Johnny Bravo is an American animated television series created by animator Van Partible for Cartoon Network. The series stars a muscular beefcake man named Johnny Bravo who dons a pompadour hairstyle and an Elvis Presley-like voice and has a forward, woman-chasing personality. Plots typically revolve around him trying to get a woman that he has targeted throughout the episode to fall in love with him. He is often beaten up or stunned by his target or companions, or is ditched by them in the end.
The series was originally part of a series of shorts on Cartoon Network's animation showcase series World Premiere Toons. The popularity of the shorts led to the network commissioning a full series for the show, which premiered on July 7, 1997. The series was renewed for multiple following seasons and ended its official run on August 27, 2004. A spin-off of the series, JBVO, was unsuccessful and ran for one season. A television movie titled Johnny Bravo Goes to Bollywood was made and aired in India in 2009, and in August 2010 in the United Kingdom. A 70-minute movie with the same title aired in Australia on November 20, 2011.
Johnny Bravo has received generally positive reviews from critics and is now regarded as a classic Cartoon Network series. The title character is considered "iconic", and his catchphrases are relatively common in popular culture. Many of the writers and directors on the series went on to become famous for their own projects, including Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show) and Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom and T.U.F.F. Puppy).
Johnathan "Johnny" Bravo (voiced by Jeff Bennett in US/Canada version & Marc Silk in UK version) -- The muscular main protagonist of the series. His middle name was rumored to be Boston. He is narcissistic and although possessing native cunning, is intellectually challenged, though this is most relevant in the retooled format of the show as Johnny is portrayed more as being cocky and socially inept than stupid in the original format. A prominent feature of the show is his inability to attract women, and secure dates or relationships with them. He claims to dislike his "best friend", Carl Chryniszzswics(Inder). However, despite his boorish and dim nature, he does have a soft side; in spite of that, he typically gets assaulted in some way or another by the women he approaches. His apparent stupidity has been known to save the day from time to time, but at some cases, only made them a lot worse. The inspiration for Johnny may be as a male representation of the "dumb blonde", being as he usually is the clueless butt-of-the-joke, with the notable exception during The 1st 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Awards Show Program Special: Live in Stereo, during which Johnny served as the host and was very witty and suave. The character is memorable for his incredibly quick movements (usually done while trying to impress women), which were accompanied by the loud crack of a whip sound effect. Johnny's catch phrases are "She wants me!" and "Wooaahh Mama!" and "Yeah Whatever" after women beat him up for refusing to leave them alone. He dresses in a skin tight black t-shirt and blue jeans. Three running gags are his trademark sunglasses, which he always wears, never revealing his eyes; breaking the fourth wall and Johnny being beaten up by women, who reject him. The name "Johnny Bravo" dates back to an episode of The Cheyenne Show, and was also Greg Brady's would-be stage name in an episode of The Brady Bunch. However, Van Partible stated in an interview for Cartoon Network that he also derived the name from his full given name, "Efrem Giovanni Bravo Partible." It has also been said that on the Valentine's Day special that his birthday is on Valentine's Day (meaning when the episode came out on 2-14-2003 that his official age is 15) and he likes Kung-Fu chick shows. When voicing Johnny Bravo, Jeff Bennett made his voice sound like that of Elvis Presley.,
Bunny "Momma" Bravo (voiced by Brenda Vaccaro) -- Johnny's mother. She has had a lively past and sometimes reveals a surprising hidden talent. The show's original format portrays her as a calm, nurturing woman, but was made into a louder, more extroverted character once the show was retooled. She's very dedicated to her son, but as a result of her awareness of his low intellect and womanizer attitude, does not always treat him and his problems seriously. Her husband is never seen or mentioned. Like Johnny, Bunny has her own trademark sunglasses which always cover her eyes. Bunny hopes that Johnny will find that special someone he's been looking for. Bunny is mostly referred in the show as "Momma" by Johnny, who pronounces it in an Elvis-esque manner.,
Little Suzy (voiced by Mae Whitman) -- A little red-haired, intelligent girl from the neighborhood (often called "Little Neighbor girl" by Johnny), who is very cunning and talkative. In many episodes, Suzy is shown to have a major crush on Johnny (although the feeling is not mutual). Her parents were never shown, but she is often shown to be related to big time celebrities. For example, it was revealed in an episode during her birthday that Farrah Fawcett is her cousin. She also has a crush on an 8-year-old country music singer Lonnie Dash. In the early series, Suzy was more of a cute-type character with a round head, while in the retooled series, she is thin-looking and more grown up. But went back to her original design in season 4. Suzy has many interests (such as selling lemonade and participating in the Buttercup Scouts) and has proven to be very successful in most of those interests. It is very obvious that Johnny finds Suzy annoying as he won't even go to her birthday parties or school dances.,
Carl Chryniszzswics (voiced by Tom Kenny) -- A local nerd, also known as Carl Shocker, considered by many (especially Johnny) to be extremely annoying. He is Johnny's "best friend". He is a local genius and geek, who is very intelligent, but somewhat eccentric and timid. He was introduced after the show's retooling following the end of the first season, and seems to be Johnny's only friend, although Johnny often denies that. Carl sometimes uses Johnny for his experiments' sake. Carl really likes Johnny and he continues to hang out with him, even after all of the mean things that Johnny does to Carl and says about him. Carl remained in the show after the return to the original style, but was relegated to smaller roles, however Johnny is much nicer to Carl when he shows up in the final season.,
Pops (voiced by Larry Drake) -- The greedy owner of a local diner. He often gives tips and advice to Johnny; however, his advice often turns out to be useless, sometimes provoking trouble for Johnny. His diner's chili is made from rather suspicious ingredients and he serves food made from many animals, such as possums, pandas, cougars, seals, horses, and bald eagles. Like Carl, Pops was introduced in season two after the show's drastic retooling and remained even after the return to the original format, although he was relegated to brief cameo roles.,
Pop culture references:
The series was abounding in pop culture references. The original short that preceded the series, Mess O' Blues, was based around an Elvis Presley impersonator. Johnny Bravo lives in "Aaron City". Aaron was Elvis Presley's middle name. Even from the first season, creator Van Partible intended for the show's middle segment to be a form of "Johnny Bravo Meets...", intended as a parody of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. An entire episode of the first season of the show is based around homages to "The Twilight Zone'' (or, as the show dubs it, The Zone, Where Normal Things Don't Happen Very Often.) In that episode, which consisted of three Twilight Zone parodies, opened and closed by the words of a narrator, and would consist of Johnny encountering something strange, for example, being at the mercy of a boy who can seemingly alter reality at will, or fighting a personal war with a clown trying to damage a plane's wing (only to discover he was one of two clowns kept to "balance" the plane) - the episode also included a talking doll that attempted to commit murder. Additional references to the episodes spoofed included Johnny trying to inform William Shatner of the clown on the wing, with Shatner implying he had been in a similar situation before, and Johnny referring to his godlike babysitting charge as "Billy" and "Will Robinson," a reference to actor Billy Mumy who played the role in the original Twilight Zone episode.
Much of the humor of the series revolves around the antics and dimwittedness of Johnny himself. The entire series revolves around Bravo's undying desire to go on a date with a woman, and most women beat him up when he asks them. In turn, Bravo asks them in a very confident, almost cocky manner. Johnny also has been seen to do absurd things just to see a woman. Though narcissistic, Johnny has a relatively innocent nature, which, in conjunction with his lack of intelligence, can occasionally land him in the middle of others' dastardly plots (where he often remains oblivious even as they unfold). When Johnny enjoys something, usually something he tastes or sees, he often exclaims enjoyment by saying, "Mmm, (object)-y!" This joke was introduced and was most prevalent in the second season. This is similar to one of Homer Simpson and Pee-wee Herman's catchphrases.
Sly adult humor is found in many early episodes of the show. In one episode, when Little Suzy calls Johnny to ask if he wants to come over, Johnny nonchalantly tells her to "call back in 15 years when she is a co-ed." In regard to the adult humor," Butch Hartman stated "...being concerned with the content of the episodes wasn't our main focus", and creator Van Partible remembers that "No one was really watching Cartoon Network ... As far as content, they were pretty lenient on all the kind of things that were going on."
The series has had numerous guest stars, which include: Don Knotts, Jessica Biel, Alec Baldwin, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Rick Springfield, Luke Perry, Farrah Fawcett, Brock Peters, Vendela Kirsebom, Adam West, Dionne Warwick, Jack Sheldon, Mick Jagger, Richard Simmons, Joey McIntyre, Mr. T, Mark Hamill, Shaquille O'Neal, Donny Osmond, Seth Green, Allyce Beasley, Curtis Armstrong, Michael Jeter, Chuck D, Jeffrey Tambor, Tia Carrere, Laraine Newman, and Hal Douglas. Initially, the goal of the first season of the show was to have popular 1970s icons (such as Osmond and Fawcett) to appear on the "Johnny Bravo Meets..." middle segment of the show, but guest stars were used informally after the second season began.
The episode "Johnny Bravo Meets Adam West!" in which West guest stars, inspired Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote the episode, to incorporate a similar character into Family Guy. Other, more famous Hanna-Barbera characters have appeared in Johnny Bravo episodes, including the cast of Scooby-Doo, Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, The Blue Falcon, Black Widow, and Huckleberry Hound.
The series takes its roots from a senior thesis project creator Van Partible did for Loyola Marymount University, about an Elvis Presley impersonator.Mess O' Blues (1993) was shown by Partible's animation professor at the college to a friend working for Hanna-Barbera Cartoons at the time. The studio loved the film and asked him to develop it into a pitch for a seven-minute short. Partible sold the project to Hanna-Barbera shortly afterward. The short would be aired on Cartoon Network's new animation showcase, World Premiere Toons. Also known as the What a Cartoon! Show, the series' short cartoons (three per half-hour episode) mirrored the structure of a theatrical cartoon, with each film being based on an original storyboard drawn and written by its artist/creator.
Partible initially roomed with Craig McCracken (creator of The Powerpuff Girls), Paul Rudish (a designer on that series) and Genndy Tartakovsky (creator of Dexter's Laboratory). The only two cartoonists fresh out of college were Partible and Seth MacFarlane. Partible changed his character from Mess O' Blues around so that "he would be more of this '50s iconic James Dean-looking character that talked like Elvis". Partible picked voice actor Jeff Bennett to play Johnny Bravo solely based on his young, hyped Elvis impression.
The short, Johnny Bravo, premiered on World Premiere Toons on March 26, 1995, and involved Johnny trying to score with a zookeeper girl by capturing a runaway talking gorilla. Partible, with a small team of animators, animated the short themselves in-house at Hanna-Barbera using digital ink and paint (the latter shorts and seasons 1 and early season 2 of the series would instead use the traditional ink and paint and film camera). Two more shorts on the program followed (Jungle Boy in "Mr. Monkeyman", and Johnny Bravo and the Amazon Women) and the shorts were so popular that Cartoon Network commissioned a first season of series based around Johnny Bravo, consisting of 13 episodes.
The crew of the first season of Johnny Bravo consisted of several writers, animators, and directors from World Premiere Toons, including the aforementioned MacFarlane and Hartman, Steve Marmel, and John McIntyre. Veteran cartoonist and animation legend Joseph Barbera was also a creative consultant and a mentor for the first season of the series. Partible stated in a 1997 interview that the goal of the series was to have "animation reminiscent of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons".
The series premiered on July 14, 1997, and the first season completed in December of that year. The series was put on hiatus, until it was picked up for an unexpected second season in 1999. During that season, the show undertook a major creative re-tooling, in which new characters were introduced, re-designs of characters with new personalities were prevalent, and the tone and humor of the show changed considerably. Some of the changes the show experienced during the re-tooled version were the heavy emphasis on Johnny's stupidity, the removal of the Jungle Boy characters and new catchphrases. Most viewers did not take kindly to the changes while others thought the show greatly improved and took off with a slapstick style. The show kept this format until the series' third season ended in 2002. The series sat in limbo once again until it was renewed for a fourth season in 2003, which aired in 2004. The final season of the series returned to the humor of the original shorts and first season of the series (although the Jungle Boy characters from the first season never returned). The show was officially ended in late 2004.
After the series ended in 2004, the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet was given a special paint scheme with Johnny Bravo on the hood. It was driven by Kyle Busch in the 2005 Sharpie 500 NASCAR race. On the long lasting impact of the show, writer/director Butch Hartman states:
When Johnny Bravo first came out, I don't think a lot of people didn't have high hopes for it, and I think it was really cool that prove exactly what kind of character he was. No one really thought it was going to go anywhere. Not only has it gone somewhere, it's actually still around, it's very iconic now, 15, 16 years later.
The show's creative team went on to create many successful television series throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including writer Seth MacFarlane, creator of the popular animated series Family Guy. Shortly after the series' first season was completed, writer/director Butch Hartman left to work on Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons, from which those shorts spun off his own success, The Fairly OddParents. Steve Marmel, writer for Johnny Bravo, has been a producer and writer for The Fairly OddParents since its premiere in 2001. In addition to Johnny Bravo, director John McIntyre directed episodes of several other Cartoon Cartoons, and more recently served as a supervising director on Cartoon Network's original series The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
Reruns of the show are played on Boomerang.
As of March 30, 2012, this series has returned to Cartoon Network in reruns on the revived block, Cartoon Planet.
In 2009, IGN ranked Johnny Bravo No. 71 for its Top 100 Animated Series list.
Best Individual Achievement: Voice Acting by a Male Performer in a TV Production
Jeff Bennett, as Johnny Bravo
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production
Steve Marmel, for "The Perfect Gift"
Best Performance in a Voice Over Talent
Mae Whitman, as Little Suzy
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production
Kirk Tingblad, for "Noir Johnny"
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production
Mary Hanley, for "Noir Johnny"
Golden Reel Award
Best Sound Editing -- Television Animated Series -- Sound
Glenn Oyabe, Kerry Iverson, Jesse Aruda, and John Bires, for "The Johnny Bravo Affair/Biosphere Johnny/Spa Spaz"
Best Sound Editing in Television Animation -- Music
Roy Braverman, for "It's Valentine's Day, Johnny Bravo"
JBVO: Your All Request Cartoon Show:
JBVO: Your All Request Cartoon Show is a short-lived programming block that aired Sundays on Cartoon Network from April 2, 2000, to May 21, 2001. It was hosted by Johnny Bravo, along with some infrequent guest stars such as Chicken (from Cow and Chicken). Callers would write into the show via mail or through the Cartoon Network website to call the show and request a cartoon from Cartoon Network's cartoon library, which would then be played, with an exception of half-hour-long shows. Notably, one caller of the show requested an episode of Dragon Ball Z. Being that it was a half-hour long, Johnny regretfully had to fast-forward through the entire episode with Johnny providing only expositional commentary. Afterward, Johnny apologized to the caller for the inconvenience.
There was also a similar spin-off of the JBVO concept itself entitled Viva Las Bravo, a summer block that aired in 2005 and 2006 in certain European variants of Cartoon Network. Every day Johnny would announce three cartoons, with the one getting the highest votes via email or on CartoonNetworkHQ.net would be shown for two hours the next day. He would also constantly appear in commercial breaks, cracking jokes or answering humorous emails and phone calls.
In February 2013, IDW Publishing announced a partnership with Cartoon Network to produce comics based on its properties. Johnny Bravo was one of the titles announced to be published.
A video game titled Johnny Bravo: Date-O-Rama! was released for the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 consoles.
It was reported in 2002 that Warner Brothers Pictures had secured the rights for a live-action Johnny Bravo feature film "as a potential starring vehicle for the Rock." However, by as late as 2014, no further developments regarding this project had been announced.
Warner Bros. stated in an interview that they are "...in conversations with Cartoon Network" for DVD collections of various cartoons, among which is Johnny Bravo in 2006.Johnny Bravo: Season 1, a two-disc set featuring the complete first season which contains all 13 episodes, was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand (Region 4) on October 10, 2007. On November 4, 2009, the complete second season was released. MVD Company Limited also released Season 1-5 in 2009.
A Region 1 release of the first season, with different cover art and new special features, was released by Warner Home Video on June 15, 2010. The release is first in an official release of several Cartoon Cartoons on DVD, under the "Cartoon Network Hall of Fame" name.
Johnny Bravo: Season One
June 15, 2010
This two-disc release includes all 13 episodes from the first season, a look-back documentary, pencil tests, and episode commentaries.
Scooby-Doo and the Toon Tour of Mysteries: "Bravo Dooby Doo", "Noir Johnny",
Cartoon Network Halloween: "Bravo Dooby Doo",
Cartoon Network Christmas: "A Johnny Bravo Christmas",
Cartoon Network Halloween 2: Grossest Halloween Ever: "Frankenbravo",
Cartoon Network Christmas 2: Christmas Rocks: "Twas the Night"