OK KO! Episodes 17-20
Know Your Mom
It was time for another good Carol episode! This one came together for us very quickly, and ended up being a very simple and sweet story about KO and Carol’s relationship. It was originally written with Rad and Enid as KO’s sounding boards, but we thought it would be fun to bring in Brandon and A Real Magic Skeleton for a little change of pace. I love the way Ryann and Parker expanded their appearance into a funny running gag that ended up helping to further cement their personalities moving forward.
In the outline we handed out, the Kactus Krew were not given a lot of specifics. We had figured they would have an old school mob/organized crime type theme (but cactus). When we saw the first pitch with Succulentus portrayed as a nu-metal character, I was shocked. I remember being literally on the floor laughing, a visceral physical reaction to how unexpected this take on the episode was. It was another situation where I was so unsure- can we do this? It is too insane? Is it “on-show”? All we knew for sure is that we all laughed, so we decided to go with our gut reaction and support it 100%.
Jonathan Davis coming in to do the voice was another amazing development. He was the nicest guy in the world, and such a pleasure to work with! This especially felt great after my parents wouldn’t let me see KoRn in concert when I was in 7th grade. Take that, mom and dad!
We aren’t the first show to do a play on the sitcom “double-booking” trope with a villain, but we knew it would be super funny with our heroes and Lord Boxman. This was an incredibly enjoyable episode to write the story for. I remember hanging out in the writer’s room with Ian, Dave and Erin just cracking ourselves up with how silly the episode starts and it just continues to escalate in ridiculousness from there. This was around the time we were first conceiving of TKO, so it was a helpful reminder that the show was in no way backing down from comedy.
The concept for this story was shared with the board artists after the premise stage (I think in a big writing meeting, but it could have just been during lunch or something), and Ryann immediately took an interest in Professor Venomous. She then shared with us some early design concepts and ideas for Venomous (and his minion, who we’d later call Fink), and we were able to integrate them into the final outline. As with Know Your Mom, we knew the role Venomous was going to take in this episode and the series as a whole, but he was really given life thanks to the strong and specific POV of the board artists working on the episode.
This was also a great early display of Boxman’s family dynamic with the robots. Darrell and Shannon weren’t even originally in this story, but Ryann and Parker REALLY wanted to include them. Parker pitched us the “daddy? may I wear my costume?” scene, which is something he observed in his real life. We were unsure, but we were willing to give him a chance to sell it in their pitch. I’m definitely glad we did!
One final thing to mention about We’re Captured is that our heroes lose in this episode. Isn’t that fun?
Ryann Shannon on We’re Captured
Face Your Fears
Face Your Fears was conceived as a crucial stepping stone toward several key mid-season episodes, but it actually ended up being produced after TKO because we needed Dave and Haewon to tackle Legends of Mr. Gar first. This was the luxury of knowing that OK KO! would premiere with a month of episodes. We were working so far ahead that we could produce some episodes out of order and then make sure they aired IN order. (More on this in a future post…)
Anyway, this episode provides a ton of important character development that ties to our big “mid-season finale” episodes, Plaza Prom and TKO. Gar manages to speak a sentence to Carol, which he repeats in Plaza Prom, and we get another hint of some darkness within KO. Among many other things! The concept of hopping through a bunch of character’s linked fears in order of their plug-in connection is pretty complicated, but the board artists did an excellent job making it feel exciting and cool. Dave and Haewon were very excited to tackle something with this level of depth, and it shows in every scene. Figuring out how much to reveal in this episode was a challenge, and I’m very happy with the final result.
Special regards to our design team for their work on this episode. All the different fearscapes are so distinct and so gorgeous. I was stunned when I started seeing these designs come in. In my opinion, this was the most impressively designed episode so far! Of course, since this episode they’ve continued to top themselves many times over. :)
Dave Alegre on Face Your Fears
Everybody Likes Rad?
I’ve alluded to this before, but we took extra care to make sure that all the episodes leading up to TKO were very balanced in terms of subject matter. We mapped out the whole half-season in advance, with many episodes simply listed as “ENID 1”, "CAROL 2" or “PLAZA EVENT” before we knew exactly what the stories were. We knew that Enid and Rad would have an equal number of episodes, and Everybody Likes Rad is “Rad 3”. Much like “Enid 3” (You Have to Care), this is one of the first times we allowed an episode to spend some real time without KO as a main focus.
This episode is a combination of two ideas. The first half comes from a pitch by Erin, and the second half derives from a concept Ian and I were sitting on from the previous summer. Neither “Rad’s Viral Video” nor “Rad Goes Hollywood” felt like they could sustain a whole episode, but we realized there was a story to be told about how one could lead to the other. It worked!
We ended up with something I’m really proud of. Geneva and Mira did a fantastic job making a hilarious episode that deals with sophisticated themes in a nuanced way. At every stage I was impressed at how far we were able to push this episode into unexpected tonal territory while still being 100% “the show”. I especially love the melancholy-but-warm final scenes, which have caused “volcanoing” to be a term I commonly use in conversation.
Geneva Hodgson on Everybody Likes Rad?