If you were a child of the ‘80s, then you’ll no doubt be familiar with the trading card series Garbage Pail Kids. If you were a giant weirdo child of the ‘80s like us, then you’ll have no doubt spent a sizeable chunk of your pocket money trying to complete a set. The gross-out collectibles created GPK junkies the world over, and while the bubble (gum) burst on their popularity in 1988, they’ve never really gone away, with makers Topps continuing to release sets and merch to this day. There was also a live-action movie in 1987 which has the dubious honour of being one of the few films to carry a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, a seldom-seen cartoon series the following year, and 2020 saw the launch of an illustrated book line written by none other than the acclaimed kid’s horror author and Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine! Fans would have been forgiven for thinking the latter marked the pinnacle in terms of GPK being validated by a mainstream talent taking the wheel of the franchise to steer it in the direction of a wider audience, but recent news from Deadline suggests that was just the beginning…
Everybody will be familiar with the work of creators Danny McBride & David Gordon Green, whether they’ve been following them from their first feature film collaboration in fantasy parody Your Highness or enjoyed any of their excellent small screen comedies - Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals, and, most recently, The Righteous Gemstones. To many readers though, the duo are best known for resurrecting Michael Myers for a brand new trilogy in 2018’s horror hit, Halloween, which will continue this October in Halloween Kills and conclude next year in Halloween Ends. Not content with rescuing just one of their childhood icons from increasing irrelevance (the duo were lifelong Halloween fans before securing the deal to write/direct the project), McBride and Green have struck a deal with the seemingly insatiable HBO Max to bring the Garbage Pail Kids’ world to life in a new animated series for the streaming service. Together, under their Rough House production banner, they’ll work with writer/producer Josh Bycel, who’s been impressing us of late with the hilarious animated series Solar Opposites (Disney+ if you’re a UK reader, Hulu in the States), on which he’s an Executive Producer. (He also wrote Season 2’s The Lake House Device episode, which was excellent!)
Danny McBride and David Gordon Green
While the new GPK show is being reported as aiming for “family-friendly” in tone, something Garbage Pail Kids has never been considered to be, it’s worth remembering how much attitudes to humour have changed drastically over the last 37 years. What was considered counterculture back then is very much the norm nowadays, with adult references and pop culture-skewing commonplace in pretty much every animated project, from Pixar to SpongeBob. And all the farts, snot, puke, and poop? Pfft. Kids eat it that stuff for breakfast nowadays. (Not in a literal sense we’d hope.)
We look forward to seeing how McBride, Green, and Bycel plan to honour their nostalgia for the property, and we’ll keep you abreast of developments along the way!