First episode date 5 September 1993
Created by Donovan Cook
Final episode date 13 February 1995
Directed by Donovan CookArt Directors:Craig McCrackenGenndy TartakovskyAnimation Directors:Vincent Waller
Voices of Mark SchiffBrad GarrettBrian CummingsJess HarnellJim CummingsTony Jay
Theme music composer Chris Desmond and Tom Seufert
Opening theme "2 Stupid Dogs Title Theme" by Chris Desmond and Tom Seufert
Networks FOX, Fox Kids, Broadcast syndication, TBS
Cast Brad Garrett, Mark Schiff, Jim Cummings, Jess Harnell, Tony Jay
2 stupid dogs intro
2 Stupid Dogs is an American animated television series, created and designed by Donovan Cook and produced by Hanna-Barbera, that originally ran from September 5, 1993, to May 15, 1995, on TBS (as a part of their Sunday Morning In Front Of The TV block) and in syndication. The main segments of the show featured two dogs, called "The Big Dog" and "The Little Dog" in the credits. They were voiced by Brad Garrett and Mark Schiff. A backup segment, Super Secret Secret Squirrel (a remake of Secret Squirrel) was shown in between the main 2 Stupid Dogs cartoons in many of the 13 episodes, similar to early Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the 1960s.
The show is about Big Dog and Little Dog—neither of whom, as the title explains, are very intelligent—and their everyday misadventures. The animation style is unusual for the time: a very flat and simplistic style similar to the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1950s and 1960s, but with early 1990s humor and sensibility. Big Dog tends to talk much less than Little Dog. When Big Dog talks, he usually talks about food.
2 Stupid Dogs was the beginning of the successful revival of Hanna-Barbera's fortunes, since the studio had not launched a bona fide hit since The Smurfs a decade earlier. Turner Entertainment installed MTV and Nickelodeon branding veteran Fred Seibert as the head of production. Seibert's plan to reinvent the studio was to put his faith in the talent community; this was a first for television animation and for Hanna-Barbera in particular. His first pitch and first series put into production was 2 Stupid Dogs in 1992, created and designed by recent California Institute of the Arts graduate Donovan Cook. Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi was credited for adding "tidbits of poor taste" to the three "Little Red Riding Hood" episodes, and a few other Spümcø artists also contributed to selected episodes during the course of the show.
Cook had graduated from CalArts and conceived the show's premise after seeing two stray dogs roaming around his apartment complex. He and the rest of his cartoonist friends later developed the idea and pitched it to different studios. Hanna-Barbera later took a look at it and they bought it. Seibert ordered Cook to revive a classic from the H-B archives to go with the main show, he chose Secret Squirrel because it was one of his favorites and he enjoyed watching that series during the 1970s when he was a kid. Several artists and directors from the show became the first creators in Seibert's What a Cartoon! program, the 48 short original character cartoons, made expressly for the Cartoon Network, and designed to find the talent and hits of the new generations. Larry Huber, who later served as executive producer on the What a Cartoon! program, teamed first with Seibert as producer on the 2 Stupid Dogs series and directed the middle cartoon, Super Secret Secret Squirrel.
2 Stupid Dogs eventually helped launch the careers of creators Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Sym-Bionic Titan), Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Wander Over Yonder), Butch Hartman (The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom and T.U.F.F. Puppy), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show), Miles Thompson, Paul Rudish, Rob Renzetti (My Life as a Teenage Robot) and Zac Moncrief. The voice cast used a combination of novices, professionals, comedians, and children. When Cook was developing the show, he saw one of comedian Mark Schiff's stand-up routines on TV and called him in to audition as the voice of Little Dog. Hollywood, one of the central characters of the show, was based on a neighbor Donovan had when he was shooting a short film at a beach house in San Diego. Kenny's voice was when they had a casting call of child actors to audition in the HB studio and after final drawbacks and feedbacks, Jarrett Lennon was chosen to voice him.
The voice actors for Animaniacs (Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille) were already involved in the cartoon; coincidentally, that show aired a couple of days later than 2 Stupid Dogs in September 1993. Harnell was a main cast member of the series while Rob and Tress only did guest and side roles from time to time. Turner and Hanna-Barbera made the decision to discontinue Secret Squirrel during the show's second season because many viewers became confused by the show's unusual style of sandwiching a Secret Squirrel cartoon between two 2 Stupid Dogs cartoons, erroneously thinking that the show had ended. The series was cancelled for good after the second season due to declining viewership. Most of the crew were let go during the second season, and began their own projects such as The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory.
Martin "Dr. Toon" Goodman of Animation World Magazine described 2 Stupid Dogs as one of two "clones" of The Ren & Stimpy Show, the other one being The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show. The series was generally well received critically and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award (but lost to Rugrats).