|The zany adventures of a boy, his girl, and their carnivorous, rapping plant. Oh yeah, and it’s a musical. Not exactly your typical Saturday morning fare, but consider the show’s parentage: A Roger Corman film and the off-Broadway musical it inspired.
Corman’s 1960 film, Little Shop of Horrors, featured florist Mushnik, geeky assistant Seymour, Seymour’s girlfriend Audrey, a sadistic dentist named Dr. Farb, and the aforementioned man-eating plant. In 1982, Howard Ashman and Allan Menken turned the dark horror/comedy into a musical, which in turn inspired a 1986 filmed adaptation. It was the musical version that attracted Fox to the premise, and in 1991, the network premiered its cartoon adaptation.
The horror was tamed for the Saturday morning audience (and the title changed to simply Little Shop). Seymour and Audrey were now teens in puppy love, Mushnik was Audrey’s father, and the plant, Audrey Junior, lost its bloodlust, channeling its passion instead to rap. Dr. Farb became buck-toothed bully Paine. In the finest musical tradition, the cast burst into spontaneous song and dance at the drop of a hat, and in place of twisted comic horror, the stories focused on teen issues of dating, popularity, and the like.
The show had the unfortunate task of challenging Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on CBS, leading to cancellation after only one season.