By Elise DeVoe
Remember a certain good-natured Collie who was always saving Timmy from danger? OK, now take that general idea, add a very Adult Swim twist and you've got the new animated series Mr. Pickles. The series centers around the lives of the Goodman family and their innocent six-year-old son Tommy, whose best friend is Mr. Pickles, the family’s lovable Border Collie with a massive evil streak.
Will Carsola and Dave Stewart, creators and executive producers of Mr. Pickles, took some time to discuss putting together the new series, working with Brooke Shields and much more.
How long have you two been working together?
Dave: We've been working together for about as long as we've known each other, which is 14 years. We met back in Richmond, Virginia, waiting tables and kind of got into all the video stuff shortly thereafter and have been at it ever since.
Will: Back then, after making some short films and doing weird things with this camera that Dave had, we just had so much fun doing it that we never stopped.
What was the development and design process like for Mr. Pickles?
Will: As far as development goes, we did two pilots, we did a half hour and we did a 15-minute.
Dave: We all just felt like the pacing of the show worked better as a 15-minute show. And as far as designs go, Will actually does all the character design.
Will: I draw the majority of the characters and then characters designers go in and finish them for me, sometimes adding bodies, adding color, fine-tuning them.
Dave: But it's all based off of his art.
Will: When we were working on the first pilot, I drew all of the main characters and then Mike L. Mayfield came on board as the co-executive producer and director of animation and he fine-tuned them a bit to make them work better in animation. I've done animation here and there but my style of animation is more art based. It's very simple animation, so I think we wanted this show to have a little bit better animation than some of what I had done in the past. And that's where Mike Mayfield really made the show what it is and how it looks today.
As far as the scripts for Mr. Pickles go, are you both just constantly trying to outdo each other?
Will: Yeah, the way we write is we just try to make the other person laugh, whether it's a joke or a show idea. We just pour out ideas with no pressure on them, it's totally fine if they're worthless ideas as long as they make us laugh.
Brooke Shields voices Mrs. Goodman, the mom. How did she get involved with the show? You don't necessarily think Brooke Shields when you think of Adult Swim…
Dave: Funny story, we were auditioning people for the pilot and her name came up as one of the people that was suggested to us and Will and I were like, "that would really be funny but there's no way that she wants to do it," so we didn't respond to it. And then it came up again and we didn't respond. And then our manager came to us and was like, "guys, why aren't you asking Brooke Shields to do it? She wants to do the show." She's married to Chris Henchy, who's part owner of Funny Or Die, so she'd seen some of our comedy and I guess she wanted to do the show. We were as surprised as you are.
Will: She's great. So fun to work with, easygoing and really funny.
Dave: She really gets her character, too, which is really awesome – the layers and the depth of it. It's good to see that.
As for guest stars, some of the names I saw are pretty impressive – Tracy Morgan, Iggy Pop, etc. Who's your ultimate guest star?
Will: I think you just named them. Tracy Morgan is so funny, the character that he plays is just really, really funny. [His character] is a 90-year-old white guy who's a wannabe rapper.
Dave: Iggy Pop, too. Will and I are huge Iggy Pop fans so that was kind of a real treat. Also Amy Sedaris is my favorite female comedian and she actually was the voice that acted along with Tracy Morgan, so that was awesome.
Will: There's been so many, we've been really lucky. We were constantly blown away by people who were really into the show and wanted to work on it with us.
Why should viewers tune in to Mr. Pickles?
Will: I think they're going to get a great adventure every episode in a short amount of time. And along the way see a lot of very crazy, bizarre things. Not always violent…
Dave: There's honestly something in there for everybody. Will and I take some of the humor from our [parents' generation]. And there's humor that appeals to younger people, a little more aggressive. We put a lot into the writing too. There's also a lot of smart comedy in there and underlying social commentary. I honestly think it will reach a very broad audience, there's something in there for everyone.
Mr. Pickles premieres this Sunday, September 21, at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.