If you haven’t watched the pilot for Adult Swim’s upcoming animated series Mr. Pickles, you really should. Go ahead and check it out below – don’t worry, we’ll wait.
The warped cartoon can be simply summarized as the story of a boy and his dog, a seemingly innocent Border Collie that’s actually infinitely evil but a dog nonetheless. Of course, the only person who’s aware of Mr. Pickles’ evil ways is Tommy’s Grandpa, but no one believes him. And all that Mr. Pickles wants is a pickle.
In the first episode alone, there are at least four deaths among the countless other random acts of depravity. Where did such an outlandish concept come from? Co-creators Will Carsola and Dave Stewart offered an explanation during a press gathering at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
“The way Dave and I usually write – as far as a general idea and whether it’s a show idea or a joke idea – we call it a write-off, and we have a 10-minute competition where we try to write whatever’s going to make the other person laugh,” Carsola said. “No pressure on whether or not it’s a good idea – which it’s usually not.”
“That was just one of the ideas that came out of there,” Stewart added. “A Lassie kind of show set in simple times, with a ‘hero’ kind of dog that does crazy, evil things. I guess our imaginations just ran wild with all the crazy things he could be doing that nobody would believe that Grandpa saw.”
That idea then evolved. “Originally, I think it was little more based on Lassie, but it’s become more of its own thing since then,” Carsola reflected. “He would commit these crimes, but then he’d look like he sort of solved them or helped solve them to get a pickle. It’s all driven by that. And his love for Tommy, his 6-year-old best friend.”
While Mr. Pickles is, thankfully, not based upon a real pet, Stewart’s dog serves as inspiration for the animators. “She looks a little bit like Mr. Pickles,” he said. “We call her Ms. Pickles sometimes.” That’s probably intended as a compliment.
Although the show is scheduled for late night, and intended for a mature audience, there’s still content that Adult Swim considers off-limits. Sometimes, however, that line between acceptable and unacceptable can be puzzling.
“I feel like I’m always surprised with more of what they’re OK with,” Stewart said. “The notes they’ll give are ‘no fecal matter.’ In the meanwhile, someone’s face is getting ripped off. Or, ‘You can’t show thrusting when things are humping,’ so we’ve learned to put a bush in front of things. And you can’t show defecating, but then you can have [Mr. Pickles] masturbating on the bed?”
“We try not to raise the question to [the censors], but we do sit back and wonder about it,” Carsola added. “It’s really up to their personal judgment.”
Pickles is aware Grandpa has witnessed his extracurricular activities, which will play into future episodes.
“He sees some pretty crazy, outlandish things. He’ll have a witness every once in a while, but it never really works out for them,” Carsola said. “You don’t want to be a witness. People see, but they don’t always end up in the best of places. Once they see it, they have to die, become a prisoner or there has to be some other loophole. Like a way they don’t remember. In Season 2, we’re looking at ways of possibly having someone else in town see it.”
Mr. Pickles premieres Sept. 21 at midnight ET/PT on Adult Swim.