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Seth GreenSeth Green - "Robot Chicken" Tv Series - Wizarduniverse.com Interview
Thursday 12 January 2006, by Webmaster
ToyFare presents the extended ’Robot Chicken’ transcripts
ToyFare #103 goes inside the minds of Seth Green and the creators of the hit Cartoon Network series "Robot Chicken". They also got “Robot Chicken” toy customizer Plastic Earth to make photo-realistic custom figures of our favorite TV villains! To check that out, you’ll have to pick up ToyFare #103 - on sale now! But for now, check out the full transcripts from the Robot Chicken Interview with Seth Green, Matt Senreich, Doug Goldstein, and Tom Root.
Robot Chicken Interview
Sept. 30, 2005
Seth Green, Matt Senreich, Doug Goldstein, Tom Root
Matt: Tracey? Hi, this is Matt Senreich calling.
Matt: How are you doing?
TF: Good! How are you?
Matt: I’m doing well, I’m doing well. I have all of us Robot Chicken folk for ya.
TF: Okay, great.
Matt: Should I throw us on speaker?
Matt: Okay, hold on one second... Still there?
Matt: Excellent! Um, what can we do for you today? Are you working with Zach Oat?
TF: Yeah. And I’m actually working a lot with Adam Tracey.
Matt: Oh, very cool. Yeah, we all used to be good friends with those folk. Well, we still are, but we used to work over there with them.
TF: That’s what I hear.
Seth: Zach and I had a very intimate relationship at one point that he doesn’t like to bring up, but I’m very proud of [it].
Seth: ...Is it too personal to ask how old you are?
TF: No, not at all. I’m 24.
Seth: Right on. It’s rare to find a 24 year-old girl that’s into toys. You, my dear, would be a superstar around our offices.
TF: Ha, thanks.
Seth: And I’m a bastard. Okay.
TF: I was told I only have a half-hour with you guys, so I want to make sure we get all these questions in.
Matt: Fire away!
TF: Can you all state your names and titles for the record?
Matt: Sure. This is Matthew Senreich. I am, I guess co-creator and co-executive producer.
Seth: Seth Green. Co-creator, co-executive producer.
Doug: This is Douglas Goldstein. Co-head writer, co-sometimes director, co-sometimes co-producer.
Seth: Everybody on the show writes and directs in essence. Doug and Tom are the co-head writers.
Tom: And I’m Tom Root. Co-head writer, co-producer.
TF: Okay, great. So let’s get started. Obviously, Robot Chicken is one of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows. Were you surprised by its success?
Seth: We were hoping that we’d hit it with their audience because we felt like our show was so similar to the types of shows that they have, yet unique, and we were really hoping that the subject matter and the content would appeal to the audience. What we didn’t expect was for it to have such a large crossover appeal. We’re getting good ratings between like 12 and 40 year-olds, which is a wider spread than we anticipated. But we’re thrilled.
Matt: We also didn’t realize that’d we would be so successful among women. Our women viewership was just leaps and bounds of what Adult Swim has ever really brought in, and when we heard that, we were just kind of taken aback by it.
Doug: We were also shocked by the critical acclaim because we were all expecting to be derided as late night garbage that wasn’t any fun to watch, but when Entertainment Weekly gave us an ‘A’ we were like, “Where are we?”
Seth: We had a goal of either getting an ‘A’ or an ‘F’ in Entertainment Weekly ‘cause we felt like if you could polarize the critics, we’d be in good shape. But the ‘A’ was definitely more satisfying.
Matt: We also thought that, you know, I think Doug’s humor sums it up best where it’s farts and...
Doug: Midgets on toilets. [in all seriousness]
Matt: Yeah, those kinds of jokes where I don’t think critics are going to like us too much.
Doug: This is Doug.
Seth: This is Seth.
Matt: This is Matt.
Seth: Yay, we’re all on the phone!
TF: So because of the success, does Cartoon Network allow some leniency towards what you want to do?
Seth: Not really. We fight the same battles over content, over jokes, regardless of the success. They have the same standards and practices. The only time you get some kind of leeway is if somebody else has already done something similar in the marketplace. Then you can point to that as a precedent that’s been set.
TF: Oh okay. So was there anything in season one that you got flack for from censorship advocates?
Matt: Nope. There was a few things that we talked about, that we opted to not do, just because we thought it was pushing the boundaries a little too much for ourselves...
Seth: ...In a way we weren’t comfortable with. There are statements that you can make where it’s good to push boundaries, and then there’s other places where you’re like, “That’s not something we should be putting out there.”
Matt: We believe in censoring ourselves and Cartoon Network really did a great job of telling us, “You can do this.” They gave us the leeway to kind of sink or swim on our own. And there were a few instances where they did hold us back, but we understood why they did it. We had a Power Rangers sketch, which we ended up not doing. Partially because it was a little bit over the edge on...
Seth: It just wasn’t funny enough to be as potentially incendiary as it could’ve been. If something’s really, really funny, you can get away with a lot more and it’s worth your while to do something that could be far more potentially offensive.
TF: Can you elaborate on that particular sketch?
Seth: Cartoon Network has a show coming out called Minori-teens. Which is kind of classic stereotypes of all different minorities and they’re a super team together. And our joke about Power Rangers was a similar comment, taking each of their colors and relating it to the most offensive interpretation of any nationality. And it just wasn’t funny enough. It wasn’t funny enough to beat Minori-teens. Cartoon Network said to us, they’d rather cut it. Unless we had a better, funnier joke, it wasn’t worth the potential flack we would get for it.
TF: Oh, well that’s understandable.
Seth: Yeah. That’s why we cut it.
TF: That kind of brings me to my next question. What would the show be like if there were no such thing as lawyers?
Seth: It would be a thing called “Sweet J Presents,” which was on Sony’s website. We had a very different legal process because it was for the Internet and not for mass distribution.
Matt: And I’m going to regret saying this, but I think the legality aspect to our show helps really streamline our storylines, so that they really make a lot more sense.
Seth: As opposed to having such random appearances by trademarked characters. We make a point, some kind of social commentary about the property or about the world, and it keeps us reined in and more focused on what’s important.
Doug: Also, legal limitations give us creative challenges that end up with creative stories. If we had no-holds-barred, like if we just had Optimus Prime raping G.I. Joe characters...
Seth: That’s Doug, by the way.
TF: What can we expect from season two?
Seth: I have five words for you-Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.
Matt: Yeah, we’re all over the place. We have about ten scripts done right now. It’s hard to talk too much about it, only because we’re still going through the legal process on a lot of this stuff. So all we can kind of talk about is only a few of the things...
Seth: We’re widespread between The Golden Girls and Dragon Ball Z.
Matt: Anything else Tom and Doug?
TF: Ha, ok. So when does the new season actually start?
Matt: The new season, right now, it’s early 2006. They haven’t set up an exact date yet. And we start production on Halloween. We’re in pre-production right now. [Editorial Note: The new season of ‘Robot Chicken’ starts April 2.]
TF: Can you tell me about the DVD?
Seth: The DVD may well be the greatest DVD ever released. [group laughs] It’ll have all 20 episodes plus stuff that we cut in our edits and then stuff that we cut in the animatic stage, which is just storyboards with recorded dialogue. We also have a gang-load of extras and some Easter eggs, for those of you ambitious enough to find it.
Tom: We have commentary from people from like Rachael Leigh Cook to Sarah Michelle Gellar. Who else did we have?
Seth: Danny Goldman, the original voice of Brainy Smurf, came in and did commentary.
Doug: Joey Fatone! We had a Joey Fatone episode that took up most of the episode last season. So he came in and did commentary as well.
Matt: We also are doing things like, it’s an overload on Seth. You’ll see Seth act out every episode for the animators. So you’ll see snippets of that. You’ll see Doug Goldstein dancing.
Seth: Sleeping on the job.
Doug: That was after I got my work done.
Matt: And you’ll actually see a segment of a four-minute sketch that was completely cut that just wasn’t that funny.
Seth: Well, we had a sketch called “Citizen Spears,” which is basically the life and times of Britney Spears as juxtaposed with the format of Citizen Kane. And because of the slow pace of Citizen Kane, we tried to ape that style in the sketch and it just didn’t play in the show itself, so we tried to cut shorter and shorter versions of it and that cut the sketch down to a point where it didn’t even make sense so we removed it from the show, and now we’re editing it in its entirety as a stand alone piece for the DVD.
TF: What’s your daily writing process like? How do you come up with ideas for the show?
Doug: Well, season two is different from season one because season one was just me and Tom doing all of the writing. Season two we actually have a writers’ room where for periods of time we have all the writers with us. And we really just, each day just throw some random words up on the board and try to make scripts out of them. We see what we saw on TV the night before and we always buy magazines and throw them on the table to read to get inspiration of like, “Oh my God, look what Paris Hilton just did.” We have many magazines about toys and geek material like ToyFare itself. We’ll look through it and say, “Oh my God, they’re making toys out of the Brady Bunch and we have to do a Brady Bunch skit.”
Matt: Which we are. [laughs]
Doug: Which we are. So look for that. But it’s really just, I mean imagine a bunch of guys sitting around saying, “Oh my God, wouldn’t it be funny if ...” and fill in the blank and we just see if it really is.
Seth: And then the best part is, me and Matt come into the room and say, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we say ‘No’?”
Doug: They have very thick skin.
Seth: We have to. We honestly cut about 80 percent of the submissions.
Matt: The great thing about what we’ve been doing this time around is every five episodes, we’re bringing in two new writers to kind of, it just kind of changes the framework of the room a little bit. So we’ve had Breckin Meyer come in. Dan Milano, he created Greg the Bunny. Some guys who actually have a play running in New York City right now about Bill Gates. We have some guys from the Groundlings, which is a comedy troupe out here coming in. So we’re all over the place.
Seth: We’re trying to branch out and just find people who would have a fresh take on the show. People who have a sensibility and a sense of humor that we like and see what they have for us.
Matt: Anything else, Tom?
Tom: When it comes to the writing process, it’s basically just throwing thousands of ideas out and watching 98 percent of them die. [group laughs] And when they say we have very thick skin, that’s not completely true. It really hurts. [group laughs]
Doug: There are a few days where it gets a little tense in the room. The four of us together are kind of like the heart of the show and sometimes things may be funny, but we’ll all kind of come to the conclusion that it’s not really Robot Chicken-funny. And that really confuses some of the new writers when we’re like, “Yeah, this is hilarious! But it’s not getting on the show.”
Seth: The problem that we have is, what will work in this format? We’ve got a really short format, a 15-minute show, and sketches have to be a limited pace or they have to be a specific pace or else it just won’t function.
Matt: Unlike most shows, our longest sketches are three or four minutes. And most of our sketches are one to two minutes. It’s so much faster paced than a Saturday Night Live or Mad TV.
Seth: There’s also some stuff that will or won’t play in the format. At the end of the day, it’s being acted out by toys and puppets so if you can’t get a point or a story across or a character needs very specific facial features, it’s the kind of thing that can be played live-action but not in stop-motion, we’ll cut it.
Tom: We don’t really have any room for subtlety. The puppets can only move so much and we can only make their eyes bug out so much.
Seth: And mind you, we have really, really probably the most talented animators at our disposal. But even then, there’s certain jokes that you just can’t tell.
Doug: Beyond that, we’ll even look at the script and the animatic and the final edit and look for any slow time and say, “This little area right here just isn’t funny. We got to get this episode moving. Can we cut it?”
Seth: We try like hell to just have it go from-we want it to be funny all-around. There’s some ironic comedy that works in the format and there’s some sketches that are a little bit slower-paced, but they’re very, very specific. Like last season, we had the Tooth Fairy sketch. Kind of a break in our format, but it ultimately was so damn funny, we all wanted to do it.
Matt: And that’s something where Cartoon Network actually rejected it and said, “Don’t do this. They don’t think it’s going to work.” And when they finally saw the animation, the head of Adult Swim, Mike Lazzo called us up and literally said it’s his favorite thing that’s ever run on Adult Swim.
Seth: His words were the side of honey mustard.
Matt: It was wonderful to hear him say that. So he said-yeah, he just made us feel really good about that.
TF: How many people do you have working on the show?
Seth: We have a total of about 60. We have a pretty big crew. Eight or nine people in the construction department. About seven or eight in the puppet department. We have all the department heads, an average of 14 animators at a time, but we have rotating animators because some people are available and some people aren’t. Our whole office staff and our production staff and then all the ancillary people and the people that run the sound studio and our engineers, story board artists. I mean, it’s a huge crew. And we preside over them with an iron fist!
TF: Can everyone tell me their favorite moment or sketch from season one?
Tom: My favorite sketch was our Voltron sketch where they start breakdancing in You Got Served fashion. Just because it was such a triumph because we didn’t know if it was going to work or if we could make puppets do that and...
Seth: Tom and I really fought for that too. Everybody else wanted to reject it. Tom and I fought like hell for it. We pushed it though and it was one of those kinds of things where you just, it worked and it was just very exciting.
Tom: Everybody came together. The puppetmakers had to actually make puppets that could actually do those dance moves. Our storyboard guy Kevin Pollack and our writer’s assistant Mike Fasolo pulled together a reference for those moves.
Seth: Tons and tons of footage from like Breakin’ and Beat Street and You Got Served and Michael Jackson and Saturday Night Fever and cut together like a clip reel of dance moves. And then two of our animators spent the entire week just, like one animator took Voltron and one animator took the Robeast, and they didn’t look at each other’s footage the whole week, and then they had a quote-unquote ‘dance off’ week.
Doug: No matter what they say, I’m going to kick myself later and say, “Oh my God, I should’ve said something else,” but I think my favorite really is the Tooth Fairy, which is kind of really close to my heart because it was so perfect, like it’s fun humor and there’s darkness, which is something that is a bold choice to run with, especially something that, in the end, was a sketch about domestic violence.
Seth: And that was something that kind of came to our attention after the message boards picked up on it. We had never really, and I guess it’s just ignorance, but we had never really considered that to be a domestic violence sketch. It was just kind of this horrible situation that happened to this kid. And taking something of a fantasy world and bringing it in to reality and kind of showing how fantasy things don’t function in a real world.
Tom: I just also liked how it just made you think a little bit, like if the Tooth Fairy exists, once in a while she’s got to get trapped in an uncomfortable situation, and let’s explore that. And to expand what Seth said about how we were surprised by certain comments online, people have said things about our episodes that are just bizarrely shocking. They’ll find racism and...
Seth: It’s so different than what we intended. But that’s what it is. You give something away, you make the show the best as you can and you kind of give it to people and what they do with it is their own business.
Tom: Or we are very racist and we don’t realize it.
Matt: What’s your favorite Seth?
Seth: That’s really hard because I’m super close to most of it, but I’ll go ahead and saaayyyy.... Traffic. I love Traffic. Traffic is the one where all the supervillains are carpooling to work. That is something that [Wizard Entertainment Editor-In-Chief] Pat McCallum had outlined back before we barely started the show and we took it almost directly from that outline and it just animated well, we got all the voices right. It just really, really made me laugh.
Matt: Mine, see for me, it’s like I have a favorite line, I have a favorite, all these kinds of little things. It’s like little stupid things like that. I think it’s World’s Most One-Sided FisTFights. [group laughs] It’s so simple, so quick and I just remember seeing it for the first time. It was one of the first sketches that I remember seeing that we did, that was just so perfect, that I, yeah. And I just love Tom’s toy punching the crap out of those nerds.
Tom: I have a puppet of myself that gets into the show.
Matt: Doug’s puppet and Tom’s puppet are just everywhere.
Seth: Corey and Alex who are the producers of Shadow Machine and Mike Fasolo, we all have toys of ourselves from the show. We just find different ways to sneak ourselves into the background as extras. I think that’s funny.
Doug: Sometimes the animators will find sequences where there are two guys working a little bit uncomfortably with each other, you know what I mean? And we’ll just use Tom’s and my toys for that. You gotta keep that in mind when you’re writing sketches. [That they’ll use him as a toy in the sketch.]
Tom: There is a sketch where, or a channel flip where the Doug puppet is naked. [group laughs] And the Doug puppet is playing ring toss with a box of donuts towards this other naked puppet that you see from the back, which is my puppet.
Seth: The puppeteers, the puppet department put an enormous boil on Tom’s toy. [group laughs] And none of us can substantiate that, but it was pretty gross.
Tom: I’ll substantiate it right now.
TF: Is that naked ring toss game something you guys do in real life in your spare time?
Seth: You know, late at night we try and keep ourselves entertained. Try to keep the energy of the room by tossing donuts at each other.
Doug: What do you think that ‘Kreme’ in Krispy Kreme really is?
Everyone: [in disgust] Awwwwwwwwww.
Seth: That was Doug!
Doug: I want that on the cover of the magazine.
TF: I’ll make sure it’s the headline, or a pull quote at least.
Doug: That’s perfect!
TF: Where do you guys get all the toys you use in the show?
Seth: All over the place. We have to make a lot of the stuff.
Tom: You’d be surprised. A lot of it is actually made in-house in the sense that we’ll-all the bodies are actually foam bodies under wire armature. The wire armature is underneath the foam.
Seth: To do stop-motion, you need to be able to control the incremental movements of any toy, and a lot of toys, as any good collector knows, they just don’t hold their poses all that well. So we’ll break ‘em and glue ‘em and wire ‘em and do all sorts of stuff with them or just take elements of ‘em. Like in the Voltron sketch, we had to build a Voltron and a Robeast from scratch that were completely wire-framed so that they could animate them. And a lot of times you can salvage details from characters. In our G.I.-Joe-at-the-office sketch, we barely modified those toys except for appearance purposes, but to answer your question, the rare toys, the exciting stuff, we find them from all over the place. There’s different vendors, eBay, the Internet, whatever’s available.
TF: Even personal collections?
Seth: When it’s necessary. But boy, do I not like doing that because they always get destroyed.
Tom: We needed Voltron lions like overnight. And one of our animators, Kelly, called his mom and had her ship his old Voltron toy to us overnight, so we could use it the next day.
Doug: Also, all of us are huge nerds and know obscure toys. Many times we’ll talk with the people that are in charge of getting the toys and we’ll say, “Oh my God, for this you have to use...”
Seth: I like how you say “people.” There’s actually one poor person...
Doug: The toy wrangler. We’ll be like, “There was one toy that was released only as an exclusive in a Tokyo convention in 1994. He was the perfect Optimus Prime, he had like a damaged part on his waist.” And he’ll be like, “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I’ll try to find it, but you’re insane.”
Seth: But he will find it. That’s pretty cool.
TF: Did you end up destroying that one animator’s Voltron?
Seth: Oh, no. The Voltron still exists, he just had to be repainted. The Robeast...
Doug: The Robeast was cut in half.
Seth: Yeah. [everyone sounds kind of sad]
Doug: There was one sequence in the “Three Fast, Three Furious” where there’s a really old plastic Mego Batmobile.
Seth: That piece is honestly like $800.
Doug: In the condition that it was. It was such a pretty Mego Batmobile. And we destroyed it.
Seth: We hit it with a hammer. Blew it up a little bit. Burned it. It was so sad. I was back from being out of town and found it. Just devastated.
Tom: We really didn’t want to pull the trigger on that, on destroying that car. We tried to think of ways to fake it. But it just came down to....
Matt: It wouldn’t look as good. Yeah.
Tom: It was heartbreaking.
Seth: We needed the shot. But every once in a while, you sacrifice something for the cause, you know.
TF: True. Just think of all the fans out there that enjoy seeing you smash your toys.
Doug: Makes it all worthwhile.
TF: What advice would you give to other ToyFare staffers, er, people who want to make it in the glamorous world of television?
Doug: Well, to the remaining staff at ToyFare... just quit, man. [group laughs] Get off your ass and quit.
Seth: Honestly, this may sound a little hokey but nobody is going to do it for you. Matt and I ultimately got this show on the air by fighting for it for about four years. We had originally intended to produce a short ourselves and did all the legwork. I mean I was on the phone with animators in London trying to secure a studio and we wound up getting financed through Sony Studios to produce the original series. And then we shopped that around to a bunch of different networks and ultimately got the interest that we wanted at the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. But it took us four years from point A to point B.
Matt: At the end of the day, it’s literally being persistent at it all. I mean, it sounds sooo cliché, but I mean, from the time Sweet J was produced back in 2000 to the time Cartoon Network bought it, I literally must’ve called a different place, whether it be Comedy Central or Cartoon Network, every other day.
Seth: But it’s like you take the advice of people that tell you “No,” and you use it constructively to do the right thing. And you gotta believe in what it is that you’re doing and it’s gotta be good. At the end of the day, what you’re doing has got to be good or else it just won’t go anywhere.
Doug: In addition to that, after working with it for so many years, you see so many creative fans who put all their energy into being creative, and don’t put the same amount of energy into finding something to do with it, that’ll get them money, to be honest.
Seth: Or even getting those ideas out there, getting them seen.
Doug: The trick is to never give up. If you have a creative mind, there are people out there somewhere that want to make use of that creative mind in an entertaining way and you’ve got to believe that and just never give up.
TF: That’s very inspirational. Well, I guess I won’t be telling Adam that I’m quitting ToyFare then...
Doug: Might be the best thing you ever did.
Seth: I still got a job for you at Robot Chicken. It is unfortunately not a paid position, but you’d learn a lot.
TF: Hells yeah. If I get to play with toys all day. I’m heading to the airport now...
Seth: When you’re in L.A., come visit.
Doug: That’s a very different phone call.
Seth: I love how we’re just poaching different ToyFare employees.
TF: Was it difficult getting celebrities to come in and do guest voices? Especially if they made fun of themselves, like Ryan Seacrest?
Matt: I love Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest is the classic example of someone who knows how the public sees him and takes advantage of it by just going, “Look, this is the way I am perceived, and I’m gonna mine it for all it’s worth.”
Seth: He is one of the most successful people in entertainment and it’s because he’s really, really good at his job. He does not take himself seriously, and anybody can say anything they want about him, it’s not going to change how good he is at his job. I’ve met him a bunch of times, and we called him, and he just has a great sense of humor. And also, he understands that if you’re willing to kind of take it on the chin and make a joke at your own expense, that people will view you as different than your own image. If you’re willing to say out loud, “Yeah, I know this is the way people see me, but I’m willing to say it.” It makes people not see you that way. We had stuff on the message board about Joey Fatone where people were like, “I can’t believe you made Joey Fatone cool.” And our argument was, Joey Fatone has always been cool, you just didn’t see him in the right light. So that’s the way that we go out and get people. We offer them an opportunity to come have fun with us, mostly people that I’ve either met before or have had some kind of relationship with. In situations like Phyllis Diller and Don Knotts, I just called up their management and assured them that we believe they are legends and they’ll be treated as such. And that our fanbase will be so excited to see these people back on television and in this format, that it’s valuable for their client to do it. You know, and we get passes from really famous people all the time, but I like to think that it’s more about scheduling or the management’s opinion of what their career should be versus that person’s opinion of themselves.
Matt: But we go after everyone we can and I mean, we end up getting people like Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. It plays itself out really, really nicely where you get people you don’t expect to come in and just have a good time with you.
TF: Your pitch could be like, “Hey look, Joey Fatone did Robot Chicken and now people think he’s cool.”
Seth: That worked for Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Those guys were the coolest in the world. They had a little bit of a fall from grace, but I’m anxious to put them back on the map.
TF: Will we ever see Robot Chicken toys and what would they be of?
Seth: It is all in the works. We’re discussing it, we’re seeing what has the best potential, what makes the most sense. It’s a little premature, but we’re all big toy geeks, so we’re thinking a lot of it.
Doug: We’d be more than happy to look at a ToyFare poll to see what toys we should make from Robot Chicken.
Seth: Not a bad idea.
Doug: And strangely, through an obscure legal loophole, when we put things like Transformers and G.I. Joe on the show, that gives us the right to produce our own Transformers and G.I. Joe toys.
Seth: That’s not true!
Doug: I thought it was true?
Doug: Now my backend deal is worthless!
Seth: We can obviously only produce original characters.
TF: I figured. Would you guys make action figures of yourselves?
Seth: It’s one of those things where we’d be interested to see what the fans think, what anyone would want to buy, and it’s a little premature to tell that kind of thing.
Matt: We’re not that self-indulgent, even though we want to be.
Tom: I think a Tom Root figure, with special action boil on ass, would not sell.
Doug: That would be the chase.
Seth: Tom Root with punching action.
Doug: That’ll be the ToyFare exclusive.
TF: You can make him come with the ring toss and donuts.
Doug: That’s our first video game.
Seth: We’re trying to figure out how to do a wind-up of the humping robot.
TF: What about certain recurring characters for toys?
Doug: Recurring characters...that robot humping the washing machine will probably show up again. We’ve been talking about having our woo-hoo girl show up again. I don’t know if she will or not.
Seth: There are some characters that really support one sketch and that makes it valuable. But I don’t know what it takes to brand a character in the marketplace, if you need to recur them often enough.
Matt: Our “Bloopers” host will show back up again.
Tom: We all enjoyed the sketch where William Shatner’s hair piece went off and had an adventure and we talked about doing it again, but it’s like you know that doesn’t need a sequel. We did it perfectly and what else are you gonna do?
Seth: And besides, to make a toy of that, you’d need to get clearance from Shatner. For the likeness.
TF: What about actually integrating more of your own figures, like the Tom and Doug ones, into the show?
Seth: It’s situation-specific. If we have a channel flip that it can be identifiable, then we’ll do it, but for the most part, it’s a fun novelty as opposed to us really wanting to make the show about us. It’s just not what the show is. It’s kind of a cute thing that we can all nod to. The same way that we put real photographs of friends and family and the crew and stuff in the background, but it should just be that. You don’t want to take it too far or it becomes something different. Too self-indulgent, too self-aware.
Matt: Hey, any final things? Just because I think we’re going to need to get running. I’m sorry!
TF: No, it’s cool. I think you guys answered almost all of my questions.
Matt: Want one last one?
TF: Sure.... Let me seeeeeee... Is there an elaborate backstory to the opening with the scientist and the chicken?
Matt: Tom came up with the idea.
Seth: It’s kind of an elaborate backstory. It started out with the title. We were trying to figure out what the title of the show was and we submitted multiple things as to what it would be. And then we finally cleared “Robot Chicken.”
Matt: And it had no story to go along with it. So actually...
Seth: We made up an opening that tied the concept of the show into the opening, whereby you understand what the channel flips mean and what it came from and why it’s happening.
Matt: I will give a nod to Doug who actually came up with the opening, even though we like to tease him and say it was Tom that did it. So when you write it, put it down that it was Tom. Actually, Seth said that he did it.
Tom: I was the one got so tired of the process of trying to brainstorm names for the show that I just looked for a Chinese menu and said, “What about Robot Chicken?” And the rest is...
Seth: Amongst the four of us, and we’re all good friends and love each other dearly, but there are some credit wars that go on. [group laughs] Like ultimately, I believe that Doug came up with the concept of the channel flips. I think that Tom was the one that suggested “Robot Chicken,” or did you hate “Robot Chicken?”
Tom: I don’t know.
Seth: You loved “Robot Chicken,” but you hated the channel flips. That’s what it was. And I’m convinced and I’ll take credit for brainstorming the initial outlines for the opening sequence.
TF: I’ll just credit Seth for the whole thing. That’s easier.
Seth: No, no, no!
TF: Ha, so I’ll let you guys go then. Thank you so much for your time. It was a lot of fun.
Matt: Did we answer everything?
TF: Yep. Just about everything that I had.
TF: Thanks again so much.
Matt: Tell the boys we said hi.
TF: I definitely will.
Seth: $50 a week for an intern position.
TF: I’m getting on the next flight to L.A.