How the Furry Community Embraced CollegeHumor's Furry-Lampooning 'Furry Force'
When CollegeHumor’s Brian Murphy and Adam Conover wrote Furry Force, they never dreamt that their hilarious and uncomfortably arousing animated series featuring hyper-sexualized cartoon animal superheroes would be embraced by the furry community. But dreams do come true. Popular furry blogger, Patch O’Furr, recently nominated the series for The Ursa Major Award for Best Dramatic Series or Short Work.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Conover. “What better honor is there for comedy writers than for the community that you are making fun of to give you an award for how much they love what you made?”
Furry Force is up against BoJack Horseman and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for the award among other anthropomorphic contenders and the competition is fierce.
“Speaking as someone whose girlfriend and best friend created BoJack Horseman, I hope we fucking crush them,” said Conover.
“Yeah, they’re not even on the same level. They’re accidentally furry, we’re full on furry. They’re Cinemax and we’re weird Internet shit,” said Murphy.
Furry Force features Krunk, Hip-Hop, Leon, and Trang, four Captain Planet-like animal superheroes on a mission to defeat Victor Vivisector, an evil villain dead set on destroying the forest and building a parking lot. The Furry Force uses their overwhelming sexiness to make Vivisector and his cronies so uncomfortable that they leave the forest alone.
“I just don’t think Bojack has the same appeal to furry culture as say, Trang, the six breasted cow does,” said Conover.
Patch O’Furr agrees. He described Furry Force as a well-intentioned laugh riot that pokes equal fun at both the furries and the people who have an overblown, hateful reaction to them.
“They’re so disgusted and are like what the fuck? Why are you pretending to be an animal? Meanwhile it’s like here’s this good-natured, sweet person who is just having fun, and it’s like why are you judging us? We’re not hurting you,” said Patch.
Patch takes on the “Fursona” of a Husky dog. He says his favorite thing is performing in costume at street fairs and making people smile. Only his closest friends know about his furry hobby, as most people just don’t understand.
“I call it the furry Fight Club (laughs). The first rule is don’t talk about Fight Club. You know, it’s a wink and a handshake kind of thing,” said Patch.
Rich Duhaney, Director at Smiley Guy Studios, the company that animated Furry Force, knew Patch by his legal name only for over 10 years. Duhaney had no idea that his friend was a furry until Patch reached out to him over Facebook about his appreciation for the series and revealed his Fursona.
“I was happy for him,” said Duhaney. “I think furries really connect with the earnestness of the characters.” Smiley Guy Studios collaborated with CollegeHumor for about two months to make their furry vision a reality.
“We had this really weird process where we would receive prototypes from Smiley Guy Studios and we would have to send back notes saying, ‘uh, can you make his pecs more round and bigger and more voluptuous?’” said Murphy.
“Our timidness held us back for a while, but then we really got into it,” said Duhaney. Smiley Guy Studios referred to cartoons from the 80s and 90s such as Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sonic The Hedgehog and Rescue Rangers for inspiration in the making of Furry Force.
Murphy originally came up with the concept, but Conover eagerly jumped on board. Conover has a long history of teenage anime fandom and a deep appreciation for it’s close furry cousin. “I used to go to anime conventions and there would be furries there so it was just sort of in the air. It’s like well, I’m into weird Japanese girl cartoons and you’re into American cartoon wolves. It’s not that strange to me,” said Conover.
Patch calls it the multi-nerd connections. “If it was a venn-diagram, it would be plaid. Because everybody who’s a nerd has a bunch of nerdy interests (laughs),” said Patch. “I’ve always loved every kind of subculture. But I think furries are the truest nerds out there today. You know, nerds back in the day didn’t have billion dollar movies and Hollywood agents coming to their conventions. Furry conventions still don’t have those things. They’re organic and homegrown.”
Murphy and Conover were relieved that the furry community found the first episode funny and not offensive. They had peace of mind while making the sequel, knowing that the Furry community was on board and didn’t take themselves too seriously.
“I don’t have a mean-spirited sense of humor, so when everyone gets the joke and everyone is in on it together, that certainly makes me respect the community a lot more for just having fun with it,” said Murphy.
Patch says the discrimination directed at furries is confusing and unfair. At a recent Mardi Gras festival in Burlington, among hundreds of people dressed in funny costumes, several furries of the Vermont Furs Club were singled out by a festival representative and asked to leave.
“There’s kind of an other-ing impulse. People say oh, that’s gross, that’s crazy, I would never do that. You know, it feels like they are overcompensating in some way sometimes. It’s like, well, nobody is forcing you to look at that on the Internet… and some of that stuff is actually really popular. It’s like c’mon… some of these cartoons are, you know, you can’t say that those cartoons aren’t cute to the point that they’re kind of… sexy (laughs).”
Patch argues that what people do in their own bedroom isn’t for anyone else to judge and that role-playing as furries isn’t so different from other kinds of costume role-play.
“It’s kind of like owning a flashy car. You don’t need it, but it sure is fun to have,” said Patch. “You see cars and sex compared all the time in pop-culture. But nobody thinks that driving a car like that means you’re some kind of pervert. It’s like yeah, sure, that car probably adds a lot of sex appeal, but it doesn’t mean that it’s something distasteful.”
Sam Kirkpatrick, Production Manager at CollegeHumor (also, full disclosure, this writer’s husband) said Furry Force almost wasn’t released because many on staff thought it was too gross to appeal to a wide audience. Kirkpatrick was even more shocked that there was going to be a sequel.
“When I saw in the script that there was a pregnant squirrel that gives birth to a super jacked, super sexy Scrappydoo, I was pleasantly uncomfortable,” said Kirkpatrick. “But it’s nice to see that the feedback we’ve received has been so overwhelmingly positive.”
“Literally no one had any idea that this would be such a big hit. But I think this just goes to show that you should always follow your dreams and believe in yourself,” said Conover.
Voting ends tomorrow. Patch hopes that if Furry Force wins the award it will give CollegeHumor an even stronger incentive to continue creating new episodes.
“If anyone laughed as hard as I did, they should vote for it. I think we need more great comedy,” said Patch. “Don’t vote for it just because you’re a furry, vote for it because it’s funny.”
Sydney Parker is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can read more of her stories on humor, humanity and pigeons here or follow her on Twitter @carnivalosouls.