Like Succession and Arrested Development before it, Royal Crackers hinges its plot on characters fighting over a single, ever-dangling promise: total corporate control of the family business. In this case, though, the stakes are wafer-thin: The family business is a middling cracker company, and not even a particularly prominent one.
With the family’s patriarch comatose and on the brink of death (just hovering there, perpetually right on the brink), both the show and the company are in the hands of two brothers who are just doing their best. There’s Stebe (Jason Ruiz), the family man who’s trying to run the company, and Theo Jr. (Andrew Santino), who would accept a plum gig at the company, but is more interested in relieving his glory days of being a bass player. As the two blunder through running the company to the best of their ability, along with Stebe’s wife (Jessica St. Clair), they’re sorting out the best way to live their lives and get the cracker company into the limelight the Hornsby family so desires. But how? Via a viral video to promote their product? (It goes terribly wrong.) Or maybe by trying to unload a body with a wild fixer their dad used to use?
Like most Adult Swim cartoons, Royal Crackers has more opportunities for things to go wrong in the best ways (read: the most comical ones) than it does for the family to really achieve any sense of normalcy, power, or market share. They’re trying to pedal flavors like Black Licorice crackers, and losing to their biggest competitors (like Uncle Dipshit’s Fart Wafers).
The look and feel of the show won’t be drastically out of step with what you’ve come to know from an Adult Swim comedy. Ruiz, who also created the show, says that was intentional.
“I grew up in the ’90s with hand-drawn animation,” Ruiz tells Polygon. “I love the crudeness of the original Beavis and Butt-Head, and the feeling that someone actually sat there and drew this by hand. Unfortunately, I’m a Flash animator, and it’s impossible to produce hand-drawn animation these days, so we wanted to mimic it as closely as possible.”
It is but one way Ruiz says the show has made his dreams come true.
“Like most kids, when I was a young child, I had the stereotypical dream of making an animated television program about a mediocre cracker company and the family of desperate weirdos who run it,” Ruiz said in a statement. “In this childhood dream, I wanted it to air on linear TV and then stream on an app the following day. Thank you to Adult Swim and HBO Max for making that little pipe dream come true.”
Royal Crackers will debut Sunday, April 2 at 11:00 p.m. EST/PST on Adult Swim with three episodes, and stream on April 3 on HBO Max.