You can learn a lot about a TV show based on what it chooses for its theme song, and Netflix’s Human Resources delivers on that score with an assist from Janelle Monáe — the pumping synth tones of “Make Me Feel” introduce every episode of the new Big Mouth spin-off, which ages up the central humans of the series but still remains tonally in line with its parent series.
Created by Big Mouth creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett as well as Big Mouth writer/producer Kelly Galuska, Human Resources explores the world of the Love Bugs, Hormone Monsters, Logic Rocks, Anxiety Mosquitos, Shame Wizards, and more which represent the best and worst impulses of Big Mouth characters, actively courting The Office comparisons with its workplace setting (and more importantly, workplace romances).
Prior to working on Big Mouth and now Human ResourcesGaluska had written for another pioneering Netflix animated series, BoJack Horseman. There’s been a fair bit of cross-pollination of talent across both shows, Galuska tells Consequence in a Zoom interview, because “especially when BoJack began, it was a very small adult animated community at Netflix — which has luckily expanded, which is awesome.”
In the below interview, transcribed and edited for clarity, Goldberg and Galuska explaining the show’s origins and how they assembled a remarkable voice cast which includes Aidy Bryant, Randall Park, Keke Palmer, David Thewlis, Brandon Kyle Goodman, Maya Rudolph, Helen Mirren, and Hugh Jackman — not to mention Monáe herself, who guest-stars in the season.
They also dig into why the show can, theoretically, last as long as one thing remains true: humanity has problems.
[Note: The following contains mild spoilers for Human Resources Season 1.]
So first, talk to me about the initial decision point to do a spinoff of Big Mouth.
Andrew Goldberg: It all kind of started in the season finale of Season 2 of Big Mouth — there’s the episode where the kids go up basically to Human Resources to complain about their hormone monsters. Gil Ozeri, one of our longtime writers, had the idea for that show — he was really like, where do they come from? Where do they work?
We went up and we checked it out and it was like, well, that’s a fun place there. And there’s a lot more stories there. So I think ever since then, in the back of our mind, we had this idea of like what if you got to spend more time where these creatures were? How interesting would that be?
Kelly Galuska: I think as a writer on Big Mouth, we all love Morry and Connie and the Shame Wizard and Tito so much. And the idea of getting to spend more to time with them and their personal lives, you hear little snippets about it and be able to expand. That was exciting, too.
How extensive was the process of world building here in terms of setting up what Human Resources is as an organization? Like how closely does it adhere to your standard corporate environment?
Galuska: Some of the setup came in that episode in Season 2 where the world was established and you kind of saw that it looked like, you know, like sort of a 1950s art deco office, which I think is very fun as a concept because these creatures are so different than regular human beings. They look so different, they’re so colorful, that to have them on this country background felt like a fun office environment to put them in. We kind of just expanded from there.
Goldberg: In terms of world-building, I feel like the artists were super helpful in figuring out what that might be like. For instance, I know Anthony Lioi and Steven Knudsen, our supervising director/co-executive producer and our design director, had this idea for the sky — that the sky of Human Resources is basically the Earth. I remember when they said that I was like, “I do not understand,” and then they like showed me this mock-up drawing. And I was like, “Oh, that’s brilliant. I love that.”
Then I also remember early on, they were like, “What about the vehicles? Like, can they not just be cars? Can they be creatures, too? Like, can they be organic?” And that was another great idea that we were like, “Yes, yes, to all that.”