Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (commonly abbreviated as Foster's) is a show created by Craig McCracken, best known as the creator of The Powerpuff Girls. The show premiered on August 13, 2004, and ended on May 3, 2009; McCracken chose to end the show because of its declining popularity. Throughout its run, Foster's earned a bevy of awards and nominations, including seven Emmy Awards and five Annie Awards out of 35 total nominations.
This show was being started as Craig McCracken was ready to cancel The Powerpuff Girls. Craig McCracken had used the Powerpuff Girls in several ways for Foster's Home, most notably the character of Mojo Jojo seen in the film House of Bloo's (Episode 1) as a "unimaginary friend", but we never saw Mojo Jojo's imagined copy ever again. Also, for the credits for "House of Bloo's", you can hear the Power Puff Girls theme while Bloo is watching TV in the top area on his bed.
All 6 seasons of Foster's can be either rented or bought on iTunes.
The series is set in an alternate reality in which childhood imaginary friends coexist with humans. In the show's universe, imaginary friends take physical form and become real as soon as children think them up. Once children outgrow them, friends are relocated to the titular orphanage, where they stay until other children adopt them. The home is run by the elderly Madame Foster, its lovable, kind founder; her imaginary friend Mr. Herriman, the strict rule-abider and business manager; and her granddaughter Frankie, who handles day-to-day operations.
The series was created by Craig McCracken, who had also created The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network Studios. McCracken developed the idea for the series after adopting two dogs from an animal shelter with his then-fiancéeLauren Faust; he adapted the concept of pet adoption to that of imaginary friends. The show has an art style which is meant to evoke, according to McCracken, "that period of late 60's psychedelia when Victorian stylings were coming into trippy poster designs". McCracken wanted Foster's to be similar to The Muppet Show, which he believed was a "fun, character driven show that the whole family could enjoy".
Animation for the show was done using a process involving Adobe software Illustrator, Flash and After Effects. McCracken directed, executive produced and story edited the series. Most of the episodes were produced at the Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California, while the rest were produced at Boulder Media in Dublin, Ireland. The theme song was composed by James L. Venable, who had originally collaborated with McCracken on The Powerpuff Girls. Craig described the music as "psychedelic ragtime". Additional music was composed by Venable and Jennifer Kes Remington.
Collette Sunderman was the casting and recording director for the show. Sean Marquette was cast as Mac, and Keith Ferguson was cast as Bloo. The Powerpuff Girls voice actors Tom Kane, Tom Kenny and Tara Strong were cast in Foster's as Mr. Herriman, Eduardo and Terrence, respectively. Grey DeLisle was cast as Frankie Foster, and Candi Milo was cast as Coco and Madame Foster. From season two onwards, Milo also lent her voice to Cheese. DeLisle also voiced Goo after the character's debut in season three.
- Mac (voiced by Sean Marquette) – A bright, and imaginative eight-year-old boy who is Bloo's creator and best friend. Mac visits Foster's every day. He is very attached to Bloo and his biggest fear is never seeing him again. Mac is often the voice of reason among his friends when they are making decisions. Mac becomes extremely high and hyperactive when he eats sugar. He also has a crush on Frankie.
- Bloo (voiced by Keith Ferguson) – Mac's imaginary friend and best friend. He is blue-colored and resembles a simple, domed cylinder. Bloo is often very self-centered, egotistic and narcissistic, as well as having a knack for getting in trouble. Despite all this, he still has a good heart and apologizes for his wrongdoings. Bloo loves paddle balls, even though he typically cannot make the ball hit the paddle.
- Wilt (voiced by Phil LaMarr) – A very tall, friendly and incredibly nice red-colored friend with only a right arm and a crooked left eye-stalk. His overtly passive demeanor is often taken advantage of by the other imaginary friends. He is a basketball player and fan, and is the former imaginary friend of Jordan Michaels (a parody of Michael Jordan). After an accident during a basketball game, Wilt left Jordan, fearing the latter would be disappointed by Wilt's losing the game. Years later, Wilt goes on a search to re-encounter Jordan.
- Eduardo (voiced by Tom Kenny) – A Latin American friend created by a young girl, Nina Valerosa, to protect her in a dangerous neighborhood. Eduardo is big, hairy and violet-purple, has horns, a snout, a pointy demon-like tail and large teeth. Despite his large size, overwhelming strength, and menacing appearance, Eduardo is docile, timid and scared of almost anything. However, he can be ferocious if angered or when danger befalls his friends.
- Coco (voiced by Candi Milo) – A bird-airplane-palm tree hybrid friend who can only say or write her name. A talent unique to her is her ability to lay colorful, plastic eggs containing a plethora of objects, at will. Other characters usually understand her when she speaks. Despite her appearance and quirky behavior, she can demonstrate intelligence and kindness. Her creator is unknown, as she was found on a South Pacific island by two scientists named Adam and Douglas.
- Frankie Foster (voiced by Grey DeLisle) – Madame Foster's redheaded granddaughter, addressed as "Miss Frances" by Mr. Herriman. Frankie is the caregiver at Foster's and helps keep everything in order. She is usually very friendly, capable, easygoing, hard-working, thoughtful, caring, and sweet, but occasionally loses her patience with Bloo and Mr. Herriman. According to her driver's license, she was born on July 25, 1984.
- Mr. Herriman (voiced by Tom Kane) – A gray and white elderly anthropomorphic lop ear rabbit friend imagined by Madame Foster who speaks with a British accent. He wears a tailcoat, white gloves, a top hat and a monocle. He presents himself as head of business affairs of the house and later as President of the house, and is extremely strict about rules and the maintenance of order in the home. He frequently punishes Bloo for his various misdemeanors and scolds Frankie for her perceived laziness, despite all her hard work.
- Madame Foster (voiced by Candi Milo) – The caring founder of Foster's and grandmother of Frankie. She is the creator of Mr. Herriman. Despite being elderly, Madame Foster has childlike boundless energy and occasionally becomes hyperactive and mischievous.
Other recurring characters include Terrence (voiced by Tara Strong), Mac's older brother who constantly bullies him; Duchess (voiced by Grey DeLisle), a friend with a Cubist-looking face and a pompous, narcissistic personality; Cheese (voiced by Candi Milo), a dim-witted and childish yellow friend who first appeared in season two; and Goo (voiced by Grey DeLisle), a talkative young girl who is highly imaginative and constantly creates new friends, first appearing in season three.
- Main article: List of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episodes
The show spanned seventy-nine episodes and six seasons; it has also aired eighteen shorts.
Merchandising and media
There are two video games based on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. The first has the same name as the show and was developed by Crave Entertainment for the Game Boy Advance. It was released on October 17, 2006. In the game, players control Mac or Bloo while collecting items to complete objectives. Jack Devries of IGN rated it a 5.5 out of 10, stating that it "falls short" and is "skippable". The second game, titled Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Imagination Invaders, was released on November 12, 2007, for the Nintendo DS by Midway. In the game, the player controls Bloo, who performs tasks and completes quests while fighting against "Space Nut Boogies". Devries rated it 4 out of 10, calling it "terrible to play" and "completely worthless". Characters from the show also appear on the games Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion andFusionFall.
On May 15, 2006, Cartoon Network introduced an online game, Big Fat Awesome House Party, which allowed players to create an online friend to join Bloo and the others in a one-year game online, earning points that would give them gifts, cards and other on-line "merchandise" for their albums. A player's friend, made from one of over 900,000 possible characters, could wind up in a future episode of Foster's. Over 13 million users were registered to play the game after its launch in May 2006. Because of its success and popularity, Cartoon Network announced in May 2007 that the game would continue for six more months, into November of that year.
Promotions and other products
From 2006 to 2008, Cartoon Network furnished a Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends float as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The float was fashioned as a replica of the home. On Thanksgiving Day, 2006, characters from the show performed The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends". In 2007, the characters' performance of You're My Best Friend by Queen. In 2008, the characters' performance of Harry Nilsson's theme song to The Courtship of Eddie's Father was interrupted by Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up", reproducing the Internet phenomena of Rickrolling.
In March 2006, toys of characters from the show were featured in Burger King's Kids Meals. In December 2007, Cartoon Network and Hot Topic retail stores in the United States set up a boutique for a product line based on the series, with over 693 locations featuring products such as clothing, accessories and DVD releases by Warner Home Video. The episodes from the series are now available for download from Hulu, iTunes and Amazon Video. The show's second season was available on Netflix until March 2015. All 6 seasons were added to Hulu in May 2015.