Simple jokes, an obnoxious laugh and irritated friends are components that make the Annoying Orange web series a YouTube sensation.
Creator and MSUM grad Dane Boedigheimer uploaded the first Annoying Orange video in October 2009, intending it to be a one-time video for his YouTube channel. When the video went viral, Boedigheimer embraced the opportunity to create more videos featuring the boisterous Orange.
The series is about Orange who sits on a kitchen countertop relieving his boredom by annoying nearby fruits and objects. Orange laughs at his own jokes, making those around him furious. The fate of Orange’s agitated co-stars usually ends with their unfortunate death.
Boedigheimer came up with the idea for Annoying Orange while lying in bed one night. “I thought of the idea and just kept laughing to myself,” Boedigheimer said. “If you can make yourself laugh, you’ve got an idea worth exploring.”
Boedigheimer brought in MSUM classmate and friend Spencer Grove to help write Annoying Orange scripts. “Enter Spencer, who’s the prince of puns,” Boedigheimer said. “He totally got the tone of Annoying Orange, and has helped write almost every episode since.”
Grove and Boedigheimer met during their time in the speech communication department and moved to the west coast after graduation. Boedigheimer and Grove began moonlighting on video projects under the moniker Gagfilms, where Boedigheimer introduced the first Annoying Orange video. “Each episode I uploaded was getting millions of hits in days,” Boedigheimer said. “People loved the character.”
Orange’s rise to stardom may be credited to his obliviousness and persistent jokes. “Every generation has an annoying yet lovable character that people gravitate towards, for example, Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker. They are characters that are at their core annoying, but in a lovable sort of way,” Boedigheimer said. “I think Orange hit in that same way.”
“For some reason, people love to watch other people get annoyed. I think it’s because it’s pretty relatable. Everyone has been annoyed, and everyone has a friend or someone they know that’s like Orange in some way,” Boedigheimer said.
Grove believes another part of Annoying Orange’s online success is due to the malleability of the series. “We’re constantly experimenting with different genres, different structures, different formats, you name it,” Grove said. “We work really; really hard to make sure our viewers have a reason to keep coming back.”
Boedigheimer does voices for reappearing characters Orange, Pear, Midget Apple and Marshmallow. “I love bringing these characters to life!” Boedigheimer said. The videos are filmed in Boedigheimer’s garage that was recreated to resemble his kitchen, where the videos were first filmed.
The collaboration between Grove and Boedigheimer is key to the weekly delivery of Annoying Orange episodes. “Dane’s one of my best friends. Beyond that, he’s an amazing person to work with on a creative level,” Grove said. “He’s just one of those cats that gets it.”
Boedigheimer’s and Grove’s sense of humor resonates through everything they do, which has brought them success in the online world and beyond. The Annoying Orange YouTube channel is the eighth most subscribed to channel with more than 2.3 million subscribers, and is the 30th most viewed of all time. In January, the channel hit 1 billion channel views.
Annoying Orange surpassed expectations and now has a merchandise line; an iPhone and iPod touch app; and a TV series that is expected to air in June on Cartoon Network.
“The TV show is coming along great,” Boedigheimer said. “We’re going to be shooting and animating for the next four to five months.”
The TV series will include the same cast, but will take place on a fruit-vending cart instead of a kitchen counter.
Check out Annoying Orange videos at www.annoyingorange.com