Fox picked up a cartoon series based on “Napoleon Dynamite” – a 2004’s indie movie that proved a major sleeper hit. Made on a budget of $400,000, with the main star, John Heder, being paid only a thousand, the film ended up grossing 40 million in the U.S. The film also jumped previously unknown Heder to international fame, and “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts from the film became popular merchandise.
According to Deadline, the series are described as “the misadventures of an awkward high school teenager and his quirky friends as they struggle to navigate life in rural Idaho.” This sort of outline may sound quite terrible, but Napoleon’s fans, who will become the primary viewers of the cartoon, will surely get the picture.
Most importantly, the creators of the show are the original gang: writer/director Jared Hess and his partner Jerusha Hess as well as Mike Scully of The Simpsons. Moreover, the voices are provided by the film’s cast, including Heder as Napoleon, Aaron Ruell as his brother Kip, Shondrella Avery as Lafawnduh, Efren Ramirez as Pedro and John Gries as Uncle Rico.
Still it’s hard to say how the series will play in the long run – “Napoleon Dynamite” technically didn’t have much of a thrilling plot to speak of, and it was all about the characters, the lines, and general absurdity of it all. Perhaps with that in mind, Fox only commissioned six episodes so far. The show premiers next season.
For those who are not familiar with “Napoleon” or need their memory refreshed: Napoleon Dynamite is a weird and alienated teenager, making it through high school in smalltown Idaho. He likes drawing, but his true talent, apparently, lies in dancing. He often says “Gosh” and insists that a guy must have lots of “skills” to get chicks. Soon he makes a new friend – an equally awkward teen Pedro, who seems slow and even more detached from the world than Napoleon, but has an ambition of becoming a class president. Napoleon also has an older brother Kip, that spends his days online chatting with his dream woman and a hyperactive grandma, who, after getting injured in a skiing accident, gets Uncle Rico, an annoying loser with “big ideas,” to come and live with the boys.