Robot Chicken

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Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken Logo.png
Genre Sketch comedy, parody, black comedy
Format Stop motion
Created by Seth Green
Matthew Senreich
Voices of Seth Green
Various
Opening theme "Robot Chicken" by Les Claypool
Ending theme "The Gonk" by Herbert Chappell
Composer(s) Michael Suby
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 139 (and 9 specials) (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Seth Green
Matthew Senreich
Alex Bulkley
Corey Campodonico
John Harvatine IV
Eric Towner
Geoff Johns
For Williams Street:
Keith Crofford
Mike Lazzo
Running time 11–12 minutes
Production company(s) ShadowMachine Films (2005–2012)
Stoopid Monkey[1]
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (2012–2014)
Sony Pictures Digital
Sony Pictures Television
Williams Street
Distributor Cartoon Network
Broadcast
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV (2005–2009)
16:9 HDTV (2010-present)
Original run February 20, 2005 (2005-02-20) – present
Chronology
Related shows Titan Maximum
External links
Website

Robot Chicken is an American stop motion animated comedy television series, created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. The writers, especially Green, also provide many of the voices. Senreich, Goldstein, and Root were formerly writers for the popular action figure hobbyist magazine ToyFare.[2] Robot Chicken has won an Annie Award and three Emmy Awards.[3][4]

Background[edit]

Robot Chicken is based on "Twisted ToyFare Theater", a humorous photo comic-strip appearing in ToyFare: The Toy Magazine.[5] It is a sketch comedy that parodies a number of pop culture conventions using stop motion animation of toys, action figures, claymation, and various other objects, such as tongue depressors, The Game of Life pegs, and popsicle sticks during a joke about a loss of budget.[6] The show's name was inspired by a dish on the menu at a West Hollywood Chinese restaurant, Kung Pao Bistro, where Green and Senreich had dined; the series originally was intended to be called Junk in the Trunk.[6] The series first appeared as Sweet J Presents on the Sony website Screenblast.com in 2001.[7] The show was created, written, and produced by Green and Senreich. Sweet J Presents ended after 12 episodes and moved to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2005 as Robot Chicken. In the first episode ("Conan's Big Fun"), Conan O'Brien was a featured character, voiced by Seth MacFarlane (2005-present).[8]

Robot Chicken premiered on Sunday, February 20, 2005.[7] It is produced by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (ShadowMachine Films Seasons 1-5) in association with Stoop!d Monkey, Williams Street, Sony Pictures Digital, and Sony Pictures Television.[7] It also airs in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of FX's Adult Swim block, in Canada on Teletoon's TELETOON at Night block, in Australia on The Comedy Channel's Adult Swim block, in Russia on 2x2's Adult Swim block, in Germany on TNT Series' Adult Swim block, and in Latin America on the I.Sat Adult Swim block (after being cancelled from Latin Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block in 2008). The show is rated TV-MA, and many of the sketches from Sweet J Presents were redone for Robot Chicken.[7]

The series was renewed for a 20-episode third season, which ran from August 1, 2007, to September 28, 2008.[7] After an eight month hiatus during the third season, the show returned on August 31, 2008, to air the remaining 5 episodes.[7] The series was renewed for a fourth season which premiered on December 7, 2008, and ended September 20, 2009.[7] In early 2010, the show was renewed for a fifth and sixth season (40 more episodes total).[9] Season 5 premiered on December 12, 2010.[7] The second group of episodes began broadcasting on October 23, 2011. The 100th episode aired on January 15, 2012.[7] In May 2012, Adult Swim announced they were picking up a sixth season of Robot Chicken, which began airing in September 2012.[10]The seventh season premiered on April 13, 2014.

Opening sequence[edit]

On a stormy night, a mad scientist finds a road-killed chicken, which he takes back to his laboratory to re-fashion into a cyborg. Midway through the opening sequence, the titular chicken turns his laser eye towards the camera, and the title appears amidst the "laser effects" as Les Claypool of Primus can be heard screaming "It's alive!" a-la Frankenstein. Claypool also composed and performed the show's theme song. The mad scientist then straps the re-animated Robot Chicken into a chair, uses calipers to hold his eyes open, and forces him to watch a bank of television monitors (an allusion to A Clockwork Orange); this scene segues into the body of the show, which resembles someone frequently changing TV channels.

In the episode "1987", Michael Ian Black claims that this sequence tells the viewer that they (the audience) are the robot chicken(s), being forced to watch the skits. As a result, the show does not actually focus on the robot chicken until the 100th episode when he finally makes his escape and later kills the mad scientist when he kidnaps a hen who is the chicken's girlfriend. Beginning in the sixth season, the role of chicken and mad scientist are reversed in this opening sequence: The chicken turns the mad scientist into a cyborg and then subjects him to watch the television sets. However, the eye color is changed in the sixth season intro, with it being changed from red to blue.[11]

Overview[edit]

The show mocks popular culture, referencing toys, movies, television, popular fads, and more obscure references like anime cartoons and older television programs, much in the same vein as comedy sketch shows like Saturday Night Live.[12] One particular motif involves the idea of fantastical characters being placed in a more realistic world or situation (such as Stretch Armstrong requiring a corn syrup transplant after losing his abilities because of aging, Optimus Prime performing a prostate cancer PSA for the humans, and Godzilla having problems in the bedroom).[12] The program even had a 30-minute episode dedicated to Star Wars which premiered June 17, 2007, in the US featuring the voices of Star Wars notables George Lucas, Mark Hamill (from a previous episode), Billy Dee Williams, and Ahmed Best.[13] The Star Wars episode was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award as Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

Recurring sketches[edit]

The show features several recurring sketches. Some of the more predominant ones include:

  • The Nerd - The Nerd is an awkward middle school student with broken glasses who lisps.[14] Although his name was mentioned as "Gary" in an early episode, later episodes give his name as "Arthur Kensington Jr.". The Nerd imagines what it would be like to live in various well-known fantasy worlds.
  • Where Are They Now? - A sketch in which Michael Moore investigates past media celebrities (often stars of old television programs that produced toy lines) who have fallen into obscurity.
  • Robot Chicken has been cancelled - Four of the six season finales of Robot Chicken perpetuated a running gag in which Mike Lazzo, the head of Adult Swim, announces that Robot Chicken has been cancelled.[14]

Episodes[edit]

Voice cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Main and major recurring actors / writers are:

Celebrity guest stars[edit]

Among those celebrities that have contributed to this show are:

Other voice actors[edit]

Besides the celebrities above, many famous voice actors work on this series including:

DVD releases[edit]

DVD title Release date Ep # Discs
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One: Uncensored March 28, 2006 September 29, 2008 April 4, 2007 1–20 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 1 in production order. While it contains many sketches that were edited from the TV airings, several of the original Sony Screenblast webtoons, and the words "Jesus" and "Christ" as an oath unbleeped (though "fuck" and "shit" are still censored out), the episodes are not all uncut. One particular segment that featured the Teen Titans meeting Beavis and Butt-head was omitted from the DVD because of legal problems. The Voltron/You Got Served sketch shown on the DVD has a replacement song because of legal issues over the song that was used on the TV version. At a performance of Family Guy Live in Chicago, during the Q&A session that ends each performance, Seth Green was asked how they came up with the name Robot Chicken. He explained that the title of each episode was a name Adult Swim rejected for the name of the show. A Region 2 version of the set was released in the UK on September 29, 2008.[15] Three edited shorts from Sweet J Presents were included on the Robot Chicken Season 1 DVD boxset.[8]
Season Two: Uncensored September 4, 2007 September 28, 2009 November 11, 2007 21–40 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 2 in production order and uncensored, with the words "fuck" and "shit" uncensored (except for one instance in the episode "Easter Basket" in the Lego sketch). It is currently available for download on iTunes (though the episode "Veggies for Sloth" is absent because of copyright issues involving the "Archie's Final Destination" segment).[16] Seth Green stated at Comic-Con 2006 that the second DVD set will contain the "Beavis and Butt-head Meet the Teen Titans" sketch, which had been removed from the first DVD set because of copyright issues. However, the sketch is absent from the DVD (although it is available on iTunes). Bonus features include the Christmas special. A secret Nerf gun fight can be found on the disc 1 extras menu and pushing "up" over the extras and set-up items on the menu reveals more special features.
Star Wars Special July 22, 2008 TBA August 6, 2008 1 1
This single DVD features the Star Wars special in its TV-edited version (i.e. with bleeps in place of profane words) and several extras about the crew and their work on the special, including a photo gallery, alternate audio, and an easter egg demonstrating the crew's difficulty in composing a proper musical score for the sketch "Empire on Ice". It also features various audio commentaries, featuring members of the cast and crew.
Season Three: Uncensored October 7, 2008 January 25, 2010 December 3, 2008 41–60 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 3 in production order. This DVD is uncensored, except for the "Cat in the Hat" sketch from episode 7 on Disc 1. It also intentionally censored in episode 5 in the "Law and Order" KFC sketch. This DVD has special features such as deleted scenes and animatics. It also includes commentary for all of the episodes and has "Chicken Nuggets" commentary for episodes 1 and 3–5. The bonus features also include a gag reel and audio takes.
Star Wars Episode II July 21, 2009 TBA August 5, 2009 1 1
This single DVD features the main Star Wars special extras, including normal Robot Chicken episodes and common DVD extras; "The Making Of"; and deleted scenes.
Season Four: Uncensored December 15, 2009 August 30, 2010 December 2, 2009 61–80 2
This two disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 4 in production order. The special features include "Chicken Nuggets", San Diego Comic-Con '08 Panel, "Day in the Life", New York Comic-Con '09 Panel, video blogs, an Australia Visit, Alternate Audio, deleted scenes and deleted animations, and commentary on all 20 episodes.
Star Wars Episode III July 12, 2011 TBA August 3, 2011 1 1
Interview with George Lucas, "Chicken Nuggets" (sketch by sketch video commentary), Behind the Scenes, Voice Recording Featurette, Star Wars Celebration V Robot Chicken Panel, Skywalker Ranch Premiere Trip, Writer’s Room Featurette, Deleted Animatics w/video intros, Audio Commentaries.
Season Five: Uncensored October 25, 2011 TBA November 30, 2011 81–100 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 5 in production order. Nine of the episodes were previously unaired before DVD release. The set includes commentary on all episodes, "Chicken Nuggets" on a few episodes, and a featurette on Episode 100. Deleted scenes and deleted animations are also included. Among the deleted scenes are the sketches "Beavis and Butthead Meet the Teen Titans" (deleted from Season One due to copyright issues) and the "Riverdale: Final Destination" sketch (deleted from Season 2 sets).
DC Comics Special July 9, 2013 TBA September 18, 2013 1 1
The Making of the RCDC Special, RCDC's Aquaman Origin Story, Chicken Nuggets, Writers' Commentary, Actors' Commentary, DC Entertainment Tour, Stoopid Alter Egos, Outtakes, Cut Sketches, 5.2 Questions.
Season 6: Uncensored October 8, 2013 TBA November 20, 2013 101–120 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 6 in production order. Special features include commentary on every episode, deleted animatics, featurettes, deleted scenes, channel flips and "Chicken Nuggets".

Revolver Entertainment have released the first four seasons and all three Star Wars specials in the United Kingdom.[17] A box set including the first 3 seasons has also been released.[18]

Madman Entertainment has released all Robot Chicken seasons and specials to date in Australia and New Zealand.

International[edit]

  • Robot Chicken premiered in Australia on The Comedy Channel on March 11, 2008, after the Group Programming Director Darren Chau secured The Comedy Channel as the Australian home of Adult Swim. The Comedy Channel brought both Seth Green and Matt Senreich to Australia to conduct a promotional tour to support the launch.[19]
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Portugal on the channel MOV in February 2013.
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Germany on the pay TV channel Sat.1 Comedy on December 5th, 2007 and on the free TV channel VIVA Germany in January 2014.
  • Robot Chicken premiered in the Netherlands on the channel Comedy Central Netherlands in February 2014.
  • In Canada, the series airs on Teletoon at Night, the nighttime programming block on Teletoon.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 2, 2011). "'Robot Chicken' Duo Launch Animation Studio: Seth Green and Matthew Senreich pact with Buddy Systems to create Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and will produce tribute episode to DC Comics universe.". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "R.I.P. ToyFare Magazine 1997-2011". Actionfigures.about.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Emmys – Robot Chicken". Emmys - Official website. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  4. ^ "Annie Awards: ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ Wins 5 Including Feature, Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ TV, ‘Paperman’ Best Short Awards Winners 2013". Deadline. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  5. ^ "Before Robot Chicken: Twisted ToyFare Theatre Takes on DC Comics". Comicbook.com. 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  6. ^ a b "Video Games, Game Reviews & News". G4tv.com. 2005-02-16. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i The New York Times
  8. ^ a b Robot Chicken: Sweet J Presents (Summary)
  9. ^ "Robot Chicken Gets Unprecedented Two-Season, 40 Episode Pick-Up - TV Ratings, Nielsen Ratings, Television Show Ratings". TVbytheNumbers.com. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  10. ^ "Breaking News - "Robot Chicken" Season 6 Kicks Off on Sept 9th at Midnight!". TheFutonCritic.com. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  11. ^ "Robot Chicken Opening - Robot Chicken - Adult Swim Video". Video.adultswim.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  12. ^ a b "Seth Green Interview". askmen.com. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  13. ^ Mike Snider (June 13, 2007). "'Robot Chicken' digs its satirical talons into 'Star Wars'". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  14. ^ a b Seijas, Casey (2010-07-13). "Robot Chicken SDCC 2010 Exclusive 'Convention Nerd'". UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Robot Chicken - Season 1 Box Set (Region 2) (Pal): DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  16. ^ "Robot Chicken - Season 2 Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  17. ^ "sitcomsondvd.co.uk". sitcomsondvd.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  18. ^ "sitcomsondvd.co.uk". sitcomsondvd.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  19. ^ "It's lights, camera, action figures". The Age (Melbourne). March 6, 2008. 

External links[edit]