Too Many Cooks, the bizarre send up of late 80s/early-90s television, has been called “demented” and “surreal” by Rolling Stone Magazine. The Huffington Post called Cooks “the weirdest parody you’ll ever see.”
Too Many Cooks creator Casper Kelly is not only familiar with but seems comfortable in the realm of the absurd as co-creator of Adult Swim’s Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell and writer for such Swim staples as Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, Squidbillies, and AS mainstay Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Too Many Cooks starts out looking like a simple repetition joke; that old Family Guy-style gag where, when done long enough, transitions from funny-obnoxious-enraging-hilarious, but then morphs into something entirely different. Before the 11-minute ride is over, the viewer has been taken from simple sitcom concept to 70s/80s cop drama and even to outer space before returning to the… comfort? safety?… of the sitcom living room to resolve the matter of a machete-wielding murderer who appears thwarted — or is he? — by the Alf-like cat-puppet Smarf. If this all sounds like the ramblings of an insane person, go watch the video and all will make sense… sort of.
Kelly participated in a Reddit IAmA question and answer session and explained how the idea for Too Many Cooks came to be.
“‘Too Many Cooks’ was a shower idea — just simply the idea of a show sitcom open that doesn’t stop. It made me laugh. But I didn’t think it could work for eleven minutes so I didn’t do anything with it. Then my coworker Jim Fortier from Squidbillies told the idea to Mike Lazzo, head of Adult Swim, at a party and he laughed. So I decided to go for it. I told Mike I wasn’t sure ‘Cooks’ could work for eleven minutes – just adding actors. Mike said even Andy Kaufmann would only do that for about four minutes – and that I needed to start zigging and zagging. He was right.'”
Too Many Cooks aired in obscurity on Adult Swim at 4 a.m. but went viral as soon as it hit the internet amassing over three million views in very short order. While Cooks has been largely well-received, some have accused Kelly of lifting the idea from other variations on the theme, including a skit from sketch television show MADtv called ‘One For The Road,’ or the ‘Full House’ title mockery from now defunct L.A.-based sketch/improv troupe Monkey House. While the initial concept can be chalked up to parallel thinking, Too Many Cooks devolves into something altogether different; a phenomenon Variety called “descending into madness.”
And in case you were wondering, Kelly told Vulture.com that no, he and his crew were not on any substances when they created Cooks.