As this nation’s largest Bloom County fan, this is the newspost I’ve been waiting to write my entire career. *takes deep breath* Here goes.
Fox’s animation studio, Bento Box Entertainment, is teaming up with Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed to create an animated TV adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip. Breathed will executive produce and co-write the series alongside the production companies Miramax, Spyglass and Project X.
“I was introduced to the brilliance of Berkeley Breathed and ‘Bloom County’ as a teenager,” said Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn. “His signature blend of satire, politics and sentiment hooked me. Plus, I love Opus. Today, Berkeley’s smart and hilarious take on American culture is more relevant than ever. And, together with Bento Box, we’re thrilled to bring his unique ensemble of characters and social commentary to broadcast television.”
If you don’t know what Bloom County is, don’t get me started because I’ll gab your head off for an hour. But as basically as I can put it, it’s a surreal satire of American society set from the perspective of several talking animals in a small, dandelion-infested Midwestern town. It ran as a newspaper comic strip from 1980 through 1989, then weirdly mutated into the Sunday strips Outland and Opus, before Breathed resurrected the original on Facebook in 2015 and explained the previous two as a dream.
Since 1982 the main perspective has been from Opus, the anxiety-prone penguin with a gigantic beak-schnoz, but there’s also the following characters:
Milo Bloom: The only character to exist for the entirety of the strip’s run, Milo is a sarcastic little boy with the Bugs Bunny-esque power to take anyone down with just a few choice words. Despite his age, he’s lead reporter for the local newspaper, and enjoys antagonizing public figures like Senator Bedfellow.
Bill The Cat: Originally introduced as a demented spin on the Garfield craze, Bill’s gangly, monstrous figure is so distorted you can barely tell he’s a cat. Throughout the 80s Bill was often in the background of major events, affecting them as some kind of a Forrest Gump figure, whether he was a rock star, a corrupt televangelist or dating a UN ambassador. Bill is at his funniest when he’s in this role; when he’s home and among the gang he’s often doing nothing.
Michael Binkley (usually just “Binkley”): A neighborhood kid Milo’s age with a massive head of hair and an overactive imagination. Binkley’s anxieties consume him so much that they come to literal life every night out of his closet.
Oliver Wendell Jones: A certified genius, geneticist, hacker and astronomer, Oliver has a cold and calculating outlook on the world and generally just does whatever he wants in the pursuit of knowledge, whether it’s good for society or not. When once asked if he would knowingly develop weapons that could destroy mankind, Oliver had to seriously think on the matter and could not decide either way by the last panel.
Steve Dallas: A selfish slob of a lawyer driven only by his own desires and his unhealthy chain-smoking habit. Steve’s ego is off the charts and thinks of himself as the world’s greatest gift to women, when in reality he’s more like a lousy Cracker Jack prize.
Rosebud the Baselope: Part basset hound, part antelope. Rosebud was basically Dropy in the original run; she was more of a mystical figure in the picture book The Last Basselope; the reborn strip casts her in between these.
Portnoy and Hodgepodge: One is a groundhog, the other is a rabbit, and both are hollering fratboys always looking for a thrill. We may not get them in the show as neither have been seen in the new version of the strip, aside from a banner advertising a Bloom County book:
Some have wondered if some of the comic’s storylines could be adapted into episodes, and on that note others have pointed out most of them are based on “current” events of the 1980s. But on THAT note, I will point out that Bloom County is written so well that you don’t have to be familiar with those events for the stories to be funny. The “Olive Loaf Vigilante” sequence is hilarious even if you have no idea who Bernie Goetz is.
“In development” doesn’t mean “definitely being made,” but ever since I was a small child I’ve dreamed of a Bloom County show. I’m counting on you, Fox!