Uncle Grandpa: What Was the Cartoon About (And Why Did It End?)

For five seasons, the Emmy Award-winning animated series Uncle Grandpa entertained Cartoon Network audiences with its irreverent, surreal antics from 2013 to 2017. Created, executive produced, and starring Peter Browngardt as the titular, shape-shifting grandfather, the series was a spinoff of the acclaimed, but short-lived, animated series Secret Mountain Fort Awesome.

Here’s a quick overview of the popular animated series, including its memorably bizarre cast of characters, and how the show came to an end.

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What Is Uncle Grandpa?

Based on the eccentric relatives that often visited him and his family as a child, Browngardt’s Uncle Grandpa had its titular character inexplicably serve as the uncle and grandfather to everyone in the world. As Uncle Grandpa, the April fool visited various homes to keep up with the children, and he set out to solve each of their respective problems through patently bizarre and increasingly nonsensical adventures through time and space.

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Joining Uncle Grandpa in his adventures were several odd yet loyal companions as the group solved children’s problems while providing timeless social messages in a chaotic way that only Uncle Grandpa could. The series would go on to receive a series of specials, including a crossover with fellow Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe.

The Main Characters

Led by Uncle Grandpa himself, the eponymous protagonist is a shape-shifter who normally adopts the form of an elderly man in lederhosen with rainbow suspenders and a propeller hat. Joining him on his quests is a sentient fanny pack named Belly Claus-Bag who contains all of Uncle Grandpa’s valuables and serves as a portal to different dimensions. The group’s bodyguard is the perpetually grumpy Mr. Gus, a green dinosaur who often serves as the eccentric ensemble’s voice of reason. The team’s biggest loudmouth is Pizza Steve, a sentient slice of pepperoni pizza constantly presenting himself as the smartest and coolest member of the group to Mr. Gus’ continued annoyance. Serving as the team’s pet and main mode of transportation is a stop-motion photograph of a tiger aptly named Giant Realistic Flying Tiger Claus-Grandpa who appears as a normal tiger while possessing the ability to fly by emitting a rainbow trail in her wake.

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Recurring characters outside of the series’ main ensemble included Lena Headey as the voice of the series’ main antagonist Little Priscilla-Aunt-Jones-Grandma who sought to serve children’s problems through practical means, in direct opposition to Uncle Grandpa’s methodology. An occasional companion to the group was Hoagie Frankenstein, who — despite being voiced by Mark Hamill — could only communicate to the rest of his friends through groans because of an unspecified condition. The most prominent of Uncle Grandpa’s grandchildren was Michael “Tiny Miracle” Grandpa, Jr. the Robot Boy, an android that is summoned whenever the phrase “tiny miracle” is spoken to perform all manner of tasks through a series of unnecessary actions before its relatively simple completion.

Why the Show Ended

Steven Universe Uncle Grandpa

Cartoon Network initially announced that Uncle Grandpa would be run for at least five seasons in 2016, only to clarify its announcement later that year by retroactively splitting what had been the second season into two halves that now consisted of the second and third seasons while an upcoming group of new episodes would similarly be split into what ultimately became its fourth and fifth seasons.

RELATED: ‘Steven Universe’ and ‘Uncle Grandpa’ Renewed Through Season 5

The quick turnaround upset many fans of the series while members of the crew were caught off guard by the specifics of the production change for the series and its sudden cancellation. Large episode orders being split across multiple seasons for animated series is not a trend isolated to Cartoon Network, but rather a way to save on the logistical costs of contract renewal and ensuring a series has enough episodes to reach lucrative syndication markets. While the property has remained dormant since the airing of its series finale in June 2017, Uncle Grandpa continues to have vocal fans of the wacky adventures of its eclectic cast.

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