Danger & Eggs Creators Discuss Bringing Queer-Friendly Animation To Amazon Prime
by Erik Amaya
One of Amazon Prime’s recent additions is the animated series Danger & Eggs. Created by Mike Owens and Shadi Petosky, it centers of the hyper and fearless D.D. Danger (Aidy Bryant) and her best friend, a giant talking egg named Phillip (Eric Knobel). The child of a renowned daredevil, D.D. thirsts for adventure while an ever-anxious Philip creates ad-hoc safety mechanism to keep her out of any true danger.
For Petosky and Owens, getting the series to air was an adventure in its own right. “We initially did it as an adult short film; it went to all these film festivals,” Petosky, who also voices a number of characters on the show, recalled. “It was a bloodier story.”
“[There was] a bus on fire in scene one,” added Owens, a veteran of series like Animaniacs and Yo Gabba Gabba!
Both worked on the latter show and it opened up several opportunities to bring the concept to the kid space. In fact, Danger & Eggs was nearly developed somewhere else when Amazon called Petosky to pitch ideas. “We pitched it to them and they got it right away. It’s been incredible,” she said.
Part of the pitch was a level of queer representation not typically seen in children’s animation, but it was something Petosky – transgender herself – felt strongly about including. It also helped that Amazon was welcoming of the idea. “I think I was much more courageous about approaching that kind of stuff because when you go into a meeting and see a Transparent poster on the wall, you know you’re in a place that at least had corporate training,” she said with a laugh. “You don’t feel like you’re starting from nothing.”
She added that other outlets want to make queer-friendly shows, but are often hamstrung by corporate needs in a worldwide market. “It’s stopped everywhere else,” she said. “People want to do it, but they can’t because they want to sell overseas and it’s illegal in [certain countries.]”
“There’s a million reasons not to do it and Amazon let us do it,” she continued.
Besides being receptive to queer representation, Owens highlighted Amazon’s pilot season as a major advantage of working with them. “No one does that kind of thing where you get to try out [a concept] instead of committing to that format. It gave us a chance to try and develop it,” he explained. Additionally, Amazon gave them creative freedoms in other arenas, like their choice to use a traditional 2D animation approach.
Of course, Petrosky was happy just know people saw the pilot episode. In a more typical television environment, people can work for “years and years” on material that is never seen by more than a few executives where Amazon offers the projects to its paid subscribers. “We’ve worked on fifteen unaired pilots together,” Petrosky said. “So to have one that goes out – even if the series didn’t go – was such a relief.”
As part of the 2015 Fall pilot season, the Danger & Eggs pilot received 4.6 out of 5 stars from viewers and 80% 5-star reviews; securing it a season order of thirteen episodes. The first year sees D.D. and Phillip meeting a raccoon with a thirst for technology, being sucked into a mysterious underground science lab, discovering a lonely robot in an overgrown garden, and questioning the cultural norms at a Ren Faire, among other things. There is also an episode set at the town’s yearly Pride. “We told them we wanted to do kind of a mid-western Pride episode right at the beginning and they said ‘that’s wonderful,’” Petosky said.
The experience was such a delight that Petosky agreed to introduce Amazon to other creators working in the kid space. “I’d get emails back from friends saying ‘why are you introducing me to Amazon?’” she said. “And then they started winning all the awards and doing cool stuff.” In fact, Petosky said the Danger & Eggs team were such an early Amazon Prime animation project that they “dusted off the chairs” at the company’s facility in Santa Monica. But as Amazon expands its animation offerings, it appears they will be there for some time to come.
Danger & Eggs is available on Amazon Prime.