What happens when a ska band that dresses like superheroes to fight evil forces gets its own Internet show? They continue to dress like superheroes and fight evil forces!
And so we have the Aquabats’ Daytime Emmy-nominated show Aquabats! Super Show! Created by lead Aquabat Christian Jacobs (aka MC Bat Commander), the show finds the five bumbling members of the Aquabats trying to save the world from various nefarious characters. Harkening to the sci-fi and superhero TV shows of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Super Show! Has a wonderfully campy feel, making it perfect for a little parent-child viewing.
The first episode of the second season, “The Return of the Aquabats,” airs on the multi-platform HubNetwork on Saturday, June 1 at 1 p.m. (Season One hits DVD on Tuesday, May 21.)
We recently spoke with co-producer Jason deVilliers (Yo Gabba Gabba) and Ian Fowles, who plays the skinniest member of the Aquabats (EagleBones Falconhawk) about what it takes to make a superhero show so damn super.
Nerdy With Children: Is the campy look of the show a consequence of the budget or intentional for nostalgic reasons?
deVilliers: We definitely don’t have a huge budget. Some of the show resorts to guerilla-style filmmaking, but the old Batman TV show, The Monkees, we get a lot of inspiration from pop culture from some of these old shows that we grew up with. It’s definitely tongue-in-cheek and aimed at having that campy, low-budget feel to it.
Nerdy: Eaglebones, you are a relatively new addition to the Aquabats, correct?
Eaglebones: Yeah, I’m the new guy
Nerdy: But you seem to be the smartest member. Is your intellect far superior to that of the other members?
Eaglebones: I don’t know if I’d go that far, but sometimes I’m more the voice of reason. When they’re going a little crazy, I think the Eaglebones character has his feet on the ground … maybe?
Nerdy: Some of the villains that have appeared on stage with the Aquabats make an appearance in the show.
Eaglebones: Yeah, part of our live show is to try to incorporate live-action fights on stage with giant monsters trying to stop the show. Some of the villains that appear in our TV show now have appeared on stage with us. They’re back for a second round of skirmishes.
Nerdy: Jason, how much of the Yo Gabba Gabba! influence shows up in the costumes for the monsters?
deVilliers: You know, I would have to say very little. Yo Gabba Gabba! is much more cute, and a lot of the villains we have on the Aquabats! Super Show! kinda scare the crap outta kids. Kids like getting scared. I mean, I remember my parents kicking me out of the room while the Six-Million-Dollar Man was fighting Bigfoot – I was like 5 years old – and I was peaking around the wall watching it. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it. So the same guys that build our costumes for Yo Gabba Gabba! do build the costumes for the Super Show!
The scripts vary. Sometimes the villains are monsters, which are people in costumes. But sometimes we have guest stars come on. Last season, we had Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) come on and play Eaglebones’ evil brother, EagleClaw. This season we have several guest stars as well, not necessarily playing villains, but we have [pro skater] Tony Hawk coming on and doing a cameo. Gerard Way, lead singer for My Chemical Romance, he came on last season as guest director and co-wrote an episode that his brother Mikey starred in as a villain.
Eaglebones: There is one Yo Gabba! carry-over. We have Mark Mothersbaugh, the singer of Devo, he’s gonna be in an episode in season two.
Nerdy: Somehow you guys always come out on top, but the road to success is a rocky one.
Eaglebones: In that way, it’s kind of a reality show. Kids, you gotta fight to make stuff happen in life. [Laughs.] Maybe the kids see a little of themselves in each of the characters. But in the end, everyone gets it done their own way.
Nerdy: Have any of the Aquabats talked about going it alone, maybe as a rogue superhero, or is that not talked about?
Eaglebones: Well that hasn’t been addressed on the show yet, but that might be a great idea.
deVilliers: That would be good. Yeah.
Eaglebones: There’s been a couple of times when the Aquabats have split apart. This season, Ricky goes off by himself, he falls in love with a solo artist, and the band just can’t pull though without the whole team. It’s really about the team sticking together, and when they do, they really persevere.
Nerdy: Last question: The running joke is that the Aquabats — at least four of the five members — are overweight or, at least, chunky. So I am wondering if you, Eaglebones, would consider putting on a few pounds, and then you could call the band The Aquafats …
Nerdy: At least affectionately, anyway …
Eaglebones: You know, I’ve been trying to gain weight ever since I joined the band. It hasn’t happened yet.