‘Robot Chicken’ hatches a dead-on ‘Walking Dead’ spoof
‘Robot Chicken’ hatches a dead-on ‘Walking Dead’ spoof
“The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who is Walking” (which airs Sunday at midnight Eastern time on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim) teams “Robot Chicken” masterminds Seth Green and Matthew Senreich with “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott M. Gimple along with “Walking Dead” stars voicing action-figure versions of their characters that, in classic “Robot Chicken” fashion, spoof the AMC zombie thriller.
“It is a massive collaboration by AMC and (Adult Swim parent) Turner that typically is not possible,” Green said during a conversation alongside Senreich earlier this week. “It is awesome they let us do it.”
Writing for the half-hour special began a year ago. First step: Charting out key “Walking Dead” plot twists, season by season.
“We put all that on a board,” Green said. “Then we thought, ‘OK, what are significant visual elements you can reference in a humorous way?’”
“Our writers are all diehard fanatics of the show,” Senreich said. “But our comic sense is to take the moment right before or right after a horrific scene, and find the silliness in how awkward or mundane that moment can be.
“Then, when we saw how all those little pieces were coming together, we needed a framework.”
Green: “I walked out of the writers room for less than five minutes and when I walked back in they go, ‘We have got it!’ The idea was: a retrospective look at everything the ‘Walking Dead’ characters had been through. It is set well into the future, after the walker apocalypse has been cured, and we are reflecting on the mythology about that era, with some of the mythology pretty garbled.”
Senreich: “Then we got to play with all the actors from the show!”
Green: “I do not know that this has ever been done, where you have the entire cast of an ongoing successful drama series playing a comedic version of their characters in a parody of that show.”
Carl, the eyepatch-wearing teenage son of series hero Rick Grimes but now an old man, serves as a narrator of sorts, with Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, also voicing him in that elderly state.
Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick, recorded his lines over a Skype hookup.
Senreich: “You saw the joy he had in doing this: He would do a take and then say, ‘Hold on,’ and he would give us another version, and then go, ‘I have got another idea, hold on!’”
Michael Rooker, who played the racist roughneck Merle, reveals a lovely singing voice as Merle, chained to a rooftop, serenading a zombie lass.
And the villainous Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is on hand, barbed-wire bat in hand, as his action-figure Doppelganger, performing a song-and-dance number.
Green: “Everybody realized that we were no making fun of the show, that we were not trying to take away any of the audience’s experience of the sincere, frightening original show. We just wanted to do a companion piece that has fun in that world.”
Senreich: “What we are doing comes from a place of love. We are fanboys!”
While this program is a one-off, “Robot Chicken” will be back with a Christmas special on December 10, kicking off a ninth season of weekly episodes.
Senreich: “It is the first chance we have been able to do anything on (‘Star Wars’ films) ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One,’ which inspired what might be my favorite sketch of multiple seasons.”
Green (cracking up): “Are you talking about the mice?”
Senreich: “I have seen it maybe 200 times, and it still makes me giggle. It is those little moments that make this all worthwhile.”
The series premiered in 2005 as a joint venture of the multi-faceted Green (a producer-director-writer and actor who landed his first film role at age 10 in “The Hotel New Hampshire,” and voices slothful teen son Chris on the Fox cartoon series “Family Guy”) and Senreich (a kindred spirit who had been editorial director of Wizard, a magazine devoted to comics and pop culture).
Senreich defines “Robot Chicken” as “sketch comedy with toys, as ‘SNL’ with action figures.”
“Thanks to stop-motion animation, our toys come to life,” Green notes.
“One of my favorite things about stop-motion,” he goes on, “is how well it tricks the brain. If you have got an animator who can bring life to something inanimate, the audience not only sees the real shadows and the real lighting, but believes the illusion that this thing that is not alive IS alive.
“And when you are photographing a toy, you are seeing it with the life you imagined it to have as a kid. That is very powerful.
“And by the time you get the joke” — Green snaps his fingers — “it is twice as effective.”
’Lava bomb’ from Hawaii volcano injures 23 on boat
- Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanos and one of five on the island
- The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on May 3
LOS ANGELES: A projectile from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii struck a boat carrying people watching lava from the two-month-old eruption, injuring 23, the fire department said.
Thirteen of them required hospitalization and the rest were treated at a harbor when the boat engaged in a “lava tour” returned to the Big Island, also known as Hawaii.
Lava flowing into the Pacific is a spectacular sight, producing a foggy haze known in Hawaii as “laze.”
One woman was in serious condition with a fractured femur.
The total number of people on the boat was not immediately known, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.
In the early morning incident a “lava bomb” punctured the roof of the boat and damaged a railing, the department said. It gave no further details.
“It was an explosion, basically,” said Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the county mayor, told the Tribune Herald newspaper. “It punctured a hole right through the roof of the boat.”
She described the boat as “covered with lava.”
The eruption has destroyed hundreds of homes since it began on May 3.
Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanos and one of five on the island.
One of the most active fissures, number 8, continues to erupt and its lava has formed a small “island” a few meters from the coast, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
It is very likely that it is part of the flow of fissure 8 that is entering the ocean, the USGS says.
Lava has engulfed an area of about eight square miles (20 square kilometers) since the volcano began erupting.
Scientists believe that volcanic activity can be a precursor to a major eruption, similar to a Kilauea eruption in the mid-1920s.