When it was announced that Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans would not be returning for a third season, the show’s creator Devin Clark did not waste any time in launching his new animated series, Instant Life Lessons with Dr. Dewey Pfister. But rather than shooting for another network show, he sidestepped the corporate groupthink and idea-crushing bureaucracy in favor of a “less cooks in the kitchen” indie webseries. “It is pretty fantastic having that much control over something,” Clark told Cartoon Brew. “For me, apparently, it means lots of animated child abuse and poop jokes.”
Produced for the YouTube channel Official Comedy, Instant Life Lessons is an “educational” animated series that provides absurd “one size fits all” guidance from the socially inept Dr. Dewey Pfister and his hapless son. “He genuinely wants to help people,” explains Clark, “but in an effort to make his lessons simple and easily consumed, he has boiled them down into nonsense. Also his world view is a bit insane and he is a terrible person.”
Factoring in that Ugly Americans began as an online collection of shorts called 5ON, Clark has experience with both large and small productions and can safely advise that while talent and a strong idea are important to selling a show, people often forget about how much luck factors into the equation. “If you aren’t pitching the right concept to the right network at the right moment when they are looking for exactly what you are selling, the chances of it getting made are slim to none,” he said. Fortunately, a new group of YouTube channel producers, as well as companies like Netflix and Amazon, are actively seeking animation content, providing a slate of new options to those who are developing their own series.
The first three episodes of Clark’s Instant Life Lessons with Dewey Pfister and an eight-part behind-the-scenes video series are currently available on the Official Comedy YouTube channel.