‘Drawn Together’ Creators Excited for DVD Movie16 Apr, 2010 By: John Latchem
The animated reality-show spoof “Drawn Together” ran for three seasons and 36 episodes on Comedy Central from 2004 to 2007. The adult-themed series pitted eight cartoon characters in a house and televised their misadventures, which often involved grotesque acts of sex and violence. Despite decent ratings, concerns over production costs led to the show’s cancellation.
However, the gang returns April 20 when Paramount Home Entertainment releases the direct-to-video DVD The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!, in which the cast tries to save their show by adopting a socially conscious message akin to “South Park.” Plus, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane guest stars as a killer robot with a mission to erase “Drawn Together” forever.
Agent DVD caught up with the show’s creators/writers/executive producers, Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser, to discuss the new movie.
Agent DVD: How did you originally come up with the show?
Matt Silverstein: We were reading pilot scripts, and there weren’t any solid concepts. It just came along out of frustration. We had this idea to do an animated reality show with these different types of cartoon characters. And we called our agent, and our agent said it was stupid and he couldn’t sell it. So we sat on it for a few years. And then an animator at “The Simpsons” called us and said he wanted to get into writing. So we told him to draw these characters and if the show sold he could write for it. And the rest is history.
Agent DVD: Is there any line you won’t cross?
MS: We don’t think about the line until we see the show later and regret crossing it. We do try to be sensitive to people
Dave Jeser: We just do what we think is funny.
Agent DVD: Was the movie your way of venting frustrations of dealing with the network and people comparing you to “South Park”?
MS: That’s exactly it. We got tired of our show being criticized for not having a social commentary.
DJ: I think there was more frustration that it wasn’t compared to "South Park" enough.
MS: We did take on things that have a point of view. We just didn’t shove it down people’s throats.
DJ: And because we didn’t do that, people probably didn’t get the point. We didn’t make it clear enough for them.
MS: A lot of that frustration was worked out through our art.
DJ: The idea for the movie was based on our frustration, but the jokes are for the fans. And we really had to fight hard to keep some of them.
Agent DVD: How did you get Seth MacFarlane on board?
MS: We have naked pictures. Of us.
DJ: Yeah, we threatened to show him. Actually, we had worked with him before on “Crank Yankers,” and we’re doing some stuff on “The Cleveland Show.” He likes doing funny animation.
Agent DVD: If this movie is enough of a hit to bring back the show, are you interested?
MS: I love the show and would do anything to work on it again. I think buying the DVD is a vote for bringing it back. It’s happened before. “Family Guy.” “Futurama.” Just don’t steal it. Our demographic is very good at stealing stuff. If it does well enough? We’ll see. I don’t want to get hurt again.
Agent DVD: Have you had a chance to check out the Blu-ray version of it, which is available exclusively at Best Buy?
MS: I’m surprised it’s anywhere, so I love that Best Buy would take it a step further and offer the Blu-ray. I can’t imagine our fans can afford a Blu-ray player. But the Blu-ray looks sweet. The DVD also looks sweet.
Agent DVD: Was it a hard transition to switch to a studio that works in flash animation?
MS: We knew if there was a future for the show we’d have to do it cheaper and faster. Comedy Central was always breathing down our necks to cut the production time. It cost $800,000 per episode and took nine months. But “South Park” can do it in like two days, and they make a billion times more money than we do. So it was really about finding another way to do the show. Broken down the movie cost about a quarter of what it would have cost on the actual show.
Agent DVD: There’s a scene in which the characters get out of jam by listening to a fake DVD commentary. Did you consider adjusting your actual commentary to match?
DJ: When we were editing the movie we kept saying we had to get the real commentary to match.
MS: And then we never got around to it. We can say it was too hard, but people have done things much more complicated. Just look at Avatar.
Agent DVD: Actually the Avatar disc doesn’t have a commentary.
DJ: Really? Well then, we should have done commentary for Avatar. Tell your readers that the Drawn Together DVD may have a commentary for Avatar on it.
The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! will screen at Anaheim Comic-Con April 17 from 7-9 p.m., accompanied by a panel with Silverstein, Jeser and select cast and crew members. In addition, a CD soundtrack of the show will also be released April 20.