Photo by Kwaku Alston.
Like the vast, vast majority of Hollywood, Seth Green is excited to see former President George W. Bush exit the national stage.
“I think we’ve all been encouraged over the last eight years to not participate,” said Green just prior to his appearance at last week’s New York Comic Con, where he met with fans and participated in a roundtable discussion on his hit show on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, “Robot Chicken.” “We’ve just been encouraged to shop and consume, and fear travel and foreign people who look different.”
With President Barack Obama in the White House, Green is looking forward to seeing things change in America. Still, said Green, it’s up to Americans to proactively embrace that change.
“I think our country really needs optimism,” said Green. “I feel like this administration is emphasizing different values, and I’m curious to see how our nation takes hold of that. It’s all up to the people. The President can draft a plan, we’ve all got to follow it.”
During “Robot Chicken”‘s four years on Adult Swim, Green and the show’s writers have depicted Bush as a responsibility-eschewing adolescent in a flight suit, and his predecessor Bill Clinton as a ladies man, party-time pimp. So what will Obama wear on “Robot Chicken”? Maybe nothing, said Green.
“We haven’t had Obama say or do anything that inspired us comedically,” said Green, when asked about how his show would tackle the task of mocking the new president. “But I also don’t feel that that’s necessarily a well we’re obligated to draw from.”
Over the past four years, “Robot Chicken” has built an audience using rapid-fire pop-culture gags. That’s not to say the show hasn’t evolved some. Green said that, for the most part, he has abandoned the weird, seconds-long visuals that had been a staple of the show’s early years. But for the most part, “Robot Chicken”‘s structure remains the same.
“We’re still up against a hard cost limitation, we’re still up against SAG guidelines for performers, we still can only afford five actors,” said Green, laughing. “We still make the show at a breakneck speed.”
Without a doubt the most well known episodes of “Robot Chicken” are its two Star Wars specials, the second of which took home multiple trophies at this year’s Annie Awards, which recognize achievements in, you guessed it, animation.
“We’re totally open to doing more Star Wars. We love it,” said Green, who noted that the subject matter stretches the audience well beyond the typical ‘Robot Chicken’ crowd, including an international audience. “They’ve never heard of us, they don’t have access to us, but they can get the Star Wars.”
Green also plays the voice of Christopher on Fox’s “Family Guy,” another show that has done its own Star Wars specials, and is currently working on a remix of Return of the Jedi. In 2006, “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone took aim at “Family Guy” in the well received “Cartoon Wars” two-parter, which mocked the Fox show’s writing style as a mish-mash of interchangeable gags that have zero to do with any plot. Green loved it.
“I thought it was really funny, actually,” said Green, who saw the episodes as a slap at Comedy Central after Viacom pulled “South Park”‘s Scientology critique at the behest of Tom Cruise. “If you really look at that episode, it was so much more about saying that Fox will give ‘Family Guy’ leeway to do anything, even show an image of the prophet Mohammed, when that image has caused riots and murders in Islamic countries.”
Green added, “It didn’t bother me, I think they’re fucking brilliant.”
Early in his career, Green was cast as a member of the crew of vampires that invade the prom in the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Though his part was cut from the film, his time in the movie lives on through a small picture of Green, in full makeup, on the back of the DVD. Does it ever upset him that so little of his part in the movie has been revealed to the public?
“It doesn’t bother me,” said an amused Green “It’s proof that it happened.”