Arts Desk

Pancake Mountain Is No More

Some news to make your afternoon feel like utter doo-doo: After 10 years, Pancake Mountain, the punkest kids television show in the history of the medium, is signing off. Last night, creator Scott Stuckey posted a sendoff video (it's been disabled on YouTube, but you can watch it here) starring Pancake Mountain's puppet host, Rufus R. Leaking. "It's somewhat of a sad day," the goat lisps, "but also in some ways a happy day because we're gonna move on to bigger and better things. Although that's something you tell someone when they're about to die."

That's why Pancake Mountain ruled: It was programming for kids without any bullshit or pandering. The program started in 2002 in D.C. and over the years featured hyperactive children's dance parties, goofy sketches, and kids-tailored performances by Deerhoof, The Melvins, Arcade Fire, Built to Spill, Flaming Lips, and countless other indie rockers. Fugazi's Brendan Canty and Bikini Kill's Kathi Wilcox penned the original theme song. Pancake Mountain is the reason The Evens are occasionally heckled with requests to play a song called "Vowel Movement."

The shows aired online and on public-access television in a handful of markets. The production moved to L.A. in 2010 in the hopes of securing more funding, though an ambitious Kickstarter campaign last year didn't get very far. The most recent Pancake video was an installment of "Around the World With Shirley Manson."

Sarah Godfrey profiled Pancake Mountain for Washington City Paper in 2003, not long after the show started:

Like the star of his show, Scott Stuckey thinks much of children's programming these days is crap. The 39-year-old creator of Pancake Mountain decided to make the show—a mix of music, comedy, and cartoons—as a sort of penance for the advertising editing he does through his 6-year-old D.C.-based film and production company, Monkey Boy Studios.

"I guess after a while, I felt guilty about what we were putting out there," says Stuckey. "In TV, there needs to be something different. And we had the equipment and stuff anyway; we knew all of these great creative people, so it was just, like, 'Maybe we should try to do our own kind of local show.'"

Pancake Mountain will certainly be missed. Luckily, you can still get it on DVD.

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