Cartoon Rewind: A Look Back at ‘Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends’

by Lola Burrisimage00

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends first aired around 13 years ago, which is insane to think about; the long-lasting effect that Foster’s had on animation makes it feel like it aired just a few years ago.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is about – well, it’s about a foster home full of imaginary friends whose creators became too old for them so that they can be adopted and be the friend of another kid who needs them. The creator of the show, Craig McCracken,  has said that the idea for Foster’s came to him when he visited an animal shelter and saw all of the dogs there. So, basically: Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is a show about a bunch of dogs. What could be better?

Foster’s relies on character to drive the stories in the show; most conflicts beginning with the personality of a character and what it causes them to do. A lot of episodes are just the main crew goofing off inside of the house. Something amazing that Foster’s accomplishes is making sure that these episodes never feel like filler and are just a purely enjoyable time. The reason that they’re able to pull this off is the amazing assortment of characters they’ve created. Craig McCracken says that there were hundreds of imaginary friends created for the show before they finally landed on the motley crew we all know and love. There is no friend that seemed to run dry before the end of the show, and the interactions between each and every character seemed genuine and fluid.

One of the ways that Foster’s retains it’s genuine feel is through the process for animating the crew uses: they first hand draw everything, then touch it up digitally, and finally animate it in flash. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends was the first show to use this process for animation, so I feel like this show really isn’t getting the credit it deserves as a revolutionary show for cartoons. Foster’s was created by a small crew entirely in house, which was unheard of for cartoons, especially Cartoon Network cartoons. The tool that allowed them to do this was the library of animations that they stored up. This bank of animations allowed them to crank out episodes faster and faster after each release.

Foster’s was airing in a pretty dry time for cartoons; in a time of “good vs. evil” Foster’s was a little oasis of just good hearted fun that I think everyone needs every once in awhile. I want to thank Foster’s for not taking itself too seriously, but taking itself seriously enough to create something wonderful, and something that I’m never going to forget.
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