Garfield and Friends was an American animated television series based on the comic strip Garfield by Jim Davis. The show was produced by Film Roman, in association with United Feature Syndicate and Paws, Inc., and ran on CBS Saturday mornings from 1988 to late 1994.
Regular segments featured both Garfield and U.S. Acres, a lesser-known comic strip also created by Davis. The latter was retitled Orson's Farm for foreign syndication as well as the DVD releases. 242 Garfield segments and 121 U.S. Acres segments were produced. There were two "Garfield" segments on each show, two "quickie" shorts based on Sunday comic strips, and in between was a U.S. Acres segment.
A total of 121 half-hour shows were produced, and all have been released in the U.S. on five DVD sets by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. 9 Story Media Group plans to remaster the series for High-definition.
The first season aired in a half-hour format. In the second season, it switched to an hour-length format, showing two episodes each week. In the show's last season, the second half-hour of the show featured either an episode from the previous season or one of Garfield's TV specials.
The "Garfield" segments focus on the adventures of Garfield, Jon and Odie in the suburban world. The only characters from the strip not to appear are Doc Boy, Grandma Arbuckle and Irma. Jon's parents and Arlene make cameo appearances. While cartoons from earlier seasons focused more on Garfield's wacky antics, later seasons focused more on satire and breaking the fourth wall.
The "U.S. Acres" segments were based on Jim Davis' lesser-known comic strip, which was about Orson Pig and his barnyard friends; Roy Rooster, Lanolin Sheep, Bo Sheep, Wade Duck, Booker and Sheldon and the life they run together on their farm. The only characters from the original strip not to appear are Blue and Cody. Originally, the segments were focused on morals and virtues; later segments focused more on comedy, breaking the fourth wall and slapstick.
- Lorenzo Music as Garfield
- Thom Huge as Jon Arbuckle, Roy Rooster, Gort and Binky the Clown
- Gregg Berger as Odie and Orson Pig
- Howard Morris as Wade Duck and Wart
- Frank Welker as Booker, Sheldon, Bo Sheep and Mort
- Julie Payne as Lanolin Sheep and Liz Wilson
- Desirée Goyette as Nermal
The series has had three different theme songs. The first one, "Friends Are There," featured Garfield, Orson, Roy, Wade, Booker and Sheldon fighting for screen time in a song about friendship. The second one, "Ready to Party," featured clips of Garfield and some costars in a song about fun times. The third and final one was a rap about Garfield. The third one was exclusively shown on CBS; home video releases replaced the intro with "Ready to Party."
When the show was originally broadcast on CBS, the episodes usually had three Quickies (30- to 45-second gags), usually two "Garfield Quickies" (the first one being played before the intro theme) and one "U.S. Acres Quickie," the latter of which was never shown in syndication. Midway through the second season, "Screaming with Binky" quickie-style segments were added. These "Screaming with Binky" segments were typically used at the halfway point of hour long blocks of Garfield and Friends (as Garfield ended each one with "We'll be right back.") to let the viewers know that unlike most Saturday morning cartoons at the time, it was not over in the usual half-hour. In the syndicated reruns, only one Quickie is shown per episode, and it's always at the end rather than around the shorts. The DVD sets and Boomerang reruns restore the original rotation. After the third season, only one "Garfield Quickie" is shown per episode.
With all the networks scaling back on their Saturday morning cartoon schedules, CBS asked Film Roman to reduce the show's budget, which the production company rejected. As the show had been doing well enough in syndication, the production company saw no reason for more episodes to be made. An agreement was made to end the show after the seventh season, which garnered high ratings. CBS scrapped its Saturday morning cartoon line-up in September 1997. The fact that the series was ending after its seventh season was referenced in the intro of the final episode where Garfield states "After seven seasons, we've said pretty everything you can say at this point".
References to the Two Cartoons
Within the cartoons of Garfield and U.S. Acres, each one has numerous references, in jokes, or cameos, usually through merchandise. For example:
- In season one, Bo owns pajamas with Garfield's face on it in "I Like Having You Around."
- After the conclusion of "Attack of the Mutant Guppies", there is a second U.S. Acres Quickie that shows that the guppies, after being chased off by Nermal and Garfield, escaped to the farm. After they arrive there, they decide to try for a spot on Muppet Babies.
- Also, in "The Lasagna Zone," when Garfield is running through the channels with the help of Odie, one of the channels shows Booker and Sheldon turning their attention to Garfield. Apparently, this was the last shot of the quickie in that episode.
- Wade also makes a cameo appearance in "The Bear Facts" when Garfield shows Odie which animals live in the wild.
- In "Happy Garfield Day", Orson and Roy appear on a couch watching the "12 Courses of Dinner" song. Also, for a few seconds in the song, we see Sheldon and Wade on the same couch.
- In "Swine Trek", Orson has a walkie-talkie in the shape of Garfield.
- In "Peanut-Brained Rooster", when you eat lunch with Orson, you are depicted as having a Garfield lunchbox.
- In the Old Mother Hubbard scene of Kiddie Korner, Odie is Old Mother Hubbard's dog.
- Garfield also makes a cameo in "Day Dream Doctor" holding spaghetti.
- In Mystic Manor, Garfield slides down a pole as Roy, Orson and Wade wave to him.
- Garfield appears with Orson and Wade in "The Mail Animal". Orson tells Wade he has to help Lanolin with her job on the farm, only for Garfield to interrupt and bring the audience back to his cartoon.
- In "Roy Gets Sacked", Binky the Clown appears in the unemployment queue, similar to "Binky Gets Cancelled!" and "Binky Gets Cancelled Again!"
- In "Newsworthy Wade" , a clock in the background has Garfield on it, with his hands serving as the clock hands.
- In the U.S. Acres episode "Mystery Guest" where Garfield is the mystery guest and people (even Jon) phone in to guess who he is. Note, as a joke, Jon (over the phone) says that Garfield (who is wearing a mask over his eyes) looks familiar, but he can't figure out who he is.
- In "Flop Goes the Weasel", Booker sets a trap for a worm and uses a hamburger as bait. He catches Odie in his trap and tells Odie that he is on the wrong cartoon.
- Orson, Wade, and Roy make cameo appearances in the Garfield episode "The Lasagna Kid".
- Wade Duck makes an appearance in a "Screaming with Binky" segment.
Garfield and Friends won the Young Artist Award in 1989 for "Best Animation Series".
- In the U.S., the show later aired on TBS/TNT/Cartoon Network (1995-1997), Nickelodeon (1997-2000), Fox Family Channel (2001), Toon Disney (2003-2006), and Boomerang (2006-2007). It was also re-run on local stations, such as UPN.
- In Canada, it aired on YTV from 1989 to 1996. It has aired on Teletoon Retro since 2011.
- The series is available on Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video.
In the UK, it appeared on CITV from 1989 through 2002, on Sky1 from 1998 to 2002, and on Boomerang from 2003 to 2006 with Season 1 and 2 only. It also appeared on The Children's Channel in reruns.
In Latin America, it aired on Cartoon Network from 1992 to 2005, on Boomerang from 2005 to 2008, and on Warner Channel from 1998 to 2002. Televisa's Canal 5 also played the show for many years, from the mid-1990s to early 2000s (decade). Telecorporacion Salvadorena's Canal 2 from 1991 to 2005.
In Australia, Garfield and Friends began syndication on Network Ten from 1989 to 1999. Most recently, it played on FOX8 and ABC1 from 2004 to 2006.
The show was also syndicated in Chile from 1989 to 2003 on Canal 13 and from 1998 to present on Warner Channel. In Estonia, the show appeared on TV 3 from 2000 to 2002, and in Finland on YLE TV2 between the years 1992-1994 and 1998-1999.
The cartoon had also appeared in Hungary with two other sychronizations. Hungarian Television's channel M2 (what now repeats the whole series) broadcast the first season in 1994-95. RTL Klub then showed a re-synchronized first season (Garfield's voice, József Kerekes, was the same), which continued through the 121 episodes.
The show aired on German television network Junior on December 24th, 1989, and Canal Familie in France, starting in 1988.
A Japanese dub was also shown on WOWOW from 1992-1994. Episodes were later rebroadcast on Cartoon Network in 2003. The U.S. Acres cartoons and Quickies are cut entirely, and replaced with Screaming With Binky segments and various other Garfield cartoons.
In Poland, the cartoon was originally aired on Polsat between 1997 and 1999, with Jacek Kawalec reading quotes of all the characters. Only 73 out of 121 episodes were broadcast; the same translated show was repeated by Polsat 2 and TV4 in early 2000s. A new Polish dub was developed in 2008 - Seasons 1 and 2 were shown on TVP1 between 22th September 2008 and 5th October 2009, while episodes from Season 3 were aired between 4th November 2009 and 13th March 2010. Only 52 episodes from the first 3 seasons had been broadcast.
In Canada, it aired on the YTV network from 1989 to 1996. It has aired on Teletoon Retro (launched in 2007) since 2011.
The show also aired on Catalan network K3.
Garfield and Friends
Season Three (1990)
Season Four (1991)
- Jim Backus was considered as a voice actor for the show.
- Garfield and Orson are the only characters to appear in all episodes of their respective segments.
- The fact that the show was still running at the end of the US Acres strip was referenced one time.
- The U.S. Acres segments and Quickies are absent in Japan and Cartoon Network airings and are replaced by Garfield and Screaming with Binky cartoons and Quickies, although the characters still appear in cameos and the intro.
- Although the U.S Acres Quickies were dropped in later episodes, they are still referenced in Garfield cartoons.