Mad: Does My Mom Know I'm Watching This?
KS: Well, it's funny they're similar in their format, but to me they're really different in their content, because at Robot Chicken I'll do a Strawberry Shortcake sketch or a He-Man sketch, but our goal for this show was to parody more stuff that is going on right now. We have all discovered Mad magazine somewhere between the ages of eight and 15. So that was what our target audience was. But I want this show to be enjoyable and funny to everybody. So I think we have jokes in there for everyone. You can watch this with your family. But our target demographic is eight to 15.
Both Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network wanted to make it a policy that most of the stuff you can point to on television now. Whether it be iCarly or the movies that are out this year and things like that, so it's a much more current show. We'll do topical things from time to time. That for me is the biggest difference. One is very retro and one is very current. Like we haven't done a Star Wars bit, but we've done a Clone Wars bit. And although we have stop-motion we run the gamut of styles as apposed to Robot Chicken where we pride ourselves on how well we do our stop-motion, but here it's like a hub of all types of animation.
RD: What's the difference between doing a show for a target audience of eight to 15 and doing a show that airs on Adult Swim?
KS: When we decided that we were going to do a Mad magazine type show we wanted it to appeal to a large audience. Also just like Mad magazine did, we wanted to give you the impression that you're watching something you probably shouldn't be allowed to watch. Now with Robot Chicken I could see a lot of parents saying you're definitely not allowed to watch that. We really don't have any parameters on Robot Chicken. If it's funny, we do it and we put it on the air and there you have it. Here because we're in a primetime time slot we have a larger audience for our demographic and we have much more hoops to jump through in terms of what can be said at 8:30 pm and done or seen. Now that being said the idea was they wanted to extend the hours of Adult Swim from 10 to 9 o'clock and use Mad to bridge the gap, which is why we're on at 8:30. The appearance of the evening starts to turn into "hmmm, I'm not sure if I should be watching this or not" has a great appeal.
RD: Mad magazine has been around along time and it seemed destined for animation, but do you think this is the right time to get away with it where as before you couldn't?
KS: I agree with that on so many levels, because on one hand our society has gotten so pop culture referential that I can't think of a better time to bring to life the mother of all comedy mags, which pretty much did that no matter what was on. Since we're in a society that [pokes fun at pop culture] on a regular basis, I thought this was a prime time to have this show come to life.
But also there has been huge advances in animation. There has been huge advances in acceptance of animation as a prime form. Cartoon Network, we have a network for cartoons and even Cartoon Network has advanced over the past x amount of years. So now it's not like "What? You want to do it as a cartoon?" The Simpsons broke down boundaries as a primetime show and everything sort of falls in line. I look at shows that we're up against or others on our network and it's such a different world than just 10 years ago in terms of variety.
Also, in this day and age, and I felt this on Robot Chicken too, we're not just competing with other shows, but we're competing with the Internet, we're competing with the guy at home who is doing his own animation style and popping it on a website. It's a great time to do it because it's so ripe, but it's also a challenging time.