It's no secret that "reality television" is pretty damn popular these days, whether it be the pathetic rantings of immature brats on "Laguna Beach" or the cheesiness of "The Bachelor," and the trend has drawn many critics. Some feel that the shows don't represent any kind of reality, while others are turned off by the cringe inducing "confessions" of people on the shows. However, there is one reality show that doesn't pretend to be real at all: Comedy Central's "Drawn Together." Don't worry folks, no one on this show confuses sex with love, no one has tantrums, and there are more engaging issues than which guy you should sleep with when your boyfriend is on vacation. The animated series was created by Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser, and with the third season of the show beginning on October 5th, CBR News spoke with the creators about the program. Just as "Drawn Together" eschews all convention, Jeser and Silverstein chose to answer our questions with a single answer, which presumably involved them both speaking at the same time in unison.
"Drawn Together" began as the duo's answer to the increasing popularity of reality shows, who actually prepared for the show by watching every reality show they could find, scrutinizing the elements that worked and didn't work. They took those aspects and combined them into one show, a process the duo described as, "Like scientists altering DNA they created interesting new characters much the same way that their predecessors created that hideous freak of nature, the Tigon." They soon realized that while they were good writers, art wasn't their strong suit and recruited Jordan Young, who had previously worked on "The Simpsons." They pitched the show to Comedy Central and as they say, the rest is history.
Now if you're wondering what the show is about, the creators explained, "On 'Drawn Together' different cartoon character archetypes live together in a house just as different types of people live together on a reality show. Captain Hero was originally a homophobic, high-fivin white guy representing every good looking, hairless, chiseled dude we wished we could be. Now he has sex with dead bodies.
"Foxxy Love is a sexy mystery solving musician. She's our dream girl; a hot, black, horny black chick who loves sex, mysteries and is black.
"Princess Clara is a naïve fairy tale princess. She's very much like the Mormon girl on the Real World who had never met a jew, a gay, or a black. She's our Archie Bunker with great tits.
"Spanky Ham is a crass internet pig. He's our Puck from the Real World. He loves fart and poopy jokes a lot - like more than a friend.
Ling-Ling is a cute, cuddly killer battle monster. Ling-Ling speaks Asian gibberish and is in the house to destroy all, gain trading card points and help us mock Asian culture.
"Wooldoor Sockbat is a wacky whatchamacallit a la many of the zany sat morning cartoons. He's based on the innocent characters you might find on any reality tv show.
"Toot Braunstein is a black and white heartthrob from the twenties. Toot is based on those girls who thought they were hot in high school but when they get to Hollywood they realize they're nothing special. In the 'Drawn Together' house, Toot finds out she is the fat girl. And she finds out how horribly mean and cruel everybody is to the fat girl. And she finds out how good it feels to slice her inner thighs with metal razors.
"Xandir is a video game warrior who loves mangina and that's it."
For comic book fans, the most familiar character will likely be Captain Hero, whose resemblance to Superman is quite uncanny, though there are some significant differences. I mean, when's the last time that Superman turned back time so he could alter evolution in a way that everyone was made of breasts, only to realize he's an ass man? No, no, don't go on the CBR Forums and try to find the answer. It never happened. As you can imagine, Superman and Captain Hero really aren't that similar. "The Super-Hero genre has been a major part of the animation universe since the Fleischer Studios produced the first 'Superman' cartoon in 1941. So, we knew from the beginning that a superhero needed to be part of our show," explained the writers. "Where Captain Hero differs from Superman is that he, like most of the other characters on our show (and several members of the creative team), is basically incompetent. He also has unrequited homosexual leanings (again, not unlike several members of the creative team).
"Hero started out as a drunken, rowdy frat guy but has evolved over time into a dangerous, psychotic pervert. That's probably more a commentary on frat guys than a commentary on Superman."
With a firmly established cast, "Drawn Together" has been able to attract a variety of viewers with the diverse characters that fans can expect to see each week. However, since this series is a "reality show" of sorts, there's no reason for fans not to expect to see some shakeups in the future. "Reality shows change cast members every season," explained the writers. "So in an attempt to keep the parody accurate, each year we talk about completely revamping our cast as well. Then we realize that would involve a lot of work and since we're basically lazy we decide to keep the characters we have. If, down the road, we feel there's nothing new to say about these characters we might consider replacing them. But, if we take our cue from 'The Simpsons,' we won't have to worry about that for another two decades.
"Although we keep our main cast intact each season, we do get to spoof all sorts of trends and archetypes in the 'guest casts' of various episodes. In season three 'Drawn Together' bravely take on breakfast serial mascots, 'Charlotte's Web,' and The 'Peanuts' gang, At some point we'd love to spoof 'Gertie the Dinosaur.'"
The show has distinguished itself by tackling many taboo subjects, which has led some to wonder if any subject is off limits in "Drawn Together." "We seem to shy away from normal, heterosexual sex. You know, the kind your parents enjoy," smiled the writers. "And we did have to throw out one script this season because Broadcast Standards wouldn't allow us to make it. In that episode, Clara's relationship with God goes to 'the next level' and finally becomes physical."
This kind of unapologetic eschewing of the norm has caused some to draw comparisons between "Drawn Together" and Comedy Central's other big animated show, "South Park." When asked about the validity of such comparisons, Silverstein and Jeser said, "We're huge 'South Park' fans and even mentioning us in the same sentence is as complimentary to us as it is insulting to Matt and Trey. While we have some similarities - like we're both animated comedies on Comedy Central that may offend people who have no sense of humor - we have many more differences. The biggest difference is that South Park's comedy comes from the boys pointing out the insanity and dysfunction in the world. The comedy in Drawn Together comes from the housemates hating each other and doing horrible things to each other, which can also be funny."
As long as you fans keep watching, don't expect the duo to stop bringing you the funny any time soon, as both love their jobs. "We'll keep doing this as long as Comedy Central lets us. What else are we gonna do? You'd think having our own show would open the doors to a multitude of career options. But so far, the only job we've been offered is a remake of the cinematic classic, 'Flesh Gordon.' Seriously, that's not a joke."
Now you're probably wondering what kind of craziness will appear in the third season of "Drawn Together," but don't expect Jeser and Silverstein to give away too much. "Fans can expect character inconsistencies, incomprehensible storylines, shoddy animation and a few big musical numbers!" they teased.
If you're still not sold on checking out the season premiere of "Drawn Together" - or the DVD sets of seasons 1 & 2 - maybe these comments from the writers will persuade you otherwise. "We are on the precipice of a great war that will destroy the world as we know it. An apocalyptic future is upon us and evil will once again rule the planet. Watch, don't watch - what difference does it really make? We're all going to die."