Captain Planet: The show as 'edutainment'
Video: Nick Boxer describes the cartoon as a mix of education and entertainment.
Executive Producer Nick Boxer describes the cartoon as a mix of education and entertainment in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video.
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Nick Boxer: I really think that in a lot of ways Captain Planet was one of the most difficult cartoons ever made, and the reason I say that is because, you know, normally, cartoons are very much in a genre, like if you look at a lot of the cartoons, a lot of the shorts that are out there and things, it’s Bugs Bunny, it’s Tom and Jerry, it’s a character in a foil, you know, or even things like Ren and Stimpy. It’s basically sight gags, and then there’s another format, which is the action-adventure format, which goes back to shows like Speed Racer and Johnny Quest. And -- but it’s all about -- in those cases, okay, we have a mythology, and we have a certain area where we focus, and that’s how the story is told. But Captain Planet had to do that, but it also had to take real environmental issues and incorporate it into the stories in both a sort of accurate way, a somewhat believable way, and a way that created a good story. Oh, it was absolutely -- it was 'edutainment,' and, you know, that was both the good and the bad of it. And I think early on we really struggled, you know. I know I struggled. It’s like finding a balance between something which was entertaining, you know, good action-adventure aspect of it, good character development, good story telling, and, you know, and good information, and finding a way to blend those two. And it was a real -- I mean, I think to this day, doing that successfully requires a real learning curve. I will watch some, though, and go, and sort of go, ugh, you know, it’s like a little too much information there, or you know, just at some point in the show it’s like, whoa, guy is getting a little didactic there. He’s going on. I feel like the actors, the celebrities and stuff at some point must have been going, 'Oh, my God, enough with the information. Let’s get on with the story line.' But in the more successful ones, those are easier to remember. I think that then you really did blend it well.