As for the rest of the gang, they've all gone on to other interesting projects:
Tim Bergland (aka Tim Bjorkland) started his own studio called INK BISCUITS STUDIO. They've produced all the old style animation titles for The Cartoon Channel. Tim also designed the characters for a show I created called TIFFANY & JADE, which we now have in development as a 3D CGI series at Netter Digital, who produce Babylon 5 and Voltron.
I'm not sure, but I think Joe Murray and Tim Hill were working together on something, maybe a show proposal? Not sure, but Tim is a great guy who came on the show the last season as a story editor. Tim Hill had created another show for Nickelodeon's Florida studio; Nick exec Mary Harrington asked Joe to interview Hill to work on the last season to replace the two writers who left the show, Vince Calandra and Ron Houge. Since Joe and Nick Jennings are old friends, I'm sure they've been working on projects together as well (or at least talking about working together!)
Steve Hillenberg, the director Joe chose to produce the last season of Rocko, created a new show for Nick called SPONGE BOB, about a boy sponge and his adventures under the sea. Doug Lawrence is presently writing the show for Steve.
Doug Lawrence (AKA Mr. Lawrence) is developing a show for Film Roman called HAIRBALLS, an adult animated show about three cats. Doug and I created a show for Buccieri & Weiss Productions, the guys who created the show I produce, PENN & TELLER'S SIN CITY SPECTACULAR. It's an adult puppet show called THE JOEY POPE SHOW, with the same format as Sat Night Live, but with weird lifesize puppets.
Rob Porter and Derik Drymon are directing CATDOG.
Mark O'Hare, one of the best storyboard artists and gagwriters on Rocko, went on to create the hilarious daily comic strip CITIZEN DOG, now syndicated all around the country.
1. I HAVE NO SON
2. TO HECK AND BACK
3. JET SCREAM (I didn't write that one!)
My favorite individual scenes from Rocko are:
1. In "TOOTH & NAIL" (Tim Berland, dir.) when Rocko is writhing in a filthy
dumpster chewing on a mannequin's foot.
2. The opening and lunatic closing of SUGAR FROSTED FRIGHTS (Doug Lawrence, dir./ Robert Scull, board artist).
3. The fake "opening credits" sequence to the first FATHEADS toon-within-a- toon in "I HAVE NO SON" (Doug, dir.)
4. When Heff is belch-talking to himself in the mirror in BELCH OF DESTINY (Steve Hillenberg, dir.)
1. WORKING ON "DIRTY DOG": I laughed when Joe showed me his first hilarious
designs of Bloaty & Squirmy, and we all had tons of fun recording and singing
my nutty "Bloaty & Squirmy Theme Song".
2. RALPH BIGHEAD: When Joe sketched out the first design for Ralph and showed it to me. At the same time, he told me he'd thought it over and agreed to do Ralph's voice, which I had tried to convince him to do since the second I first proposed the character. ("Joe, wouldn't it be great to create a character who's a grouchy cartoonist, and have you do the voice?") And when Doug Lawrence got Joe (as Ralph) to scream "NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER!" (The joke was, Joe NEVER EVER screamed; in fact, his voice was always a quiet, thoughtful murmur, so it was really hilarious having Joe as his alter-ego screaming like a nut!)
3. When we got the first batch of FATHEADS footage back, and howled laughing that we were putting over the airwaves such incredibly insane surrealism.
4. When Joe used to take us out on "writing trips" to brainstorm new ideas. Once to the LaBrea Tar Pits, to an outdoor eatery called ROCKY'S, out to the country, etc. And he was right. Getting us out of the office environment caused us to think in new categories and, as a result, we always came up with crazy new ideas for episodes. And it also made it easier for the writers to meet girls.
5. When the Nick execs OK'd my idea to have Filburt and Dr. Hutch get married. They balked at first (no one had done extreme linear character development through the episodes on any other Nick animated series), but Joe, God bless 'im, talked them into it.
That story came about when I was at a party and I heard my old friend David Pritchard (now CEO of FILM ROMAN, who produce THE SIMPSONS!) "belch-talking" and everybody laughing at his insane performance.
I immediately imagined Heffer "belch-talking"... What if that was Heff's one lame talent, something that would make him popular with the kids, but which his parents would hate? I wrote up the story, Joe approved it and I got his permission to record Dave to test his ineffable ability to belch. So I took Steve Hillenberg and Mark O'Hare to Dave's sound studio and recorded a test of Dave "belch-talking". (I think it was Steve's idea to have Dave belch the DeNiro/Taxi Driver line: "You talkin' to me?!")
Later, Dave came for an official recording at Joe's regular session. (I guess that's when Joe gave Dave the extra spicy burrito to encourage more exotic and sublime belches). But I guess Dave's belching wasn't up to par that day, because I think Joe used most of the belching from Dave's test that Steve, Mark and I recorded. So... that story came directly from real life and my gaseous friend's garbling at a party.
Copyright © 2002
The contents of this interview may not be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of the author.
Lisa (Kiczuk) Trainor