Robot Chicken. Apart from its title, opening sequence and some recurring characters, there is really not much about robots in the popular stop motion animated series. The show, created and executively produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich with co-writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root, focuses on mocking pop culture conventions and both old and popular fads, usually in film, cartoons and television. Stop motion animation of toys, action figures and claymation are used in the sketches, with the voicing usually done by Seth Green himself, and other known actors.
The name “Robot Chicken” itself was taken from a menu at a Chinese restaurant called Kung Pao Bistro, where Green and Senreich had once dined; the series was originally intended to be called “Junk in the Trunk.” The only real reference to this chicken happens in the opening sequence, where a road-killed chicken is plucked from the streets by a mad scientist. It turns out the scientist wants to turn the chicken into a robot and so takes it to his laboratory. The chicken is strapped into a chair and, using calipers, is forced to watch a wall of television monitors. Midway through the sequence, the chicken becomes a cyborg, and looks at the camera with a creepy, laser eye. In the background, screams of “It's alive!” can be heard in typical mad scientist fashion.
The show does occasionally feature famous robot characters like R2D2 and C3PO (This show has done several Star Wars parodies),Voltron and the Transformers. Sketches often involve placing fictional characters in realistic and mundane situations, such as Optimus Prime performing a prostate cancer PSA. But other than that, the titular chicken hardly appears in the show’s 11- minute runtime. Other popular film, animation, tv and video game references that have appeared on the show are the Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Frankenstein, Final Fantasy, the A- team, Harrison Ford, Thundercats, Dragon Ball Z, Nattlestar Galactica, Santa Claus, Space Invaders, Michael Jackson, the Kraken sea monster, and the list goes on.
Produced by Stoopid Monkey, ShadowMachine Films, Williams Street, Fuzzy Door Productions, and Sony Pictures Digital, the show first came out in February of 2005 as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim shows. It will run on its fifth season by next year, with an hour-long Star Wars special scheduled to air on December 19, 2010 and another Christmas Special on December 12th, 2010. So far, every season finale has ended with an announcement saying that the show was canceled," although it never really happens. In fact, since 2007, “Robot Chicken” has remained the highest rated original show on Adult Swim and the second highest on the network . Also, the series has been Emmy-nominated as Outstanding Animated Program for the last two years, Green was nominated for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance and the series has won several Emmys in Animation. All in all, not bad for a cyborg chicken.