Johnny Bravo is a karate-chopping gift from on high to all women. It’s just that nobody has decided to tell anyone else that he is.
While a cartoon about the exploits of a bumbling womaniser may not sound the most compelling prospect, Johnny Bravo defies the odds to be massively fun.
Vain, narcissistic and pretty much useless at everything apart from maintaining his muscles and his quiff, Johnny Bravo is one of the most misguided TV characters of all time. And it never stops being funny.
Based unsurprisingly on a bad Elvis impersonator that creator Van Partible had done a thesis on in college and James Dean, Bravo’s slurred dialogue was always the right side of daft and his constant posturing made him wonderfully loveable idiot.
The show’s plots were simple, mainly centring on Johnny misguided attempts to pick up members of the fairer sex and the multiple ways he would inevitably fail. He may get involved in nefarious plots now and again, but our stupidly quaffed hero would manage to flail his way out of trouble.
One of the show’s key appeals was its writing team, which just so happened to contain would-be Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane.
His touch, and that of his contemporaries, is seen throughout as the show isn’t shy to come out with a reference that would outfox any kid watching the show, while it’s scatological humour and innuendo was far above that of a normal children’s cartoon. It’s clear from the start that this was a show they made simply for themselves.
The humour of the show did change in the show’s second and third season with Johnny becoming slowly more and more slapstick. While in no way bad, those don’t match up to the slightly more cerebral first and last years of the show.
The show also had a lovely visual style, with a real clear, simply, vintage style mixing with nicely sketchy backgrounds. Mixed with Johnny’s almost instant, snappy animation movements, it made for a great visual package.
Johnny Bravo gave MacFarlane the break he needed, with the kudos surrounding the show giving him the platform to develop the more adult based cartoons he’s famous for today. MacFarlane’s touch wasn’t reserved to Johnny Bravo, but that’s for another time.
The show lasted for four seasons between 1997 and 2004 before finally having the plug pulled by Cartoon Network, but in truth, the main gags had started to feel their age and ensured that Johnny Bravo went out on a high.
Now often considered a classic in the golden age of Cartoon Network, Johnny Bravo was and still is an undeniable success. Still as funny as it’s ever been, Johnny Bravo’s a real swell guy to be around. Just remember the pepper spray just in case he doesn’t get the wrong idea…
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith