Why Sweet Tooth Created a Friendlier Apocalypse

This text comprises spoilers for Candy Tooth.

Sweet Tooth govt producer Beth Schwartz enjoys killing her sister.

Wait, sorry, left a little bit of vital context out of that! Schwartz enjoys killing characters named after her sister, Nancie, within the tasks she works on. The iteration of Nancie who bites the mud in Netflix’s charming post-apocalyptic journey is a nosy neighbor who goes out of her manner to verify everybody in her locked-down neighborhood is following quarantine guidelines. That would appear innocent sufficient if it weren’t for the truth that anybody who doesn’t achieve this is burned alive in their very own house. Nancie is in the end killed by a swift kick to the chest by Dr. Aditya Singh’s (Adeel Akhtar) horse. 

“(Nancie’s) an enormous fan of horror movies so I prefer to kill her in every little thing,” Schwartz says. “She texted me saying how a lot she beloved her demise (in Candy Tooth), however she wished it to be slightly extra gory. That was her word.”

Nancie might have most well-liked a gorier demise in Candy Tooth, however the sequence doesn’t have numerous gore to cross round. Regardless of happening in a dismal post-apocalyptic society ravaged by a virus, the show based on Jeff Lemire’s comic of the same name doesn’t characteristic numerous violence. Certain, there’s loads of implied gore, like when the Large Man Tommy Jepperd (Noso Anozie) makes use of a bear entice as a melee weapon (that was rad). For probably the most half, nevertheless, Candy Tooth avoids the uncomfortable conversations about humanity’s penchant for violence raised by its comedian supply materials and different post-apocalyptic storytelling.

In accordance with Schwartz and fellow govt producer Jim Mickle, that was all by design.

“That query got here up of, ‘who is that this for?’ You begin to have a look at (different post-apocalyptic) exhibits and I couldn’t actually discover a comparable factor,” Mickle says. “Then as time went on the world was in a darkish place and it was like ‘do audiences need to spend the following few years being thrust right into a world onscreen that was going to be so melancholic?’”

The world has certainly grow to be a bit extra melancholic since Lemire’s comedian a couple of world-ending virus and the arrival of animal-human hybrids was first revealed in 2009. Again then AMC’s The Strolling Lifeless had not but premiered its first episode and the post-apocalyptic storytelling renaissance was a methods away…maybe as a result of the apocalypse itself felt significantly far-off. 

Now, the world that Candy Tooth’s cheerful first season arrives into is coming off the heels of a pandemic that many viewers may very well be forgiven for considering impressed the present. It didn’t, after all, given the timelines concerned however the sequence nonetheless felt the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic anyway, having to halt its New Zealand manufacturing mid-filming. In 2021, it looks as if there’s at all times an apocalypse of kinds underway someplace, which is one thing that actor Neil Sandilands (who performs the villainous Basic Abbott) notes.

“I get slightly bit clumsy round these concepts of ‘post-apocalyptic’,” Sandilands says. “What’s that presupposed to imply, ‘dystopian future’? Who says we’re not dwelling within the apocalypse proper now? Is that this utopia that we’re dwelling in now? Every thing round me appears fairly tousled.”

That’s why Candy Tooth endeavored to place a friendlier face on the tip of world, which was a change endorsed by Lemire.

“I created the e-book a decade in the past however since that point, the world’s modified rather a lot,” Lemire says. “Speaking to Jim (Mickle) early on, I knew that he beloved the e-book, bought all the correct components of the e-book, and was enthusiastic about them. So I felt prefer it was in good fingers.”

One of many inherently optimistic features of the comedian that Mickle latched onto was lead character Gus a.ok.a. Candy Tooth. 

“The factor about him within the e-book is you could’t get him down, ever. That kind of grew to become the North Star for the present in a manner,” Mickle says.

As portrayed by younger actor Christian Convery within the sequence, Gus a.ok.a. Candy Tooth stays the story’s beacon of positivity. The deer-boy hybrid merely desires to seek out his mom and the chance to take action in a virus-ravaged wasteland is an journey, not a burden. The impact of the writers’ tonal alterations mixed with Convery’s pure appeal creates a brand new type of apocalyptic storytelling expertise…one which hews nearer to kid-friendly Amblin Leisure titles of the ‘80s somewhat than our present, extra pessimistic fare. 

After all, the world of Candy Tooth, the TV present, shouldn’t be with out hazard and the world of Candy Tooth, the comedian, shouldn’t be with out pleasure. In the long run, no good story can exist with out a little little bit of each.

“I really feel like ultimately, despite the fact that the tone might have shifted, the guts of the story continues to be very a lot the identical because the comedian,” Lemire says. “It’s nonetheless the story of Gus and his journey. It’s been a improbable factor to see individuals latching onto the story and to those characters once more.”

All eight episodes of Candy Tooth can be found to stream on Netflix now.

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