That’s great. During the writing process, do you guys have just a huge list of those dated colloquialisms and phrases that Digman spouts off at any given moment? Because that was some of my favorite stuff throughout the episodes that were provided.
Samberg: Yeah, we’ve definitely been doing some Googling.
Campbell: Sometimes it’s a hybrid of a real thing meets a fake thing, or we find a real one and then we kind of take one step to the side and kind of come up with an analogous version of something. But yes, definitely a lot of digging into old text.
Samberg: That was a big cornerstone of why we loved the character, all of his sort of old-timey-isms. “Giving me a case of the Zorros,” and stuff like that. That makes me laugh every time. It’s just, all the old phrases are so cool and weird and specific, and I never would’ve in a million years known about them, unless I watched every movie from that era and happened upon one, or if we actually did what we’re doing here, which is research them to bring them back.
Speaking of which, did you guys have a frame of reference for other media that you were referencing, whether it was other animated series or old time adventure movies and serials? Obviously Indiana Jones and “National Treasure” are big influences, but any other ones that people might not realize?
Campbell: There are a bunch throughout. I would say the pilot even has a little bit of John Huston’s “The Man who Would Be King,” as a little bit of an inspiration for that. When you get to episode 5, it has some design inspiration from “Logan’s Run.” It has some Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” inspiration. There’s a character based on Jacqueline deWit’s character in “All That Heaven Allows.” But I would say, as opposed to “The Simpsons,” where sometimes you’re like, here is a parody of “2001” or whatever, it’s more of like, “Oh, sometimes this would inspire us and we take it in our own direction.” But there’s not a lot of specific film parody scenes. There’s definitely a lot of inspiration throughout the whole thing, for sure.
I was really surprised that there was so much sci-fi in the show, because I was expecting more of just the classic old-school adventure with the archeological kind of stuff. But you guys really inject a lot of sci-fi in here.
Samberg: Yeah, I can’t help it. I just love it.
Campbell: We sort of had some internal rules where we would be no aliens and no multiverses and stuff like that, but definitely we just love so much genre type stuff. Sci-fi, horror, fantasy — and a lot of that stuff creeps into the show, inspiring us in different ways.
I also wanted to ask, who is the “Mad Magazine” nerd on the writing staff? Because there are two oddly specific “Mad Magazine” references. I looked them up and they are real deep cut references.
[Campbell and Samberg laugh]
Campbell: They’re real, yeah. I think those might both have come from me, but that doesn’t mean I’m the only “Mad Magazine” nerd on staff.
Samberg: Well, this will give you an idea of how in sync Neil and I are. I was not privy to that joke at all until I saw it in an outline or script. But I had that issue of “Mad Magazine” with the California Raisins on the cover. I was like, “Oh yeah, I know the one he’s talking about.” [laughs] Oh, right, “RoboSlop,” yeah, yeah, yeah.