French director Julien Villanueva whose animation and VFX outfit Circus Studio has worked on the likes of “Lego City Adventures”, “Around the World in 80 Days” and “White Fang,” has pitched his first ever original TV series project at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse.
“Dr Bob is a very simple concept,” he joked to the crowd of industry professionals gathered at the pitching forum in the southern French city. “It’s like Freud meets Kermit the Frog,” he explained about his show, a sitcom centered around Dr. Bob, a wacky psychologist who goes to extremes to make his patients happy, which often leads to radical consequences.
All the action takes place within the four walls of his office, a kind of modern-day confessional, located in the generic city of Socity, where upcoming municipal elections are putting everyone on edge.
The idea for the show, he explained, was born from his love of the Muppet Show as a child and his frustration at not finding anything in the world of adult animation that met his taste.
“A few years ago, I was at the Annecy Film Festival, and after watching all the shows, I had this feeling that it wasn’t enough, something was missing: I wanted to see something like [Dr Bob], based on psychology, with a Muppet show feel, so I had the idea to create this shrink and these situations with his patients where he just goes overboard to please them.”
Dr Bob is being produced by the animation outfit Villanueva recently co-founded with his Circus partner Jérôme Bacquet, Mr Loyal. They have enlisted the skills of TV writers Joshua Philips and Alexander Gonzalez for the scripts.
The time is ideal for the concept, he told Variety. “There are so many problems out there – wars, environmental and social issues – and we need to laugh, to take a new perspective and laugh at ourselves. This kind of show, buoyed by a mad psychologist like Dr Bob, is a good outlet.”
Cartoon Forum runs through Sept. 22 in the French city of Toulouse.