“China, IL” returns with a new season
Cartoon Network's Adult Swim is full of unique programming that you only see if you stay up past your bedtime. "China, IL" is one of those shows.
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Imagine listening to the same lecture every day because a professor thought it was his absolute best. Or picture yourself being sucked into a campus-wide death match, struggling to find random artifacts set aside by the dean. This is only a taste of Adult Swim’s “China, IL,” an animated series that is to premiere its second season of absurdity this Sunday.
Brad Neely, who used to write for “South Park,” created “China, IL,” which features a world where teachers are out of control while students want to learn. The show features two crazy history professors who are also brothers, Steve and Frank Smith, the teacher’s aid Pony Merks, Baby Cakes, a loveable nut, and a host of other outrageous professors and students.
“China, IL” is about the fictional University of China, Illinois, and presents a place where professors are alcoholics, selfish and sometimes violent. The students, on the other hand, vary from star jock to desperate outcast with a myriad of different personalities in between. Neely said that it’s a combination that will without a doubt leave audiences laughing.
The show is based off two web series also created by Neely. “The Baby Cakes Diaries” and the “Professor Brothers” animated shorts both feature characters appearing in “China, IL.” Neely said the idea for the show came to him while studying in art school. He said he imagined what a really bad university would be like and started from there.
While watching the show, it is apparent that Neely models his episodes after dramatized and backwards university experiences.
A few of the voice talents in the show are Neely, Hulk Hogan, Brooke Hogan, Greta Gerwig and Dave Coulier.
Maintaining the tradition of last season, each episode of “China, IL” will feature a musical. The musicals provide segues from normal dialogue and still manage to tell the story well, according to Neely.
Neely and Executive Producer Daniel Weidenfeld said that a few changes will be brought to the show this season. An increased runtime means longer and more story-driven episodes. Neely also aims to wow audiences with more than 50 original songs written for the season.
This season, “China, IL” moves to a 30-minute runtime, increasing from its previous 15-minute time. Neely said the extra time helps to tell a better story and “allows us to be more relaxed.”
As a show about students, Neely has focused the show on the student experience.
In this season, Baby Cakes becomes Robin Hood for “China, IL” after the dean raises tuition to $500,000 a year, a storyline Neely said he made to represent the increasing tuition students are currently paying. The history teacher, Frank Smith, struggles to recreate the perfect lecture in a struggle to be better than his brother. President Ronald Regan will also return to the show.
To catch the premiere of season two of “China, IL,” tune in to Adult Swim on Cartoon Network at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.