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.