The line "I caaaan’t do it" (delivered, of course, in a slightly whiny Roy Keane-esque accent) is now something of a local catchphrase, thanks to the popularity of the bonkers animation series Sminky Shorts. But to its North Cork creator, Jason Sullivan, who dreamed up his online characters while trying out new software, the global success of the barmy shorts is crazier than any member of his hare brained menagerie.
From Fr Ted’s "Careful now! Down with the sort of thing!" to Little Britain’s "Computer says no...", catchphrases are an inevitable part of everyday life. These days however, a newcomer on the scene is bringing his own instantly recognisable lines to the table, Cork style.
The popularity of YouTube animation Sminky Shorts was never as evident as last week, when thousands of students returned to schools across the country and greeted their teachers with a barrage of "I caaan’t do its", while "Awful sad, isn’t it. That’s right, that’s right, that’s right", and "Cock-a-doodle-doo boy" have also become regular refrains in Irish bars and offices.
The 11-part Sminky Shorts' series, which includes two mice lamenting the death of a friend, a horse reluctant to jump over a puddle and a ‘speed demon’ turtle- is now just short of three million hits but creator, Jason Sullivan (who works under the pseudonym Andrew James), is already planning a number of new additions.
“I’m back to college soon so have a few more shorts written as I don't know how busy I'll be. In the coming weeks, I'll be putting one up on the return of some characters. It's something that is called for, that’s all I can say. It’ll become clearer when it airs! Going back over characters is tough so it isn’t something I’ll be doing too often,” admits 27 year-old Sullivan, adding that another animal inspired short, entitled Burgers is also in the pipeline. “I’m keeping to animals as they seem to be working. However, I’m not sure about making regulars out of the characters I've done already. They can get a bit annoying after a while.”
The Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) second year multimedia student first shot to fame over the summer, releasing his 58-second short of two mice lamenting the death of a friend in a mouse-trap, Awful Sad on a whim. This first animation went on to win the Brief Brief Shorts competition during the summer and was also screened at the Castlepalooza Music & Arts Festival.