BRACEFACE!!

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If a picture speaks a thousand words, than that picture should have gotten your attention.

That scene was from an episode of the Nelvana Ltd. TV series BRACEFACE. It was a show about a girl who had braces. It tried to be topical from time to time and address real teen issues, or as real as one can have on a Saturday morning show for kids.

For my part, as much as I could as a storyboard artist, I tried to push and play up the drama. The series lent itself to drama more than most, and I consider drama to be one of my stronger points as a storyboard artist. If someone cried on the show, chances are that part of the show was storyboarded by me and I added the tears (Tears are, in my experience, rarely scripted. For some reason, the act of adding tears into scripts and extreme feeling (such as crying or real anger) seems to be avoided. I have no idea why). At the same time, if there was comedy, I tried to push it as far as I could take it and milk the gag for all it was worth. Well, one day a ripe plum dropped on my desk in the form of a script called “Busted”.

I do not recall who wrote this script or whose story it came from, but when I read it, I was gob smacked and more than amused that the studio was going to make a show like this. What was it about? Sharon, the blonde main character, wanted attention from a boy, but felt her bust line was too small. Since she wanted this boy to notice her, she decided to buy an inflatable bra in order to increase her good noticeability. Things start to go wrong at a school dance (at the mall?) and the bra doesn’t stop growing. Now, if tears are usually avoided in animation, breasts are... a-hem... untouchable.

There was plenty of broad comedy I could play up and also some solid drama at the end, so I dig in and tried to push this material for all I could. I handed in the storyboard and that was the last I ever saw of it. I never even saw the finished episode, until last week.

Someone posted a bunch of episodes on YouTube and I finally got to see it. Although the director took out a couple of panels where I knowingly went too far with the material (Oh, like you wouldn’t?): funny and clean breast gags, but certainly stuff that wouldn’t make it on TV. eg. If I remember correctly, in the pictured scene below, I think I ended the cut with a gag of having the breasts grow smack into Maria’s (The Asian girl) hands (in a ‘don’t panic’ gesture) as she is trying to calm Sharon down. Then, we’d cut to the next sequence. I never expected that gag to make it in to the show (and it didn’t); however, so much was left in that I’m just amazed. Remember, this was a kids show... in animation!
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I don’t know if this episode offended anyone or not or caused any kind of controversy anywhere. The YouTube comments seem to suggest that people thought it was funny and/or tragic and that’s all it was supposed to be.

Here is the the video of the final third of the episode with the naughty bits on display. I storyboarded all this (I probably storyboarded the last 11 minutes or so of this episode) and I really must tip my hat to the director for leaving in as much of what I added into the actual scripted show.

I still can’t believe this made it on air in a kids show.

-Steve