Skippy's Guide to the Object Show Community (OSC)

Object shows are my main special interest and have been for the past 7-8 years or so, but they are kind of a mess to get into if you're an outsider who knows nothing about them. When I first learned about object shows I had no idea what I was looking at either, it's very confusing seeing all these different shows that look and feel similar but are made by different people and don't necessarily connect, so this is my guide for anyone who's starting from that position. This doesn't go into every single object show ever, since there are way too many to count and I've only watched a few, but hopefully this should give you enough information to start :-)

Object shows are a genre of web animation originating in 2010 with the show Battle for Dream Island, created by Cary and Michael Huang (also known collectively as jacknjellify). The premise of the show is essentially "Total Drama Island/Survivor but with cartoon objects". 20 contestants compete in challenges, lead by the Announcer, for the prize of Dream Island, a "whole square mile of paradise" as the Announcer explains. The show focuses around these competitions and the relationships between the contestants as they form and break alliances, are eliminated and so on.

Viewers could vote for which character they wanted to be eliminated in the comments, which I think was a large part of the appeal of early BFDI - anyone could contribute to the show in a way by casting their vote, certain comments would be featured in the show and later on viewers could even recommend their own characters to be added in group shots.

So of course, after the BFDI fanbase began to grow, people wanted to not only contribute to the show but create their own show as well. The simple art and animation style using flash puppets made this especially appealing, a lot of the fanbase was comprised of younger children who didn't have the knowledge or animation software needed to create anything too complicated, but something like BFDI was fairly simple - after all, Cary and Michael were kids themselves when they created the first season of BFDI.

This leads to the creation of the second big object show after BFDI, Inanimate Insanity, created in 2011 by AnimationEpic. II starts out as basically a copy of BFDI but with slightly different characters and a little bit more of an edgy early-2010s internet comedy vibe to it. It's hard to put into words but they have Justin Bieber and Angry Birds and Annoying Orange references in the first few episodes, you get the type of time capsule this show was. In my opinion season 1 of Inanimate Insanity starts out pretty rough in terms of both animation quality and writing (though AnimationEpic has recently edited out the few offensive jokes that teenage boys in that era thought were funny, props to them) but it's still enjoyable for what it is.

The first season also drops some bits of lore that come up again in the second season, in which things become more polished, more story-focused and less poop jokes-focused. The second season is what most of the current fanbase is centered around, there's some genuinely interesting character conflicts and plotlines that I think outclass even BFDI.

Season 2 also has a character, Paintbrush, come out as nonbinary. Though their gender was the focus of jokes for pretty much all of season 1 and a bit of early season 2, they're treated respectfully in the recent episodes and I've seen a huge number of fans, especially younger kids who are nonbinary/trans/GNC themselves really appreciate and relate to them, which I think is sweet as someone with a trans partner and a somewhat GNC guy myself :-)

There is also a third season which acts as kind of a side-plot to S2, which is still in production. In my opinion it's a bit of a mixed bag but it's still a fun watch, and there is another character introduced who's sort of a trans allegory if that's something that piques your interest.

After the success of BFDI and II, lots of other creators made shows with a similar premise, which is what gradually cemented "object shows" as an entire genre and community. There are too many shows out there to count at this point, but here are some I've watched and enjoy a lot:

If you want even more, here's a random selection of shows that I've watched or at least have heard are interesting:

More may be added to this page if I think of them, but that's all for now ^^ Hopefully this was enlightening, I had a lot of fun just rambling about my special interest for something like 2 hours making this page.