TV Junkie: The Pitch - The Creator & Producer of Comedy Central's 'Ugly Americans'
Randall, Leonard, Mark, Callie, Twayne, Grimes from Comedy Central's "Ugly Americans" (tonight at 10:30pm)
We had the chance to speak with series creator Devin Clark and executive producer David M. Stern about "Ugly Americans" (Wednesdays/Tonight at 10:30pm on Comedy Central). They gave us The Pitch:
LAist: Give us your Top 3 reasons why someone should watch "Ugly Americans" at 10:30pm vs. not watching it or watching it later online or Tivo'd.
Devin Clark: Do you zombies? Do you like werewolves? Do like demons? Do you like watching them all having a three-way? Then tune in!
David Stern: You've got writing that's the quality of "The Simpsons" and animation from Devin Clark and Augenblick Studios that I would put up against any animation on television right now.
LAist: The animation reminds us of Belgian-style comics come to life, the level of detail is extraordinary.
David Stern: I've been fortunate enough to get involved with people who know what they are doing visually so it really isn't derivative of anything out there. Also, the genre of horror-comedy is simply not tapped at all in television and that's my favorite genre.
Devin Clark: IF you are a horror-comedy fan, this is the series for you.
David Stern: Devin and I came up with the idea for this when we were hanging out many a bar a few years ago and what we came up with is that we wanted to jump into this world without explaining everything or laying too much pipe. You just have to take for granted what is happening in this world. Everything in "Ugly Americans" is sort of the same as our world but completely different.
Devin Clark: All the previous horror-comedy stuff was kind of hokey and goofy, "The Munsters" and "The Addams Family" but what we're going for is an almost realistic and documentary approach. The humor is a modern humor that is in tune with the comedy today - not that there are monsters talking to each other.
David Stern: Almost everything you see that has monsters in it also has some sort of explanation for why the monster is there: why are these monsters walking among us and then the show is about that. With us, the monsters are the reality, they are there, they are multi-generational, and they are doing there own thing.
LAist: There also seems to be the horror of bureaucracy - even in this alternate universe there is crushing bureaucracy, ineptitude, and nepotism.
David Stern: Devin had showed me a comic book that he had done about zombies walking among us and but after you go through the horror of it they become the new reality. The next day they are mowing the lawn and back to life as normal.
Devin Clark: Yes, the zombies reformed society and made a new government whose purpose was to manage a research branch which was looking for brains on the planet which is all the zombie government cared about. What we care about in the world of "Ugly Americans" is much later, what kind of facilities would be required to support all these weird creatures: where do they shop, what services do they need.
David Stern: And then we expand beyond that as Devin keeps drawing up these crazy and insane characters that you've never seen before and I approach them with a normalcy. There's a character that he drew that runs the Door Store who basically just has a hand for a face but what I'm curious about what happens when he goes home - is he married to another hand-face or another species? What do their kids look like? If he gets in a fight does he use his face or what?
LAist: There are some incredible characters, did we not see a traffic jam caused by land-whales?
Devin Clark: Yes! And they're terrible swimmers!
David Stern: And bad drivers! We unwittingly created 170 characters in the first 7 episodes which has caused the animators hands to fall off. It just comes from digging into this incredibly rich world and its infinite possibilities. You can just expand forever.
Devin Clark: This wasn't just about creating funny characters, we were excited about building out the world itself, there is a character to the city that is in every episode. There is something always going on in the background just like a real place and there is real thought going on, and we know where they are going, and what their jobs are and what their neighborhood looks like.
David Stern: Ever character has a backstory and a full life, and we are really enjoying writing them all out.
"Ugly Americans" airs on Wednesdays at 10:30pm on Comedy Central.
For the full audio of the interview, play this podcast: