David Hornsby discusses his new FX animated series Unsupervised, debuting Thursday, January 19 at 10:30 PM ET
FX will roll out the new comedy series Unsupervised with its Season 1 premiere Thursday, January 19 at 10:30 PM ET, directly following the Season 3 premiere of Archer. David Hornsby co-created this animated show along with fellow It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia writer/producers Scott Marder and Rob Rosell. David Hornsby, who also plays Cricket on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and voices Joel in Unsupervised, recently held a conference call to discuss Season 1 of Unsupervised. Here's what he had to say below.
I want to know what are you looking forward to most with the unveiling of this new original animated series?
David Hornsby: I think we're just excited. I work with Rob Rosell and Scott Marder. We all worked on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and branched off to do this project. I think we're just excited. We feel like this show has a really unique point of view, coupled with the type of humor that I think people enjoy from It's Always Sunny, but different enough to where it feels like this has a real unique point of view to the show. So we're all excited to show it's about two kids, these high school kids who are very optimistic and earnest freshmen in a very bleak world. And they have a very bleak living situation in the sense that neither of them have parents. My character has, he's the kid that's a 15 year old with 65 year old parents and I feel like everyone has that person from their high school. And Justin Long's character, Gary, his father ran off and left him with a step-mom who does not want a child. So they have these very bleak circumstances and yet, they're very optimistic, so that point of view in the show paired with a very bleak world, we just think it makes for a great show. We're really excited, I think, for people to see that because it does feel different to us.
I want to comment on that about not having any parents. I think that it's a fresh and original touch because you're basically dealing with the family situation and the dynamics of what's going on today, so I really want to say good job, way to go, and I can't wait, so thank you.
David Hornsby: Oh, thanks, yes. We see them as the children left behind and there are unfortunately plenty of those. So we feel like we're trying to reflect as much as we can, not only the real high school experience, but also the reality of what the world is like and how people have to navigate it on their own, even if you're 14 or 15.
How does it feel to be animated? Are you really excited? What did you hope to get from that?
David Hornsby: It's really fun. It's a completely new thing for all of us. I actually draw the characters as well, so that for me is a really exciting in terms of having in them a show, it's something that I've always done, but never been able to share, because I'm not a professional artist. So for me it makes it even more exciting to-I basically design the characters, all the characters and then send them to Floyd County, who does the production. They're in Georgia and they do Archer as well. It has its own set of limitations as well. You think it's animated, we can do whatever we want, but you still have to worry about sets and all that adds up. But it's really exciting for all of us and I have to say it's mostly been a learning curve, as it's our first animated show. But I would say in terms of the animation side of it, we write it just like we write Sunny in that we approach it like it's not animated. We just approach it as breaking good stories and writing the best comedy. It's very character driven comedy.
I have to say that a show like yours and FX is a perfect marriage. It seems like they're made for each other. Did you feel that way when you were shopping it around?
David Hornsby: Well, actually, we didn't really shop it around. Myself and Rob Rosell and Scott Marder, again who work on Sunny, this show came out of, in a sense, a room bit where the three of us were always joking around about these sort of characters. And so we started realizing like we have these characters with very strong points of view and whenever you have that feeling of strong point of view from a character in the back of your mind, that is a flag of this could be something. And so we went to FX, who know us very well at this point. I've just been there for so long that we said we have this idea for a show. What do you guys think? And they said that's almost exactly what we're looking for. We want something that feels like it could appeal that Sunny crowd, but almost even skew younger if we want, almost like a Superbad in a way, so for whatever reason, it is what it was.
So have you always been a fan of animation? Has that always been your first love?
David Hornsby: Not necessarily. I've always drawn, for example, and I did consider when I was younger, it was either do I become an actor or do I become an animator cartoonist at that point. Do I work at Disneyworld or something and do animated cells or something? But I've always loved animation, but it's not like it's been some priority of mine and I've always said I want to make an animated comedy some day. I think you're always trying to challenge yourself to do new things and not repeat yourself. And so this was a way to be able to do something different and see how that went. I think maybe at first we thought it's going to be fun. It's a cartoon, it's going to be a little bit easier, and it's not. It's just as much work, and you approach it like a live action, but it's been really rewarding.
I'm more curious as to your inspiration for some of the characters. Are you pulling from anything when you're writing, like when you was in high school, or you knew kids that were just like this and we did things just like this? Are you pulling from any personal experiences from when you were a kid?
David Hornsby: There's not usually one specific person we're talking about, but the three of us with our combined high school experiences have different stories and it's funny. We try to find that universality between all three of us because we had very different high school experiences in a sense. We have different backgrounds, but there's something that's true to all of it. There's always the slut in school or people who they consider the slut. Or there's always the druggie kid, the drug dealer who's also super nice. Or there's the Joel character. There's that kid that has a super old parents who's maybe a step behind. There's a kid that Rob Rosell plays, Russ, that has always seem to have a broken limb. He always seems to be in a cast. So we were just trying to find what is true to that always happens, we have to do that. We have to put that in because that totally happens in high school where you almost kill yourself doing something, throwing a party even if it's that simple. We do open the yearbooks and we do talk about maybe different people or experiences and they can inspire, but nothing is like particularly based on one person.
I have to tell you just from watching the trailers, I saw the little kid serving the cereal at a party. I was like yes, that sounds like me. Thank you.
David Hornsby: That joke was initially cut away in the pilot, but that character just eats cereal everyday for dinner because that's what he's left with. And he doesn't have a mom that's making him food, and he feels like it fortifies him with a daily dose of vitamins and minerals.