To celebrate its 100th episode, MAD is getting "Super"-sized. The animated sketch-comedy series features a parody of the Superman blockbuster Man of Steel in Monday's double-sized show (Nov. 11 at 8:30/7:30c on Cartoon Network). Producer Kevin Shinick recruited Weird Al Yankovic and Henry Winkler to voice Superman and his father, Jor-El, respectively in the sketch, which takes a playful jab at the film's controversial violence.
The network gave Shinick 22-minutes to play with — twice the Emmy-nominated show's typical episode length — and he's stuffed it with a variety of pop-culture parodies and comedy bits. The featured musical sketch, "The Worst Show Ever," is inspired by a certain boy band. "It's One Direction's take on having to watch MAD," Shinick says, emphasizing his series' self-deprecating attitude. Yankovic will voice the band's manager.
Shinick also felt it was important that the episode pay special homage to the iconic humor magazine that inspired the show, including "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" (in the style of longtime magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee), a short by legendary artist Sergio Aragones ("Superheroes: They're Just Like Us") and, of course, a Spy vs. Spy bit. The show features original material, but does acknowledge the milestone. "We didn't make it a clip show, but we found funny ways to call upon some of the great moments of the past 100 episodes, including a memoriam section of all the guests that did not make it to the 100th episode," Shinick says.
That's typical of the show's snarky-but-good-natured tone, which has given us such memorable mash-ups as "Al Pacino and the Chipmunks," "Jurassic Parks and Recreation" and "2 Broke Powerpuff Girls." Those parodies have become MAD's signature element, appealing to viewers all ages, regardless of their familiarity with the source material. "I always say I'm writing two shows in one," Shinick says. "If the dialogue is for the kids then the visuals are for the adults, or vice versa. That's been a rule that I have lived by for the past 100 episodes."
That span has seen roughly 2,000 sketches, a staggering output in the three years since the show debuted. And that's just a portion of Shinick's résumé. In addition to producing MAD, Shinick also does voiceover work on the show, has a live-action acting career (he'll appear as a murder suspect in the Dec. 9 episode of TNT's Major Crimes) and writes comic books (he's currently finishing up the Marvel miniseries Superior Carnage). "When you're a writer, you never really shut off," he says. "I go to bed thinking of things and wake up thinking of things. Doing [other] stuff I'm able to rest the muscles that I'm using constantly as a writer. It rejuvenates me. It's kind of like that saying, when you need something done, give it to a busy person."
Check out this exclusive preview of the "MAD of Steel" parody from the 100th episode: