Cow And Chicken (Cartoon Network, 1997-1999)
As I have said before, when I first got digital TV in 1999, suddenly having access to lots more channels meant that I was curious what programmes were out there that I would like. I enjoyed a lot of the shows on Cartoon Network, including Cow And Chicken. This was a very bizarre cartoon, but remarkably it wasn’t the strangest thing that I ever saw on that channel, as it still wasn’t in the same league as the wonderfully odd Cult Toons and Space Ghost Coast To Coast.
Naturally this is a show about the adventures of a cow and a chicken, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Cow and Chicken are actually somehow related, and indeed they are brother and sister, with Chicken being the older one. Even odder, their parents are actually human, and we only ever see them from the waist down. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a satire on Tom And Jerry, but I think it might have even been implied that they really did only both have a bottom half, so they were both a pair of legs with no head or anything like that, even though they could both speak, I’m not really sure.
We meet lots of other characters throughout the episodes, including the two human friends Flem and Earl who Cow and Chicken went to school with (Earl was voiced by Dan Castellaneta who it seems has done a lot more cartoon voice work beyond The Simpsons than I previously ever realised). Also occasionally Chicken’s cousin Boneless came to stay, and you can imagine what fun that was. Cow and Chicken were also both voiced by the same actor Charlie Alder who shrieked his way through all of the very noisy episodes, there seemed to be odd mooing and clucking sound effects throughout the show too, and every episode ended suddenly with someone shouting “end!”.
There was some very odd humour throughout the show. Other things that happened in Cow And Chicken included Cow turning into a superhero called Supercow. There was also a villainous character called The Red Guy who tried to thwart the duo’s plans, and he also turned up in another Cartoon Network show called I Am Weasel which was also great and rather odd. I also think that Cow was fond of their toy beaver called Piles.
Because Cartoon Network was the first time that I had seen a 24-hour children’s channel, it was the first time that I experienced watching cartoons on TV at all odd times of the day, and Cow And Chicken used to appear so frequently I couldn’t help but watch it, and I’m sure that I watched some episodes on several occasions, and it seemed to be on all weekend at one point, and that couldn’t be done with CBBC or CITV at the time.
Four series of Cow And Chicken were made and I’ve seen little else like it on TV, and as someone who is a fan of the more unusual TV show even I wondered what was going on half the time, and I could watch it at 2am, hooray! Unfortunately the show didn’t really become a big success in this country because so few people had access to Cartoon Network at the time, but all these years later I still find it an enjoyable experience to watch.