As many of you know Comedy Centralâ€™s Drawn Together is one of my favorite shows. It is an animated reality show that makes me laugh my a$$ every episode. Seriously they push the envelope time and time again, whether it is a live sex-ed demonstration or masturbation techniques or a gay bash for one of the characters coming out or the effects of steroids on the male genitalia or Indian Casinos or racism in cartoons through the years and so much more. You never know who or what they are going to offend, but what you do know is they are going to have you laughing in hysterics.
So when I read on the Drawn Together fan page on MySpace that the show will most likely not be coming back for a fourth season, I was devastated. I want to save this show because it sincerely is so brilliantly wrong and there is not enough of that on TV today.
I decided to contact show creator Matt Silverstein to find out more about his inspiration for the show, is it coming back and can we do anything to save it? Here is what he had to say and his answers are just as funny as Drawn Together!!!
How did Dave Jeser and you come up with the idea for Drawn Together?
We were working on a crappy project that wasnâ€™t going anywhere with a network that doesnâ€™t even exist anymore. The show they had us working on didnâ€™t have a strong premise or a real concept and we were getting sick of trying to mold this non-idea into something real. Finally one of us said, â€œThis isnâ€™t even an idea for a show. And idea for a show would be, like, doing an animated reality show.â€ Then we both started talking more and more about what an animated reality show would be like and thought we should write it up. Plus we both love cartoons and reality shows, so it seemed like the perfect show for us to develop. Anyhow, we emailed the idea for Drawn Together to our agent. Our agent said it sucked and he could never sell such a shitty idea. So it sat on my desktop for a year until we started telling other writers the idea and they all were said we should try to sell it. So we went behind our agentâ€™s back and got some meetings set up and finally sold it.
How did you guys go from show writers to creators? How did you pitch DT to CC?
When we sold the show, we were running Crank Yankers for Jimmy Kimmel who left to do his late night talk show. Crank Yankers back then was on Comedy Central (itâ€™s now going to be on MTV and Iâ€™ve seen the new ones and they are GREAT). That was our connection to Comedy Central. And before we pitched it to Comedy Central, we met a young animator for the Simpsons, Jordan Young. He wanted to get out of animating and start writing comedy. We told him if he drew the characters and helped us sell the show, weâ€™d hire him to write. So he drew up some great characters and we brought those designs into Comedy Central and they let us write a pilot and make a short presentation tape. The presentation tape sucked but somehow we convinced them to pick up the show anyway. And we hired Jordan and heâ€™s an amazingly funny writer.
How did you pick the characters? Was there any character that you wanted to parody that was not approved by Comedy Central?
To come up with the characters, we first started with our favorite reality television types. Like the Mormon girl from The Real World. She had been really sheltered her whole life and would say things like, â€œI never met a gay before.â€ And then we thought of the typical fairytale princess and how she too was locked away in a castle and not exposed to other cultures. So we paired them up. Betty Boop and Amy from Big Brother 4, Crass Internet Cartoons and Puck, Ling-Ling andâ€¦ no one I guess. We just wanted one of those on the show. As far as parodies not approved by Comedy Central, there are many characters the legal department has asked us to stay away from â€“ like Mr. Magoo and Roger Ramjet. I am not sure why. I guess some people are just more likely to sue, so we stay away from them.
Comedy Central says you are too dirty now, what has CCâ€™s Broadcast and Standards said to you in the past?
Believe it or not, Broadcast Standards and the censors are our biggest supporters. They fought to make the show TVMA, so we could keep the dirtier material. We love them and love working with them. But the network is scared of the FCC. Weâ€™ve heard them worry, â€œIf we donâ€™t police ourselves, the FCC will! Then we canâ€™t do any of this.â€ Plus the PTC has been sending letters to the advertisers and all that just makes it difficult to do the kind of show weâ€™re doing.
What is something you got through B&S that you thought you wouldnâ€™t? What are some of the things that you have not been able to get through? Did you ever say how the heck did we get that on?
I canâ€™t believe we got Spankyâ€™s growing erection (in the pilot) on the air. That was insane. We put that in assuming it would have to be blurred, or cut, but no one said anything. I am sure we wouldnâ€™t be allowed to do that now. Comedy Central has changed since we started the show.
You actually have tackled some serious issues like coming out, sex-ed, steroid abuse, cutting, and masturbation in a responsible way through humor, how hard was that for you guys?
Hey, thanks for noticing! Most people say South Park tackles real issues, while Drawn Together is nothing but fart jokes. And, sure, thatâ€™s true a lot of the time, but we do try to satirize some issues that donâ€™t involve farting. And those episodes, like Clum Babies, are usually our favorites. Theyâ€™re also really fun to write because they are usually based on our own real life experiences. We do (or at least did) have a cutter on the staff. And one of our writerâ€™s fathers tried to kill himself right before season three, and we thought that would be a great storyline for Ling-Ling and his dad. Plus Dave was molested.
What is your favorite episode or scene of DT?
The board of education musical number, the end of clum babies, and the montage of Captain Hero and his mother where he gets raped at a frat party. But my favorite episode overall has to be The Afterschool Special. Or the one where Toot gets the Alzheimerâ€™s. Or Lost in Parking Space Part One. But Live Action Cow is the best episode if youâ€™re stoned.
How long does it take to do an episode? When would be the latest that Comedy Central could tell you that you were picked up for a fourth season?
It takes us about 9 months to give birth to an episode because the animation is done traditionally, by hand. And according to our really, really shitty contract, Comedy Central must pick up season four no later than six months after the airdate of the very last episode. So that means they can wait until June 2008.
Has the second half of third season been completed and when will it air? Any spoilers?
The second half of the third season is almost all done. And Comedy Central is going to sit on them until October. So, sadly, youâ€™ll have to wait to see how they (or who) escapes the parking lot, meet the Drawn Together Babies, hang out with a lot of cereal box characters, discover Heroâ€™s arch nemesis, and watch Spankyâ€™s fatal attraction with a spider in â€œCharoltteâ€™s Web of Lies.â€ Oh and Ling-Ling is put into a foster home.
What has Comedy Central told you about the future of the show?
They are annoying. Despite solid ratings, strong selling DVDâ€™s, lotâ€™s of iTune purchases, and they have said that maybe if all their new shows fail, then we might come back.
What can the fans do to try to save the show? Do a Family Guy and buy a ton of DVDs? Send hair like Felicity? Tabasco sauce like Roswell? Water like Invasion? Put a Ferris Wheel near-by like Everwood? What?
Sadly, I donâ€™t believe anything can be done. All I ask is that you cherish the time we had together.
What is next for Dave and you?
Unemployment. Have you seen this show? Who the hell is going to hire us now?!!? Seriously. Weâ€™re fucked.
(video credit Comedy Central
Sincerest thanks to Matt Silverstein for taking the time to answer my questions. I know we be seeing his twisted sense of humor on TV again soon!
Please tune into Comedy Central to watch the show and purchase the DVDs for yourself and all of friends! It worked for Family Guy, let’s try it for Drawn Together!!!