Believe it or not, a decade or two back, MTV was pretty heavily invested in animation. There was the quasi-anime weirdness of “Æon Flux,” the high school snark-a-thon “Daria,” and, of course, Mike Judge’s epochal 1990s ode to bone-deep stupidity, “Beavis and Butt-head.” As of October 27, 2011, MTV is jumping back into the cartoon business with Judge’s retooled series about the pea-brained adolescent channel surfers. That’s not all. It will be followed by a show about a pair of actual teenage surfers, “Good Vibes,” that producers are touting as “‘Superbad‘ at the beach.”
Spearheaded by arthouse wunderkind turned doper comedy director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express,” “Your Highness“), this flash-animated production brings a bit more sexuality to cartoons than we’re used to. Viewers can bet on plenty of boob, butt, and even penis-related humor as well as some pot jokes. Animation-wise, it somewhat resembles “Family Guy” while the content is more story-oriented and good natured. Clearly, “The Simpsons” is an influence.
“Good Vibes” stars the voices of Adam Brody (of “The O.C.”) and Josh Gad (currently tearing up Broadway in “The Book of Mormon”) as Woodie and Mondo, respectively, a Mutt and Jeff pair of teen surfer buddies learning wacky lessons in life and love on the beaches of the very fictional California town of Playa del Toro. The show also features the talents of “Arrested Development” scene-stealer Tony Hale as Wadska, a McLovin-like uber-nerd, as well as second generation character actor Jake Busey as Turk, a loutish bully of a surfer dude. Also contributing is versatile “Firefly” favorite and comic actor Alan Tudyk, who voices a number of characters, including Lonnie, an aging surf bum who dispenses pot-infused wisdom to his young admirers. The show also features veteran actress Debi Mazar, up-and-comer Olivia Thirlby and David Gordon Green cohort Danny McBride.
At this year’s Comic-Con, Bullz-Eye was fortunate enough to get together with cast members Brody, Busey, Hale and Tudyk. Also present were executive producer Green and staff writer Christian Lander, an Internet star for his now-dormant blog, Stuff White People Like. As with the show they were promoting, the sheer mass of talent on hand made for a reasonably entertaining time.
Said Hurwitz, while addressing the audience at the New Yorker Festival on Sunday:
“I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So, in working on the screenplay I found that even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together. And that kinda gave birth to this thing we’ve not been pursuing for a while and we’re kinda going public with a little bit. We’re trying to do kind of limited run series into the movie.”
Too good to be true? Hurwitz doesn’t seem to think so, judging by his candor and optimism on the subject. Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth on the beloved show, further stirred the pot when he tweeted, “It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!”
“Arrested Development” fans have been waiting five years for good news, and while it’s wise and natural to remain somewhat skeptical until production on the movie and/or episodes has actually started, there’s enough smoke here to at least suggest the existence of a real fire.