Here Are the Only Lines ‘Superjail!’ Was Never Allowed to Cross

On the eve of Season Four, series co-creator Christy Karacas revealed the rules Adult Swim made ‘Superjail!’ follow
Here Are the Only Lines ‘Superjail!’ Was Never Allowed to Cross

On Superjail!, only two crimes were truly unforgivable: cannibalism and baby murder. Baby murderers, however, were on the table — just not the dinner table.

The surrealist, sadistic, sociopathic Adult Swim series ran for four seasons between 2008 and 2014, causing untold thousands of stoned, late-night channel-surfers to exclaim, “What the fuck is this?” from stained couches across the country. Created by Christy Karacas, Stephen Warbrick and Ben Gruber, Superjail! told the stories of the inmates and administrators of a giant, reality-bending prison beneath a volcano that was, itself, inside a larger volcano. Led by The Warden, a supernatural Mad-Hatter-meets-Willy-Wonka-meets-Rudolf-Höss-type character played by The State’s David Wain, every Superjail! episode took audiences on a nightmarish, gory and entirely gripping ride across space and time as the show’s animators showered each psychedelic frame with blood, bones and viscera.

Despite being the most delightfully amoral Adult Swim show of its era, even Superjail! had to follow a few laws. As Karacas explained in 2013 shortly before the premiere of Season Four, “(We) can’t show babies being killed. (We) can’t have people eating each other, ever. I don’t know why. The Walking Dead has it.”

Though Karacas claimed that Superjail! had to follow these restrictions, the show came very close to convicting itself for such content crimes. One of the hardest arcs in the series for fans to follow without crying was the journey of the terminally ill little girl whom the inmates call “Cancer” after the hospital bracelet that she wears, which they pronounce as “Sanser” like a Bostonian trying to say the name of Sophie Turner’s character on Game of Thrones

Cancer forms a close relationship with the pyromaniac Ash in the Season One episode “Mr. Grumpy-Pants” as the inmates try to protect her from the horrors of Superjail, only for Cancer to tragically perish at her own birthday party buried underneath a pile of presents as baby-fied inmates tear each other apart. Somehow, that scene slipped past the network’s censors and into Superjail! fans’ memories, from which it still cannot be scrubbed.

Also, there are at least two cannibal characters in Superjail!, the “starving” inmate Skinny and the serial killer Monster Convict, though I guess neither of them are actually seen on screen eating a person alive. So, yeah, Karacas, your show sure was less horrific than AMC’s zombie soap opera.


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