Exeter is burning. It’s nighttime in the lurid city, and the throbbing megalopolis seethes. Lowlifes lurk in grimy alleyways. Sweat drips from every brow. Broken neon flickers.
Doesn’t much sound like the leafy southern New Hampshire hamlet? Doesn’t have to. In a TV show that stars a walking, talking pair of ass cheeks, verisimilitude is clearly not a chief concern.
With Assy McGee (which airs at 12:30 am Mondays on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim), the artists at Watertown’s Clambake Animation have created one of the more unique characters ever to waddle across a television screen. Mr. McGee comes by his name honestly. He is, quite simply, an ass. A set of buttocks whose callipygian rondure would send Rubens into rapture.
But no effete aesthete is he. He’s a hard-boiled cop, a gruff, gravel-voiced gumshoe who walks the littered streets of blighted Exeter with heat strapped to his side, guzzling booze through his talking sphincter. He’s the kind of police officer who shoots first and then keeps shooting. One could say he is homicidal, firing indiscriminate rounds at — and hitting — bus passengers, ducks, and youth-soccer referees.
Which is not to say he’s beyond discipline. Like most rogue dicks, Assy is stripped of his badge at the end of nearly every 11-minute episode — only to be back on the beat the very next week.
In fact, the show’s sophomoric conceit may have been too much too soon. After the first six episodes of Assy McGee premiered on Adult Swim in late 2006, its original production company realized just what it was that they were releasing under its name, and decided to shut down and bow out.
Now, more than a year later — its creators having put their own asses on the line in forming their own independent animation studio — Assy is roaring back into Adult Swim, taking very few, if any, prisoners. In doing so, he’s joining the juggernaut of current Boston/New England television talent that includes Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, multiple stars of The Office, the creator of Family Guy and American Dad (Seth MacFarlane), and the Farrelly Brothers (whose new show is Unhitched). But none of them push the envelope quite as far as this bloodthirsty buttocks.
In a blue and orange office, strewn with the tools of procrastination — Guitar Hero, a pogo stick, a bass guitar — Clambake Animation’s principals discuss the whirlwind year that’s seen the start-up grow into a 22-employee cartoon factory that handles scripting, casting, animation, audio, editing, sound design, and post-production work.
Upon graduating from Fitchburg State College in 1990, Carl Adams, Clambake’s director of development and Assy McGee’s co-creator, scored an internship with Tom Snyder Productions (TSP), an educational software company that also produced Comedy Central’s Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist. The gig turned into a full-time job, and Adams started co-writing episodes. Dr. Katz won an Emmy for outstanding voice-over in 1995, and, after that, a coveted Peabody Award. “That kinda launched it,” says Adams of his career in animation.
As Adams was getting established at TSP, his friend, André Lyman, who’d attended Rhode Island School of Design before dropping out to pursue a career in rock, also started working there.