A summer bow, a web in transition and a Friday airdate. The deck is really stacked against the WB’s “Baby Blues,” but this toon, based on Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott’s popular comic strip, definitely deserves an audience. As good an animated series as any network has offered up in some time (then again, that’s not saying much), this sweet and sassy skein will please the panel’s legion of followers and should win over new fans who want to escape rerun hell.
The netlet has done a wise thing here, delivering the goods when it comes to broad-based family humor — the soul of Kirkman and Scott’s award-winning strip — while showering the plots with plenty of TV and pop culture references. Poking fun at everything from “Saved by the Bell” to “Saturday Night Live,” “Blues” winks its way through some silly situations, still maintaining the wholesome image it has earned through international newspaper syndication.
Parenting doesn’t come simple for Wanda (Julia Sweeney) and Darryl (Mike O’Malley) MacPherson. A career couple in their late 20s, they go through their humdrum lives learning how to raise their newborn, Zoe, and battling normal baby issues, from nursing to napping.
There to show ’em how it’s not supposed to be done are Carl (Joel Murray) and Melinda (Arabella Field), a white trash, “Roseanne”-like couple who have their hands full with three dastardly tykes. Their biggest fireball is Rodney (Kath Soucie), a foul-mouthed sneak who interrupts adults, burns things and gives Bart Simpson some serious brat competition.
First episode sees Wanda reliving her high school years when she’s drawn into the circle of ditzy teen neighbor Bizzy (Nicole Sullivan) — who has temporarily moved in with the MacPhersons — and her “ohmigod” friends. It’s a long setup that ultimately pays off when Drew Carey, as himself, saves the day with a satirical dose of dopey wisdom that brings Wanda to her senses (with a merry, mocking nod to “Scooby Doo”).
Having wandered around in development for almost five years, “Baby Blues” comes to the screen with an absence of visual flair. What wins out, however, are the relaxed scripts that make these characters seem truer than some of the thesps on live action shows. Indeed, “Blues” may not be the hippest or the coolest animated skein to hit the airwaves — but it’s a solid project from funny writers who know exactly what they’re doing.
Future guest voiceovers include Bob Costas, Philip Baker Hall and “Star Trek’s” George Takei.