Doug Goldstein, Tom Root & Zeb Wells on ‘Robot Chicken’ Season 7
At the DC Comics offices in Burbank, we met the directors and producers of “Robot Chicken” to talk about the DC Comics Special II. Zeb Wells, Tom Root and Doug Goldstein were also able to tell me about sketches that got cut from the special and may appear later in the seventh season of “Robot Chicken.” We also got some info on non DC sketches coming up on “Robot Chicken” this year.
CraveOnline: Since the theme was Villains in Paradise, were there any sketches that had to fall by the wayside because they didn’t totally fit in with that?
Doug Goldstein: That is a heartbreaking yes where the show can only be so many minutes. As we reach the end of the writing cycle, we realize our script is twice as long as it could possibly be.
Zeb Wells: And we needed a certain number of sketches to tell the story.
Tom Root: So there was a very sad day where on a giant dry erase board we had to write down every sketch that we A, approved and B, now loved, and we had to murder half of them by voting them out of the show. It was really heartbreaking.
Could any of those sketches appear on a regular “Robot Chicken” episode?
Doug Goldstein: When people were crying too hard about being cut, I was like, “There, there, you can pitch it for the show.”
Tom Root: It’s amazing how many we’ll never see again and nobody cares anymore. That we loved at the time they were, they were completely visualized, just gone forever.
Zeb Wells: Yeah, you think of the sketches that made you almost lose their mind because they didn’t get in the show but now you’re like, “Oh, it wasn’t that funny. Who cares?”
Are any of the deleted DC sketches coming up in season seven?
Doug Goldstein: Season seven is not done being filmed, so there’s a couple that we’re saying that we love and were cut for raunchy reasons from the DC special, that were in.
Zeb Wells: Got cut out, they can get put back in.
Doug Goldstein: There was only one sketch that went a little too far and therefore was cut, but the episode is not done and it’s maybe on the chopping block.
What was the sketch that was too risque?
Doug Goldstein: Well, the Green Lantern’s nemesis, one of them is a red lantern.
Zeb Wells: Atrocitus, he was in the HOV lane.
Doug Goldstein: Green Lantern’s stuck in traffic and he sees the Red Lantern creating a fake second driver with his ring, which pisses off Hal Jordan to no end. Then the Red Lantern goes to great length to piss him off further. Should I tell the punchline?
Zeb Wells: Sure, yeah, spoil it.
Doug Goldstein: He gets to a point where he creates a red illusion of Green Lantern himself that starts to go down on him. That gets Hal Jordan furious. The fact that he’s going to go down on someone maybe wasn’t something DC wanted us to do. Even when we argued it’s not really him, it’s an illusion of him, they were like no.
Tom Root: We cam close to actually getting it in. One of the things that’s neat about writing here is that Geoff Johns sits in a room with us for most of the day writing with us, so we have this gatekeeper right there and we’re like, “What do you think? Green Lantern going down on Red Lantern?” He’s never like, “Absolutely not.” He’s like, “We’ll see. Let’s see if that gets all the way through, then we’ll talk about it.”
So that might make it onto a season seven episode?
Zeb Wells: Maybe. Maybe, it’s a hard maybe.
Doug Goldstein: It was written to be, but now that we’re in production, things still get cut.
Tom Root: It’s always hard to show characters driving in animation. Do we put them on a green screen?
Was this the first time we’ve seen Sexx Luthor?
Tom Root: First and only time. Maybe it’ll come back at some point.
Zeb Wells: I think me and you were angling to get that one cut because it didn’t tie into the story but I’m glad we kept it in. It always gets a big response.
Doug Goldstein: Even in the animatic stage.
Zeb Wells: Yeah, because we were still trying to cut and that was the one that didn’t really tie into the story but I’m glad it’s there because it adds a little bit of insanity.
Doug Goldstein: It’s the hit of the show.
Tom Root: You know how all those hair metal bands have that one power ballad? I’d like to go back and see what Sexx Luthor’s power ballad was, like that soulful wailing guitar solo.
Zeb Wells: This time you have to write the whole song. I’m so sad that you didn’t just for the hell of it write the whole song.
Tom Root: What’s Sexx Luthor’s “Home Sweet Home” or “Every Rose Has Its Thorn?” I might produce that myself with my own money. I’m very excited to see that.
Who’s the big Aquaman fan that wanted to show his powers are really useful?
Tom Root: That’s Hugh Davidson. Hugh Davidson is one of our writers who is not a geek in any way. He doesn’t follow things like Star Wars or comic books. So when he writes for us, his take is really skewed. So he wrote an Aquaman sketch that is about the sea horses mount up and go into battle on behalf of Aquaman, something that none of us would ever write, but it’s just his unique perspective.
I was referring to Aquaman talking to a women’s fish on their first date.
Doug Goldstein: That was me because I just figured your pet fish has got to know stuff about you that you don’t want people to know.
Tom Root: I hate that sketch, I’m sorry.
Doug Goldstein: It was much longer once and it was cut very far down.
Why do you hate that sketch?
Tom Root: Well, I liked it in the room and then when it finally got voiced, I don’t like that sassy little fish. What’s the line, “Something doesn’t swim far from the tree, my man. The hedge grows wild, like Fangorn Forest wild.” I just hate that. I want that little fish to shut up. It doesn’t have anything to do with the story of the sketch.
Are there existing action figures for every DC character, or what percentage do you build yourselves?
Doug Goldstein: You would be surprised how many characters exist in the DC library, many of which have been forgotten for decades. For instance, in the first special, and making a return appearance in the second special, Tom came across Mr. Banjo.
Tom Root: He’s real guy, but never in a million years would they make an action figure of him that we could then use on the show.
Zeb Wells: Then the characters that have a lot to do, we prefer to make one from scratch that is easily animatable. We use some figures in this special but it was only for background characters or ones we could get away with. Like in the first special Grodd was just a toy because he had one line, but in this special we made two or three Grodd puppets because he was in it so much.
What other sketches are coming up in season seven?
Zeb Wells: We have Gargamel, Gargamel’s opened a chain of burger restaurants. He does a Carl’s Jr.-esque hamburger commercial in his bikini.
Tom Root: Those really gross Carl’s Jr. commercials.
Zeb Wells: Yeah, but now it’s Gargamel.
Tom Root: Gargel’s Jr.
Zeb Wells: We have a good Silence of the Lambs sketch.
Doug Goldstein: We have a few ‘80s properties we haven’t even touched on before like Visionaries, Mantech, all surprisingly very funny considering we never touched them before.
Tom Root: You know who played Miggs in the Silence of the Lambs sketch?
Zeb Wells: You? Really? Drawn from your personal experience throwing semen at people?
Tom Root: I’m not going to confirm or deny.