Kim Possible is an American animated action comedy-adventure television series created by Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle that originally aired on Disney Channel from June 7, 2002 to September 7, 2007. The show revolves around eponymous high school student Kim Possible, a teenager tasked with fighting crime on a regular basis while coping with everyday issues commonly associated with adolescence. Kim is aided by her best friend and clumsy sidekick Ron Stoppable, his pet naked mole rat Rufus, and 10 year-old computer genius Wade. Known collectively as Team Possible, Kim and Ron's missions primarily require them to thwart the evil plans of the mad scientist–supervillain duo Dr. Drakken and his sidekick Shego, though they encounter several other enemies as well throughout the show.
Veteran Disney Channel writers Schooley and McCorkle were recruited by the network to develop an animated series that could attract both older and younger audiences, and conceived Kim Possible as a show about a talented action heroine and her less competent sidekick. Inspired by the scarcity of female-led animated series at the time, the episodes, some of which are based on the creators' own high school experiences, combine elements of action, adventure, drama, romance and comedy to appeal to both girls and boys, while parodying the James Bond franchise, spy and superhero films, and teen sitcoms. Distinct from other Disney Channel shows in its use of self-referential humor, Schooley and McCorkle developed fast-paced sitcom-style dialogue to cater to adult viewers. Set in fictional Middleton, Wisconsin, USA, the show's setting and locations exhibit a retro-influenced aesthetic. With a strong emphasis on modern-day technology and the Internet, the series also explores themes such as girl power, feminism, and relationships. It receives heavy comparisons to other female-driven action shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, and The Powerpuff Girls.
Kim Possible was the second animated Disney Channel Original Series, following the release of The Proud Family in 2001, and the first series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. Defying initially low expectations, the show premiered to critical acclaim and continued to be praised for its humor, writing, and animation. Maintaining strong ratings since 2002, Kim Possible's premiere was the most-watched of any Disney Channel Original Series. Originally canceled at the end of its third season in 2005, Disney Channel unprecedentedly ordered a fourth installment of the series to appease devoted fans. Nominated for eight Emmy Awards, Kim Possible won one, for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action and Animation, in 2005. Lasting four seasons and 87 episodes, the show is considered to be one of Disney Channel's greatest and most successful, and remained the network's longest-running series until it was surpassed by Phineas and Ferb in 2012. The success of the series spawned two television films based on the show, Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (2003) – the first animated Disney Channel Original Movie – and Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama (2005), as well as a video game series starting in 2002.
Kim Possible takes place primarily within the fictional United States town of Middleton, and focuses on the life and adventures of teenager Kim Possible, an accomplished high school student who fights crime on a regular basis, assisted by her best friend and sidekick, Ron Stoppable, and Rufus, his pet naked mole rat. Ron's personal fears, insecurities, and clumsiness tend to jeopardize the success of their own missions. Kim and Ron are aided remotely by Wade, a 10 year-old computer genius who seldom leaves his bedroom and communicates with the duo via a device he invented himself known as a Kimmunicator. Together, the foursome is known as Team Possible. The majority of Kim's missions involve her traveling to various destinations around the world to rescue citizens from harm and fight a variety of enemies and villains, the most frequent of whom are Dr. Drakken, a mad scientist constantly plotting world domination, and his superpowered sidekick Shego, who possesses the ability to generate powerful energy blasts and emit them from her hands, making her the heroine's most dangerous opponent. Not yet of age to drive herself to most of her missions, Kim often relies on favors from various people and friends she has assisted in the past for transportation.
Attending Middleton High School alongside Ron, her best female friend Monique and rival classmate Bonnie Rockwaller, Kim lives with her family: father James, a rocket scientist, and Ann, a brain surgeon, as well as her younger brothers, identical twins Jim and Tim, both of whom possess genius-level intellect. Fully aware of their daughter's occupation, Kim's parents remain completely supportive of her crime-fighting endeavors so long as she continues to obey curfew, but tend to be more-so concerned about the character's performance in school, as well as her love life. Lacking a secret identity, Kim is world famous and her profession is constantly acknowledged by both her classmates and teachers. Captain of her high school's cheerleading squad, Kim Possible also explores the highs and lows of Kim's life as a high school student attempting to navigate dating, academics, homework, exams and eventually learning to drive, all the while striving to maintain a healthy work-life balance; fighting crime typically comes to Kim more naturally than the more standard components of adolescence.
As revealed in Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, Kim became involved in crime-fighting rather unintentionally. In a series of events prior to the beginning of the series, a pre-adolescent Kim, in search of a job, creates her own website, kimpossible.com, to promote her burgeoning babysitting and lawn mowing services, promoting it using the slogan "I can do anything". When he becomes trapped by his own laser security system, a billionaire accidentally contacts Kim while he was attempting to reach Team Impossible, to whose aid she immediately rushes. As news of the character's heroism spreads, her website is soon flooded with e-mails from around the globe requesting her assistance, and Kim ultimately decides to use her talents help the world, becoming a hero.
Some episodes revolve around characters other than Kim and Ron, particularly villains, who have been provided with nearly as much back story as the heroes. Other significant recurring characters include Kim's parents, Drs. James and Ann Possible (Gary Cole and Jean Smart, respectively), and her younger brothers, twin geniuses Jim and Tim (Shaun Fleming, seasons 1–3; Spencer Fox, season 4), to whom she refers as "Tweebs" (a portmanteau of "twin" and "dweebs"); the twins speak their own made up language known as "Twinnish". Kim shares a bitter rivalry with fellow cheerleader Bonnie Rockwaller (Kirsten Storms), who, unlike Kim, is selfish, inconsiderate, superficial, and has a tendency to be mean when angry – her "polar opposite", essentially respresenting the kind of person Kim could have been if not for her humility. Kim's best female friend is Monique (Raven-Symoné), who is occasionally forced into accompanying Kim on select missions when Ron is unavailable. With her fashion and pop culture expertise, Monique bridges the worlds between Kim's high school and crime-fighting lives, also serving as something of a guidance counselor. Although Drakken and Shego are Kim and Ron's most frequent opponents, the characters occasionally battle a diverse cast of other villains, namely Monkey Fist (Tom Kane), who Ron particularly dislikes due to his fear of monkeys; Scottish golfer Duff Killigan; father-son billionaires Señor Senior, Sr. and Señor Senior, Jr, who treat villainy as a hobby out of boredom, and Professor Dementor (Patton Oswalt).
Long-time collaborators and veteran Disney writers, Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle had already been writing for Disney Channel for several years, contributing to the network's male-led animated series Aladdin, Hercules and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, each one spin-offs of their respective feature-length animated films. Although they had enjoyed working on those projects, Schooley and McCorkle were becoming interested in contributing to "something original". At the same time, the writers learned that Disney Channel had become interested in developing a show featuring ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances. Thus, the network commissioned Schooley and McCorkle to create an animated series geared towards the nine to 14 year-old demographic that was also capable of entertaining older audiences at the same time. While traveling in an elevator on their way back to their office from their lunch break, McCorkle said to Schooley, "Kim Possible. She can do anything", to which Schooley responded, "Ron Stoppable, he can’t", and nearly the entire premise of Kim Possible naturally unfolded thereafter. According to Schooley and McCorkle, both lead characters' names indicate that Kim Possible "is going to be an arched show that is a little bit over the top, but also that the girl is going to be the action lead and the guy is going to be funny." Conceiving all main characters themselves, Rufus and Wade were eventually created and added to the roster, but the series essentially remains about Kim "who is incredibly competent in the action world but challenged in the real world" while "Ron would be challenged everywhere."
With its main duo finally established, Kim Possible became the easiest show Schooley and McCorkle had ever developed. One of Disney Channel's earliest forays into developing an entirely original animated series "from scratch", Kim Possible was born out of the creators' realization that there were few animated series starring strong female characters at the time and created Kim as "a character that ... girls can look up to", inspired by their own young daughters. The creators were also influenced by their own childhood heroes James Bond and Captain Kirk from Star Trek, and wanted Kim to resemble a character their daughters could idolise similarly. Despite being a "strong female role model", Schooley maintained that heroism "doesn't help [Kim] a bit when she comes face-to-face with her latest school crush." Unlike traditional superheroes, Kim is entirely devoid of both superpowers and a secret identity; the creators avoided making the character "impervious" like most comic book superheroes tend to be because they wanted both her and Ron to remain relatable to younger viewers. Working completely independently from government spy organizations, Kim's crime-fighting abilities are drawn from real-life activities such as cheerleading and gymnastics, "something that any kid…in the world could do", according to the creators.
Much of Kim Possible's cast consists of Disney Channel and ABC alumnae, as well as actors known for their roles on other popular animated and comedy series. The lead role of Kim was originally offered to Anneliese van der Pol, who declined in favor of appearing as Chelsea Daniels on the Disney Channel teen sitcom That's So Raven. After auditioning several actresses to voice the title character, then-16 year-old Christy Carlson Romano was finally cast as Kim after first being introduced to Schooley and McCorkle by Disney Channel executives. Romano had already been well known to Disney Channel audiences for her portrayal of Ren Stevens on the series Even Stevens, and began voicing Kim while completing her stint on the show. Her first voice acting role, Romano immediately identified with her character because both were "dealing with teenage issues" at the same time, comparing Kim's challenge of battling both her personal life and villains to herself balancing schoolwork with her budding acting career; the actress was forced to forfeit her own senior prom due to Kim Possible commitments. Describing her character as "very ambitious, very skilled, very smart," Romano told The New York Times "I've tried to make her a good role model. Her confidence and her sincerity really shine through." One episode in particular, "Blush", was inspired by Romano's modesty and tendency to blush at the slightest compliment. Romano's performance as Kim was nominated for an Emmy Award. Recognized for his ability to play "over-the-top characters", Will Friedle, best remembered for his performance as Eric Matthews on the sitcom Boy Meets World, was cast as Ron. Actor Neil Patrick Harris had auditioned for the role, as did actor John Cena before he decided to pursue a professional wrestling career. Schooley attributes much of the show's success to Romano and Friedle's chemistry, explaining, "they add something to this that makes it more than a typical gag-oriented cartoon."
To prepare herself for the role of Rufus, Nancy Cartwright, best known for her long-running voice work as Bart Simpson on The Simpsons, researched naked mole rats extensively to the point of which she became "a font of useless trivia" and knowledge. Cartwright cites Rufus among her two most difficult characters to voice due to the constant use of her diaphragm required to produce 18 mole rat sound effects. Her performance earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program. John DiMaggio was cast as Drakken based on his vocal performance as Bender on the animated sitcom Futurama. The creators mused, "Drakken is as funny as he is because of how funny John is. Like any of the great voiceover guys, he can do multiple voices. He also just has a terrific comedic sense", while director and animator Steve Loter described both Friedle and DiMaggio as "experts in ad-libbing." Schooley and McCorkle had previously worked with Nicole Sullivan on Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and thus created the role of Shego with her in mind. Sullivan's first recording session opposite DiMaggio established a chemistry between the two voice actors and their respective characters, out of which Shego's signature sarcasm was introduced and eventually expanded upon. During the show's inaugural season, the actors generally recorded separate from each other, but Friedle, DiMaggio and Sullivan experienced opportunities to record together during the second season. Having been attending high school in New York at the time, Romano would mostly work remotely and usually be "phone patched in" whenever necessary; there is only one occasion during which the entire main cast recorded together.
Tahj Mowry, who plays T.J. Henderson on the sitcom Smart Guy, voices Wade. In terms of recurring and guest roles, Designing Women's Jean Smart voices Kim's mother Ann. Kirsten Storms voiced Kim's high school rival Bonnie while portraying Belle on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. Prior to Kim Possible, Storms had starred in Disney Channel's Zenon film series. That's So Raven's Raven-Symoné voices Kim's female best friend Monique, cast based on her reputation as a comedic actress and ability to deliver a punchline. Señor Senior, Sr. and Señor Senior, Jr. are voiced by Ricardo Montalban and Nestor Carbonell, respectively. Friedle's Boy Meets World co-star Rider Strong voices Brick Flag, Bonnie's boyfriend. Ashley Tisdale of Disney Channel's High School Musical film series and sitcom The Suite Life of Zack and Cody was offered the role of Season 4 villain Camille Leon. Van der Pol would eventual voice a guest role in the series in the episode "And The Mole Rat Will Be CGI" as Heather, an actress hired to play Kim in a film adaptation of her life, serving as her first voice-acting role. Loter had always been interested in working with the cast of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer but this idea never came to fruition; one particularly famous actor refused a villainous guest role in Season 4 because he was insulted to have been asked to voice an animated character on a television series.
Serving as executive producers in addition to writers throughout the entire series, Schooley and McCorkle oversaw the show for its entire duration to maintain consistency. As executive producers, Schooley and McCorkle were mostly involved in the writing process, focusing mainly on plot and dialogue, while storyboarding was chiefly handled by Loter. The writing staff consisted of both Disney Channel employees and freelance writers. Much of the series is based on both Schooley and McCorkle's own experiences growing up as teenagers in high school. Although essentially a comedy series, Schooley and McCorkle also combined elements of adventure, relationships, and humor in order to appeal to both boys, who are primarily interested in action, and girls, who are more-so attracted to relationships and character development, aware of "ancient truisms" surrounding the belief that boys are generally less likely to watch a series starring a female lead, while girls seldom exhibit such reservations when the casting situation is reversed. Without alienating younger viewers, to whom the show refuses to "talk down", the writing in Kim Possible is "a little older than" that of traditional Disney animated series. While avoiding adult references, Schooley and McCorkle opted for a fast-paced sitcom-style dialogue and rhythm that attracted adult viewers instead, ultimately resulting in teleplays that were typically five pages longer than traditional Disney Channel scripts. Additionally, the show heavily parodies the popular James Bond films. Kim Possible's showrunners were heavily influenced by Marvel Comics, particularly the Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men comic book series. One particularly strong influence is found in Dr. Drakken and James Possible's former friendship, whose relationship closely mirrors that of the Fantastic Four's Victor von Doom/Doctor Doom and Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, respectively.
Some of the show's plots and ideas are drawn from the lives of both creators' daughters; the decision to have Ron eventually join his school's football team was inspired by Schooley's daughter being involved in her high school band, which resulted in them attending several school football matches. Citing Ron as his favorite character, McCorkle admitted that he reminds him of his high school self. Although not as strong an action hero as Kim, at the same time the creators were careful to highlight Ron's courage and attributes by emphasizing the fact that he constantly finds himself in dangerous situations. By the fourth and final season, the writers had taken into consideration male fans' requests to see Ron succeed more often than he had in earlier seasons, developing him into a more confident character as he gradually "come[s] into his own" and becomes more of a partner than a sidekick. Drakken and Shego's relationship "weirdly" mirrors Kim and Ron's to some extent, with the female character remaining smarter and more competent than her fumbling male teammate. Initially envisioned as a "standard sidekick", Sullivan's sarcastic interpretation of Shego ultimately inspired Schooley and McCorkle to expand upon the humor revolving around the fact that Shego is barely able to tolerate Drakken. The creators had always intended for Kim and Ron to eventually become romantically involved but avoided this storyline in fear of "paint[ing] ourselves in a corner", citing Sam and Diane's ill-fated relationship in the sitcom Cheers as an example. Throughout the first three seasons, the idea of Ron having feelings for Kim is alluded to, but he never pursues them for various reasons. Production on new episodes of Kim Possible had virtually ceased by the end of Season 3 when Kim and Ron finally become a couple, which McCorkle felt had ended the series perfectly in the film Kim Possible: So the Drama, thus initially eliminating any need to determine how they were to proceed with them as a new couple. However, when the series was surprisingly renewed for a fourth season, Schooley and McCorkle were forced to confronted the challenge of writing for Kim and Ron as a couple for the first time but eventually grew to appreciate their "new dynamic", which provided the show with "new life" while allowing the writers to explore previously uncharted comedic territory. In fact, fans' interest in the new power couple's relationship was one of the main reasons the show was renewed. Schooley and McCorkle returned from other projects they had begun working on to complete the series.
Schooley and McCorkle approached the challenge of portraying dating in a way that would appeal to both younger and older children by having the villains, particularly Shego, react to news of Kim and Ron's relationship with disbelief since "Ron is painfully aware that he is the luckiest man in the world ... for landing Kim", according to Schooley. Approaching their romantic relationship much like they did their friendship, the writers refused to treat the storyline like a soap opera in which the couple constantly breaks up and reunites, keeping their romance realistic by quickly abandoning "the lovey-dovey phase". To avoid alienating younger audiences, Schooley and McCorkle only slightly acknowledged the relationship, maintaining that Kim "still saves the world. We still have the villains, and we have the comedy with the villains and their bizarre schemes and how they get foiled." The fourth season introduces new villains such as Camille Leone, a shapeshifting celebrity heiress, Warmonga, and a more serious villain who possesses "No funny clownish behavior, just evil." The villains also work together against Kim in different combinations. Kim is also given her own car while her brothers, having skipped several grades due to their intelligence, join her in high school despite being only 12 years-old, much to Kim's chagrin. Wade ventures outside his bedroom more often, occasionally assisting Kim and Ron in person. The recurring character Monique, who was created because Schooley and McCorkle felt that Kim would be more realistic if she were to have a female best friend in addition to Ron, is expanded from that of simply an observer of Kim and Ron's lives to a more involved member of Team Possible, broadening the ensemble. Ron's home life is also explored as he welcomes a younger sibling. The series ends with Kim and Ron graduating, leaving their future open to imagination. Several Season 4 episodes were edited and shortened for time because they would run up to five minutes too long, forcing Loter to eliminate some sub plots and characters.
Creating the Kim Possible universe and environment was very much a collaborative process between Schooley and McCorkle, Disney Channel, the character designers, and the cast, who were also encouraged to contribute their own ideas. Although Schooley and McCorkle participated in designing Kim, the majority of that particular task was the combined efforts of Loter, inaugural season director Chris Bailey, art director Alan Bodner and character designer Stephen Silver, each of whom had worked together on previous animated projects. Due to their extensive animation experience, Schooley and McCorkle were aware that "Kim had to be an appealing character", while Ron would be more-so "goofy-appealing". Evolving dramatically over the course of three months, Kim, who had originally been designed to resemble a "standard" athletic-looking blonde heroine, underwent several changes. At one point, the character's appearance was based on that of video game character Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider franchise until Disney Channel abandoned this concept in favor of one more akin to that of a 14 year-old girl as opposed to a bombshell. Admitting that Kim would have been their dream girl in high school, the creators joked, "She would have been way out of our class though." A super suit designed for the character was introduced in early Season 4 but quickly abandoned once the writers realized that the costume would detract from the character's established "she can do anything" reputation. However, her original mission outfit consisting of a crop top and cargo pants is permanently replaced by a T-shirt and pants. Meanwhile, the outfits of Team Impossible were influenced by the X-Men's "classic" blue and gold uniforms.
Loter typically visualized whatever script he was provided with after they had been written. With characters drawn with large heads and eyes, the show's colorful, "hip and retro" style is reminiscent of "campy" spy films released during the 1960s and 1970s. The New York Times observed that the show's retro setting is more similar to that of The Jetsons than The Simpsons. Using a limited animation style, the characters wear a wide variety of costumes and hairstyles. Opting for a "simplicity that was the hallmark of" the 1960s, some of the architecture in Kim Possible is reminiscent of lairs owned by James Bond villains, while Bodner was inspired by the graphic design of posters Disney used during the same decade, as well a Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble. In Season 4, some episodes were intentionally filmed in multiplane to achieve a more cinematic image. Additionally, Disney Channel's animated series American Dragon: Jake Long inspired the animators and artists to approach Kim Possible's final season with an "edgier" design. Director Steve Loter declared that Season 4 was the "most international season" because Kim and Ron travel to more exotic countries.
Written by musicians Cory Lerios and George Gabriel, the show's theme song "Call Me, Beep Me" (also known as "Call Me, Beep Me! (The Kim Possible Song)" or simply "The Kim Possible Song") is performed by American recording artist Christina Milian. Having already been working for Disney Channel at the time, appearing as a correspondent on the network's miniseries Movie Surfers after declining an offer to appear on their variety show The Mickey Mouse Club, Milian learned about Kim Possible from Disney when the studio called her in recruitment of an artist to record the new show's theme song. After meeting with the songwriters, who then proceeded to write the song, for the first time, Milian returned to the studio to record "Call Me, Beep Me" one week later. Romano also contributed vocals to the song. Described as a Motown-influenced R&B and teen pop track, "Call Me, Beep Me" is heard during the show's opening title sequence, encouraging viewers and listeners to contact Kim for assistance should they ever find themselves in difficult situations, featuring the lyrics "Danger or trouble, I'm there on the double." The sounds of mobile devices and modern-day technology are incorporated throughout the song. Although "Call Me, Beep Me" begins "I'm your basic, average girl" in reference to Kim, these lyrics are paradoxical because there is little basic or average about its protagonist. A music video was released for "Call Me, Beep Me", which features Milian and Romano recording the song in the recording studio interspersed with short scenes from the series.
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"Call Me, Beep Me" became a Radio Disney hit, remaining at number one for 12 weeks. The song's success ultimately benefited Milian's career as a performer; she explained, "I never realized that show would give me so much exposure. It's great because people have grown with me, even with that damn song. Didn’t know so many people were watching Kim Possible like that. Because of that song, it actually inspired me to do my own musical animated artist because a lot of people thought I was Kim Possible." Milian has yet to perform the song live in concert but has expressed interest in recording a remix for fans. "Call Me, Beep Me" was the first song Lerios and Gabriel wrote together, and the songwriting duo has since gone on to collaborate on both scoring and writing songs for several other major television networks and programs.
Composer Adam Berry was responsible for scoring the entire series. While the music in Kim Possible is mostly guitar-driven, Berry's scoring experience prior to the show had been exclusively orchestral, composing scores using only a keyboard. A guitarist since the age of six, Berry himself provided all the guitar and bass musical cues in Kim Possible. Although discussing whether or not popular music featured in the series should be stylistically similar to the score, Disney decided to avoid limiting the show to then-current musical trends because, according to Berry, "trying to be current is one of the best ways to sound dated." While themes of electronic music are heard during the scene's fight sequences, guitar riffs of "Call Me, Beep Me" are reprised throughout episodes. Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell made a guest appearance in the Season 2 episode "Queen BeBe" in December 2003. The third season introduced several character-specific songs. The title sequence was almost entirely updated with the premiere of the fourth season, though "Call Me, Beep Me" remained unchanged.
An official Kim Possible soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on July 1, 2003, featuring "Call Me, Beep Me" and "Could it Be", in addition to other musical contributions from the cast of Kim Possible in addition to various Disney recording artists, including Aaron Carter. Romano also recorded a new song entitled "Say the Word" for the album. A combination of teen pop, pop rock, power pop and R&B music, the soundtrack also features appearances by musical groups A-Teens, Jump5 (performing a cover of Kool & the Gang's "Celebration"), LMNT and Smash Mouth, and Will Friedle and Nancy Cartwright's "Naked Mole Rap", a rapped tribute to Ron's pet Rufus, ultimately concluding with a "work-you-up remix" of the theme song by Tony Phillip. Aimed primarily at the show's young fan base, AllMusic writer Heather Phares reviewed the album as "a better than average children's soundtrack."
Episodes typically adhere to a simple, similar format, featuring a power-hungry villain who Kim and Ron must somehow prevent from taking over the world. Although primarily an action-comedy series, Music in Television: Channels of Listening author James Deaville observed that Kim Possible adheres to the long-standing tradition of combining adventure with comedy in animated television. According to Telebisyon, "The show is fairly action-oriented, but also has a strong, light-hearted comedic atmosphere". In addition to action, comedy and adventure, Kim Possible's storylines also explore elements of romance and drama. According to The Artifice, the show's unique brand of humor distinguishes itself from the slapstick style associated with most of Disney Channel's sitcoms, namely Phil of the Future and That's so Raven, although Ron can be considered a slapstick character. With a tendency to not take itself seriously, Kim Possible both parodies and pays homage to the spy, action hero, and superhero genres, its comedy benefiting from the show's emphasis on "over-the-top plots" and circumstances; Shego's own family of superheroes, Team Go, is a deliberate parody of the Marvel superhero team the Fantastic Four. Self-referential in its humor that avoids talking down to its viewers, the series also parodies the teen sitcom genre, teenage fads and trends in general, and sometimes even makes fun of its own plot holes and oversights, while occasionally adopting common cartoon and sitcom tropes.
In addition to other "mainstays" of modern-day youth, technology serves an important role in the series, specifically the Internet and Kim's gadgets, the most significant of which is a cell phone-like device known as a Kimmunicator, designed to help Kim communicate with Wade and allow her access to virtually any information she desires. McCorkle elaborated on the show's emphasis on technology: "Using the Internet theme in the series became an easy launching pad partially because it is such a major part of the fabric of teen life and the interactive possibilities are endless ... It's as though we get to play James Bond's 'Q' for each episode -- the more imaginative the toy, the better." Particularly desirable to younger viewers, technology allows Kim to travel around the world effortlessly and to some extent mirrors children's ability to speak to anyone anywhere in the world via the Internet. Kim's ability to travel virtually anywhere around the world within a short period of time is left largely unexplained; BuzzFeed referred to Wade as an "example that sitting in front of your computer all day is actually the most powerful position to be in." The fact that Wade never leaves his bedroom could potentially indicate that he suffers from agoraphobia.
Kim is raised in a nuclear family. Unlike popular animated sitcoms such as The Simpsons and Family Guy, both of Kim's parents are intelligent, accomplished and attractive; Kim's own intelligence is often attributed to the fact that she is born to a rocket scientist father and neurosurgeon mother. Kim's inherent confidence is a Possible family trait; her father James, who views women as equals, proudly reiterates the phrase "Nothing is impossible for a Possible" on numerous occasions. In her younger years, Kim's grandmother "Nana" Possible fought crime much like Kim herself. Kim Possible approaches the subject of the friend zone via Kim and Ron's relationship, discussing male-female friendship in a manner reminiscent to that of the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989). According to Sarah Freymiller of Bustle, the protagonists friendship evokes that of Batman and the Joker, "Kim holds the functional and social power, while Ron exerts more of a calming, occasionally slapstick influence on the show ... he is the intelligent, kind chaos in her highly-organized life." Kim and Ron are solely platonic friends for the show's first three seasons and remain best friends even after they start dating in Season 4, defying the popular belief that "being romantically involved is worth more than being in a friendship." The series avoids the popular "Will they or won’t they?" trope often used in television shows, keeping them as a couple for the remainder of the series. Having grown up together and learned from each other's mistakes, Kim and Ron ultimately make up for each other's shortcomings. According to Feminist Fairytales, "Ron has a very relaxed attitude towards life which often provides a balance to Kim's assertive nature and perfectionism, while Kim helps Ron become much more independent and self-reliant." Freymiller also believes Ron might have been conceived because "the creators sensed that television would only be able to accept a strong female character if she had a male counterpart," eliminating fears Kim might be perceived as too bitchy, complementing her actions as opposed to dominating.
Hosting a diverse cast of strong female characters while confronting gender norms and barriers, Kim Possible explores feminist themes, specifically third-wave feminism. Alongside several other female-led animated series that premiered throughout the decade, which had been experiencing a steady influx in media starring "Teenage Action Chicks with special powers", Kim Possible is considered to be an example of both girl power and power feminism. Similar to the animated shows Totally Spies, Atomic Betty, and The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Kim Possible revolves around an attractive, intelligent, and strong female character whose public identity is meant to indicate that she should be received as a positive role models for young girls. According to Betsy Wallace of Common Sense Media, Kim Possible "capitalizes on the female villain-fighting craze that sparked with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias", albeit simplifying the genre for a younger generation. Agreeing that the series adopted the then-new "crime-fighting female" formula, Tracey McLoone of PopMatters admitted that Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias and The Powerpuff Girls comparisons are inevitable, but at the same time observed that Kim is more confident than her predecessors, incorporating cheerleading and acrobatics into her fights against enemies, while using traditionally "girly" accessories such as lip gloss and makeup to her advantage in battle. In comparison to Buffy, Kim also approaches her complicated lifestyle more joyfully. Meanwhile, Nicole Rogers of the Wisconsin State Journal believes that Kim resembles what Sydney Bristow of Alias would be like had she been depicted as an animated high school student.
According to MTV's Monique Steele, Kim Possible is "all about how girls kick butt"; Kim constantly rescues Ron, saving him from peril on numerous occasions throughout the series. Writing for Wewomen.com, Carla Cain Walther observed that the series "scoffed at the 'damsel in distress' trope used in action films" by having Kim save Ron "using her ingenuity and strength", reinforcing the idea that girls are capable of helping themselves. Identifying Kim as a postfeminist heroine because she is intelligent in addition to being "shaped like Barbie" and having a male assistant similar to female executives, The New York Times' Julie Salamon joked that "Kim's job seems to be making the world safe for cheerleaders again, following the path forged by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde on behalf of sorority girls." Tor.com's Sarah Gailey observed that while Shego proudly spends much of her time lounging poolside and deciding what she does and does not want to do, Kim is forced "to leap into action regardless of whether she's tired or sad or sick or, heaven forbid, too busy". Bustle's Sarah Freymiller wrote that "Kim offers a model for femininity that both bolsters and works against the typical 'high school cheerleader' stereotype", citing cheerleading as an outlet the character chooses willingly. Kim is not a tomboy; Julia Pugachevsky of BuzzFeed credits the series with "show[ing] that you could be traditionally feminine and strong at the same time." Conversely, Geek Chic: Smart Women in Popular Culture author S. Inness argued that Kim Possible reinforces that "girls can do anything they choose" but must look a certain way in order to do so since its female character participate in consumerism and normative femininity that its male characters do not, such as shopping and spending much time on their appearance. Inness also felt that show's feminist potential is compromised by the fact that Kim mostly surrounds herself with male companions as opposed to female, "contradict[ing] the messages of female solidarity".
Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, Kim Possible's episodes are typically 22 minutes in length and occupy half-hour time slots. Season 1 included a total of 21 episodes; the first, "Crush", premiered on Disney Channel on June 7, 2002, followed by the airing of two back-to-back episodes, occupying the evening's 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm time slot. In total, three half-hour episodes premiered back-to-back. A ratings success, Kim Possible's premiere became the most-watched of any Disney Channel Original Series. Following its premiere, Disney Channel aired one new episode of the series Friday nights at 6:30 pm. By 2005, the show's time slot had been changed to Friday evenings at 5:30 pm. Episodes were also broadcast in syndication on several Disney-affiliated television networks including Toon Disney, weekdays at 7:30 am and weekends at 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm, and ABC's ABC Kids Saturday mornings at 11:00 am, ultimately becoming the "lynchpin" of that particular segment. Internationally, Kim Possible aired on the Family Channel in Canada, while broadcasting on CCTV 12 in China and Dubai TV in Dubai in their respective local languages, Mandarin and Arabic. The show proved particularly popular in Germany and Japan.
In terms of ratings, Kim Possible continued to perform consistently well into its second and third seasons. Typically, series that originate on Disney Channel seldom exceed three seasons and 65 episodes before they are canceled. Disney's "65th Episode Rule" had been established during the late 90s. In 2005, production on Kim Possible ended following the premiere of its television film Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama after airing three seasons and 65 episodes. However, the success of So the Drama increased the show's popularity overseas and ultimately encouraged Disney Channel executives to renew the series for a fourth and final season. In December 2005, Disney Channel ordered 22 new episodes of Kim Possible in response to the series' success and popular demand from fans, who had been heavily petitioning online for the show's renewal, constantly begging the creators and Disney for another season via e-mail. Kim Possible joined an elite handful of television series to have been brought back from cancellation by its cult following in addition to becoming the first Disney Channel Original Series to avoid the networks' 65th Episode Rule; its order to fulfill 22 new episodes as opposed to the usual 13 to 18 was also unprecdented for a revived series. After a year-long hiatus, Season 4 initially premiered exclusively on Disney Channel website before finally returning to Disney Channel on February 10, 2007, prior to which an image featuring a watch-sized rendition of the Kimmunicator had been leaked onto the internet. Originally, the episodes were not aired in chronological order, a decision Loter detested. Ratings remained strong into the final season. After running five years, four seasons and 84 episodes (87 including the films), the hour-long series finale, "Graduation", aired on September 7, 2007, ending Kim Possible. Steve Loter documented the production of the final episode of season four, and thus the completion of the Kim Possible franchise, in a blog titled "So the Finale" hosted on Blogger. It included behind-the-scenes and production information from the perspective of the crew as well as production sketches from one of several alternative endings that had been scripted. "So the Finale" maintained an open comment system allowing fans to express their views on the franchise and its closure.
Kim Possible aired weekdays on Disney XD in the United States. When the series returned to Disney XD in February 2014, fans flocked to Twitter to voice their approval. The series also airs on Disney-affiliated channels around the world in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, India, South Africa, and several Eastern European countries. On May 2, 2016, the series began airing on Disney's Freeform network as part of the late-night That's So Throwback block. In addition to maintaining consistently high ratings throughout its four-season run, Kim Possible was the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series until it was surpassed by Phineas and Ferb in 2012.
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||21||June 7, 2002||May 16, 2003|
|2||30||July 18, 2003||August 5, 2004|
|3||14||September 25, 2004||June 10, 2006|
|4||22||February 10, 2007||September 7, 2007|
A crossover episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Kim Possible aired on August 26, 2005 as part of the former show's second season. Entitled "Rufus", Season 2, Episode 20 features Lilo contacting Kim and Ron to help her rescue Stitch, who has been captured by Drakken and Shego. Meanwhile, Jumba mistakes Rufus for one of his missing experiments.
In the days leading up to Kim Possible's premiere, television critics speculated whether or not the show would attract a large enough male audience to be successful despite its female lead, attributing failure to achieve this feat to the early cancellation of the animated series Madeline. Ultimately, Kim Possible premiered to both widespread acclaim and strong viewership. The series continued to garner critical acclaim throughout its run, earning significant praise for its dialogue, humor and animation. Describing the show as "infectious", Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "Blessed with a modern sense of humor and hip -- but not too hip -- vocabulary, Kim Possible should appeal to the tweens (ages 9-13) it clearly targets", while crowning Rufus the series' breakout star. Writing for The New York Times, Julie Salamon also enjoyed Rufus' role, penning, "I probably would have liked Kim Impossible even if one of its lead characters hadn't been a naked mole rat. But the cheerful presence of Rufus (the mole rat) in this new animated series from Disney signals that the show's executive producer and director, Chris Bailey, doesn't mind getting cute in obvious ways." In his book The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present, television historian Tim Brooks appreciated the series for having "a marvelous sense of humor about itself."
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret News praised Kim Possible for being "an entertaining show that should indeed appeal to tweens, younger kids and even their parents" that "plays with the superhero format in a way that doesn't take itself too seriously but doesn't play down to the viewers." Tracy McLoone of PopMatters reviewed, "Kim Possible includes adult-friendly humor, in the event that parents feel the need to watch tv (sic) with their kids. But nobody in or watching the series will ever be offended or over-stimulated, or even surprised." While accepting Kim as a positive role model and acknowledging that the series teaches "good lessons" at times, Besty Wallace of Common Sense Media expressed concern about the show's use of action sequences and violence, explaining, "lessons may get muddled and nearly lost as the heroes shimmy up rope ladders dangling from helicopters and dodge spinning tops of doom." Wallace concluded, "As long as you're not expecting too much in the way of educational value, you'll probably have plenty of fun with this one." Writing for Bustle, Sarah Freymiller opined, "Ultimately, Kim Possible was just a solid show. It didn't skimp on plot or dialogue in favor of Wile E. Coyote explosions, and its tongue-in-cheek humor allowed it to be self-aware and hip at the same time." Conversely, Girlfighting: Betrayal and Rejection Among Girls author Lyn Mikel Brown was less receptive towards Kim herself, criticizing the show for promoting the beautiful and thin heroine as "your basic average girl" and apparent reliance on Ron's intelligence, as well as the fact that her "biggest threat" is Bonnie as opposed to evil. According to Brown, "Being the kind of girl who's accepted or befriended by boys underscores a girl's power and sets her against other girls."
One of Disney Channel's most popular and successful original shows, Kim Possible remains the project for which Schooley and McCorkle are best known. Few anticipated Kim Possible would become as successful as it ultimately did, proving popular among both male and female audiences. Explaining Kim Possible's universal appeal, the creators said, "Whenever there's an action complement to a show, boys get excited, and when Kim does her martial arts and when she's doing one of these incredible stunts, boys love to watch it ... And one of the things that we’ve always found is that boys of any age ... love humour and characters that are a little goofy, sort of silly and weird. When we tested it, the kids were like: 'Oh, Ron's stupid funny' and that became sort of a buzz phrase." Ron's role helped maintain a strong male audience throughout the series. Kim Possible was greeted with a level of enthusiasm that had not been experienced since the Disney Afternoon Lineup, becoming Disney Channel's most successful post-1990s show. Disney Channel Worldwide President Rich Ross extolled Kim Possible as a "stand-out" among both the network's live-action and animated catalogue. The series maintains "legions" of devoted fans. A poll conducted by Disney Channel revealed that Kim Possible viewers voted for Season 3's "Emotion Sickness" as their favorite episode of the series. Entertainment Weekly ranked Kim Possible fourth on its list of the 25 greatest Disney Channel Original Series, calling it an "animated gem". Kim Possible was placed at number nine on TV Guide's ranking of "The Best Disney Channel Shows". MTV ranked Kim Possible 13th in its article "15 Disney Channel Series We Wish We Could Watch Again". The theme song "Call Me, Beep Me" became so popular among fans of both the show and Milian herself that several of them proceeded to download it as their own cell phone ringtones.
In its first season, Kim Possible was nominated for its first and only Primetime Emmy Award in 2003, for Outstanding Animated Program. In 2004, the series was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards in the categories Outstanding Children's Animated Program and Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program. In 2005, Kim Possible was nominated for a record-breaking total of five Daytime Emmy Awards, the highest number of Emmy Award nominations ever received by the series. The amount of nominations was also the highest received by any animated series recognized that year. Nominated for Outstanding Children's Animated Program, Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program (for Romano), Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing and Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action and Animation, Kim Possible ultimately won award, for Outstanding Sound Mixing — Live Action and Animation. Kim Possible's popularity at the Emmy Awards is credited with further proving that the show was popular among both children and adults. In addition to one Emmy Award win and eight nominations, Kim Possible has also won Parents' Choice Awards and Annie Awards for Best Program and Best TV Series for Children, respectively.
The success of Kim Possible spawned two television films based on the series, becoming the first animated series to be adapted into a Disney Channel Original Movie. The first, Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, is science fiction-themed and premiered on Disney Channel on November 28, 2003, following Kim as she travels both back in time and into the future to save the world. Dubbed an "extended episode", the film also explores the character's origin, revealing how both she and Ron became crime fighters, and features an all-star cast. The second, Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama, was released in 2005 and was originally going to be the series finale, but due to popular demand the series was renewed for another season.
The success of Kim Possible spawned its own video game series; a total of six video games were released, supported by various gaming consoles and platforms:
In 2003, Disney began using the popularity of both Disney Channel's Kim Possible and Lizzie McGuire in an attempt to revive the company's struggling merchandising division, which had been suffering from a declining interest in movie and television tie-ins. In June 2004, McDonald's customers received Kim Possible memorabilia ranging from action figures to spy gear and accessories with their purchase of a Happy Meal. Customers were given a choice of eight different interactive toys to choose from, including a magnetic drawing tablet designed to resemble the Kimminucator and action figures of Kim, Ron, Rufus, Shego, and Monkey Fist.
Based on the series, the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure was an interactive attraction that took place in several of Epcot's World Showcase pavilions in Walt Disney World. The attraction is an electronic scavenger hunt that has guests using special "Kimmunicators" (in actuality, modified cell phones) to help Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable solve a "crime" or disrupt an evil-doer's "plans for global domination." The "Kimmunicator" is able to trigger specific events within the pavilion grounds that provide clues to completing the adventure. Launched in January 2009 and presented by Verizon Wireless, the Adventure is included in park admission.
The attraction was closed on May 18, 2012 to make way for a similar attraction themed around the character of "Agent P" from Disney Channel animated television show Phineas and Ferb. The new attraction, now called Disney's Phineas and Ferb's Agent P World Showcase Adventure, opened in June 2012.
|Title||Season(s)||Episode count||Release date||Episodes|
|The Secret Files||1, 2||4||September 2, 2003||"Attack of the Killer Bebes", "Downhill", "Partners", and "Crush"|
|A Sitch in Time||2||1||November 28, 2003||"A Sitch in Time"|
|The Villain Files||1, 2, 3||4||December 7, 2004||"Blush", "Animal Attraction", "Number One", and "Showdown at Crooked D"|
|So the Drama||3||2||May 10, 2005||"So the Drama" and "Gorilla Fist"|
|The Complete First Season (Disney Movie Club Exclusive)||1||21||2010||This three-disc release features all episodes from the first season.|
|The Complete Second Season (Disney Movie Club Exclusive)||2||30||This three-disc release features all episodes from the second season.|
To this day, it is regarded as one of Disney’s greatest and most successful television shows in history due to its critical acclaim.
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