Wander Over Yonder: An Underrated Animated Gem | Teen Ink

Wander Over Yonder: An Underrated Animated Gem

August 6, 2018
By 19mf6028 SILVER, Medina, Ohio
19mf6028 SILVER, Medina, Ohio
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Please stop talking to me." -Jovie

As a lifelong lover of animation, I’m always on the lookout fun, new ‘toons to watch. Thus, when children’s animated series Wander Over Yonder was announced in early 2012, my eleven-year-old self became extremely excited. A year and a half later, the show finally aired, which is why on September 13th, 2013, you could find me sitting on the couch in my living room, eyes glued to the Disney Channel.

Wander Over Yonder was created by Craig McCracken, the genius behind The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. The series follows the titular character, Wander, and his noble steed, Sylvia, as they travel the galaxy, protecting all of its inhabitants from evil. A simple premise, but one that leaves room for many opportunities.

Out of everything I have watched in the seventeen years I have been alive, Wander Over Yonder shines as one of the best because of how well-rounded it is. It has every component that makes a high-quality cartoon: loveable characters, entertaining plots, strong world-building, great animation, consistent comedy and a story-arc starting in the second season. All of these factors balance each other out to create a series that can thoroughly be enjoyed by cartoon fans around the world.

Wander Over Yonder is extremely silly. What else could you expect from a show about a furry orange dude constantly outwitting a skeleton man in a robe and his eyeball army? The adventures of Wander and Sylvia are never scary; instead, they’re chock-full of wacky incidents, such as escaping a giant worm’s intestines (“The Hat”), saving a society from a monstrous puppy (“The Ball”) and escorting Lord Hater, the show’s main antagonist, from the dentist (“The Fremergency Fronfract”). Whenever I sit down to watch an episode of Wander Over Yonder, I know that I’ll be in for a hearty laugh and a good time. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I think works in its favor.

Here’s the thing, though: sometimes, the show does take itself too seriously, especially in season two. Season one of Wander Over Yonder was purely lighthearted, give or take a few moments, but season two gets a little grimmer. The second batch of episodes explore new themes and challenges, like Wander’s many personalities (“The Wanders”), Sylvia’s family (“The Family Reunion”), the origin of Wander (“The Waste of Time”), and a new villain that wants wants to rip the galaxy apart (various season two episodes), while still keeping its goofy nature. Wander Over Yonder may be built on basic, comedic stories, but it isn’t afraid to explore its characters and set them up against trials that will test their morals and values.

Despite season two being its last, Wander Over Yonder has gained the reputation of a memorable show among the cartoon community. Its significance can be attributed to its very specific style. In almost every episode, you will hear the strums of a banjo in the background music or sound effects (as well as in the theme song). In my opinion, this instrument is highly underrated in the music world, and it is rare that you hear it on a television show. Not only is the soundtrack in Wander Over Yonder unique, the animation techniques also stand out. Slapstick is at the root of the show, and the incessant use of squash and stretch entertainingly exaggerates the characters’ expressions and actions. The format has its similarities with other cartoons like Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, but Wander Over Yonder doesn’t feel outdated in any capacity. Its colorful characters, vibrant, detailed backgrounds, and over-the-top sci-fi gadgets make the show feel right at home in the fast-paced 21st century.

Although I love Wander Over Yonder with all my being, it isn’t perfect. There are certain episodes that I thought were too mean-spirited (“The Funk,” “The Hole...Lotta Nothing”), contained too much violence or anger (“The Greater Hater,” “The Time Bomb”) or just didn’t live up to the usual high standards of the show (“The Show Stopper,” “The Catastrophe,” “The It”). While some of these episodes stick out like sore thumbs, they do not sour my perspective on the series in any way. Besides, I tend to remember the good things about Wander Over Yonder rather than the bad. This show had some truly fantastic episodes; a few that come to mind are “The Date,” “The Void,” “The Big Job,” “The Breakfast,” “The Cartoon,” and “The Flower,” as well as many, many others.

Wander Over Yonder may have ended over two years ago, but I still remember it fondly. The show provided me with smiles, giggles and the ability to escape the stresses of middle and high school. It is a cartoon that I wholly believe is underrated, and it saddens me to know that many people simply don’t know about it. While the fandom did grow throughout the series’ run, especially in the final stretch of season two, Wander Over Yonder was unfortunately overshadowed by another great series, Gravity Falls. Perhaps only having two seasons benefits the show. One could argue that Wander Over Yonder ended on a high note, but as a fan, I wanted to see more stories and character development that a third season could have brought. Nevertheless, this cheerful cartoon will always have a special place in my heart.

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