Days of Big Hair Past

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Fdelves deep into the most ex­treme styles of the 1980s in search of laughs. By Karen Idel­son.

or those who’ve been miss­ing the sex, violence and shoul­der pads of the 1980s, Com­edy Cen­tral’s new an­i­mated se­ries Moon­beam City might just be the salve that soothes a beast that is likely to be hun­gry like the wolf (yes, we went there).

Cre­ated and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Scott Gaird­ner ( Co­nan, Funny or Die), the gritty cop show fea­tures Daz­zle No­vak (voiced by ’80s heart­throb Rob Lowe, also a co-pro­ducer on the show) in a par­ody of a time pe­riod beloved for its over-the-top aes­thet­ics and sen­si­bil­i­ties.

“I really have a love for ’ 80s shows like Knight Rider that do things like have act breaks where they freeze the frame and the theme song comes in,” says Gaird­ner. “It’s like say­ing, ‘We’re not just go­ing to com­mer­cial, we’re leav­ing you hang­ing by a thread!’”

When putting to­gether Moon­beam City — which also bor­rows from crime dra­mas like Miami Vice on the way to get­ting its laughs — Gaird­ner wanted ac­tors who could give a Naked Gun level of com­mit­ment to their roles, even in the face of silli­ness. And Lowe was the cre­ator’s first choice for the No­vak role.

“Rob Lowe has the abil­ity to be se­ri­ous in a comedic role and hi­lar­i­ous in a se­ri­ous role like his work in Be­hind the Can­de­labra,” says Gaird­ner. “He can walk that fine line be­tween two worlds.”

Pro­duced by Olive Bridge En­ter­tain­ment and hav­ing pre­miered Sept. 16, the show also fea­tures the vo­cal tal­ents of Will Forte, who plays Rad Cun­ning­ham, an an­noy­ing ri­val to Daz­zle who ac­tively plans the cop’s demise. There’s also El­iz­a­beth Banks as Piz­zaz Miller, a sexed-up, bighaired chief of po­lice who comes off as some­thing right out of a Robert Palmer video. Fi­nally, there’s the long-suf­fer­ing Chrysalis Tate (voiced by Kate Mara) who must watch the id­i­otic Daz­zle and Piz­zaz fum­ble along while she des­per­ately tries to clean up the messes they make.

Gaird­ner turned to Tit­mouse when look­ing for an an­i­ma­tion stu­dio to bring his neon vi­sions to life. As veter­ans of pro­grams like The Ven­ture Bros., the pro­ducer had a sense the stu­dio could bring bold choices to the show, which fea­tures a char­ac­ter look clearly in­spired by the Pa­trick Nagel prints which can­vassed the world for the bet­ter part of a decade.

“The cra­zi­est de­sign minds are in that stu­dio,” says Gaird­ner, of the work they did us­ing Flash and Af­ter Ef­fects. “They made it way more beau­ti­ful than I thought it could be.”

An­other bonus in work­ing with Tit­mouse was dis­cov­er­ing the com­pany’s in-house band, Night Club, which sup­plied the unique mix of mu­sic in­spired by Toto, Asia and For­eigner for Moon­beam City. Their un­usual take on the synth pop adult con­tem­po­rary sound is most promi­nently dis­played un­der­wa­ter dur­ing the fourth episode of the se­ries, “Quest for Aquat­ica.” [

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