Posts Tagged ‘adult swim’

squid6

Squidbillies 

Yeee Haaah! Dag namit! Dey terk err jeerrbs! [enter favourite Southern stereotype here]. Yes it’s Squidbillies that show with those redneck Squids from Georgia.

 Did you know adult swim was born in The South? Sure William’s Street is located in the sprawling metropolis that is Atlanta but just down the road you have the Appalachian mountains where if the canon of Squidbillies is to be believed, a great flood millions of years ago left a family of squids stranded on the mountains where they evolved into the buck toothed, hard drinking squids we see today.

 Squidbillies was born from two of the great minds who made Spaceghost. Aqua Teen’s Dave Willis and The Brak Show’s Jim Fortier cracked heads with Radical Axis to craft a one of its kind cartoon that almost didn’t make it. Back in 2004 our American cousins were teased with some impressive trailers and some outstanding bumps but on the day the pilot was meant to air they instead showed a pilot for anime parody Perfect Hair Forever. After which, one of the strangest discussions in adult swim history took place. Granddaddy of Swim, Space Ghost, hosted a discussion group with Aqua Teen’s Meatwad, Sealab’s Sharko and Early from Squidbillies. Spaceghost tries to get the non too chatty panel to comment on what they have seen but the main topic of conversation seems to be Sharko and the unusual way he was conceived (Marco putting his junk in a lady shark’s sharkgina). For his trouble Spaceghost gets both hands shot off by a sozzled Early, followed by his head which then gets taped to Meatwad whilst the also shot Sharko gets eaten by a bear. (Catch this on the season 1 DVD extras)

 It turns out the original pilot was pulled and then completely remade. Six months later the show finally piloted in calamari sized chunks over several days before appearing in its entirety almost a year from when the original was planned to air. Worth the hassle? Oh yes my friends.

 squid2

So what the Squid Jesus is it all about then? Well for starters you’ve got a family of lawless squids with a pretty established back story considering the shows’ pedigree. Dad, Early Cuyler is a trigger happy ex-convict who had his way with Krystal the gigantic town whore and produced son Rusty before being sent to jail for 15 years.  Rusty was then raised badly by his aunt Lil, his Great Granny, and also a pack of flesh hungry wolves (although that might have been a dream he had) before finding his dear old Dad working on a chain gang.

The Sheriff being a docile clone sort of chap sees the touching reunion and sets Early free to be with his boy. The two of them promptly set up home in aunt Lil’s meth lab Hair Salon/ Peanut Parlor with Lil and Granny and the family is complete.

It’d be a pretty predictable show if the show stopped there but luckily this is a green lit, fully sponsored Adult Swim product. Imagine a Southern Fried Aqua Teen with a side of 12 Oz Mouse and you’re halfway there. In setting up the back story early on it leaves the writers to concentrate on the beef of the show which follows Aqua Teen’s absurd take on storytelling by piling up huge layers of jokes in one episode which may never be addressed again. So what are we talking about here? How about a field full of Sheriff clones who throughout the show replace their predecessor with a bloodthirsty stealth kill? A new brand of mutant fried chicken wings created from Early’s DNA? Squiddly Diddly ain’t got nothing on this.

Characters

 DAN HALEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Halen

 He’s… a man? An ageless, naked ginger man and head of a major corporation who employs Early as his CEO in order to take on any legal flak that might come his way. He sells dangerous baby killing products to fund the building of his giant demonic tower. He may well have killed Christ and given Adolf the push he needed to kick off that Nazi thing. A thoroughly nice chap then eh? Na he’s purest evil in the form of a giant chin but highly entertaining.

 Granny-Cuyler-psd80412

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granny

 Lovable five legged Granny spends the autumn of her life in a massive walking frame which she seems to have little or no control over. She regularly gets thrown out of her walker during the heated frolics of whatever is going on that episode and is largely there for her sage like ramblings. Granny is voiced by none other than Dana Snyder who in case you didn’t know is the voice behind Aqua Teen’s Master Shake. She can converse with both Squid Jesus and Satan Squid possibly due to her being so close to death or perhaps because she’s hallucinating. Granny’s finest hour came when she was horrifically burned in a tanning accident and had the skins of wild animals grafted to her flesh which turned her into a marauding beast with a hunger for flesh and destruction.. She got better though.

Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow

Drinky Crow

At first glance, with that infectiously catchy theme tune  and the cutesy characters you’d be forgiven for thinking this was going to be a somewhat tame outing for an Adult Swim show but you’d be so very, very wrong. This is the brainchild of Tony Millionaire and started life (and continues as) the popular comic strip Maakies, frequenting many alternative newspapers in Americaland and Europe. What’s immediately apparent within the first minute of watching is that it’s cutesy veneer is countered head on by an onslaught of suicide, drinking and sleazy, sleazy, interspecies coitus. Oh, and there’s a monkey!

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Drinky Crow doin’ the do, spewin’ the spew

The Drinky Crow show treats death and dismemberment with the seriousness and urgency of a  demotivated ALDI checkout girl showing you the way to the foreign sausage section. For example, in this universe it’s perfectly acceptable to shoot off 90% of your head and carry on talking, drinking or even driving only for it to magically reappear the next time the camera looks at something else. In fact it’s entirely reasonable that after a particularly heavy night out your organs will seek solace in a bar of their own construction to avoid the fallout of your intoxicated tomfoolery.

Did I also mention it’s kind of nautical? You’ve got amorous sea monsters, a boat full of bloodthirsty French crocodiles and all sorts of sea capers and maritime mishaps. Certainly enough to satiate your inner pirate.

Nautical mischief

Nautical mischief

If you’re after rich layers of continuity then forget it. Drinky Crow takes a page from the Aqua Teen book of storytelling but goes one weirder. Each episode plays out like a perverted dream sequence from a drug addled Spongebob writer. The only real constants are the characters themselves so good luck trying to explain an episode to the uninitiated. “So the french spy lady is pregnant, except she’s not really it’s Uncle Gabby is in her uterus, meanwhile in Uncle Gabby’s ass  there is a gaggle of vampires watching a stand-up vampire comedian voiced by Jackie Mason. It turns out that the spy lady is constructing a nuclear warship in her uterus and… Mum? You still there?”

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Sealab 2021           

I know what you’re thinking. A sprawling underwater research lab consisting of shiny metal walkways and all those lovely sparkly switches and wetsuits sounds like adventure heaven… and you’d be right if it wasn’t for the blatant disregard for basic health and safety and the worst case of cabin fever since Tim Curry and that bloke off Star Stories got musical with a ship full of Muppets.

Born at the start of Swim, from the same womb as Harvey Birdman, Brak and Aqua Teen, Sealab borrows stock footage and animation from the short lived environmental Hannah Barbera cartoon Sealab 2020 (yeah me neither!). A year later and the plight of the ocean’s precious marine life plays second fiddle to the incompetent Captain Murphy’s latest reckless obsessions whether that be putting the crew’s brains in robot bodies or looking for the golf shop.

Captain Murphy after giving up his noggin to a mouse

Captain Murphy after giving up his noggin to a mouse

Sealab 2021 takes things like continuity with a pinch of salt. This allows the entire crew to be killed off week after week and then just come back again. Like Aqua Teen you’ll find absurdist plots that you can’t predict like Marco’s frisson with some sharkgina and the lab being visited by two Scouse businessmen with a thirst for fresh corn. 

 

The whole thing is book-ended with one of the catchiest theme tunes ever made that will make you clap along like a sugar maddened toddler at a Tweenies convention.

Sealab was the start of 70/30 Productions, the brainchild of Matt Thompson and Adam Reed who gave us the magnificent Frisky Dingo and it ran for four great seasons which you can still get in the shops or on itunes.

Characters

Jodene Sparks

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If Murphy is the instigator of Sealab’s more dangerous and irrelevant missions then Sparks is that voice in Murphy’s ear whispering the final words of encouragement. He’s lazy, so lazy that he never actually gets out of his chair and his main joy in life is watching the captain go steadily more insane.

Dolphin boy

dolphin boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t feel sorry for Dolphin Boy. He may only be able to communicate in dolphin speak but he’s essentially just a fictional chubby blonde boy created to be killed off regularly without reason. Oh and he’s annoying so like I say, don’t you dare feel sorry for him!

 

Part 2 of our Comic-Con Friday. Venture Bros fever, Titmouse party and yet more yummy grub….

adultswimcentral.com's John J Galbo and Michelle wide eyed at the Titmouse party

adultswimcentral.com’s John J Galbo and Michelle wide eyed at the Titmouse party

It was nearly time for the Venture panel so we rested our tired feet and had a quick bite to eat at the food court which consisted mainly of expensive crisps and trail mix. It was apparent – after nearly choking at food prices – that we were unprepared for life at the Con. Tomorrow we would brink snacks and plenty of drinks to sustain ourselves and our wallets.  

Huge snaking queue for the Venture Bros panel

Huge snaking queue for the Venture Bros panel

We headed to the IGN theatre for the Venture panel, crossing through what felt like a huge aircraft hangar before we got to the entrance. The queue was massive and it’s a good job we got there an hour early otherwise we wouldn’t have got in. After an arduous wait, eventually we shuffled through and settled into our seats to watch the Venture team put on one hell of a show. Forgoing the traditional convention formula of one massive desk, they opted for a 70’s chat show theme entitled “Let’s All Smoking” where they smoked electronic cigarettes and drank that notorious granny diet grapefruit drink, ‘Fresca’. The crowd whooped as they brought on guests Mike Sinterniklaas, who plays Dean, and Paul Boocock (great name) who plays Jonas Venture Senior and we eagerly awaited the new clips. It’s been forever since the Season 4 finale in 2011. During that time, all the scheming that led to us being at Javits watching this panel had happened. We’d befriended Chris McCulloch (Jackson Publick) a year before at Pulp’s Hyde Park gig in London. Seeing him again on stage doing his Venture thing was surreal. The clips came, we got a sneak peek of the Halloween special and a hastily thrown together cut of what’s coming up in Season 5. The rough snippets of new Venture Brothers they showed us were not enough to give anything away but just enough to make us yelp a little, then it was time for the Q&A. Doc and Jackson answered questions with their typical flair, oozing sublime nerd coolness from every pore. It’s rare to find creators who are as entertaining as their shows and these guys are masters of giving the fans what they want (besides more episodes, more often that is… You can’t rush quality)

Pretty bad photo of the Venture panel

Pretty bad photo of the Venture panel

 For many fans in the room that was the end of it but not for us. A quick coffee and a sprint across to the backstage press area and we were in interview land, a series of temporary rooms separated by huge curtains at the back of the aircraft hangar waiting area we’d been waiting in earlier. We commandeered a table and waited patiently as Doc and Chris wandered around being interviewed by bloggers, journalists and other film crews. I seized this opportunity to Irish up everyone’s coffee with a bit of duty free from my hip flask belt buckle (never leave home without one).  John J was readying a small HD camera when Lou stepped in and offered to shoot the interview on our mega camera, this would give it that professional zing. Just before the shot, we got to have a little chat with Doc and Chris. I introduced myself to Doc Hammer for the first time in person. I don’t know if Chris had clued him into who we were or if he genuinely recognised me but he shook my hand and said “Hey you’re that British guy we did the Skype interview with that time”.  I can’t imagine that 1am Skype interviews with unknown British bloggers are a regular event at the Astro Base, but all the same I was working hard to suppress my inner fanboy at this acknowledgement.  

John J, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick and the lovely folks from Adult Swim

John J, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick and the lovely folks from Adult Swim

Before we knew it, it was interview time. John J nailed it, of course. It was great seeing him work and he bounced confidently from question to question. Interview over and Friday was fading fast. After making a proper mess in the press area we skulked out to catch the Titmouse panel. 

 The panel had already started by the time we got in, it was comprised of the movers and shakers of Titmouse New York and LA and they were showing clips from the huge catalogue of work they do from Motor City to Metalocalypse, Superjail! and more.  Jon Schnepp entered part way through, having been over at the Grimm panel. He had changed into a skeleton onesie, which looked very impressive on a man of his build. He proudly showed us a clip from Grimm Animated (and I got to see where the $40 I’d contributed to the Kickstarter had gone).  After the questions, I looked over to see that Chris had joined the room. Apparently he was going to the Titmouse party too (well he does have an office there). It turns out the party was being hosted in his girlfriend’s garage, double win! Next to Chris stood a nicely dressed older gentleman, “have you met Keith yet?” asks Chris. “Keith… Keith…” I think to myself… KEITH! As in KEITH… FUCKING… CROFFORD! We are not worthy! This guy’s name appears on the end of virtually every adult swim show I’ve ever loved, second only to Lazzo himself; he’s someone who gets stuff done. We mention our film, of course he can’t comment but he wishes us luck. That’s enough for me. 

As we leave the room, Chris beckons me to go for a smoke with him and Schnepp. Chris was accosted by a polite but persistent fan, talking about how he’s trying to get into the business. Chris goes to work, nodding politely, chatting away, aware that this guy is going nowhere fast. A full 15 minutes later we actually get outside and the guy’s going full-on Columbo on him “oh, there’s just one more thing…” Eventually he leaves, grinning all the way home no doubt, leaving us to have a cig together and chat. Chris asks about my shitty job and we talk about the fact I post tons of photos of food. He checks my Facebook, apparently.  

Titmouse party - Brooklyn

Titmouse party – Brooklyn

A little while later we catch up with Lou, Michelle and John J and head over to Brooklyn for the Titmouse party. Now when Chris said the party was in a garage I thought it’d be like a UK garage, you know, attached to a house. Nope, this was four bare walls and a massive shutter door guarded by a couple of bouncers. It was starting to get a bit chilly by now but the swell of people in the room and the free alcohol was enough to get us through. A DJ played a decent mix of rock and indie tunes for that room full of lucky creators, actors and animators although nobody danced. “Nobody dances in New York” Lou exclaimed. Well I do… but I decided not to on this occasion lest I look like a tit.

By 1pm we were cold and tipsy enough to leave, so we sloped off to get some grub.  We headed up the road, the cold really biting now, to a quaint little diner just like you see in the films. One look at the menu reminded me how little I’d actually eaten since breakfast, so whilst everyone else was quite modest in their food selection I went for a pizza burger which came with a humungous pickle… and a White Russian on the side. 

I am a glutton. I'm a sucker for greasy, delicious stuff with stuff on it...

I am a glutton. I’m a sucker for greasy, delicious stuff with stuff on it…

Full and a bit warmer we headed to the subway to catch the L train back to the East Village. Some clever GPS trickery got us home eventually but only after going the wrong way for a bit, I also couldn’t fight my bladder any longer and offloaded into a bush in the middle of the East Village much to the disappointment of Michelle. (insert comment about working with monkeys here – Michelle)

Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer

Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer

This is possibly my most favourite interview I have ever done. It happened at the tail end of 2010 when I was still writing for adultswim.co.uk (sadly deceased). Venture Brothers Season 4 was coming to an end and we were all anxiously waiting to see what the finale would bring.

My brief was to do a profile piece on Doc and Jackson for my ‘Gritty Guides to..’ blog but I went one step further and through the magic of Facebook and a lot of luck I managed to secure a late night Skype interview with the Venture Brothers creators live from the Astrobase. It manifested itself as a video chat over Skype at 1am and I managed to snag the audio. When this was put on the blog it was in the form of a painfully transcribed two part piece, but now you get to hear the whole thing in its entirety. A full hour of Venture loveliness and off-topic babbling with two of the most entertaining people I’ve ever had the pleasure to interview.

This was really a catalyst for what was to come. On the back of this interview we met up with Jackson Publick in London where we saw Pulp in Hyde Park together and from there the idea of this film grew and blossomed into what it is today (thanks mainly to some genius levels of dealings and schemings by Michelle).

Enjoy!

I’d flown backwards in time (geographically at least), been to Javits to pick up my press pass, found my digs and our first proper day at Comic-Con was about to begin. This is part 1 of what happened on Friday when team [ASTFW] got their Con on in true monkey pirate style.

Michelle has helped me to trim down the massive tome of a diary I’ve been writing since we got back and she’s provided her own unique commentary to my chimp’s eye view on what went down. There’s a lot to get through so let’s get going…

Dedicated Aqua Teen cosplayers outside Javits

Dedicated Aqua Teen cosplayers outside Javits

FRIDAY

I woke up bleary eyed on Friday morning. Jo was already up and typing away on her laptop. I’d arranged to meet Michelle at the local tube at around 11am with the hope of getting to Comic-Con by midday for our first full day of filming. I had a great video chat with Mrs C via Skype, telling her about the previous day and my travels. I had free internet and a snazzy phone so I got to show her round my room as well as see her lovely face. I was amazingly hungry and Jo recommended the Odessa Cafe, a local Polish cafe near the park. I craved a big hearty American breakfast. Thanks to Google maps and a bit of luck, that’s exactly what I got.

Heart stoppingly delicious breakfast... Seriously!

Heart stoppingly delicious breakfast… Seriously!

Memories of my honeymoon came flooding back with the scent of coffee, crispy bacon, eggs and syrup. I sat on a stool by the bar and ordered the blueberry pancakes with bacon and coffee. By this point I was practically drooling, a few minutes felt like hours but then I was presented with a huge stack of thick pancakes bursting with gorgeous purple fruit, thick crispy strips of salty bacon adorning it, like a cheeky meat mountain top. I slathered the sweet and salty tower in corn syrup until it glistened and shimmered under the fluorescent lights inside the cafe. I devoured it in minutes, polished off three cups of coffee and… (okay that’s enough Chimp vs Food – Michelle). 

I still had an hour before I had to meet Michelle so I took the chance to survey the local area and get some cigs. The East village is swamped with bars, cafes, small supermarkets and little Delis that double up as newsagents (think they call them bodegas, mate – Mich). I made it to the tube in about 20 minutes and suddenly realised I had a lot of waiting round to do. It started to rain, so I retreated to a Maccy D’s on the corner for a coffee. No sooner had I ordered and sat down than Michelle arrived, I saw her lugging her stuff up the steps of the subway, gave her a big hug and off we went back to Jo’s.

After a quick change we headed off in a cab to Comic-Con. Pirate swords from Cannes in our bags(that’s another story – Mich), chimp mask and pirate hat at the ready. After we sorted Michelle’s press pass we met Lou (who was already there, shooting some footage) by the giant Lego. Unlike Press Day, Friday Comic-Con was packed with wall to wall geekery and freakery of the highest calibre. We saw a cross dressing Wonder Woman and lady Ghostbuster, a thousand female Loki’s, some hot looking Poison Ivys and hundreds of random anime characters. This melting pot of spandex and cardboard was both impressive and fascinating to watch. After a brief look around we contacted Jon Schnepp, donned our personal microphones and headed out to the front of Javits for our first proper interview.

It's amazing how quickly carrying a sword everywhere becomes perfectly normal

It’s amazing how quickly carrying a sword everywhere becomes perfectly normal

The mountain of a man that is The Schnepp loomed over the ten-deep lines of con fans. After a quick handshake outside the main entrance and some brief introductions, I produced my hastily written and unrehearsed questions and just went for it. Now at this stage in our journey my interview technique wasn’t exactly perfect. I was a bit nervous and definitely needed work getting my words out. I think Jon could sense this and luckily he gave us plenty to go on, coming alive on camera and brimming with enthusiasm.  We discussed his latest project – “Grimm Animated” – by Zenoscope, Metalocalypse and his own metal credentials. He gave us a great story about his first days of working for Adult Swim and his various run-ins with Lazzo. It was a great experience and after a post interview chat and cigarette he invited us to a party for Titmouse staff later that evening in Brooklyn!

Post interview pic with Metalocalypse's Jon Schnepp

Post interview pic with Metalocalypse’s Jon Schnepp

Back inside and a little star struck we hit the floor once more. Lego didn’t stop at a mere giant Frodo and Gandalf at Comic-Con, they also had a vast Lego wall where you could fish pieces from a trough and make something on a giant white Lego board. We defaced it by building our [asftw] logo in black brick, much to the annoyance of some killjoy fanboys who happened to be passing, who seemed to think a naff-looking Jesus was the height of modern art and should be preserved for all time. This guy clearly didn’t understand the transient nature of Lego. We had at least left an awesome Ninja Turtle on there, and we got some decent shots of Michelle and myself. With a few hours to kill before the Venture Bros panel, we mooched around the main hall hunting for Adult Swim cosplayers. Whilst on this quest, we were accosted by some online Japanese TV show who roped us into their booth to interview us. They had a live stream set up on a big HD TV and during the interview there was a noticeable delay on the video and user comments.  It slowly dawned on me that this was essentially a trollathon. We got a verbal onslaught by the 12-year-old nerd crew sitting at home covered in Cheetos and normally I’d brush that type of thing off (what? The Cheetos?- M), but for some reason I let it get to me and I suddenly felt really self-conscious. Maybe it was the jetlag kicking in or the enormity of what we were doing but I had a mild pang of horror all of a sudden. I was determined not to let it spoil my day and after some positive talk from Lou and Michelle I was back to my ballsy, chimpy self….

I'm sure you'll agree, pretty impressive Ninja Turtle there

I’m sure you’ll agree, pretty impressive Ninja Turtle there

This coming week I’ll be posting the most exciting chapter of our story so far, our trip to New York last October where, amongst other things, we attended NY Comic-Con. As a teaser, here’s a bit of footage from our bat sh*t crazy trip across the pond:

To put this into context we thought it’d be a great idea for our potential pitch/ Kickstarter vid to get me stopped at the entrance to Comic-Con by a cop and have a bit of a tussle. On the third day of the Con we pretty much figured getting an actual cop to partake might be a tall order, until near the end of the day, we happened upon this guy in a Gotham City PD uniform. Perfect! (or so we thought)

After explaining to this guy and his friend what we were doing the man in blue agreed to help us and off to the entrance we went. Lou had lined up the shot and explained to us both what he wanted. I was to walk through the door, once I got to the security counter this ‘cop’ would stop me and we’d have a bit of an argument whilst he demanded I take my mask off. What actually happened (and what I wasn’t prepared for) was that the guy immediately launched at me and started wrestling me to the ground. My heart was pounding as I saw the pure fury in this guy’s face as he tugged at my shirt, countering every attempt I made to wriggle free. Time slowed down and I genuinely thought this guy was going to floor me. I tried desperately to ‘tap out’ of his vice like grip until he suddenly realised this wasn’t supposed to be real and laughing, let me go. Slightly shell-shocked, I took off the mask and the guy patted me down and shook my hand.

“You put up quite a fight there buddy but I would have got you in cuffs eventually” he said. Now I know cosplayers can sometimes take their role play quite seriously but I thought “this guy is dedicated”. 

Whilst all this was going on, Michelle was stood watching this spectacle with the guy’s friend and had been having quite the conversation. Here’s her side of what went down:

So I’m left talking to this way-tall Stevie Van Zandt type in a bandana and leather trousers who’s nursing a beer – an unusual sight at Comic-Con – not so much because geeks don’t drink (hey-ull no) – more coz beer’s about nine bucks a pop in the convention centre. We’re stood about twenty feet away from all the action, amidst the thronging ninja turtles and chicks dressed as the Tardis. This guy leans down and says in pure Italian American Jersey: “Err… I think you oughtta know… errr… my buddy over there… he’s a real cop. And… errr…” At this point, it’s kicking right off, about fifteen feet away from us. The Gotham cop is wrestling with Gritty and it’s No Quarter – a veritable maelstrom of limbs, boots, and black hair. The chimp mask looks like it’s screaming. Stevie Van Zandt rubs his chin and nods, like he sees this stuff all the time. “And errr… yeah… he’s been drinking since noon…” I’m watching with extra interest, now I know it’s ‘real’, which is soon confirmed. The first thing the breathless, shiny-eyed cop does when they all bundle back to us is flip out his NYPD badge – aye carumba. As for Gritters, when he took off that mask it was like he literally had tweety birds circling his head. 

As we were leaving we saw the cop having his photo taking with his hands around Darth Maul’s throat. I leaned over to him and said “He’s getting off light, innee?” Gotham cop chuckled and nodded in a way that signaled loud and clear – NEVER get on the wrong side of the law in Jersey…