China, IL on Adult Swim Chronicles the Worst College in America
This Sunday, at 11:30 p.m., China, IL returns for its second season on Adult Swim. The animated series centers around UCI, touted as "The Worst School in America," in the opening credits. The teachers are incompetent. The students are misguided. The dean, voiced by Hulk Hogan, is brash.
It's satire that, on occasion, is eerily relatable to contemporary university life. There's an episode in the new season -- titled "Is College Worth It?" -- in which the dean drops teacher salaries to minimum wage and raises tuition to half a million bucks. However, UCI isn't based on any particular school. "I didn't really go to college," says creator Brad Neely. "A lot of it is imaginative vindictiveness on my part."
"It's the way most people imagine high school," says executive producer Daniel Weidenfeld. "It's dumbing down the idea of academia."
China, IL has its roots in Neely's two prior web series, Baby Cakes and The Professor Brothers. Both feature characters who are now part of China, IL's regular gang of teachers and students. For the second season, the show has grown considerably. Episodes have doubled in length, clocking in at the standard sitcom time of 22 minutes. "We have a lot more room to tell a comfortable story with jokes that aren't just servicing the plot," says Neely.
It's an effort that has been in the works for a long time. The stories that will come to animated life on TV screens over the next few weeks were written at least a year ago. The first writer's room meeting -- a gathering of about six minds -- came in January of 2012. By August of that year, Neely had finished work on the scripts.