Mooselicker says: This is a guest piece written by Erik Hedlund. Is it just me or does that sound like the greatest viking name ever? I really hope if he’s not already, Erik joins a band with friends named Lief and Lars. It won’t matter if they’re any good. Their viking ancestry will sell the albums.
Chowder was a short-lived series. A surrealist, avant-garde, commentary on contemporary social………no seriously, it was crazier than a shit-house rat.
The main character, Chowder, is an aspiring chef and compulsive eater, who lives in Marzipan. Mung, his mentor, is maybe the only character on the show to display a modicum of normality. On the opposite end of Chowder’s warped spectrum of normality is Schnitzel (if you are sensing a culinary theme to this show, you are very perceptive, one gold star for you). Schnitzel, Chef Mung’s longest tenured and most abused employee, has a love/hate relationship with Chowder and a neck at least the length of the rest of his misshapen figure. Schnitzel is my favorite character on this show and is a brilliantly written character. The brilliance lies in the dialogue; witness.
The ridiculosity of the show is its’ charm (NOTE-1; I am fully qualified to make up new words…fyi). A normally functioning adult human can sit on the couch surfing his/her laptop, or reading a book and still perceive ear-catching humor which requires no previously paid attention. This show is also easily understood by the average parent hiding around the corner pretending not to listen. I’m not sure how much educational value can be found in the show; if there is such a thing as humorous white noise, this is it.
The culinary theme was bound to limit the run of this show, however as a culinarian myself, I appreciate the constant reference. Some of the other characters on the show include: Gazpacho-the purveyor of strange produce and mortal enemy of all ninjas; Panini-madly in love with the immature Chowder who responds to her every greeting with “I’m not your boyfriend”; Endive-Mung’s rival and owner of a gargantuan, rideable (see note 1) posterior; and Kimchee-Chowder’s pet stink cloud who speaks with a flatulent voice. The theme is also continued through the setting, Marzipan, and the episodic titles such as Poultrygeist, The Thrice Cream Man, Old Man Thyme, and Hey, Hey It’s Knishmas.
I discovered this show through my children, who would run into the kitchen and say things like “Dad you have to see this fart cloud named Kimchee”. Obviously my thoughts of bills, career, parenting, and husbanding (note 1), were immediately brushed aside at this revelation and I engaged in 30 minutes of juvenile bonding and vicarious innocence.
Chowder first aired in November of 2007 and the series finale “Chowder Grows Up” aired in August of 2010. If you are looking for some goofy, fun, farcicle, humor to enjoy with or without children and/or attention span, two DVD volumes of the show have been released and are available on Amazon.
I now leave you with some of Schnitzel’s greatest cinematic moments.
I was never a big cartoon network fan. I assume this is cartoon network’s work? I just don’t get their cartoons! I don’t understand them!! However, I do feel like Schnitzel speaks to my soul.
I also like that everything is food themed. Maybe if I was younger I would be able to appreciate this more?
Nice piece Erik!
I lived in Korea so a fart cloud named Kimchee sounds right on the money to me.
Chowder is definitely a universe I would want to live in