If you’ve seen The Faily OddParents, Johnny Bravo, or the Powerpuff Girls, then you’re already familiar with Frederator Studios. Comprised of animation veterans Fred Seibert, Eric Homan, and Larry Huber, the famed studio brought the founders’ experience and discerning eyes to the web in November 2005 with the launch of Channel Frederator. Instead of classic half hour episodes, the site consists of a collection of animated shorts submitted by users, vetted by the management, and compiled into weekly episodes for animation enthusiasts to vote on and enjoy.
There’s much to be seen on “the world’s original cartoon podcast.” Each weekly episode features two to four user-submissions screened by the Frederator staff and running the gamut, from pencil drawn stills to not-quite-Pixar level computer animation. In keeping with the freeform nature of the work of the site’s creators, subject matter is often wry, and can be downright dark. From the very first episode, in which a strictly 2-D teddy bear tries to win over his former girlfriend – a much more human looking barista of indeterminate nationality – the tone for the site was set. An added bonus of this site is the indirect anthology of animators’ websites that the creators have gathered. If you’ve tired of official Channel Frederator choices, check out the other work of your favorite artists – just click on the short’s name and then follow the “submitted by” links to more hours of animation.
For the first time viewer, the 20-minute best of 2005 episode might be a good place to start. From the first clip, snow-bo – in which a lonely little boy, shunned by other winter revelers, comes across a dead body, turns it into his only friend, and is rewarded by being kidnapped by that same corpse – you know you’re in for a treat.