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Robot Chicken
Images

Robot Chicken title screen

Genre Comedy
Format Stop-Motion
Created by Seth Green
Voices of Seth Green
Theme music composer Les Claypool
Opening theme "Robot Chicken"
Ending theme "The Gonk" by The Cast
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes

100 (and 4 specials) (List of episodes)

Production
Running time 11 Minutes
Production company(s) ShadowMachine Films

Stoopid Monkey Sony Pictures Digital Williams Street

Broadcast
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format 480i
Original run February 20, 2005 – January 15, 2012
Status Ended

Robot Chicken is an American stop motion animated television series created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. In addition, Green provides many voices for the show. Senreich, Goldstein, and Root were former writers for the popular action figure hobbyist magazine ToyFare. The show's reception is positive, with some calling it a cult classic. It has won an Annie Award and also been nominated for an Emmy Award.

Series genre and creationEdit

Robot Chicken is a sketch comedy that parodies a number of pop culture conventions using stop motion animation of toys, action figures, claymation and various other objects, such as tongue depressors, The Game of Life pegs and popsicle sticks during a joke about a loss of budget. The show's name was inspired by a dish on the menu at a West Hollywood Chinese restaurant, Kung Pao Bistro, where Green and Senreich had dined, although the series originally was intended to be called "Junk in the Trunk".[2]

Sweet J Presents was the original series produced for the Sony website screenblast.com in 2001. The show was created, written, and produced by Green and Senreich. The show ended after 12 episodes and returned to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2005 as Robot Chicken. In the first episode (Conan's Big Fun), Conan O'Brien did not do his own voice, and it was instead provided by Seth MacFarlane.[3]

The show premiered on Sunday, February 22, 2005. It is produced by Stoop!d Monkey, ShadowMachine Films, Williams Street, and Sony Pictures Digital, and currently airs in the US as a part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of FX's Adult Swim block, in Canada on Teletoon's TELETOON at Night block, in Australia on The Comedy Channel's Adult Swim block, in Russia on 2x2's Adult Swim block, in Germany on TNT Serie's Adult Swim block and in Latin America on the I.Sat Adult Swim block (after being cancelled from Latin Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block in 2008 for unknown reasons). When the show first premiered, it used a channel flipping style, which was not present in Sweet J Presents. The show also had more violence and language. The show is also rated TV-MA. Many of the sketches from Sweet J were redone for Robot Chicken.

The series was renewed for a 20-episode third season, which ran from August 1, 2007 to September 28, 2008. After an eight month hiatus during the 3rd season, the show returned on August 31, 2008 to air the remaining 5 episodes. The series was renewed for a fourth season which premiered on December 7, 2008 and ended September 20, 2009. In early 2010, the show was renewed for a 5th and 6th season (40 more episodes total).[4] Season 5 premiered on December 12, 2010. The second group of episodes began broadcasting on October 23, 2011. They aired their 100th episode on January 15th, 2012. In May, 2012, Adult Swim announced they were picking up a sixth season of Robot Chicken to begin airing in fall, 2012.[5]

In 2007, Robot Chicken was the highest rated original show on Adult Swim and the second highest on the network, after Family Guy.[6]

OverviewEdit

The show focuses on mocking pop culture, referencing toys, movies, television, and popular fads, as well as more obscure references like anime cartoons and older television programs. Much like in the same vein as real-life comedy sketch shows like Saturday Night Live, of which was a big inspiration to Robot Chicken. One particular motif often involves the idea of fantastical characters being placed in a more realistic world or situation (such as Stretch Armstrong requiring a corn syrup transplant after losing his abilities because of aging, Optimus Prime performing a prostate cancer PSA, and Godzilla having problems in the bedroom). The program even had a 30 minute episode dedicated to Star Wars which premiered June 17, 2007 in the US featuring the voices of Star Wars notables George Lucas, Mark Hamill (from a previous episode), Billy Dee Williams, and Ahmed Best. The Star Wars episode was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award as Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour). Another recurring segment is "Hilarious Bloopers", a parody of the Bob Saget era of America's Funniest Home Videos featuring the host constantly moving around in various exaggerated, disjointed motions. Unlike that show, this skit ends with the host using various household methods of suicide. Another recurring character is the "nerd" (whose name was mentioned as Gary in an early episode but was later revealed to be Arthur Kensington Jr.), a dorky middle school kid with broken glasses and a plaid shirt who talks with a lisp, spitting when he says the letter S. Every season finale to date has ended with Mike Lazzo, the head of Adult Swim, saying that "Robot Chicken is canceled", although thus far it has still returned for an additional season following each joke proclamation.

Opening sequenceEdit

A mute mad scientist finds a road-killed chicken, which he takes back to his laboratory to re-fashion into a cyborg. Midway through the opening sequence, the titular chicken turns its laser eye towards the camera, and the title appears amidst the 'laser effects' as Les Claypool of Primus can be heard screaming "It's alive!" in typical Frankenstein fashion. Claypool also composed and performed the show's theme song. The mad scientist then straps the re-animated Robot Chicken into a chair, uses calipers to hold its eyes open, and forces it to watch a bank of television monitors (an allusion to A Clockwork Orange); this scene segues into the body of the show.

In the episode "1987", Michael Ian Black claims that this sequence tells the viewer that they (the audience) are the robot chicken(s), being forced to watch the skits. As a result, the show does not actually focus on the robot chicken until the 100th episode when he finally makes his escape.