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Adult Swim’s 'Robot Chicken’ Rules Roost

2/13/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

Move over, Drawn Together and Crank Yankers: Cartoon Network is about to trump those animated Comedy Central clunkers with new series entry Robot Chicken.

Joining Cartoon’s “Adult Swim” lineup later this month, the laugh-out-loud funny sketch show evidently will take shots at just about every pop-culture icon that has come down the pike over the past 30 years.

The stop-motion animation — Robot Chicken’s cast of players is a variety of action figures — may look crude at times, but sight gags and dialogue sparkle. The humor is irreverent and surreal and holds its own when compared with Saturday Night Live (in its glory years), Monty Python’s Flying Circus and even Chappelle’s Show.

As for its Adult Swim brethren, the show may be funnier than Matt Groening’s slyly satirical Futurama and surpasses Family Guy in every way. If viewers give Robot Chicken a chance, it could well become Cartoon’s Chappelle.

The cast includes off-the-shelf variety superhero and TV character figures, as well as a slew of custom-made figures from the show’s in-house puppet makers.

The show is the brainchild of actor/producer Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and writer/producer Matthew Senreich. Green lends his voice talents to the project, along with a lineup that includes Scarlett Johansson, Burt Reynolds, Ryan Seacrest, Mark Hamill and Macaulay Culkin.

The writers also warrant a lot of the credit. Along with Green and Senreich, who got his start in the comics industry, the team includes Doug Goldstein, Pat McCallum and Tom Root. Robot Chicken’s timing is nearly flawless and the humor is edgier than Drawn Together without being as raunchy, and it is far more intelligent than Crank Yankers.

The first episode includes what really happened in Rachael Leigh Cook’s anti-drug PSA; a Transformers send-up, where Autobot leader Optimus Prime discovers he has prostate cancer; X-SPAN Request Live (haven’t we all wanted to send a shout-out to Sen. Byron Dorgan); and “bloopers” from a variety of shows.

Future spoofs will include superhero reality show The Real World: Metropolis; dance contest You Got Robo-Served; and a Popsicle-stick re-enactment of Debbie Does Dallas.

Robot Chicken debuts Feb. 20 at 11:30 p.m., and will become part of Cartoon’s Adult Swim Sunday-night lineup.

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