The Steam Powered Giraffe Show (Johnsonverse)
The Steam Powered Giraffe Show is an American animated comedy series based on the eponymous steampunk musical comedy project, produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Steam Powered Giraffe Productions, and Hanna-Barbera Productions. The series follows the daily workings of Walter Robotics, a company based in San Diego, California that produces and maintains automatons originally developed by Colonel Peter A. Walter I to fight a weekend war with a rival inventor, and the misadventures that the robots get into. The series premiered on October 10, 2020 to critical acclaim, and has been renewed to seasons 2 and 3.
Development began in 2017. The series features past and present members of the band reprising their respective roles. It was formally announced on Fireside Chat with Tim Johnson on January 11, 2020, immediately after Steam Powered Giraffe's famous performance on the show as the musical guests.
Colonel P.A. Walter and the scientist Thadeus Becile were good friends all throughout university. The two were so close that they were rarely seen apart from each other. The two of them along with a woman named Delilah Moreau were members of a group known as the Cavalcadium, an elusive group of people with great minds coming together for science, arcana, alchemy, and art. With Delilah in the group, the two of them tried hard to get her attention the most. At first, this attention-seeking started out as a petty rivalry between the two friends. Unlike the regular men, the two of them tried to win her over through the power of their inventions. Eventually, time went on and Delilah never showed any interest towards either of the two men.
At a convention, Thadeus revealed a rock candy source referred to as Green Matter. Peter disagreed with Thadeus and claimed that this matter was too unstable for use and suggested further testing. Delilah agreed with Peter which infuriated Thadeus. Despite what he had said, Peter was a little bit jealous of this power source that was discovered. The troublesome petty arguments that had started years ago had eventually escalated and driven the two men apart from each other. Eventually, they were no longer university pals. At the next convention, Thadeus had revealed his Copper Elephant powered by Green Matter which was beyond what Peter was capable of doing. Because of this invention, it nearly won Delilah’s heart. After that convention they became enemies. Peter went to build a contraption of his own in order to outdo his competition. Peter managed to create a mechanical giraffe that was 136 feet high. In order to power the giraffe, Peter was able to find a source that outshined Green Matter. It was a safer source that he called Blue Matter.
After he had created the giraffe he decided to move forward and create robots. Using the same blue matter he was able to create these mechanical beings and bring them to life. He was able to teach them how to play instruments and serenade the lovely Delilah. In an outrage, Thadeus installed a phonograph on his elephant. Peter enabled his bots to fight and Thadeus was kicked out of the Cavalcadium. Peter eventually had gotten so involved with his work that he had forgotten why he had built the robots in the first place. Eventually, he managed to allow the robots to sing for the lovely Delilah, but he was too late. Delilah unfortunately passed away. Her passing left a hole in his heart and a flame of anger inside.
Eventually, Peter went back deep into his work but he wasn’t able to think as he did before. He became dangerous because of his misery. His thoughts eventually lead him to a great accident. He experimented with Blue Matter while working on his last musical robot. A rift managed to open up in his laboratory which enabled him to harness the full potential of Blue Matter. His once simple-minded robot had now become an artificial intelligence.
The news of Delilah’s passing spread to Africa where Thadeus was. At that moment he wanted back to the Cavalcadium and tried many ways to find how to fully harness the power of Green Matter. In time he had built an entire army of copper elephants in order to seek out sources of rock candy for Green Matter. With the chaos in Africa, received word and knew exactly what he had to do. Peter had opened up a portal and his machines went through. Peter wanted no part in starting this war and felt that they were better off without him. Another gentleman arrived at his manor later on about the same matter. He told Peter that because of his involvement with Blue Matter, he needed to take part in this to prevent any future damage. Peter eventually agreed and brought his robots to war. Finding any weapons that he could use to upgrade the robots for the great battle against these great elephants. Peter had an entire army ready for battle.
The battle lasted for three days and Peter and his bots managed to take control of the rock candy mines Thadeus was after. Thadeus and his green zombified minions who ran the elephants were imprisoned. The elephants were dismantled and Peter and his bots were able to go home. Peter reinstalled the musical programming for his bots and brought them to the first World’s Fair in 1915. He began calling his bots “P.A Walter’s Steam Man Band”. Soon Peter Walter was able to start a family and live out his life as a recognized scientist. He had a son named after him Peter Walter II who continued where Peter I had left off when he passed.
To this day, Peter's robots still function, but the years have not been kind to them, as they have each developed their own distinct personalities that often cause trouble for the city of San Diego.
- Rabbit (Isabella Bennett) - A copper clockwork robot, Rabbit is the glitchiest of all the robots. Originally built as a male, in 2014, Walter mechanics discovered Rabbit's original plans had some different parts to the ones installed when she was built. Rabbit is a ditzy robot who tends to eat everything in sight and go off on wild tangents that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Of all the robots, Rabbit is the one most likely to malfunction, and Walter Workers tend to fix her by whacking her over the head with a wrench. In the series' first episode, a prank by QWERTY somehow ended with Rabbit's memory being copied into a perfect replica of her original male appearance, resulting in the male and female Rabbits now co-existing as "The Rabbit Twins"; nobody can recall when said body was built, not even Peter Walter VI.
- The Spine (David Bennett) - A futuristic dieselpunk robot with a retractable titanium alloy spinal column and convincing human mannerisms. The Spine serves as the Straight Man to the other robots' antics, but sometimes joins in on them. He may or may not be a superspy who uses his gadgets to topple governments, and may or may not fight rampaging bears on someone's behalf. He also owns a fire truck for no discernible reason.
- Zer0 (Bryan Barbarin) - Prototype-0, now known as Zer0, is a musical automation built by Peter Walter I in 1896, cobbled together out of three of Walter's unfinished warbots. He is immensely strong and resilient, but at the same time, is a textbook gentle giant who wouldn't hurt a fly. Despite being a Frankenstein's creation, according to Beebop, Zer0 is the most mechanically-reliable robot.
- Hatchworth (Sam Luke) - A brass automaton with a mustache. The robot now known as Hatchworth was constructed in 1896 by Colonel Peter Walter I, from parts of a cast-iron stove. The moniker of "Hatchworth" is due to a constant supply (a hatch's worth, if you will) of mysterious, and quite delicious, sandwiches, badgers, and badger sandwiches, provided by his chest hatch. This chest door opens to a space-time rift in his blue matter core that Peter Walter I suspected led to an alternate dimension.
- The Jon (Jon Sprague) - An art deco-style brass robot powered by soda (primarily Crystal Pepsi, though after it was discontinued, he switched to Sprite, occasionally consuming Crystal Pepsi whenever Pepsi re-releases it; whenever they do, Walter Robotics is sure to procure as many cases as they can, and are often mistaken for scalpers). He claims he wants to be a real boy, though he may just be influenced by watching Pinocchio a few too many times. He somehow manages to be even crazier than Rabbit, though somehow more mechanically-reliable. The first episode sees him return to the Walter Manor after wandering the world; he claims he was soul-searching, but in truth, he was actually breaking into people's homes searching for Crystal Pepsi, becoming the fabled "Crystal Pepsi Burglar" who has never been caught.
- Upgrade (Erin Burke) - A pink stylized robot. She daydreams of growing up and becoming a princess or a hover tank. She also claims to be the pretty one (not that Rabbit cares). For a time, the other robots pretended she didn't exist after Upgrade began acting snobbish, and only recently began acknowledging her existence. She ironically hasn't had an upgrade since the 1990s, and therefore still thinks pogs are in vogue (though she views them as a delicacy).
- Walter Workers - The mysterious professional assistants of the Walters, and currently working for Peter Walter VI . Their attire consists of white lab coat-styled dress and apron with black and blue accents. Their skin is an unnaturally porcelain white due to their prolonged exposure to Blue Matter, which also darkens the hair, often with blue patches. Outside of their regular robotic duties, they are often found dealing with the latest orders for Steam Powered Giraffe merchandise, or helping the robots deal with CAPTCHA security prompts. The main Walter Workers are modeled after Chelsea and Camille Penyak.
- Miss Delilah Moreau (Isabella Bennett) - An undead vampire and vampire hunter. Delilah was a scientist in life, but she passed away due to an unknown illness (which may have been caused by her work). One of her suitors was so obsessed with her that he tried to resurrect her, but he only succeeded in creating an undead vampire. She saw evil in others like her, and became a formidable vampire hunter, even inspiring fear in the boogeyman and other ghosts. Delilah is friends with Death.
- Peter Walter VI (David Bennett) - The current owner of Walter Robotics. Peter was born in 1986. On May 29th, 2013, he suffered disfiguring injuries in an implosion of blue matter-energy when he closed a blue matter rift. Walter Girl Bunny released an official statement on May 30th, assuring us that Mr. Walter survived and is stable, and that the Walter Robotics Expo would go on as planned. He knows what the robots get up to, but at the same time, doesn't really care, focusing more on the petunias in the manor's garden, his cat from the eighth dimension, and people calling him "brah".
Originally, Michael Philip Reed and Steve Negrete were to appear as recurring characters, but after sexual abuse allegations were leveled against them in June 2020, Tim Johnson had their presence in the show completely eradicated, and also blacklisted them from future Johnson productions.
- GG The Giraffe (Isabella Bennett) - A baby mechanical giraffe and the titular Steam Powered Giraffe. GG was found by someone in the Walter Manor in the Walter’s Workshop after she was shut down and stored in a crate. She is known for talking. A lot. GG has an advanced learning module that allows her to process information at an alarmingly fast rate. She can be deemed as incredibly self centered and annoying at times. She claims her name is short for "Gwendolindia Gertrudofferson".
- Beebop (Fred Tatasciore) - A very large Walter automaton, who generally represents himself as a disembodied, computerized voice responsible for alerting the robots of malfunctions. He is very quick to exercise his power of deactivating the bots, shutting them down even when the chance of any danger occurring is below 1%. When he does so, he summons the Walter Workers, acting as their introduction of sorts. Despite his flat and direct way of speaking, Beebop does feel emotion, and loves watching ice cream melt in the microwave with Zer0.
- QWERTY (Frank Welker) - An A.I system created by Walter Robotics in 1983. They are a monitor with, by default, a green smiley face. However their screen can show many other emotions with matching colors (red for anger, yellow for confusion, etc.). QWERTY is genderless, therefore any pronouns are open to be used for them. One of QWERTY's most innovative features is their ability to interface with any of the Walter Robotics machinery.
Beebop and QWERTY were originally to be voiced by Steve Negrete, but after he was removed from the project, Tim gave serious consideration to eradicating their presence from the show as well, before bringing in Tatasciore and Welker to quickly dub over the dialogue Negrete had recorded up to that point.
The animation is produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Two test animatics were produced early in production to test potential art styles. The first animatic, titled "Robot Woes", follows Rabbit and The Spine ordering robot parts online and fighting with the CAPTCHA, which can detect that they're robots. The second animatic, titled "Ice Cream Social", follows Rabbit, The Spine, and Zero completely missing the point of an ice cream social, as they believe it involves having bowls of ice cream socialize with each other. The art style of "Ice Cream Social" was ultimately chosen.