A new Australian satirical web series, Made in AmeriKa is built around a simple premise: the Trump presidency, but with Barney the Dinosaur. The series boasts a handcrafted aesthetic that echoes The Mighty Boosh or Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s various efforts, with sets constructed from cardboard and paper and a cast comprised of discarded, old dolls, plushies, toys and dairy products. Parker and Stone are also present in MIA‘s sense of humour, which mixes political and social commentary with deliberately juvenile toilet humour. We checked in with creator Russell Wyatt Roberts to get the lowdown.
What’s the aim of Made in AmeriKa? What are you trying to do with the series?
We really wanted to create a comedy satire on American culture today. Not just the phenomena of ’Trump’ but the political/cultural environment that enabled him to gain office. But above all, we wanted to make a show with us playing with plushies and Barbie dolls.
What was the initial genesis of the idea?
It really began as a reaction to Trump, or rather the political and cultural climate that enabled him to win. I was trying to figure out how to talk about the phenomena of Trump without actually talking about Trump. For some reason Barney the Dinosaur got stuck in my head, as the parallels between the two are uncanny. They’re both former TV stars, relics of the late ’80s/early ’90s and they both have “costumed personas”. I bounced the idea off my sister/co-creator Montana Roberts and co-showrunner Connor Armenti and the idea just took a life of its own. What began as just a simple parody of Trump, grew into this bigger thing about American culture as a whole.
Are there any other shows or texts you’ve drawn on for inspiration?
South Park, naturally. Montana, Connor and I grew up watching it and it really caused irreparable damage I think… in a good way. Monty Python, Adult Swim and internet culture in general also helped to warp our sense of humour.
What’s the reaction to these videos been like?
People like the idea and the few people who’ve seen the show, have broken in hysteric laughter. But our main goal has always been making ourselves laugh.
What are your future plans for the series? What’s the end game?
We do have a complete series arc in mind. A trajectory of where we would like to take the show and even end it; however, it’s still early days and we just want to see how people react to the first two episodes we’ve made and decide the fate of the show from there. We would really like to work on this full time, however I think we would really need to be adopted by a network or one of the streaming titans to take this series to its full conclusion.
What else have you been working on that we should be aware of?
I had a short film screen at Perth Revelation Film Festival entitled All Through The Night. It’s a psychological drama about a lone driver finding himself unhinged as he grapples with the demons of his past. Nothing like Made in AmeriKa at all.
Made in Amerika launches on August 1, 2018. Head over to the series Facebook page for more.