MTV Animation

From DariaWiki

MTV Animation was an animation production company founded by Abby Terkuhle. It was the production company for virtually every animated production from MTV between 1991 and 2002, including Daria.

Terkhule founded MTV Animation as he wished to give MTV a distinct visual look and he felt that modern animation was the best means to the end. Terkuhle would become the president of MTV's new animation department. When Liquid Television introduced the world to Aeon Flux and Beavis and Butt-head, MTV Productions was in charge of producing the episodes.

All episodes of Daria were produced through MTV Animation. During Daria's run, Anne D. Bernstein was head writer of the department. Daria itself had no such position.

According to Josh Cagan, MTV Animation was like the "Wild West" during 1997. It was staffed by people who had never worked in television or by production assistants from MTV. As a result, the animation department was very open to new ideas; it was very easy to pitch ideas and there were no bureaucratic channels to navigate. The production of shows could be rather ad-hoc as a result and was known to be low budget: Mike Judge, when talking about Beavis and Butt-head for the Do America DVD, said that the show didn't have an art director until the film, so until then they'd never considered colour palettes from scene to scene, and art director Yvette Kaplan said "everything was overlapping... we never had the luxury of one part finished" before another was done. (Even Daria itself would jab at this, with Daria and Jane ripping the piss out of the cheap animation they were given for the hosted segments of Sarcastathon 3000 and Top Ten Animated Music Videos.)

However, beginning in 2001, the move at MTV was to move toward contracting outside sources for animation. MTV Animation would close down on October 9, 2001, and "Is It College Yet?" would be the last thing produced. The shutdown seems to have been an abrupt decision, as TV Guide article on "College" mentions the in-production Mystik Spiral spin-off (even though MTV Animation had closed at the time).

The closure of MTV Animation did not affect other Viacom properties, such as Nickelodeon, whose Nicktoons projects were separate from MTV.

MTV Animation made a brief return in 2011 with new Beavis and Butt-head, Good Vibes (originally pitched to Fox), and an in-production show Worst Friends Forever by Thomas Middleditch, with Judge producing. (Daria fans in 2011 noted the pitch for Friends - "revolves around besties Sandy, Brittany and Coral, who hover on the outskirts of popularity in their high school" - wasn't too far off Daria) Low ratings killed the first two shows and Middleditch remarked in 2012 that Worst Friends was "done" and "not in my hands". (Mike Judge remembered Middleditch from the failed project and pushed to have him on Silicon Valley, so it worked out well for him.)