While the announcement of a crossover episode bringing the wackiness of "Teen Titans Go!" and the seriousness of cancelled show "Young Justice" together had some fans hoping for a revival of the latter series, Executive Producer Michael Jelenic can attest to the fact that at the very least, it's all completely stupid.
That's the language the "Teen Titans Go!" head writer proudly uses to describe his series, which was just recently renewed for another season as part of Cartoon Network's comedy-skewing lineup. While the absurd antics of the tiny Teen Titans team have not always been favored by longtime comics fans, the series has been undeniably popular with kids. And in fact, that tension is what gave birth to tonight's "Serious Business" episode, which sees Young Justice crash into the Titans' world.
CBR News spoke with Jelenic about the episode, and he revealed how the DC Entertainment crossover is the production team's response to elements in fandom who truly hate their series, why Young Justice became the outlet for exploring that beef and how the show will get even stupider in upcoming episodes, while teaching kids valuable lessons about important topics like preparing for retirement.
CBR News: Michael, there have been plenty of questions surrounding the "Teen Titans Go!"/"Young Justice" crossover episode since it was announced, and I'm sure there will be plenty once it's aired. But where did this whole idea of bringing in part of a former DC show come from?
Michael Jelenic: One of the things we mostly try and stick to is that we try not to bring any DC characters that weren't in the original "New Teen Titans" series into our series. This was definitely a departure from that -- and I guess we broke the rule with the Robins episode as well, which wasn't such a cheat. But in this case, we had a deadline. We had a story due in three days, and we had no script, so we had to write something very fast. And we all had strong opinions about how people view our show -- how some people will disregard our show because it's not serious enough -- so we decided to jump into that and see if it worked. If everybody wants a more serious version of "Teen Titans," well, okay. We'll give you our version of a more serious vision. That's where it all came from.
It seemed appropriate to bring in the Young Justice team as part of that. People often associate the two shows, for various reasons, so we wanted to make them the group that came in and reminds our Titans why everyone hates their show. [Laughs] It inspires our cast to try and be more serious.
It's funny, because "Teen Titans Go!" has been a tremendous success on Cartoon Network, but you'd never know it if you went to your average comic book message board. Is there a dissonance between what young viewers seem to think and what the more adult fandom seems to express that's followed you around as you've worked on this?
There certainly is. I go online, and this is by far the most hated show of any series I've ever worked on. But it is also by far the most successful. It's the #1 kids cartoon on television right now. It's beating "Spongebob!" It's a huge hit. But all the feedback I tend to get is from people who curse it every day, and loudly! [Laughs] So there's definitely a little bit of a disconnect between how the show is performing and what I read online.