Animato #35 Summer 1996 Pg 13 Judith Reboy
Reprinted with permission of the author. Thanks Judy!
A new cast of characters were added to Savage Steve Holland's Eekstravaganza
this season. Klutter, a segment about the misadventures of a pile of junk
brought to life by static electricity and the kids who own the junk, was added to the show
in the 1995-96 season.
Fans may have noticed that it looks to have as much in common with The
Critic than Eek! The Cat or The Terrible Thunderlizards. According to
creator/executive producer/writer Savage Steve Holland, that's no coincidence. The show is
a collaboration between Film Roman. "When The Critic was canceled, I inherited
every single crew member for Klutter, including the director, Brian Sheesley. Hence
any similarity. The one extra Film Roman person is, of course David Silverman of The
Simpsons who's really a big part of the show. As a matter of fact, I've left most of
the design, timing, boarding, etc. to David and Brian, and I couldn't be happier with the
While the animation style may be Film
Roman, the scripts and characters are pure Savage Steve Holland, a perfect mixture of
madness and sweetness. There's Mr. and Mrs. Heap, the loving but clueless parents of
Klutter's owners. Dad is a newspaper reporter who constantly bemoans that he lives in the
most boring town in the world ... while an explosion, a flock of escaped zoo animals, a
car crash and an alien invasion surround him. Then there's that sign on the road
construction site that reads, "Your tax dollars annoying you."
Klutter himself is a MacGuffin. The real stars of the show are the
kids, who blessedly talk and act like real kids. Ryan, the oldest, whose hair color
changes every other episode like Dobie Gillis, earnestly tries to be a reporter like his
dad. Fortunately, he's much too innocent to see that when Dad only gives him his
newspaper's "dead files" in an attempt to get rid of him. Naturally, these wild,
tabloid type stories inevitably turn out to be true, but also naturally, the kids can't
convince anybody that they are. Quiet middle kid Wade speaks with the bluntly honest
deadpan tones that only a small child can use.
Their preschool age sister Sandee sometimes feels isolated by being the
youngest and the only girl. Before Klutter comes into their lives, the poor kid, unable to
find anyone to play with, tries to pull herself in her little red wagon, dejectedly
saying, "Whee." Next door neighbor Vanna is bright, a little bossy, and usually
exasperated when things go awry because the other kids failed to heed her advice.
Tne early episodes deal primarily with the kids' attempts to take Klutter along on outings
without the grown ups, particularly Dad, who would probably develop an allergy to Klutter
by virtue of the fact that he can be classified as a pet. Later segments have gone on
somewhat stranger tangents, which Holland describes as "Scooby Doo-esque mystery
However, unlike Scooby Doo and his pals, if Klutter and the Heap kids
find a ghost or an alien, or an angry brain sucking mutant potato creature, they won't
find out later that it's really some guy in a suit trying to scare them. It's really a
ghost, alien or killer spud.
One name that would not be associated with Klutter, at least on the creative end,
is Savage's longtime friend and collaborator, Bill Kopp. At the time that Klutter
began production, Kopp had an exclusive contract with Disney to create, write and produce The
Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show.
It seems almost unbelievable, since Kopp had been such an integral part
of the show's other two segments. He is co-creator of both Eek! The Cat and The
Terrible Thunderlizards, as well as supervising producer on the early shows, and the
voice artist behind several major characters, including Eek himself.
Fortunately for all concerned, the prospect was just as inconceivable
to Holland and Silverman. (Kopp, Silverman and Tim Berglund, director of Twisted Tales
of Felix the Cat provided the animated segments for Holland's live action feature, One
Crazy Summer.) So they decided that if Kopp could not participate as animator or voice
artist, they would include him as a character.
"When David Silverman, myself and any of our friends get together,
we spend most of our time talking about, laughing at, and drawing Bill Kopp behind his
back," cracks Holland. "We spend so much time doing this we figured we might as
well make 'Kopp' a cartoon character that highlights the real Bill Kopp's motto for life,
'Get those women and children out of the way! I have to live!"'
The animated Kopp is a pre-adolescent pal of the Heap kids. Not to
imply that the real Kopp's image takes its usual beating at his pal's hands, but in the
first eight episodes, he's been forced to surf across the Heaps' front lawn (in drag),
gnawed upon by giant slugs in a tank at the aquarium, and kidnapped by a mad scientist
with intent to experiment, to name just a few dilemmas.
He's portrayed as (ahem) not terribly bright. In the pilot, he tries to
sell lemonade at a roadside stand for $100 a glass so that he only has to sell one to turn
over a tidy profit.
The real life Bill Kopp has had a reversal of fortunes since his
somewhat downbeat interview in ANIMATO #33. As he predicted at that time, Shnookums and
Meat was not picked up for a second season by Disney, and was taken out of rotation on
The Disney, Afternoon.
But happily, he recently signed a deal with Fox, according to Holland. This prompts yet
another typical Savage Steve response, "They are threatening to put him right next to
me. L have no idea what he's doing here but I am very afraid." He'll also continue to
do voices for the Eek and Thunderlizards segments because, in Holland's words,
"the shows would suck without him."
Kopp has had some heavy duty company in the sound booth for Eekstravaganza.
One of the show's trademarks is some high powered guest voices. Among the familiar
voices that have graced the show are: Kathy Ireland as Huggy, a possessed "Precious
Moments" type statue; Heather Locklear as Eek's obsessed (as in Fatal Attraction) new
neighbor; Phil Hartman and Gary Owens as a cast of thousands; and Mr. T as the
Thunderlizards' occasional field commander, Mr. T-Rex (ouch!).
Holland stresses the importance of a strong voice cast. "I think
these guest stars are what help differentiate Eek from the other zany, kooky (see: loud
and annoying) cartoon voices."
While he speaks well of virtually everyone who has worked on the show,
he clearly has a particular fondness for William Shatner, who was Santa on the 1993 prime
time Eek! Christmas Special and, more recently, the
strangely familiar Captain Berzerk in Eek Space 9. "Mr.
Shatner has us on the floor when he comes in to record because he REALLY wants to make his
character exceptional. He literally gets red in the face trying to give us the best
character voice he can muster. It's incredible to watch,"
EekSpace 9 also featured
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovney in character as Scully and Mulder, a casting coup
that predated more celebrated appearances on ReBoot and The Simpsons. (Scully
has a change of heart when she encounters the Zoltarians, the slimy aliens who have been
trying to blow up the Earth since season one's Eek Vs. the
Strangely enough, this is only the latest in a series of crossovers
between the two shows. A major X Files fan, Holland was both surprised and pleased
when Eek and Annabelle appeared in the first season X-Files Episode Eve. He wrote
an X Files parody called Eex Files as a thank you. (On a personal note, this
episode also features the return of Shardy the Magical Dancing Piece of Glass in direct
response to this writer's request while Savage and Bill interviewed with my husband for
Animato #26. Thanks again, guys!)
Effective with the February sweeps, Eekstravaganza has left its
longtime Saturday morning home in favor of a weekday afternoon slot. Here's hoping that
the change expands the show from beloved cult hit to the mainstream popularity it