Robotomy is an American animated television series created by Michael Buckley and Joe Deasy for Cartoon Network. The series revolves around Thrasher and Blastus, two teenage outcast robots who enter high school at their home planet Insanus. It was produced by World Leaders Entertainment in New York (in association with Cartoon Network Studios), and co-executively produced by Christy Karacas, co-creator of Superjail!.
|Directed by||Christy Karacas|
|Creative director(s)||Christy Karacas|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Cartoon Network|
|Picture format||1080i (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||October 25, 2010– January 24, 2011|
The series was the result of numerous failed pitches to the network by the creators. Production proved difficult for World Leaders, who were simultaneously working on The Venture Bros. The series premiered on October 25, 2010 on Cartoon Network. The network marketed it to an older demographic, as the channel was attempting to blend its Adult Swim brand with its primary youth demographic. It saw its finale on January 24, 2011 after ten episodes in one season, and is the shortest-running original series on the network that isn't a mini-series.
Thrasher and Blastus are two teenage robots who live on the planet of Insanus. Their planet is inhabited by murderous robots who seek to kill one another for no apparent reason. Slightly less horrific than their peers, the duo seek to make it through high school, and navigate their lives with mixed results. Thrasher (Patton Oswalt), a tall and lanky robot, wishes to gain the affections of an attractive female robot named Maimy (Jessie Cantrell). Meanwhile, Blastus (John Gemberling), a small and rotund robot, just wants to be popular. As with Blastus, unlike most robots on Insanus, he is mostly sensitive and non-criminal, much to the disapproval of his mother. In his quest to be cool, however, he is incredibly impulsive and overconfident in his abilities. Thrasher, though calm and reserved, often falls prey to Blastus' badly-thought out plans.
Other characters include various schoolmates and staff members. Weenus (Michael Sinterniklaas) is a nerdy, psychopathic robot who is even lower on the social pyramid than the protagonists. Dreadnot (Dana Snyder) is a teacher at Harry S. Apocalypse who finds joy in torturing and invoking pain into his students. Their principal, Thunderbite (also voiced by Snyder), is an oversized, skull-shaped robot who, when not causing pain, acts sweet and motherly to the students. Megawatt (also voiced by Sinterniklaas) is a spoiled rich kid who is attractive to the female robots, most of whom he blows up; to Thrasher's disdain, he is dating Maimy. Tacklebot (Roger Craig Smith), Megawatt's friend and musclehead jock, acts violent and hostile toward the protagonists.
The series was created by Michael Buckley and Joe Deasy and produced by World Leaders Entertainment in New York. It was originally created with the working title Horrorbots. The network had contacted Buckley to create a series three years prior to the broadcast of Robotomy. He asked for Deasy's help, and together they pitched five ideas, to which all were rejected. Six months later, a second wave of ideas proved equally unsuccessful. Reaching their third trial, also six months later, the two pinpointed the rejections on them thinking within the network's mindset as opposed to their own. Frustrated with the project, they submitted a rough premise of Robotomy, which was accepted, much to their surprise. Buckley described the plot as when "Superbad meets the Transformers meets WWE."
According to crew, the style of animation required a distinct set of skills, compared to another production by World Leaders, The Venture Bros. While that series was animated by the same team that did Batman: The Animated Series, Robotomy was done by the Chowder production team. In an interview, it was said that the style of the former team follows "perspective, anatomy, and real-world physics in animation", while the latter team laid its focus on "the humor of the movement and timing, squash and stretch," among other principles. Co-executive producer Christy Karacas's unique art style also proved laborious for them in that it provided "very clean polished lines" over more organic drawings. Karacas stated that the look and feel lent itself to science fiction, robotics as a whole and rock and roll. For its fictional universe, the planet of Insanus (originally called Killglobe), the production crew thought of it in unending chaos. This made way for weaponry covering the ground, a constant state of duskiness and the scarring of the land. Karacas particularly enjoyed designing and diversifying the robots in regard to their size and shape.
The show's color has been described by Karacas as a major part of the visuals; inspirations included Paul Klee and Katsuhiro Otomo, as well as the concept of fluorescence. The team wanted to create "a bold, fresh look" that reflected the universe, and so they chose to be minimal with their palette to attract attention to the line work. In addition, they eschewed the use of vivid primary colors and instead chose more secondary colors. However, they took to accentuate the scenes with "pop colors" that mimic the glow of neon lighting, and lastly they added vertical reflections to the floors and grunge textures to the backgrounds.
Broadcast and receptionEdit
Robotomy premiered on October 25, 2010 on Cartoon Network, following a new episode of Mad. A crew member from World Leaders established that the network was doing more to blend its Adult Swim brand with its primary youth demographic. The series was ultimately targeted for an older demographic than other series on the network, although it still had to be appropriate to the "broad age range." The debut broadcast was seen by 1.7 million viewers in the United States, acquiring a 0.2 Nielsen rating for adults aged 18 to 49. The season received an average of 1.5 million viewers, also with a Nielsen rating of 0.2. After ten episodes, the series concluded on January 24, 2011, making it the shortest run of any original series on the network.
Renn Brown of Cinematic Happenings Under Development noted Oswalt, a high-profile actor, as contradictory to the show's short-lived run. Will Wade of Common Sense Media gave the series a lukewarm review, finding it suitable for older teens while calling it appealing to those who struggled to gain popularity in high school. Wade called the storylines "pretty thin" and its focus on "the imagery that sells the metaphor of school as a battlefield". Aaron Simpson of Lineboil called the storylines "irreverent" and the chaos similar to Superjail!, "minus the dismembered bodies". The series was eventually added to Netflix in 2013 after the service announced a deal with Warner Bros. to include programming from Cartoon Network series, among other shows.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Prod.
|1||"Frenemy"||October 25, 2010||101||1.738|
|High schooler robots Thrasher and Blastus attempt to get friends on the social networking site "Frenemy", which leads to disastrous results when the site befriends them.
Guest star: Jack McBrayer as Frienemy
|2||"Bling Thing"||November 1, 2010||102||1.514|
|Jealous of Megawatt's upgrades and all the girls throwing themselves at him over them, Thrasher and Blastus try to earn money to get upgrades of their own by getting a job at The Maul (an arena where robots get eaten and digested by a monster), but when that does not work, they try selling their coolant for easy cash.|
|3||"No Child Left Benign"||November 8, 2010||103||1.603|
|Thrasher and Blastus feign being non-violent to join the Sunshine Group (a group of robots with faulty psycho-chips who act and are treated like mentally-challenged children) in order to avoid taking an upcoming standardized test, but soon discover that the Sunshine class is really a plot to get rid of non-violent robots.
Guest star: Kate McKinnon as Mrs. Crunshine
|4||"Playdate"||November 15, 2010||104||1.574|
|Thrasher inadvertently agrees to babysit Maimy's younger brother when he tries to impress her, and he and Blastus accidentally start a war in the process. Meanwhile, Weenus is chosen to be a part of Harry S. Apocalypse High's fireworks show.
Guest star: Gilbert Gottfried as the Tickle Me Psycho dolls
|5||"El Presidente"||November 22, 2010||105||1.283|
|After staging a violent coup, Thrasher becomes school president and his friendship with Blastus becomes strained when Maimy begins falling for Thrasher.|
|6||"Field of Screams"||November 29, 2010||106||1.456|
|Thrasher and Blastus drink a strange performance-enhancing tonic given to them by the janitor in order to become great Mutilationball players, and end up getting sent to a planet of angry blue ball creatures.|
|7||"Mean Green"||January 3, 2011||107||N/A|
|On a field trip to a forest to chop down evil trees, Thrasher befriends a talking plant who is after a highly-guarded fertilizer called SuperFudge.
:Guest stars: Lewis Black as The Gore-Ax/The Scrap Metal Spirit of Insanus and Lisa Lampanelli as The Green Spirit of Insanus
|8||"The Trials of Robocles"||January 10, 2011||108||1.259|
|Thrasher and Blastus start going through puberty and must journey to Jockstrap Island and pass the Trial of Robocles in order to become men.|
|9||"Nana's Run"||January 17, 2011||109||N/A|
|Thrasher and Blastus join a group that Maimy starts dedicated to hurling elderly robots at other planets to keep them from going nuclear on Insanus, but when one of the elderly robots turns out to be Thrasher's grandmother, Thrasher must choose between letting her go or keeping her.|
|10||"From Wretchneya with Love"||January 24, 2011||110||1.264|
|Blastus dates and nearly marries a sexy model from the planet Wretchnya, only for Thrasher to find out she is a pirate. Meanwhile, Megawatt and his parents wander the streets after believing that they are ghosts.|
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