JOHNNY BRAVO AND TV GUIDE
I was a TV junkie growing up. I watched as much TV as I possibly could in between my comic book reading and drawing. Sesame Street. The 3 O’Clock Movie. The Brady Bunch. Bonanza. If there was something fun and frivolous onscreen, I was there. I would even sit and watch the Spanish show, Villa Allegre, just because it was on. (It also helped that they showed Spanish versions of Sesame Street interstitials.)
Like most kids, I had my rituals of breakfast on the couch every Saturday morning when I would wake up early and watch cartoons on our 18″ Zenith television set. In between shows, I would rush up to the TV and manually flip the channel switch, back and forth from channel to channel, trying to absorb as many cartoons as I could, doing my best to bypass the live action jingles for Green Machines and interstitials like CBS’ In The News.
Naturally, one of my favorite magazines growing up was TV Guide. We didn’t have cable TV, but I could see what was on and read the synopses. So it was kind of like I had cable.
You can only imagine how geeked out I was when I first saw Johnny Bravo mentioned in TV Guide. Pretty geeky.
Unfortunately, when Johnny Bravo first premiered, there wasn’t even a grid for the Cartoon Network, so I don’t have that issue. But I do have copies of the other times it was mentioned.
In the December 1, 2001 issue, our Christmas special got a shout out in the Cheers And Jeers section. Although it was neither a “cheer” nor a “jeer,” it still got it’s own special box. To quote:
“…the pairing of Donny (Osmond) and Johnny might help kids understand why Mom and Dad know all the words to ”One Bad Apple.”
In 2003, when Spike Lee threatened to sue Spike TV for using his name, I got an actual call from TV Guide! They wanted to do a story about Johnny Bravo wanting to sue Bravo the network. So thank you Spike Lee. The following is the unedited interview that was published on TV Guide Online:
SEVEN SILLY QUESTIONS FOR… JOHNNY BRAVO
Filmmaker Spike Lee may have given TNN the green light to rebrand itself Spike TV, but the case will likely pave the way for similar lawsuits in the future. Case in point: Johnny Bravo – Cartoon Network’s ego-trippin’ Elvis type – is considering a lawsuit aginst the TV network that shares his name.
TV GUIDE ONLINE: Do you think you have a case?
BRAVO: Are you kidding? Bravo’s got Bravo written all over it! I mean, they might as well change the name of The It Factor to Who Wants To Be Johnny Bravo?
TVGO: What tipped you off that Bravo might be taking advantage of your image to attract viewers?
BRAVO: When that (James) Lipton guy started wearing sunglasses and calling his female guests “hot mamas.”
TVGO: Spike Lee hired Johnny Cochran as his attorney. You’re going to need a heavy hitter, too. Have you spoken to Harvey Birdman?
BRAVO: I don’t know if he’s the right person for the job. I’m thinking more along the lines of the chick from Legally Blonde. Is she available or is she in the middle of another sequel?
TVGO: So what’s your legal strategy?
BRAVO: Strategy? Isn’t that a disco song by the Bee Gees?
TVGO: Uh, okay. Spike agreed to compensate TNN if he loses the lawsuit. What are you willing to offer Bravo in the event you lose?
BRAVO: I can give hair tips to some of their people – and believe you me, they need it.
TVGO: Would you consider dropping the lawsuit if they offered you James Lipton’s job?
BRAVO: Only if we changed the show to where actors came into the studio and asked me about my life. Then, I’d think about it.
TVGO: Any suggestions for what Bravo might change their name to?
BRAVO: If they gave Mr. T his own show, they could call it the Lipton T Channel. Ha hah!
BRAVO: How about The Channel Where People Like To Talk a Lot?
TVGO: Better. One last question. If Heaven exists…
BRAVO: If Heaven exists, I’d like to hear God say, “You’re right. You were my gift to women.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: When asked about the potential lawsuit, Bravo issued the following statement: “We are not worried about a lawsuit from Johnny Bravo, considering we’ve been around since 1980. And we are not trying to capitalize on (his) noteriety.”
The following year, we got a great review for our final episode of the series:
“In a savvy Queer Eye parody that also makes smart sport of cartoon and sitcom conventions, clueless Elvis wannabe Johnny gets a reluctant makeover from a deranged trio: Don Knotts (sitcom expert), ”Weird Al” Yankovic (fashion consultant), and mock-superhero Blue Falcon (cartoon culture advisor). Johnny gets a wacky robot neighbor, a laugh track and flashy new duds, including square pants: “the look that appeals to the 6 to 11-year-old demographic,” Knotts insists. Funny line, yes – possibly also true. MATT’S SCORE (0-10): 7”