This odd-looking animated flick is based on an Emmy Award-winning Saturday morning television series that aired on ABC from 2000 to 2002, with repeats now being aired on Toon Disney. Teacher’s Pet is actually an educational cartoon and was created by avant garde artist Gary Baseman.
The show is based around a super-smart dog named Spot (Nathan Lane) who is so interested in the world that he teaches himself how to read. Soon, he is sneaking to school with his young master Leonard Helperman (Shaun Flemming). There, Spot poses as a human named Scott Leadready II so that he can even further develop his education.
The director of the television show will make his feature film debut in the theatrical version of the show, which will apparently be a musical of sorts in that it will poke fun at songs from a number of other Disney films. According to early plot information, a vacation to Disney World may be involved, which could have potential for a lot of smart humor if the Powers That Be allow the show to keep its edge.
Supporting voice roles will come from the outstanding David Ogden Stiers (Lilo & Stitch, Spirited Away), Wallace Shawn (Toy Story 2, The Princess Bride) and the inimitable Jerry Stiller (A Rat’s Tale).
Overall, television cartoons have not been so successful at making the jump to the big screen. The movies closest in similarity to Teacher’s Pet are probably Recess: School’s Out and the theatrical version of Doug, both of which were Disney/ABC Saturday morning shows at some point. Recently, Nickelodeon’s Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys were only mildly successful at the box office, while The Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls Movie was an out-and-out flop. Teacher’s Pet looks to have a fairly limited and loyal audience as well, and though it will likely be a profitable venture once DVD and video sales are added to the kitty, it isn’t really likely to make a big splash during its theatrical run. (Kim Hollis/BOP)