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Teenage Euthanasia is an adult animated science fiction apocalyptic coming-of-age comedy adventure series created by Alyson Levy, Alissa Nutting, and co-executive produced by director Scott Adsit, for Adult Swim. The series focuses on a mildly apocalyptic near-future Florida and discusses the new coming-of-all-ages, including death, family, and accidental resurrection.
HBO Max ordered the series on December 2, 2020. The series hosted a Comic-Con@Home panel on July 23, 2021, as part of the networks San Diego Comic Con event. The panel announced the series premiere date as Fall of 2021.
Set in a mildly apocalyptic near-future, Teenage Euthanasia centers around the Fantasy Family and their inland Florida funeral home, Tender Endings. The cast of characters include recently undead Trophy Fantasy (voiced by Maria Bamford); her teenage daughter, Euthanasia "Annie" Fantasy (voiced by Jo Firestone); Annie's Oedipus-complex-stricken Uncle Pete (voiced by Tim Robinson); and Annie's "old country" immigrant grandmother Baba (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth). As a teen mom, Trophy ran away from home, leaving Annie behind to be raised by her Baba and Uncle Pete. Fifteen years later, Trophy finally returns to Tender Endings...as a corpse, for burial. But when a bolt of lightning strikes Baba's homemade embalming fluid, and one of Annie's tears magically bring Trophy back from the dead, Trophy finds herself a resurrected woman with a second chance at unplanned parenthood (and a variety of quasi-useful death powers).
Trophy Fantasy (voiced by Maria Bamford) - A teen mother who ran away from home two days after giving birth, leaving her daughter Euthanasia "Annie" to be raised by Trophy's mother, Baba, and Uncle Pete. Trophy became a trophy wife and gold-digger. Fifteen years later, Trophy returns to her family's funeral home - as a corpse after killing herself. She is magically resurrected by a mixture of a bolt of lightning, embalming fluid, and the first tear Annie ever sheds. Trophy is given a second chance at unplanned parenthood, a chance to reconnect with her estranged mother, and a verity of quasi-useful death powers. When Trophy reanimates she has powers and can tell what the last thing you ate by hearing your voice. She has beetles that live in her vagina that do her bidding. These beetles can steal money and give makeovers, basically doing whatever she asked of them. She also knows how people will die.
Euthanasia "Annie" Fantasy (voiced by Jo Firestone) - The fifteen-year-old daughter of a runaway teen mom, Annie was raised by her Uncle Pete and immigrant Grandmother Baba. She is suddenly reunited with her now undead mother, Trophy.
Baba Fantasy (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth) - An "old country" immigrant, she is the mother of Trophy and the Grandmother/guardian of Annie. She is the owner of the family funeral home, Tender Endings.
Uncle Pete (voiced by Tim Robinson) - The Oedipus-complex-stricken Uncle of Annie, Pete serves as her guardian and the keeper of the family funeral home.
Tim Heidecker (moderator)
The series was developed by co-creators Alissa Nutting and Alison Levy. They began conceptualizing the series in 2016, with an idea for a female-driven cartoon series. The idea was presented to Adult Swim through Alyson’s husband John Lee, as he sent the idea to Mike Lazzo. Adult Swim purchased the spec scripted, but was hesitant to greenlight another half-hour comedy series after Rick and Morty. They pressed that the script had to be really great for them to purchase it. In 2017, after pitching the series to Adult Swim, the series was given a pilot order. Alissa and Alyson spent three more years changing and reconceiving the series from its original concept. The series was produced by PFFR and animated by Augenblick Studios.
It was ordered to production three years later on December 2, 2020. Scott Adsit signed onto the series as a co-executive producer and and co-director in 2020.
Because everyone was placed into lockdown a month later due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain things had to change to accommodate the situation. Alyson and Alison lived in opposite parts of the country and had always used video chat to communicate. They were uniquely qualified to work through the COVID pandemic during the writing phases. The cast were also forced to record their lines from home. It was difficult to get high-end broadcasting microphones to the actors during quarantine, so production sent out kits for the cast to set up themselves. Software engineers talked Bebe Neuwirth and other cast members through the process of setting it up. The at-home recordings didn’t always work due to the loud noises around the cast - trains, sirens, and garbage collectors. However, after a while, they managed to make it work.
It was given an expected release date of 2021, with the series promoting itself at the 2021 Comic-Con@Home event.
In one of the early iterations, Trophy was a ghost and not a reanimated corpse. Instead of her being a "ghost of Christmas past" she would offer terrible advice and get Annie into awful situations. As the script progressed she became a reanimated corpse given the chance to reconnect with the daughter she abandoned and fix a strained relationship with her mother. Alissa Nutting and Alyson Levy altered the script and concept of the series many times in the three-years between the pilot order and series order. They leaned into politics and the world around them in 2016 and 2017 versions, but found that it was too dark to explore that avenue. They ultimately settled in a futuristic world - only about seven years - which allowed them more creative liberties. They were able to talk about extremely painful experiences that happened around them in a comedic setting.
Directing and Animation
Scott Adsit’s process of translating the script to television was long. He worked with a team of creators and artists. The communicative process was new to him because of how far away everyone had to be due to quarantine. It was all designed by Abby Jane, who was found online. She had a website on her Brooklyn comic con convention and Alyson saw her panels. She found it hilarious and asked her to design all the characters. Abby is from Florida which works too. Alyson and Alissa designed the wardrobe for Trophy, who changes her outfit every episode, and sometimes multiple times an episode. She also changes her hair and makeup. The animation people weren’t thrilled as they had to redo the walking sequences for the characters with each wardrobe change.
Bebe Neuwirth was given the script by her agent and she decided to audition. She was primarily in theater at the time and wanted to do a voice gig during the pandemic since she wasn’t able to work. She read it and thought it was hilarious. She was promptly cast as Baba. The co-creators had been looking for someone to play Baba for a long time but couldn't find the perfect person. Bebe's process of recording at home was interesting, as she had done vocal work before but didn’t have a career in it aside from cameos. She is very physical so she had to learn how to use just her voice. However, she ultimately loved working from home.
Maria Bamford's audition was pleasant, though she was able to help reconceive the idea of Trophy after the writers got to know her personality.
Jo Firestone auditioned before the series was sold to Adult Swim and had the ability to write for some of it as well, which she enjoyed.
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