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Seth Green

Seth Green - Fast, furious and totally loopy : That’s Robot Chicken - Spoilers

By Tim Clodfelter

Thursday 17 February 2005, by Webmaster

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Matt Senreich (left) and Seth Green are the creators of the new show Robot Chicken.

Robot Chicken will be shown from 11:30 to 11:45 p.m. Sundays on the Cartoon Network.

Television doesn’t get much loopier than the Cartoon Network’s latest "Adult Swim" cartoon, Robot Chicken.

"It’s a stop-motion sketch comedy show, so it’s fast and furious," said Seth Green, one of the show’s creators. "It’s in the forum of watching television, so you’ll flip through the channels and you’ll see bursts of static. We have sketches that are as short as two seconds, and sketches as long as four minutes. And the whole thing is a tightly packed ADD-type of television, satirical content, lampooning pop-culture events."

"Saturday Night Live with action figures," added Matt Senreich, the show’s other creator.

Green is best known for such roles as Scott Evil in the Austin Powers movies, the slacker werewolf Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and dopey son Chris Griffin in the animated sitcom Family Guy.

Senreich isn’t as widely known, but as the editorial director of Wizard Entertainment he oversaw magazines about comic books, action figures, anime and collectible card games.

The duo met several years ago when Green was profiled in Toyfare magazine, a Wizard publication about action figures (Green is such a toy fan that one year he made customized action figures of his Buffy castmates as Christmas gifts).

The magazine takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to toys, and one of its most popular features is "Twisted Mego Theatre," in which toys are posed and photographed to make satiric comic strips. Several trade paperbacks have been released with compilations of those strips under the title Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

"Seth came to me with the idea of doing a variety show along that line," Senreich said. "He wanted to do just an animated short for the Conan O’Brien show as a goof."

That idea eventually turned into Robot Chicken, in which action figures, toy robots and dolls interact in parodies of everything from HBO’s gritty drama Oz (here depicted using Wizard of Oz action figures) to weepy disease-of-the-week melodramas to C-SPAN.

Thanks to Green’s connections in the entertainment industry, he has been able to get famous guest stars to provide voiceovers for episodes of Robot Chicken. In the first episode, Rachael Leigh Cook parodies her own "This is your brain on drugs" commercial in which she destroyed an apartment with a frying pan.

Other guest stars to be featured in episodes of the show include Scarlett Johannson, Burt Reynolds, Ryan Seacrest, Mark Hamill and Macauley Culkin. For a Smurfs parody, Green even recruited Danny Goldman, who provided the voice of Brainy Smurf in the original cartoon.

As for the toys themselves, some are actual toys that people fondly remember from their childhoods, such as the Transformers; others are reasonable facsimiles created to avoid legal problems.

The jokes are sometimes crude, sometimes surreal, and often potentially offensive ... in other words, just what you’d expect from a guy with a background in Family Guy and Austin Powers.

"We actually did a virtual shot-for-shot re-creation of the Kill Bill trailer, starring Jesus as Uma Thurman, who wakes up near death and decides to go down his list of people who put him there," Green said. "These are the Crazy 88 Rabbis that he has to fight against in the Four Leaves Temple."

"We’re an equal opportunity offender with this show," said Keith Crofford, the vice president of production for the Cartoon Network.