Why Adult Swim's The Jellies Isn't Like Anything Else On TV, According To Its Stars

the jellies

Adult Swim's original series have never been guilty what anyone would consider to be conventional storytelling, from Harvey Birdman to Frankenhole to its current hit Rick and Morty. And with Tyler the Creator's new animated comedy The Jellies, things are definitely taking the expected route of being as unexpected as possible. CinemaBlend recently spoke with stars Phil LaMarr and Carl Jones (also an executive producer) about the weirdness of The Jellies, and they both love how much the show is unlike anything else on TV. According to LaMarr:

Well, it's your typical "black kid adopted by a jellyfish" sitcom. Like you do. The thing I love most about it is -- like you said -- it's this incredibly strange world, but in and of itself, everything is normal. You know, that's how it would work if you had a whale next door. . . . That's the thing about it. I remember reading the script, and like, there wasn't anything you could compare Jellies to. 'It's kinda like...' No, not like that. It's unique, which, these days, that's hard to do.

Indeed. Especially on Adult Swim, where the motivation always seems to be coming up with the most left-of-center concept possible. In The Jellies, Phil LaMarr plays Cornell Jelly, an otherwise average 16-year-old who discovers that he's been adopted -- it arguably should have been obvious, considering his parents are jellyfish -- and he embarks on a quest to discover his true self, all while getting into awkward situations and having ridiculous adventures. Even at its most basic logline, The Jellies is pretty unique. But what's more, it's not just a show that's being weird for the sake of being weird.

If forced to make a quick comparison, I'd throw BoJack Horseman in as a choice, as this is similarly a world where people and anthropomorphic animals live harmoniously, and it's one where simple signs of humanity are ever-present. When The Jellies gets silly and weird, it's certainly those things, but there are also moments where characters behave as genuinely as they would in real life. Even in a world where one can be raised by quirky jellyfish, or where one can visit a retirement community full of past-their-prime hip hop musicians, being a teenager trying to find meaning in the world is something anyone can relate to. And that definitely separates this show from other Adult Swim series like Aqua Teen and The Eric Andre Show. (Though we can all relate to Eric Andre.)

According to Phil LaMarr and Carl Jones, the uniqueness that flows through The Jellies is easily attributable to Tyler, the Creator himself, as well as co-creator Lionel Boyce, who both developed and starred in Adult Swim's Loiter Squad a few years ago.

CARL JONES: Yeah, you know, Tyler has been known for creating his own creative space to play in. There's no one that you could even compare him to, much less his work. So I think everything that he touches is pretty much very unique in its own way. I mean, you'll see some influences, and stuff that he likes, but it's really its own thing. I can say this confidently: there's not a show that I've ever seen that's anything like it.PHIL LAMARR: Yeah, you can't say, 'The Jellies is like The Cosby Show if Bill Cosby was a rapper.' Nope, no, it's not like any other family cartoon. It's not like any other crazy-world cartoon. I love it. And it's funny. That's the other thing. A lot of times you get strange or funny, but in this one, you get both.

Starting off as a project released through Tyler, the Creator's Golf Media app, The Jellies isn't necessarily a show meant to be embraced by anyone and everyone. But those who tune in will find that even though it's far from the average TV comedy, there's still something universal about the story it's telling...even if you've never had a whale as a next-door neighbor.

The Jellies will be making its premiere on Adult Swim at 12:15 a.m. ET on Monday, October 23 (which will be on Sunday, October 22 for CT and MT). Stay tuned for more from my talk with Phil LaMarr and Carl Jones, and to see when everything else is hitting the small screen soon, head to our fall TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.