Yard Work Made Easy, The Gumby Show


Things get messy when Gumby tries to get robots to do his work for him.

Growing up, I had a VHS tape full of episodes of The Gumby Show. Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, visited my elementary school, dressed as Gumby, no less. He talked about his work and how his first clay animation was built on a ping pong table in his garage. It inspired a playful approach to art-making that I’ve tried to keep alive in my own work.

In this particular episode, Gumby is working hard in the backyard when his friend Pokey comes over and wants to play. They hatch a scheme to have robots do Gumby’s work. Unexpectedly, the robots seem to have minds of their own and Gumby must figure out how to make them go along with the plan.

As a child, the idea that robots could act on their own, against how we program them, was one of the more spooky lessons in The Gumby Show. In the end, Gumby solves the problem and eases any worry of a robot takeover, but the theme of this episode is ever encroaching today. In our evolving relationship with automation, we utilize technology to make our lives easier, while resisting complete dependency on these robots of sorts to do all the work for us.

My favorite thing about Yard Work Made Easy is the sound design. All the beeps and boops from different robots give each one a personality — I can still hear them when thinking back on the episode.