The Squidbillies is an animated series loosely based on the failed dramatic series "The Squablies" which aired on Fox Network in the late 90's. The Squablies was projected to be the greatest prime time series since Highway to Heaven. The show was canceled after only one season sighting contract disputes with it's star studded cast as the primary reason.
Resurrection of the Series[edit | edit source]
Sometime in late 2003 rumors flew that the show would be given new life and reformatted as a comedy. The rumors died when several of the cast refused to ever work with Courtney Love again, fearing her rampant transmission of deadly STD's. In 2005, Fox sold the intellectual rights to the show to The Cartoon Network, who had plans to make it into an animated series. In the fall of 2005, the first episode of the Squidbillies Animated Super Happy Fun Time Show aired on Adult Swim. It released to mixed reviews, the main complaint being that no one could remember the name of the show. For the second episode the show was renamed to the Squidbillies to help with the confusion.
The Premise[edit | edit source]
The series actually followed two premises, the Fox Network dramatic version, and the Adult Swim comedic version. While Adult Swim mirrored the Fox model for the show closely, the contrasts are stark enough to warrant explaining both in their own rights.
Dramatic Premise[edit | edit source]
The Fox series The Squablies followed the Cuyler family, an Every Town, USA family struggling with hard hitting issues that affect all Americans. Set in Atlanta, Georgia the show was hailed as a brilliant work of social commentary. In the first episode, entitled "Rusty Nuts", the youngest Cuyler, Rusty (portrayed by Seth Green), learns that he has testicular cancer. The twist was that the cancer was caused by radioactive waste being dumped into a nearby lake by the large company, D.H. Allen Incorporated that his father, Early (portrayed by Charlton Heston) was C.E.O. of. The tear jerking episode ended with his father forced to decide between his career or the health of his child. The episode earned Charlton Heston an Emmy Nomination for -- "Best overacting in a drama by someone not in a B-movie." Along with cancer, tough issues such as Bestiality, broken condoms, flat tires, and long wait times at the DMV were all tackled. In the series final episode, Lilly (portrayed by Courtney Love) learns she has Herpes type I,II,III, and IV, Gonorrhea, Aids, Syphilis, and an as of yet unnamed STD. Love was hailed throughout the media for her amazingly realistic portrayal of a woman struggling with finding out she has STD's. In an interview with TMZ, Love was asked how she was able to turn in such an astounding performance. Love replied that the camera crew had actually followed her to her Gynecologist visit and recorded the entire thing. When it was discovered that the writing staff spent 2 weeks paying hookers to act out various episodes of "Seinfeld, the X-Rated version" instead of writing a script, the producers decided to use the footage from Love's doctor visit as the final episode.“It was originally meant to be a sex tape I was going to sell on the Internet so I could get some quick cash to score some crack”
~ Courtney Love on the last episode of the Squablies
Animated Premise[edit | edit source]
When Adult Swim obtained the rights to the show, they knew that taking the series in a comedy direction would take immense writing skill. The Network's first hire for the new project was series head writer Bruce Valance. Bruce only agreed to do the series if he could have a monkey in a drug induced haze on his writing staff. The Network reluctantly agreed, and Valance went to work creating a comedy out of the critically acclaimed drama. Valances first move was to scrap the original idea to follow the successful format of an animated series set by shows like The Family Guy and The Critic, instead opting to make the characters non-human. In an amazing leap of logic, Valance settled on Squids as the character templates. According to an interview conducted shortly before his death, Valance explained "...So there I was, throwing apricots at my Monkey friend Skippy, who was coming off a heroin high, sitting in the corner beating his monkey balls something fierce, because that's how I get all my great ideas, when suddenly it hit me. I was trying to think of how I could separate our show from everyone else when I realized that the original series title, (Squablies), sounds a hell of a lot like Squidbillies. That's how I got the name and character style. I said to myself, extremely thin sexy man, that's what I like to refer to myself as, you are a fucking genius."
Valance kept the character names from the original series and opted to move them to a shack in Dougal County, Georgia. With the premise in place, the only thing left was to write the pilot script. Leaning heavily on his trusty sidekick Skippy, the drug crazed monkey, Valance was able to write the first episode entitled, "This Show is Called Squidbillies Animated Super Happy Fun Time Show". The episode was well received other than the ridiculous name which would later be shortened to Squidbillies.
Characters[edit | edit source]
The characters are at the heart of the success of the animated series. According to Valance ..."We found some kid at Sea World to do the original concept art. He was one of those guys that do the funny drawings of people with huge heads and little bodies. You know the ones. Anyways, I give this kid fifty bucks and a picture of the original cast of the Squablies and I tell him that I want him to draw these people, only make them into Squids. I actually had no idea how the kids drawings turned out because I spent most of the day dropping Ecstasy with Skippy. Anyways, I take the drawings back to the studio and through some sort of voodoo magic we ended up with the characters you see in the show."
However they were originally designed, the characters managed to retain striking similarities to their real world counterparts. Below are photos of the characters, both the real life and animated versions.
Main Characters[edit | edit source]
Early Cuyler[edit | edit source]“Son, there's every chance in the world I was drunk when I said that. ”
~ Early Cuyler to Rusty
Early Cuyler is the Patriarch of the Cuyler family. He is the primary bread winner and seems to have final say in all major family decisions in both the dramatic and animated series. In The Squablies, Early (played by Charlton Heston) was portrayed as a loving father and a successful business man. As the C.E.O. of D.H. Allen Industries, Early handled many difficult situations with tact and wisdom. He also was a pillar of strength for his family as they faced the many struggles the series delivered.
In stark contrast, the animated series portrays Early as a gun toting, quick tempered, psychopath, determined to raise hell wherever he goes. Early usually gets himself prepped for a night out by consuming party liquor, which is industrial grade paint thinner, pine cone liquor, or huffing large quantities of paint. He is often physically violent to the other members of his family, his favorite target of abuse being Granny. Bruce Valance noted that the change was Skippy's idea because Skippy likes to "Party,get high, and fight." Naturally Skippy allowed his own persona to leak into his creation.
Early's hobbies consist of Mudding, hunting, and robbing the local convenience store. When he's not hatching a crazy get rich quick scheme, Early can be found working as the C.E.O. of Dan Halen Industries or cruising in his Truck-Boat-Truck.
Russell Jesse James Kenny the gambler Rogers #3 the intimidator Dale Earnhardt America's Number 1 Cuyler (Rusty)[edit | edit source]“Ain't nuthin gonna stop me now but my innate inabilitree to progress cognatious thunk.”
~ Rusty Cuyler after receiving his Congraduate diploma
Rusty is the youngest of the Cuyler family. In the Squablies, he was the All American boy. Captain of the Scrabble Team, Straight A student, and not gay. Everything a parent could want. Often facing difficult decisions that any teen would face, Rusty used his highly developed intellect to solve complex problems throughout the run of the series.
On the Squidbillies, Rusty is lacking any type of formal education, Rusty often turns to his father, Early, to teach him the things any teenage boy needs to know. Unfortunately, Early is usually high on some backwoods substance whenever he attempts to teach Rusty anything and the results are usually disastrous.
Rusty is the offspring of Early and Krystal, a recurring character. Early was in jail when Rusty was born and Krystal attempted to abort, but being the lazy fat ass she is, she never got around to it. Instead she sent the child to live with his aunt Lil. Rusty earned his keep by working in his aunt Lil's hair salon. After using crystal meth to shampoo the Sheriff's hair, Rusty is sent to live with his Granny.
Rusty at times shows that he can be the voice of reason but generally reverts to some form of idiocy, presumably in an attempt to impress his father.
Rusty is often the subject of severe beatings at the hands of Early in order to teach him to be a man.
Granny[edit | edit source]“When Jesus was president he ate babies all the time. ”
Granny was played by Estelle Getty on The Squablies and was often the nurturer of the Cuyler family. After surviving multiple strokes, Granny lost most of the strength in her left leg, forcing her to use a walker to get around. (Although for one episode she did get a Hoveround. You know those stupid little things that fat and old people drive around. Kind of like the things you see at the grocery stores. Those things are hilarious.) Anyways, Granny could best be described as the heart of the Cuyler family. Even after her forty first stroke she was able to encourage her son Early to give up a life of alcohol and focus on his family.
In the Squidbillies, Granny retains her walker. That does not prevent her from being a world class whore. She offers herself up to any manish creature thing that comes within two miles of the family shack. Deeply religious, she often relies on Jesus to get her through tough times. Unfortunately for Granny, Jesus apparently hates her.
Early often reserves the most severe beatings for Granny. Often times, Early attempts to sell Granny, (or parts of her), for monetary gain.
Lil Cuyler[edit | edit source]“Well, y'all need me, I'll be putting pictures of my ass on the internet.”
~ Lil Cuyler
Lilly is the troubled aunt of the Cuyler family. Portrayed by Courtney Love on The Squablies, Lilly was often involved in drugs and sex. Lilly operates a small hair salon which acts as a front for her crystal meth lab. She has so many STD's that doctors are still working on naming over twenty of them. Courtney Love won several awards for her portrayal of Lilly during the Series' run. Noted television Critic Guy LaDouche gave Love her most glowing compliment when he said "... Courtney is a natural fit to play a disease riddled, drug addicted, whore. It comes so effortlessly to her it's uncanny."
Many people believe that the writing on The Squablies had a major hand in Love's ability to carry out the part of Lilly. When asked how he set out to write Lilly's scenes in a manner Courtney Love could portray so convincingly on screen, head Squablies writer Tony Chunk stated "...Lilly wasn't even part of the show originally. We were right in the middle of shooting the first episode when Courtney Love comes stumbling onto the set, throws up everywhere, and passes out on a beanbag in the corner. We spent four days trying to get her to leave, but she just kept saying she had nowhere else to go. So, we just wrote her into the show as aunt Lilly. Hell, I don't even think she got paid a dime for being on the show. We did allow her to use the set to sleep off her multiple drug binges though. So there was that. We drew the line when she wanted to use the set for a Tijuana style donkey show though. You have to set boundaries."
The character Lil on Squidbillies is eerily similar to Aunt Lilly. When asked why Lil was the only character that stayed true to the original Squablies mold, head writer Bruce Valance said "...You try getting a cracked out monkey to come up with twenty different characters. Besides, Lil is the easiest character to write parts for. We just follow Courtney Love around for an hour and, Presto! We got Lil's part for the next four episodes."
Recurring Characters[edit | edit source]
Sheriff[edit | edit source]“Howdy, y'all. Guess who I just apprehended in town. A dozen of my mama's gingerbread men shaped just like yours truly. Mmm-mmmm they're good!”
The original Sheriff character on The Squablies was played by Magnum P.I. himself. While not a very frequent character on the series, when he did show up, the sheriff usually had an important life lesson to relay to the Cuyler family. In one episode, the sheriff comes by the Cuyler residence looking for aunt Lilly. He tells Rusty he is there to bring her in for Manufacturing with the Intent to distribute. After finding aunt Lilly passed out in a ditch later in the episode, sheriff lets her go after having his way with her lifeless body. When asked about what the steamy scene with Courtney Love was like, Selleck allegedly said, ".... That was totally ad-libbed. She (Love) was actually supposed to be awake in the script, but she was passed out cold after taking a handful of Xanex. So, trying to roll with it, I said to myself, your not getting any younger Tom, time to lower your standards. To be fair, I thought she was dead at the time. If I would've know Courtney was still alive, I would have used a stunt double or something."
The sheriff character on the Squidbillies is.... well, an idiot. World class. He appears to be suffering from all three major forms of mental retardation on the show. He really doesn't provide any substance to the show other than being the occasional object of Granny's advances or the target of one of Early's glue huffing induced tirades.
Dan Halen[edit | edit source]“Erupt into a Bev-Rage this summer with "Glug"! That's the slogan. We'll add the word "Dawg" for the blacks. They like that word, like they're friends with the product.”
~ Dan Halen
Dan Halen (played by Danny Devito on The Squablies) is the owner and president of Dan Halen industries. He is the richest man in all of Dougal County. He is also the only character that Early has yet to deliver a beating to. He spends almost every waking moment coming up with a new scheme to squeeze every last penny out of the poor citizens of Dougal County.
Some stunts he has pulled include:
- Inventing a black hole creating machine in order to dispose of a dead hooker.
- Creating the "Ice Wind" body spray that melts the flesh off of anyone it touches.
- Creator of the Baby death trap and Glug.
- Genetically engineered a race of mutant chickens that have twelve wings in order to mass produce barbecue chicken wings.
Krystal[edit | edit source]“Well, then there's one of me. Here's one of them what you call 'em Glamour Shots what have you. Whaddaya know, there's me. No, that's a bus.”
~ Krystal showing the family photo album to Rusty
Krystal is the Dougal County whore. Everyone, literally everyone, has had a go with Krystal. She is also Rusty's mother. Early attempted to make an honest woman out of her at one point by marrying her. The marriage was short lived however. The couple split up the day after their wedding after Early came home to find Crystal giving it up to all the members of the band .38 Special simultaneously.
Krystal was played by Kirstie Alley on The Squablies. She is extremely lazy, so much so, that Dougal County declared her a landmark and a plaque was placed next to her declaring her the "largest outdoor shut-in in all of Georgia. Krystal lives on a mattress in the Dougal County dump. Not much is known about her other than she really likes to drink Diet Mist. That, and she's a huge whore. Did we mention that? 'Cuz she is. A whore. Seriously.
Awards and Nominations[edit | edit source]
The Squidbillies was nominated for an Emmy in the category -- "Show Most Enjoyed by Stoners that comes on after 11pm. Eastern Standard Time. On Adult Swim. That isn't Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Or Robot Chicken"
The Squidbillies was given the Richard Petty Race for Education award for -- "Raising awareness of the state of the education system in Georgia"
Controversy[edit | edit source]
The state of Georgia has passed legislation to boycott the Squidbillies for portraying their great state in a negative light. When asked about the pending boycott Bruce Valance proclaimed -- "Who gives a flying fuck! Does Georgia even have television? Those morons in Georgia can't even spell legislation. Seriously. They sent us a letter about what they were planning and misspelled like ninety percent of it. Oh, and it was written in crayon. What a joke."
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Early's ride, the Truck-Boat-Truck, is based on an actual vehicle. Check it out!
- Skippy the writing monkey has overdosed 41 times, died 11 times, and consumes almost 14 pounds of cocaine daily.
- Brittney Spears filed a lawsuit, claiming the character Lil was based on her life. She lost in court when the legal team for the Squidbillies presented Courtney Love as exhibits A-F.
- The unknown Hinson is the voice of Early Cuyler and possibly the coolest son of a bitch to ever walk the face of the earth.