Butch Hartman's Fairly OddParents debuted as a recurring feature on Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, which was the network's answer to Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon Show before being granted its own series in 2001.
The premise is rather simple. Timmy Turner is granted a pair of fairy godparents, Wanda and her dumber-than-a-bag-of-hammers husband, Cosmo, to give him whatever he wishes for, which usually results in disaster, until Timmy learns a lesson and wishes for a reversal.
The problem I had with this show, and, mind you, I'm not the target demographic, is that it presents school-age children such as Timmy as ignorant of education and more interested in imaginary things. In truth, learning also is required to help your imagination. I always found Timmy to be slightly higher up the IQ ladder from Cosmo, which isn't saying much, but in the pre-series shorts, Cosmo was actually a little smarter. Why he was dumbed down when he was meant to be a father figure, I'll never understand.
Timmy had two basic enemies. One was his babysitter, Vicki, who bullied him when his parents weren't around, and Mr. Crocker, who was more concerned with revealing the existence of fairies, and thus used Timmy's lack of interest in learning against him. The series' popularity also attracted some celebrity guest stars, such as Adam West, Ben Stein, Gilbert Gottfried, and, perhaps most prominently, Jay Leno. The Tonight Show host was cast as the superhero, The Crimson Chin, to whom Timmy became a part-time sidekick.
Following is a 2005 episode that brings together the Crimson Chin and.....Catman (West):
That the series is back in production now is a testimony to the show's popularity, and especially that of its central characters, 14 years after their debut. Nickelodeon, of course, played the show into the ground in its peak years with relentless weekend marathons, but then, that has become standard practice with cablers these days.