TALKBACK: Devin Clark’s Ugly Americans

Ugly Americans

Tonight Comedy Central debuts a new animated series Ugly Americans. The show was created by New York animator Devin Clark. Here’s a short interview with him about how the show made the leap from a webseries into a TV show. The Flash-animated series was made at Augenblick Studios in Brooklyn and Cuppa Coffee in Toronto. If you’ve watched the show, please share your thoughts below.


  • Jesse

    I caught the pilot a while back and have seen clips and snippets of future episodes to come. Here’s the thing; it’s a genuinely hilarious and inventive show. The characters are likable, the voice acting is spot on, the writing (especially the authenticity it treats NYC with) is just great. The premise of the show might prove to be too esoteric for Comedy Central so we’ll just have to wait and see how the ratings go. But this is a show that deserves to be on the air and I hope it gets the nurture and support from the network that it deserves.

  • Isaac

    Jesse said it: hilarious and inventive, great characters, excellent voice acting.

  • top cat james

    It’s “Superjail” meets “Mission Hill”. What’s not to like?

  • http://www.daganm.blogspot.com Dagan

    They ran a little article/review of the show in today’s NY Daily News.

    I think it sounds fun, and certainly different! Definitely looking forward to catching this. No reason to believe that the cats at Augenblick wouldn’t do the show justice, either. They’ve been rocking for years now… all gold! :)

    Can’t wait to see this thing in motion.

  • Dock Miles

    The writing is smart, but please — the idea of NYC as Inferno/Monsterville is beyond stale. It doesn’t have to be a dead end, but ease up on the “inventive concept” stuff.

    Good potential. Some wit — wizard character is fresher than many bit players these days.

    Clark’s website shows he has bolder graphic ideas than were on display here. Hope he goes for for it, big time. Right now “Ugly Americans” is too much like a drawn special-effects sitcom.

  • amid

    Just a reminder, this is a “talkback” post. If you haven’t seen the show, don’t comment. We’ve already deleted a couple random comments from people who obviously hadn’t watched the episode.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    It had a very ADULT SWIM feel. That’s a good thing. I liked it. Quite a few Charles Burns moments. Lots of monsteriffic eye candy, worth freeze-framing to catch all the freaks. Very nice. I hope it lasts. For some reason, it reminded me of MTV’s THE HEAD series 1, but better. Solid voice work. Effectively economical animation.

  • humming

    I DID see the pilot.

    I had a hard time trying to figure out if Augenblick or Cuppa Coffee animated it. NOW I realize why my problem was so huge, because it turns out both were involved.

    So far, it’s very good. The premise does have the possibility of getting stale. They’re basically replacing elements of a humdrum life with random creatures like a Mad Libs game, but some of the jokes do land. I hope they do stuff with the fantasy elements that are consistently clever than the last episode, or it WILL become stale.

  • http://www.fortaxreasons.com Ben Levin

    As far as aesthetics goes, it looked amazing. Loved the character designs, the weird horror comic book feel in those select scenes, and all the hard shadows on backgrounds and objects.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    Plenty of flavor, visually speaking. But there sure was a lot of talking… I like the series, but on multiple occasions I felt as if the main character, Mark, had to forcibly interject, ramble for twenty seconds in order to set up the punchline, only to be foiled by the violent or perverted goings-on of others. It’s only one episode, but I am hoping the program’s eclectic designs will eventually shine brighter than all the talky-talky.

    The joke about the difference between the mock-clap and the slow-clap had me rolling though.

  • http://www.mutantchaos.com ryan

    I liked it, but most of the writing was reliant on the weird quirks of all the monsters and things living in NYC. Futurama makes the same kind of jokes but has alot of other valuable content; I’d be interested to see where they take the concept, but the preview of the season looks like more of the same.

  • http://subrosa-rosamundi.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Dargie

    I did a test for this show at CuppaCoffee. Therefore, I got to see the pilot….twice. I think they changed the demon girl character’s personality. She didn’t seem like such an airhead/valley girl. I thought she was more like a seductress/ femme fatale….but then again, this was several months ago.
    They wanted the show done using an old version of Macromedia Flash, using it more just to vectorize the drawings….and still animate it traditionally, frame by frame, as opposed to swapping symbols from a library. This threw a lot of people out of their Flash animating comfort zone, and many people who came in to do the test walked out. (I think, in my case, they just felt I was too slow. I hadn’t touched Flash in a few years and was very rusty.)
    I’m really glad to see it IS airing! I really wanted to work on it because I thought the characters were a lot of fun and the idea reminded me of a comic book series I used to collect called “Roachmill” by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney.

  • http://subrosa-rosamundi.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Dargie

    Oops! Wrong demon girl! I was comparing her to the one in the “Demons on the Environment” clip that was posted with the Devin Clark interview.

  • AlexB

    I enjoyed it, overall. It was a solid pilot. I think every comment here (including mine) should be taken with a grain of salt, because pilots often don’t measure up to the potential a series has a few episodes (or even seasons) down the road. Characters always come off as pretty one-dimensional in the first episode because they’re establishing everyone’s personality and place in the world. Compare the first half season of Futurama to seasons two and three…it’s practically a different show.

    I think that was the episode’s biggest fault, but since this is so normal for a pilot, I’m not concerned. The animation was really pretty good, and I look forward to seeing more, and seeing the characters fleshed out a bit.

  • Bob Harper

    I enjoyed it. It’s great to see some imagination go into the adult sitcom animated fomula, making it different yet familiar to more mainstream audiences. Cool designs and the animation was well suited for the material. It has a neat graphic novel vibe going for it.

  • VGREER

    I liked it, but I was hoping at least one redeemable character would have showed up. Everyone seemed like such a jerk.

  • http://powpowcomics.com Brooks Michael Williams

    The folks I was with and I both agreed that this pilot was billions of times better than the South Park that premiered before it.

    I love Augenblick Studios, and as a huge fan of both their Wonder Showzen work and Superjail, I can see Ugly Americans becoming yet another must-see show on my schedule. I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate what these guys bring to the table. Fantastic stuff.

    That being said this had the feel of something Comedy Central would air for a season and then can when nobody was looking. I’d hate to see that happen (especially since it looks like they’re trying to build a solid animation block on their network) but that’s how it felt. :/

  • http://www.sweetposer.tk/urbmn/ Cameron A.

    I’ve seen a screener of the first episode, as Canada’s Comedy Network is pairing this show with South Park on Sunday.

    I liked Ugly Americans, although it’s a bit too much like Futurama at this point. Nice to see I’m not the only person who noticed that. The voiceover work is fairly well-done, although I don’t like Matt Oberg as Mark Lilly. Mark’s a bit too dull to identify with, and the VO doesn’t help matters.

  • pappy d

    This show has great potential. The designs are brilliant & the monster gags just keep on coming.

    I kept waiting for him to do something with the NYC-as-Monsterville premise, which just gently pokes fun at the PC virtue of racial & religious tolerance. I kept hoping it would rise to parody of modern city life, but it seemed content to be a parody of TV sitcom formula.

  • Alberto

    I’m sorry but when i saw the trailer it looked really stupid. All my friends think it looks great, reminding me once again that i need new friends.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalGagBonkers OriginalGagBonkers

    Just finished watching it since I have comast on-demand The animation is great, but however the show itself its not much to look at. The character designs look like something that we have already seen before, therefore not coming up with something good with the humor. I thought this was to be the next Superjail, but instead its just a bunch of stuff mixed together trying to entertain anyone who would be dumb enough to watch this show.

    This is why I never watch cartoons today, they are not as good. And most of them are made by people who dont even know how to make cartoons.

  • Jed G Martinez

    The diversity of monsters in “Ugly Americans” is nothing short of incredible – even incidental characters that appear for just two seconds on the screen (like that werewolf embracing a squid in the park).

    The character ‘Mark Lilly’ sort of reminded me of ‘Fry’ from “Futurama”. He can be a bit naive at the time, but he’s a lot more responsible in his actions – even if they don’t work out in his favor. On the other hand, if he wasn’t manipulated by all those corrupt authority figures (and his demon girlfriend), this show would make outtakes from “Night of the Living Dead” seem like a laugh riot!

    I can’t wait for Episode Two! :D

  • Lucky Jim

    I really liked the first episode; it had a nice low-key sensibility that contrasted well with the bizarre goings-ons There’s definitely a lot of potential for something really special.

    The best part of the show though is the design work by Augenblick Studios. Those guys always go the extra mile, and they’ve created some really appealing and fun stuff in this series. It’s rare for an adult animated show to show to just be fun to look at, and this show delivers in spades.

  • Inkan1969

    It’s like an R-rated “American Dragon: Jake Long” :-)

    Some of the character designs for the monsters were imaginative. But everyone just stands around, stiff as a board. Stills of this show look impressive, but the animation is lifeless.

    For the first few minutes, I was confused. Why on Earth is NYC overrun with monsters? It took me a long while to figure out, “Oh, I get it. The monsters are metaphors for immigrants”. Well, actually, I still felt a little confused in that there still were human immigrants as well as monster immigrants.

    I didn’t like the characters. They’re mostly one dimemsional caricatures that pound you over the head with the show’s points about unjust treatment of immigrants. The lead character came off as sanctimonious. They did try to give him some dimension by giving him the flaw of stupidly sleeping with his boss. But it wasn’t enough to identify with him.

    I was lukewarm to the pilot. It was OK, but I don’t really want to spend a half hour every week with this cast.

  • Makinita

    man that show is super awesome love it got me hooked from the start cant wait for more

  • http://jackcusumano.wordpress.com jack

    I have to say, I was shocked at the fact that it was quite funny and enjoyable. Someone above said “Superjail meets Mission Hill,” and that’s a pretty good description of both the visual style and humor. I’ve seen so many awful, unfunny shows come and go at Comedy Central, including cartoons (I’m looking at you, Drawn Together), but this one actually looks like a keeper.

    Not perfect – there were a few jokes that flirted dangerously with CC’s typicall brand of frat-boy humor (although they worked better/were more creative than usual) – but overall much better than expected, and it was only the pilot. Most likely it will only get better from here on out.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Terrific stuff.
    I loved it.
    I thought it was a lot like Futurama (another show Comedy Central has picked up).
    I mean this in a good way – I love Futurama.

  • http://[email protected] Joseph

    It was good, wasn’t expecting much really, looked to me like a mix of Super Jail with some Futurama humor. Liked the wizard a lot and the zombie friend (didn’t catch the name), great concept and very good flash animation. Hope it sticks for some seasons.

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    I’ve seen the first and second episodes 2 or 3 times and I think it has a lot of potential. It’s certainly an interesting concept.

    It’s very Adult Swim-y but with better animation and smarter writing — the receipt of the latter could work against it though unfortunately. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was cancelled and the first season DVD became a cult hit.

  • http://myspace.com/thechristianpunkband Bill Turner

    It reminds me of mission hill! But much better, very neat animation and hilarious writing. New favourite for sure!

  • http://tigeroovy.blogspot.com/ Tiger Bauer

    Just wonderful, The main characters are very likable, and all of the secondary characters you may only see in one scene in one episode are great. There’s just so much happening in the city behind the main action.
    I’ve seen the four episodes out so far and I want a hundred more at LEAST!
    I’ll certainly be buying the DVD when it comes out.
    The line from episode 4 after Mark pulls out a grapefruit sized clump of hair from the kitchen sink and says “…There’s enough hair here for a.. 70′s Porno” had me laughing a great deal.

  • Isaac

    After five episodes, I can say my initial enthusiasm was unmerited. The show just plods along, throwing a joke here and there, but overall there’s a sense that nothing is happening. Too bad, they could have gone crazy like Superjail, but for the most part it’s a less-clever version of The Office.

  • tony

    I have seen all the first season episodes and loved it all. I do not even care for all the sex and gore. The writers do not even need to work very hard. They could pull a Scott Adams and talk to real social workers about what goes on. I know a school teacher who worked with disabled children. Her horror stories would fit in the ugly americans universe with almost no changes made.

  • lupe

    I LOVE THIS SHOW IS VERY FUNNY AND INTERTAINING
    I JUST LOVE IT

  • Zach

    First, just to respond to those who said this show is a lot like Futurama; I watched the entire first season and while there is a lingering aftertaste of Futurama in some of the humor it seems to be more centered around Mark Lilly the sensible if naive idealist with low self esteem, versus Fry the anything but sensible, always naive pessimist with an artificially inflated self worth. I still love Futurama, but I actually think I like this show better. There is a lot of potential for a protagonist like Mark, especially when he’s so busy being berated by the same kinds of idiots that the rest of us deal with on a daily basis (even if they are a little exaggerated).

    Randall and Leonard however are really what make this show for me. Randall reminds me all too well of that do nothing know nothing type of guy a lot of us have had to be roomies with at some point or another, while Leonard is more of the kind of guy who gets by at work or school with little or no effort, and rubs your nose in it day in and day out. I just hope they can make it another season, and hopefully comedy central won’t cut this one before the writers really get the hang of what they are doing here. Solid work so far I think in terms of character interaction and dialog, but some episodes do feel like they drag on for a few minutes too long, and some of Marks rants are just kind of boring.