Bobby and Uncle Ted.


Original medium: Television animation
Produced by: Film Roman
First Appeared: 1990
Creator: Howie Mandel
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The joys and sorrows of being a young kid are fodder for stories and humor of all sorts, from true stories told by enraptured parents back in Peter Piltdown's day, to last week's feature-length films. Naturally, they appear in stand-up comedy routines, and equally naturally, they've found their way from there to animated cartoons such as Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids. Also this …

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… one, Bobby's World, which grew out of the stand-up comedy of actor and producer Howie Mandel, who was even seen live in brief segments at the beginnings and (sometimes) ends of each episode.

Bobby's World was about the world of 4-year-old Bobby Generic (pronounced "Jen-er-ick" just as Mrs. Crabapple's name on The Simpsons wasn't pronounced the way you'd think from the spelling). It included Mom (Martha Generic), Dad (Howie Generic — he looked a lot like Mandel as well as having the same first name), 14-year-old sister (Kelly Generic), 10-year-old brother (Derek Generic), Uncle Ted (lovable by kid standards but adults didn't see him as being very grown-up), Aunt Ruth, and a big, shaggy dog named Roger. As the series opened, Martha was pregnant — probably the first American toon in that condition since Wilma Flintstone — but she eventually gave birth to twins.

The show debuted on Fox Kids TV, on September 8, 1990, and ran seven seasons, a total of 81 half-hour episodes. Mandel himself supplied the voices of both Bobby and Howie. Martha was Gail Matthius (Shirley the Loon in Tiny Toon Adventures), who used a thick Minnesota-Norwegian accent for the role. Kelly and Derek were Charity James (who has done a lot of voice work in video games) and Kevin Michaels (Jonny Quest during the 1990s), respectively. Uncle Ted was Tino Insana (several voices in 21st century Disney TV productions), and Aunt Ruth was Edie McClurg (Mrs. Seaworthy in Snorks). Jackie, a next-door neighbor, was Debi Derryberry (Jimmy Neutron). Roger, like so many non-anthropomorphic animals, was voiced by Frank Welker (Curious George).

Bobby's World hasn't been produced since the late 1990s, but for the past few years, Mandel has been talking about a revival.


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Text ©2007-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Howie Mandel.