Despite a certifiable “adult animation” boom, few series produced by streaming services in recent years have achieved the balance of comedy and family sentiments that cemented early the Simpsons Y bob’s burgers as level S. Objective koala man you could become one of them.
Created by Michael Cusack (smiling friends), the new Hulu series centers on Kevin (Cusack), an uptight middle-aged father of two who struggles at his slow-paced day job for Big Greg (Hugh Jackman), crocodile-hunter-style, while making go through the impotent crime fighter Koala Man. in the night. To put on the show, which oscillates between home life with Kevin and his wife, Vicky (Sarah Snook), and the fantastical and accidental exploits of Koala Man, Cusack teamed up with Justin Roiland (rick and morty) and showrunners Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit (detective pikachu).
“Today, it’s daunting to launch any kind of show because there’s so much out there,” Samit tells Polygon. “So we knew from the beginning that we needed something to set the show apart from everything else. We have a few things going for us: Michael Cusack’s trademark voice and point of view; the Australia of everything makes it a bit more unique than most things you see on American TV; and we tried to inject a little more optimism and heart into the show than I think you see in a lot of adult animation these days. There is not much cynicism in koala man.”
A creator could easily assess the adult animation landscape, calculate the trends, and then guess exactly what the market might be looking for. If viewers can’t tell the difference between chicago party aunt Y paradise ps, they could see both. But Hernandez says, while he is in the dock to present a comedy like koala manit’s pretty much impossible to “read the tea leaves of what people might want” and actually be funny.
“So I think for us, one of the things that we also decided early on was: let’s make the show that we think is the best show possible. And let’s free ourselves from the outcome and really focus on what we as a group, and we as showrunners, think is funny, and what makes us laugh, and what’s specific to this show and not shy away from some of the weirder stuff.”
For Samit and Hernandez, that included an episode involving a “giant alien sex demon,” an action piece inspired by cowboy hootand a one-episode tribute to the 1971 chase movie Vanishing Point, in which Kevin must traverse the Outback to return his son’s jacket. And because the team didn’t have to “make it less Australian, or flatten some of the crazier stuff,” Hernandez says, there’s obviously a Mad Max moment, the ultimate bottom-down franchise, too.
But as Samit stresses, holding on to an emotional core of koala man it was the latest twist on a familiar formula, and the writing partners came from a slightly different place than most of their contemporaries. While the two got their start with more adult comedies like 1600 penceSamit and Hernandez have spent the last few years in the trenches of G and PG fare as detective pikachu, The Addams Family 2, and the upcoming Disney film based on the EPCOT mascot, Figment. The set of projects culminates in koala man.
“When you’re a staff writer on something like our first show, 1600 penceSo a lot of what you’re doing is learning how to imitate the showrunner’s style and getting the voice of what your boss is looking for. So you spend a lot of time writing what you wouldn’t write in a vacuum; I’m going to write in the style of Bill Pullman or Jenna Elfman or Josh Gad. When we wrote the Addams Family movie, it’s not that different: You know who Wednesday is. And that’s a really invaluable lesson because sometimes when you’re the showrunner of a show, someone can come up with something that’s really the funniest thing you’ve ever heard, but it sells the character too much. And a joke can be really funny, but you might have to say, ‘Based on the type of person Kevin is, I don’t think he would say this.’
“So the jobs may seem disparate, but for us it’s always about great characters, great worlds, and how to keep the structural integrity of those things intact as we tell the stories now.”
If that sounds too candid, consider: koala man Season 1 has a giant alien sex demon.
The eight episodes of koala man Season 1 is now streaming on Hulu.