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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WHY I LOVE ROBOT CHICKEN



I'm sure you've all noticed how much blogging I've been doing lately.  I'm still waiting to get my movie cast, so I'm kinda in the hallway and as I've said in the past, I really don't do well with down time.  So the blog has been a great way to keep me out of trouble... kinda.

I've also been catching up on my over-packed DVR (remember the days when we just called them tivos).  My teenage son turned me on to Seth Green's masterpiece, Robot Chicken awhile back and last night I caught up -- I watched 18 episodes (I know... I have trouble with moderation).  In the past the show made me laugh, but last night I think I finally "got it", you know the laugh behind the laugh.   

If you've never watched Robot Chicken -- imagine you're six years old and playing with GI Joe's, Barbie Dolls and other assorted action figures.  Then your sexually ambiguous uncle Billy sits down in his too-tight pants and offers to play with you (using exactly that phrase).  With each pose of the doll, he twists your innocent narrative into something violent, crude and sexually inappropriate.  Usually ending each scenario with your favorite action figure covered in blood and/or cum (his).  I love uncle Billy. 

Robot Chicken is stop-motion animation with action figures.  More often than not, Seth and company take the cartoon fantasies from our youth and turn them into hilarious and irreverent tales of mayhem.  RC is not for everyone, but as a writer who struggles with finding an independent voice in the dreck-heavy television landscape, this show is the Holy Grail.  It is irreverence personified.  

That's the joke behind the joke.  These guys are using the innocence of our youth to exploit the decadence of our adult pursuits.  And nothing is off limits.  You get the sense that half the segments are inside jokes.  They are creating shit that makes them laugh, television that they want to watch.  Their 15-minute episodes on Cartoon Network are the perfect medium for their dishonorable expression.  These guys are my heroes.  Offensive language is bleeped, but pretty much everything else flies.  If you haven't watched, it's worth tuning in.  And they attract very hip and eclectic voice talent, from Phyllis Diller to Scarlett Johansson.

20 comments:

therealzenobia said...

Bad news, Jefe. Time killing is what got me surfing and posting. Now I often have people standing behind me saying COME ON!! And I say, "Wait - I just have to finish this email. It's important!"

Jeff said...

Mr. Sutter, you should check out The Venture Brothers and Metalocolypse on Adult Swim. I love Robot Chicken but I think these two, especially The Venture Brothers, are even more subversive.

Jacob Cristobal said...

Have you wondered if they're going to do something with "Sons Of Anarchy?"

Kirrilian said...

@ Jacob, I'm sure they will now!

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with Jeff. Robot Chicken is the gateway show that leads Adult Swim followers to the others Jeff mentioned, plus I must add Squidbillies and Aqua Teen Hunger Force to the list. I start each morning with Metalocolypse before going to work.

TochiO said...

I'm inclined to think the eps are even funnier with the bleeps in. But, yes. Genius.

BikerKev925 said...

WOW...What An Episode Of S.O.A Tonight. I Can't Believe Only 2Episodes Left. This Season Has Been A Rollercoaster Of Pure Emotion..Adrenaline Rushes And Chaos, And Thats Just Me LOL. This Is By Far THE Best Show On TV. If Katey Don't Get The Emmy This Year Then They Don't Know Shit. S.O.A Deserves Best Show Recognition And Deserves To Be Renewed By FX.

cgeye said...

Sir, Metapocalypse and Venture Brothers are musts. *MUSTS*.

If you like Uncle Billy, well... let's just say the recurring characters on VB top him. I mean, literally, top him, should they get the chance.

The supervillain, the Monarch? Broke into the Venture compound to give a Venture robot gonorrhea. 'nuff said.

cgeye said...

And I'll say it one more time:

SOA WIFEBEATER ONESIES.

Their time has come.

At least the baby hat, man. Please?

therealzenobia said...

Holy Cow - I cried all through last night's ep like it was Beaches or something. That was by far the best ep of both seasons. (Bring it, "Patch Over" people!)

Just amazing.

Jeff said...

My wife and I are still nursing our jaws after they hit the floor last night after the Tig-Gemma scene. What seemed arbitrary at first ended up being brilliant writing as usual. Just a side note: When Tig told Clay he didnt even know who he was anymore, this really resonated with us due to our son suffering from PTSD from Iraq. I know you probably didnt mean it that way but it seemed like heightened reality to us. Thanks for a great night of Sons.

Kurt Sutter said...

thanks for the suggestion. Metapocalypse and Venture Brothers are on my dvr list.

Jeff said...

There's a great podcast from Tim Goodman, San Francisco Chronicle, where he has an interesting interview with Mr. Sutter. Lot of great info.

Nyctotherion said...

Check out this week's SVU; Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery!

Susan said...

This is the best shows I've seen in a long time. We wait with baited breath for Tuesday nights and I am really appreaciative for the extra time last week. Wish you could do that every week or just make it a two hour show.
The only thing I've noticed that's not true for most mc clubs, Gemma is an old lady not a mama and most clubs won't wear their colors in a vehicle.
Great show and wonderful work from all concerned.

Aaliyah said...

Yesterday I saw Katey waiting for Maggie after theperformance of Or in NYC. I decided not to go up to her and be an overbearing fan. I think the writing in second season was kick ass. One thing I like is that all your characters, especially the female characters have depth to them. That is definitely rare in TV and film. Keep on pushing the envelope, SOA is the best drama on TV right now.

Pointman said...

Glad you're a Robot Chicken fan...the "Star Wars" feature is hilarious!
I wonder if they'll do a SOA bit?
Hmmmm, I might have to send a viewer suggestion...
Have a great weekend!

BrendanL said...

Since there's no blog post about it yet, I gotta hijack this thread to say I bought the Shelter EP and it's great! Thanks for including the Fortunate Son cover from last season, I remember wishing it had been on the first EP.

Juliet said...

I discovered RC a few years back and I'm not gonna lie, I laughed so hard I peed a little bit. Especially at the Star Wars episode and now again with the 2.5 ep. It's fucking genius. Seth Green & his crew are hilarious.

G.W.B. said...

Just heard your interview on The Business and came to your blog as a result. Thanks for the refreshing candor and honesty about television.

I'm a Robot Chicken fan myself, and though I do think it's often irreverent and edgy, it's surprisingly restrained in how certain subject matter is handled. Maybe you're more drawn to the bluest material and therefore it stands out more in your mind, but some of the funniest stuff on that show is pretty tame, ironic, subtle, universal humor that relates easily to most people, no matter their sensibilities.

Good work, Mr. Sutter and best of luck.