Assy McGee was initially conceived as just one part of an anthology. The aim, says Adams, was to do a “bunch of different shorts that didn’t have ‘legs’ to go into a series.”
Instead, he ended up helming a show about a guy who was nothing but legs. Adult Swim saw something in that foul-mouthed, occasionally flatulent posterior. “They said, ‘Y’know, let’s just do Assy McGee.’ ”
It’s been “fun building a show around it, just coming up with different dumb ideas,” says Adams. He and Lyman find particular inspiration in the great/awful police and detective dramas of the ’70s, such as Cannon or The Rookies.
It’s from those that Assy McGee cops its gritty atmosphere. Wanting to “get away from the cartooniness of cartoons,” Clambake’s animators sought to crank up “the oppressed city look,” says Lyman. “We wanted a real dark, moody tone.”
“It was our idea to have every day be, like, really hot, like in Do the Right Thing,” says Adams. “A glaring sun. We should put more sweat marks on everybody.”
It is also vital that the show’s pacing have an improv-comedy feel. “Years ago, until we could listen to the audio in our car with our girlfriends or roommates and it made us laugh, it wasn’t ready for animation,” says Adams. Deadline pressures have made that kind of long gestation period difficult these days, but still, the Clambake crew look at the voice-overs as “kind of like improv for animation, taking advantage of the improv the comedians offer.”
At the Assy McGee premiere party at the Abbey Lounge this past week, the man behind me offered a running commentary during the first episode that brought to mind someone watching Two Girls, One Cup. “That’s not right!” he chortled. Ahawhawhaw! A little later, again. “No! That’s not right!” Ahawhawhaw! And then once more. “That’s really not right!” Ahawhawhaw!
Yes, Assy McGee is a cop show that flouts natural law. How many programs can you name in which a plump rump leaps with great exertion in a phone booth, laboriously using each cheek to dial the digits? Or goes jogging with a red, white, and blue sweatband wrapped around its coin slot? Or snorts lines of coke up its ravenous sphincter?
Despite — or because of — its risqué proclivities, Assy McGee has found one high-powered fan in corporate America. Having reportedly scared some advertisers away during its first run, the show is now supported exclusively by Toyota, which hopes Assy McGee will drive interest in the Scion xB, a car custom-made for Adult Swim’s twentysomething demo.
“We love finding innovative and fun ways to increase awareness,” said Scion VP Jack Hollis in a PR-heavy statement. “This will really engage Scion enthusiasts and viewers alike as we communicate our brand philosophy and some xB features in a fun and entertaining manner.”
While it’s doubtful Scion’s “brand philosophy” shares Assy’s affection for firearms and liquor, each episode nonetheless features a mock ad spot with Assy gussied up as a motor mouth local car dealer, browbeating the viewer into buying a Scion: “Don’t make me run your ass over!”
Assy talks like Sly Stallone on a heavy Percocet binge — a rumbling, mumbling, guttural voice whose borborygmic cadences can be difficult to decipher. His overweight and slovenly partner, Sanchez, a sidekick so stereotypical you can smell the bad cologne, has a slightly speech-impeded nasal chirp.