Possibly added to the ever-growing list of 90s revivals and reboots is the hopeful return of long-running Saturday morning cartoon Bobby’s World, which was created and voiced by future Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel, as he discussed during NBC’s upfronts this week.
Bobby’s World initially ran for eight seasons on Fox Kids from 1990 to 1998, totaling 84 episodes. The plot revolved around high-pitched Bobby Generic, who aged in real time concurrently with the show, and his interactions with the “Generic” family, including father Howard (also voiced by Mandel). Often the stories revolved around Bobby’s imaginative flights into alternate universes and his literal interpretations of colloquialisms, with episodes usually beginning with a live-action Mandel directly addressing the story’s connection to his childhood, before moving into the animated narrative. Other characters were voiced by Saturday Night Live alum Gail Matthius. Despite its relative obscurity today, Bobby’s World was actually nominated for multiple Daytime Emmys during its run, including Outstanding Animated Program and was, as Mandel notes to EW, “No. 1 for nine years on Saturday morning.”
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Discussion of the revival came from Mandel’s interview with EW, at the NBC Universal Upfronts on Monday. Mandel, who is also reviving Deal or No Deal on CNBC this year, was quoted as saying, “I haven’t told anyone this, but I’m working on it [Bobby’s World]. I’m working on it right now. I have a meeting on Wednesday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. That's what I want.” This isn’t the first time that Mandel has discussed a possible revival, telling a crowd at 2014’s Comikaze that he was actively working on bringing the show back.
While perhaps not as popular as other 90s cartoons, Bobby’s World served as a calling card for Mandel, who based the character on a stand-up skit he used to perform and often based plots on his own childhood. Before Mandel’s breakout as TV host and America’s Got Talent judge, he was a well-regarded comedian and made an interesting side career as a voice actor, not just on Bobby’s World but, also, voicing Gizmo in Gremlins, among other films.
Bobby’s World joins an ever-growing list of reboots that will see Hulu bring back Animaniacs, Netflix with a live-action Carmen Sandiego, and Nickelodeon airing a special reunion of Rocko’s Modern Life, among others. In regards to how Bobby’s World might exist in the present, Mandel indicated, “Now what we have - with Facebook and Instagram and pop culture - I think that could be a big part of what Bobby is dealing with today.” The entire initial run of Bobby’s World is available on Amazon Prime and stay tuned for updates about its possible revival.