Thursday, February 11, 2016

Star cameos on cartoons: Does it matter?

The trend of getting big names for animated shows goes into overdrive

Star cameos on cartoons: Does it matter?

With all Vergara´s assets, you want her voice?
With all Vergara's assets, you want her voice?


This is really getting out of hand. It was announced today that Modern Family bombshell Sofia Vergara will be lending her voice to both Fox’s Family Guy and The Cleveland Show.

It comes on the heels of a stunning number of similar announcements for Fox’s Sunday night animated lineup.

Get this. In addition to Vergara, The Cleveland Show will feature Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Nicki Minaj, Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and major leaguers like David Ortiz.

The Simpsons has recruited Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), Steve Carrell and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

If you listen really closely to American Dad, you may be able to ascertain the voices of Patrick Stewart, Danny Glover and Sarah Michelle Gellarr this season.

Even Bob’s Burgers is getting into the act with Zach Galifianakis, Jeffrey Tambor and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live).

The lion’s share of star cameos belongs to Family Guy: Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Nathan Fillion (Castle), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds and others.

In all these cartoons, the guest stars will be playing either themselves or characters.

I know why the stars do it: It’s the easiest payday in showbiz. You can roll in in your PJs if you want. No makeup. Don’t have to memorize the lines because you can read right from the script. Ham it up for a few minutes and you’re done.

But why do the cartoons pay big money to get these people – or rather their voices? Couldn’t you find ten voice actresses who could do a pretty fair Sofia Vergara imitation? Do you really think you could tell the difference? I’m told Larry the Cable Guy has lost when he anonymously enters Git R’ Done contests. In other words he’s not as convincing as the guys pretending to be Larry the Cable Guy.

What do you think? Does it really add to a cartoon to have a big name voice? Examples?


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Inquirer TV Critic
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About this blog

A true child of TV, David Hiltbrand has worked as a critic at People and as a columnist and editor at TV Guide.

David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
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