Eric Feeble, the tormented urban hero of Klasky Csupo’s latest animated series, faces the same problem as millions of his real-life counterparts: He has way too much stress in his life.
“His wife has left him for a Buddhist, his daughter Claire is allergic to almost everything, and his son Brian is sick 365 days a year,” says Carl Gorham, the 34-year-old creator of the show. “I think the stress factor is something everyone can relate to in the ’90s.”
Gorham, who has a solid background in live British comedy shows and radio performances, says he penned the pilot specifically for animation. “I was a big fan of Klasky Csupo’s ‘Duckman.’ When the BBC decided to go ahead with the show, we looked all over for a partner. Then we met with the folks at Klasky Csupo and knew instantly that they were the right people to do this kind of fast-paced, sophisticated, edgy material.”
“Stressed Eric,” which is the BBC’s first primetime animated series, is set to debut this winter in England. Six episodes of the toon, which costs about $500,000 per half-hour, have been produced to date.
“We think it’s very international in its appeal,” says Klasky Csupo prexy-CEO Terry Thoren. “It’s no more a London show than, say, ‘The Simpsons’ is a show about Springfield. We hope it will find the same smart audience base as something like ‘The Tracey Ullman Show.’ ”
Thoren admits, however, that the meticulously drawn London backdrops of the series are a big selling point. “Photographs of the city were the springboard for these amazing oil-painted background scenes, which are stylized in a very foggy, filtered-lens point of view,” Thoren adds.
The Brighton-born, Oxford-educated Gorham hopes the show will live beyond its current six-episode life. Although the series doesn’t have a definite home on U.S. TV yet, London-based distributor Itel generated a good international buzz at Mipcom with the product. After all, cappuccino-guzzling, cell-phone-waving neurotics all over the world should get a kick out of seeing their nightmarish lifestyles recorded for posterity in toontown.