Imagine a music-filled kids’ cartoon about saving the ocean, with characters voiced and sung by Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, and Grammy winner Pharrell Williams. Nearly ten years ago, it almost happened.
Hoppus recently guested on KROQ’s “Kevin and Bean Show,” where he and “Kevin & Bean” co-host Jensen Karp revealed that together they once pitched an animated series, titled “Bronze Blue,” to networks like Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Much to their disappointment, the show never happened.
“Bronze Blue” would have starred Hoppus, Wentz, Ashlee Simpson, and others (potentially including Williams, who had been approached) as various characters in an underwater punk/pop band singing catchy, eco-friendly tunes. The band toured the beaches of the world to share their message; however, they would have to stay one step ahead of their ultimate villain: The Sushi Chef.
“The whole show is about the environment and saving the ocean, and they go around and play songs and try to raise awareness about cleaning up our water,” Hoppus said.
Designer and artist Darren Romanelli also served as a creator on “Bronze Blue,” along with Karp and Wentz, while Andrew Wilson designed the art.
Wentz was on board to voice Shrimpy, the punk rock striped big-mouth bass bassist, while Hoppus was set to play Tako, a guitar-playing octopus. Other characters included J. Dory, a “charismatic enigma seahorse” who was the lead singer of the group; Coral, a fish responsible for female vocals; Al-G, a seal on keyboards; and Barrel Bob, the starfish on drums. Karp would voice the Sushi Chef.
The story would have begun with Shrimpy’s old band falling apart from mercury poisoning. After posting on Craigslist, he formed a new group — Bronze Blue — with the goal of “rocking people’s faces off.” The band came together to sing “about friendship, staying healthy, respecting nature and having fun.”
Karp, who is also now the executive producer of TNT’s rap battle show “Drop The Mic,” shared the “Bronze Blue” pitch document with Variety (scroll down to see it below). He also gave Variety permission to post two songs created especially for the toon: A theme song created by Hoppus, and a Sushi Chef rap performed by Karp (who wrote about his brief hip-hop career, signed to a major label, in the book “Kanye West Owes Me $300: And Other True Stories From A White Rapper Who Almost Made It Big”). Here are those songs:
“Sushi Chef,” by Jensen Karp:
Later, Karp found one more song and posted it to his Soundcloud: An “Algae Theme Song,” also by Hoppus:
“It was a great idea, great concept… I wrote an amazing rad theme song for it,” Hoppus said. “It’s so good, it’s like ‘The Muppet Show’ theme song. But we went in two weeks after the people who did ‘Bubble Guppies’ came in.”
“Bubble Guppies” turned out to be the biggest barrier to getting “Bronze Blue” made. Also set underwater and with a strong music focus, “Bubble Guppies” had just been ordered by Nickelodeon when “Bronze Blue” was being pitched in 2010. “Bubble Guppies,” about a group of preschool sea creatures, ultimately ran for 80 episodes between 2011 and 2016.
“Every time we’d go in [to pitch], we’d start by saying, ‘It’s about a group of fish,’ and you’d see their faces go, ‘ugh,'” Karp told Variety. “Some big deal had just gone through.”
Rock and pop stars have a history of dabbling in kids’ TV. The Aquabats’ Christian Jacobs (a.k.a. MC Bat Commander) was one of the creators of Nickelodeon’s “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and the band itself starred in “The Aquabats! Super Show!” Master parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic hosted a kids’ show for CBS. Musicians such as singer Lisa Loeb and former Del Fuegos member Dan Zanes became staples on preschool networks after expanding into children’s music. And musicians such as the Lounge Lizards’ Evan Lurie (“The Backyardigans”) have written music for kids’ TV.
Others who had been set to work on “Bronze Blue” included Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, the band All Time Low, and others.
Now that a decade has passed, Karp said he’d welcome the idea of revisiting “Bronze Blue,” with a few updated changes, of course.
“I think we’d all love to do it and now we have even more talented dad friends,” he said. “But until we sat down for that interview I think we forgot he fun the concept was!”
Below, see some of the pitch document for “Bronze Blue”: