This American Life’s Ira Glass and Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor each have created shows that are expressions of their unique personalities and sensibilities. But what if you plugged them into an Internet version of The Odd Couple?
That’s exactly what the team behind an animation series called Friendship All-Stars proposed. What if Keillor — with his storytelling whimsy — and Glass — with his fastidious focus — lived together?
“Because they’re each very specific in what their style is, they’re very easy to whittle down into a simple three-minute scene,” said co-creator Dan Lippert, who’s based in Los Angeles. “We tried to pull some truth from it, if we look in the background there’s a painting of Ira’s dog Piney, which we learned about from an episode of This American Life.”
In the video, released this week, Glass and Keillor are trying to build an entertainment center, but Keillor just wants to talk about rhubarb pie. The creators say they just associate rhubarb with Keillor.
“Garrison’s singular focus on one thing being just a simple pie,” Lippert said, “It’s just viscerally funny to us.”
The parody exaggerates some familiar characteristics of the public radio stars.
“That’s definitely something we had fun with in terms of the puppet design and animation, just playing with the scale of them, making Garrison just this over sized puppet with a gigantic head and Ira this little wiry guy on spindly, wiry legs,’ said co-creator Harry Chaskin.
“There are ten episodes and the premise of the series is to pair offbeat celebrities, if they lived together and they had no responsibilities other than to have adventures or do mundane things in their home,” said co-creator Justin Michael.
Although they parody Glass and Keillor, the creators said the episode is a testament to their affection for the shows; they’ve played around with impressions of both for years.
“Pretty much every person we’re involving as a character in a show [is a person] that we love and admire and poke fun at from that place,” Chaskin said. “I would love for Garrison to see it.”
[Prairie Home Companion is distributed by American Public Media, which is the parent organization of MPR News.]