Before Fairly OddParents premiered as a full-fledged cartoon in 2001, the cartoon started out as a series of 7-minute shorts on Oh Yeah! Cartoons in 1998. This was basically the show’s Season 0, so to speak. It was basically creator Butch Hartman experimenting with the premise and characters about the limits of the cartoon. Despite being an experimental season it had some clever ideas some of which didn’t make it into the show.
This experimental season helped establish how Timmy met his fairies, which is something the pilot episode in 2001, did not do. They establish the power that fairy magic has which led to some humorous sight gags and slapstick in addition to the rules and guidelines to said magic. While none of the episodes led their way to much in the way of depth, they helped establish the creative scenarios in how Cosmo and Wanda would help Timmy in the daily problems of being an average kid who no one understands.
Another major thing the shorts did was that they never showed Timmy’s parents’ faces. This was common for many cartoons but something they thankfully did not continue with here. This move restricted the extents to the scenarios Timmy and his fairies could experiment with as the shorts while creative in their shenanigans, only involved Vicky, Jorgen, or a character of the day.
Many characters such Jorgen, the Tooth Fairy, Tootie, and the Crimson Chin had entirely different styles in season 1. Even the ones that stayed the same from here to the main series had some major changes to help them look less cartoony. This would help tie into the main series dealing with more realistic issues that Timmy and the fairies were faced with. The more cartoony designs here helped enforce with the show’s style that it was basically the wackiness Cosmo and Wanda brought in to Timmy’s scenarios.
We all know Cosmo as a clueless, lovable, and dim-witted idiot in season 1 and onwards whereas Wanda was the more sensible one. In here both the two have a great deal of sensibility but are also somewhat spacey in their antics. In fact, in some ways Cosmo was the smarter one whereas Wanda was the ditz. Both of them have a mix of being in and out of touch with their surroundings and give a believable sense to their marriage. Cosmo’s voice actor, Daran Norris, also gave the character a much more smooth and suave voice and was capable of taking the conflicts of the episode head on. In season 1 and onwards, while early episodes kept the suave and smoothness in Cosmo’s voice, you could sense the shift into how they were changing the character into the complete opposite of who he was here.
Despite only being for experimental purposes, this season of Fairly OddParents can easily rank among the greats. It had great charm, wit, creativity, and an overall quality to it that the show at its best can have in its own way but cannot replicate. It’s a forgotten treasure in Fairy World with that had fun to the best of its ability.