At this point, about 24 hours after "Too Many Cooks" went viral, somebody has probably told you to watch the 11-minute Adult Swim short that original aired at 4 a.m, and if you've seen it, you know exactly how wonderfully weird it is.
The '80s sitcom send-up comes from the mind of Casper Kelly, creator of the Adult Swim show "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell" and writer on "Squidbillies." I spoke with Kelly today (November 11), and he walked me through the making of his instant classic short.
The theme song was surprising difficult to make.
That song playing on repeat in your head was the combined effort of three people. Kelly wrote the lyrics. Michael Kohler started work on the sitcom music, but then Shawn Coleman took over for the shifting genre parts. "It was a very difficult process of back and forth," Kelly said.
It also made people angry at Adult Swim.
One listen through will lodge the song in your head, but imagine editing the thing. "I really had to be mindful of the editing bays around us because the walls are not as well insulated as they should be," Kelly said. "I'm sure I was pissing some people off watching this over and over."
"Too Many Cooks" is precisely timed to mess with you.
Kelly explained that the hardest part of making "Too Many Cooks" was "manipulating the audience's expectations and reactions the right amount. Messing with them the right amount. I love that kind of comedy, but it was new for me. Can we repeat Wonder Woman spinning for 30 seconds awkwardly? Does that work?"
Kelly never expected anyone to find the hidden jokes.
William the killer first appears 29 seconds into "Too Many Cooks," but Kelly thought people wouldn't notice. He even considered adding arrows or highlighting to make it more obvious."I'm like, 'Nobody is going to watch it twice.'"
The anthropomorphized chyrons needed some tweaking.
The scene where the credits become people and the people become credits was something Kelly came up with at the last minute, and some people at Adult Swim didn't understand the first take on it.
"We just had the words sideways, and no one understood what it was. They just thought they were getting impaled or something," Kelly said. "We had to give the credit people arms and a head turn, so that people would get the idea that it's a reverse."
Smarf was custom made for the shoot.
The puppet say survives William and pushes that big red button was the work of Shane Morton and Chris Brown, who guys would work with Kelly on "Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell." Unfortunately, Smarf was too bloody by the end of the shoot to save.
But the Lizard Man was borrowed.
Morton and Brown just had one lying around.
Around 80 extras appear in the short, and many use their real names.
With the budget so tight, the production couldn't afford to hire actors, so most of the people in "Too Many Cooks" are background actors who were just excited to get a screen credit.
Most of the work was done after hours.
"Too Many Cooks" aired in a timeslot usually served for low-budget fake infomercials. Even though it had a much bigger scope, the budget remained the same. "It was a lot of stealing from Peter to pay Paul," Kelly said. "I would just have to work late. You get obsessed with it, and you spend too much time on it."
There might be more shorts on the way.
After the success of "Too Many Cooks," Adult Swim asked Kelly to prepare more pitches for the 4 a.m. slot.
Kelly's game to work on "Star Wars: Episode VIII."
Among the early fans of "Too Many Cooks" were Edgar Wright and "Star Wars" director Rian Johnson, and Kelly wouldn't mind getting a phone call from either. "Rian Johnson followed me on Twitter," Kelly said. "I wanted to say, "If you need any punch up on 'Star Wars,' I'm available. I'll move some stuff around for you.' "