If you’re a fan of the anarchistic insanity that is Adult Swim’s Mr. Pickles, I’m happy to tell you that Season 3 continues the madness in earnest. In celebration of the show’s return this Sunday, February 25th at midnight–the appropriate witching hour for animated ritual sacrifices, of course–we chatted with series creators Will Carsola and Dave Stewart about everything from their creative inspiration, to how they find the show’s fantastic musical score, to getting around Standards & Practices when it comes to animating sexual thrusting. Plus, they tease what’s in store for fans in this brand new season!
If you’re not familiar with Mr. Pickles, the super-NSFW series follows Old Town’s cutest dog on his tail-wagging, flesh- ripping and head-decapitating adventures. This season also follows the Goodman family, and the eccentric residents of Old Town, as they battle bullies, zombies, and telemarketing plantation owners. This season also sees the title character face off against some of his toughest foes including memory hackers, ruthless television executives, and military footwear. Check it out this Sunday at midnight, and check out our chat with Carsola and Stewart below!
First of all, for folks who haven’t seen Mr. Pickles, how would you describe it to them?
Dave Stewart: I always like to think of Mr. Pickles’ family as a nuclear family from the 1950s, almost goody-goody, down-to-Earth, but the world around them is modernized beyond the family. They even think their dog is like in the realm of a sweet Lassie dog, even though he’s pretty far from that. They have no idea that their sweet, beloved dog is actually a murdering psychopath.
Will Carsola: The idea originally started as, “It’s Lassie, but the dog is a murderer.” And then it kind of just became its own world.
What was the original pitch?
Carsola: It was something like, “It’s Lassie if the dog was a murderer. He loves pickles and he gets them when he’s a good boy.” Something in that range.
Stewart: There was an idea, and I think we moved a little bit away from it, that he would actually commit crimes in order to solve them to get the pickle, but as the show became its own thing we moved away from that.
What was the process of going full-on with the murder and mythology of Mr. Pickles?
Carsola: Layers upon layers. We have a backstory to Mr. Pickles that we build things upon. We sprinkle in a little here and there.
Stewart: Just hints, here and there.
Carsola: Certain episodes allude to his backstory. We use that as the foundation, a rule book for what he can and can’t do. Then we’re just continually adding to that.
Stewart: We give away a little bit here and there.
Carsola: And we’ll continue to, but just a little bit. [laughs] When the time is right.
Is that something you guys would like to release sometime in the future? Sort of a Necronomicon of Mr. Pickles mythology?
Carsola: We joke around about making a Mr. Pickles bible, yeah. I like the idea of it; if it’s something the fans really wanted, I’d be into it.
Stewart: Yeah, I think that’d be cool.
Obviously there are some ‘Lassie’ inspirations here, but what other things inspired you for the look and the idea of Mr. Pickles?
Stewart: I always like to think that the things we make fun of in Mr. Pickles are things that we really hate. There are tiny, social undertones in our show, and it’s all influenced by really everything, from the people we see outside of work—we work right next to Skid Row—to the shows that we’re currently watching or a movie that we like, so it’s all over the place.
Carsola: A lot of Mr. Pickles stories come from being inspired by movies like The Shining and Evil Dead 2, that kind of thing. A lot of episodes are inspired by movies or genres of movies; sometimes we’ll have a Western-themed movie, in Season 3 we have an episode that has a zombie kind of feel to it. Aside from the Mr. Pickles storylines, a lot of the small-town stories are inspired, for me, by experiences I had growing up in a small town in Virginia, the people you meet and the things they do.