises that you don't need a man as long as you have your tail - of little comfort to Foo-Lin, whose panda tail is a mere stub.
Tom the Antelope John DiMaggio Tom is an alcoholic, verbally abusive adulterer, who often tries to pick fights after he's had a few.
Duke Dom DeLuise An exceedingly effeminate leopard, Duke is one of Sarmoti's poker buddies. He makes subtle but obvious allusions to his homosexuality, to which his buddies are oblivious.
Chaz Denis Leary A panther, Chaz is one of Sarmoti's poker buddies.
Brittany Julia Sweeney Brittany is a warthog sow whose name might be a play on Britney Spears.
Chutney Brian George Chutney is an Indian elephant and one of Larry's friends. In one episode, it is revealed that he (rather than Lucy Vodden) is Lucy from "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". Through the series, implications that he is in a gay relationship with his turkey "roommate" and that he is otherwise closeted are a running gag.
Justin Pauly Shore Justin is a Jewish, adolescent lion with a mop-top haircut. He is a friend of Sierra and an aggressive, but unskilled, poker player. Larry is comfortable with him spending time with Sierra because either Justin has been neutered or Larry believes him to have been.


Episode list and airdates

Main Article List of Father of the Pride episodes

The episodes are listed below as ordered on the DVD, with original broadcast sequence and airdate given in parentheses.

  • Original Pilot (unaired)
  • Sarmoti Moves In (10, December 28, 2004)
  • Catnip and Trust (3, November 14, 2004)
  • One Man's Meat Is Another Man's Girlfriend (7, October 16, 2004)
  • What's Black, White and Depressed All Over? (1, August 31, 2004)
  • Larry's Debut and Sweet Daryll Hannah Too (2, November 7, 2004)
  • And the Revolution Continues (5, November 28, 2004)
  • The Thanksgiving Episode (9, December 28, 2004)
  • Possession (6, October 12, 2004)
  • Donkey (4, November 21, 2004)
  • Road Trip (11, December 28, 2004)
  • Rehabilitation (8, December 21, 2004)
  • Stage Fright (Revised Pilot, 12, May 27, 2005)
  • The Siegfried and Roy Movie Fantasy Experience Movie (13, May 29, 2005) (Sky One only)


Scenes that were cut from TV

  • In Sarmoti Moves In, Sarmoti says 'You Fabulous Striped Bastard' after explaining how he made his first kill in Africa was cut from TV airings but was included on the DVD.


  • In Rehabilitation, a line at the rehab center where Alan the Duck asks Larry 'When did he force himself on you?' was cut. At the end of the same episode, he asks Snack the same question. He has a doll, and Snack starts crying, on TV this part is cut to the end titles, but this was included on the DVD.


  • In Donkey, the scene with all the clothing of Grandma Wilson on the floor was cut from future airings on TV but was included on the DVD.


  • In The Siegfried and Roy Movie Experience Movie, Lily says "Because we allow men to define our sense of self-worth." Lily's continued statement of "We have to take responsibility for our lives, as well as our orgasms. As long as I have THIS, *holds up about 9 inches of her tail as if it were a dildo* I don't need a man." This episode then shows Foo Lin, who points over her shoulder at her stubby tail and says "Story of my life." This scene was cut from TV but was included on the DVD. This scene does appear fully while being run on Teletoon.


  • In the original premiere airing of What's Black, White and Depressed All Over?, just after Larry and Sarmoti trade horrified looks when Foo Lin cries out in despair "I'm going to be sleeping on your couch the rest of my life!", the viewer hears a decidedly suggestive licking sound and the camera quickly pans down to show Foo Lin's cat ("Mister Right") sitting on Larry's lap. The cat looks up and says to Larry, "What? Your wife ain't doing it for you. I'm all you've got, sunshine." This scene was quickly cut from the re-broadcast of the episode a couple of days later, and is not included on the DVD. (The scene now freeze-frames and fades to black when Larry and Sarmoti trade glances.)


Comic devices used

The show employs satire, black comedy, crude adult comedy, and wit. The series has been criticized because it features anthropomorphic animals, giving it the appearance of a children's show, while including adult jokes. Satirical elements feature very strongly, with topics such as racism and drugs being covered.

The comic style of the characters Siegfried and Roy furnishes another comic device. Their eccentric lifestyles and personalities allow them to make jokes that other characters wouldn't be able to deliver effectively. Their behavior is often ludicrous and vulgar.

Criticism

The Parents Television Council's reprimanding for indecency is one possible reason for the demise of the show. Reasons cited for their opposition were the aforementioned use of anthropomorphic animals and the use of "from the creators of Shrek" in their promotions. Shrek was a more family-friendly movie than this series, which means that Father of the Pride could have inadvertently drawn the wrong audience.

References

External links




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