Since 2005, stop-motion comedy “Robot Chicken” has been skewering everything under the sun. This Fall, the people behind the hit adult swim show are taking their talents to online network Crackle for a bold — and plenty subversive — new take on superheroes with “SuperMansion.” Produced by and starring Bryan Cranston, “SuperMansion” tells the story of Titanium Rex, the aging leader of a superhero team turned unlikely roommates.
Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the network unveiled the first official trailer for the new digital series in front of a packed crowd. Eric Goldman from IGN then moderated a panel featuring the voice cast and writers of the stop-motion series including Cranston, Jillian Bell (Lex), Tucker Gilmore (Black Saturn), Tom Root (Brad), Heidi Lynn Gardner (Cooch), “Robot Chicken” creators Seth Green & Matt Senreich, and writer Zeb Wells.
As expected, the group was exceedingly entertaining and the levity started with the very first question as Goldman asked Cranston if he “was looking for a show with similar gravitas” after finishing his award-winning run on “Breaking Bad.” When Cranston spoke with Green and Senreich about how he could sink his career following a major high, they both responded with “Animation!”
Green explained the genesis of the show was a segment from the first season of “Robot Chicken” called “Real World Metropolis,” while Senreich indicated the initial inspiration sprouted from how much fun the group had with the Star Wars and DC Comics “Robot Chicken” specials. “We decided we wanted our own universe to play in,” said Senreich. “We wanted to do it with original characters versus someone else’s.”
As evidenced by the trailer and the pedigree of the show’s creators, these are not your typical superheroes. Cranston talked about his aging superhero Titanium Rex battling with erectile dysfunction, saying, “as you age, you think that you’re young and virile and you can kick ass. And you can’t quite keep up with the youngsters anymore.”
Root called Brad “a man of many addictions. Mostly drugs. Some sex. Probably some eating. Gambling is a big problem. Body modifications. And some steroids probably.”
Gardner described Cooch succinctly as “she-trash,” with Green adding that the character is an example of a “weirdly-hot-yet-clearly-animal superhero woman that super confuse guys about how they feel about issues such as bestiality. And it should be cut and dry.”
Since Green voices multiple characters for the show, he joked about unsuccessfully auditioning for Cranston’s Titanium Rex role and reflected upon competing with the “Breaking Bad” star across their careers. “Do you know how close I was to being the dad on ‘Malcolm in the Middle?'” he asked. He also commented on Cranston’s screen test for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Oz, to which Cranston replied. “And Scott in ‘Austin Powers.'”
At points, the panel became tastefully tasteless, featuring everything from Cranston leering at a female Space Ghost cosplayer who requested each of the actors sing in their character’s voice to an audience member asking whether a Cooch blow-up doll would be licensed. “Can you imagine having a discussion with Toys ‘R’ Us about that?” Green joked. Through it all, the crowd both laughed and groaned, keeping up with the lively spirit of the panel.
Green offered a thoughtful response when asked about walking the politically correct line in an era where viewers can no longer watch “The Dukes of Hazzard.” “You’ve got to make the jokes that you think are funny,” he said. “There’s always something aggressive about somewhat offensive humor but there’s also a real distinction between humor that’s kind of humorously offensive and things that are genuinely hurtful to each another. We just continue to evolve.” The response indicates the craft behind the often over-the-top humor that permeates “Robot Chicken” and is certain to be a hallmark of “SuperMansion” as well.
“SuperMansion” debuts this fall on Crackle.
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