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I Think You Should Leave got the perfect dead eyes, butthole for the egg game

‘Just dead-eyed and staring at you, munching eggs’

Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

There’s a lot of comedy in I Think You Should Leave that goes beyond the realm of believability, finding humor in the absurd and utterly impossible. But season 3’s egg game sketch features a game that is, actually, very real and very functional.

As captured in the sketch above, Tim Robinson’s character is trying to idly play a computer game while a colleague talks to him about his (poor) work performance. Ignoring his colleague, Robinson’s character quickly gets frustrated that the game seems to be fucking with him. The game he’s playing isn’t real — though there are certainly online versions made by fans since the show aired — but it was an actual game made for Robinson to play on the show, created by comic artist Alec Robbins.

Robbins says that co-creators Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin had already figured out the general concept of the game for the sketch beforehand: The player would move a collection of eggs, one by one, into an egg-shaped character’s mouth, with a nonsense scoring system keeping track of it all. It was Robbins’ job to visualize what the game should actually look like based on that. His goal was to get the look just right — on every detail.

“I tried a bunch of different faces and body types [for the egg character] — we had a scared-looking one, a horny-looking one who was really excited to be fed, and even a more humanoid one wearing a suit,” Robbins told Polygon over email. “The guys really liked when it looked dead-eyed, though. Just dead-eyed and staring at you, munching eggs.”

A close-up of the egg feeding game in a still from the ITYSL sketch. Image: Netflix

Robbins comes from a comedy and game development background (you might know his work from Mr. Boop, to name just one of his ventures), and he felt uniquely suited to this task that would marry the two. He tried out a few concepts for the look of the game — a mid-2000s Flash game, or something more akin to a ’90s PC edutainment thing — but ultimately he settled on the old-school Mac look. “I pictured it as something you could’ve stumbled upon on some old shareware floppy disk,” said Robbins.

Then, there was the matter of the game’s final win screen: As Robbins detailed on Twitter, the butthole of the egg went through a few iterations.

“I don’t have an exact count, but I did try a lot of different buttholes. I considered all the different types of cartoon buttholes. I think the moment when [the egg character] bends down and shows its asshole is the peak of the sketch, and it’s gotta be a really funny visual,” Robbins said. “The classic ‘X’-mark cartoon butthole wasn’t cutting it, and we ended up with something a little more realistic-looking. You can see the creases on the egg’s buttcheeks, you can see a little line inside the hole implying depth... That all came from a sketch Zach [Kanin] sent me, actually. He’s a cartoonist, too, and he kind of just effortlessly tossed off the perfect butthole. I was agonizing over it and he just sent this perfect cartoon butthole with a hint of extreme realism and I replicated it as best I could in pixel form.

“As for the bush, that was all me. I knew the exact kind of fuzzy spray-paint-esque pixel brush that would work for it and spent hours hunting it down.”

Ultimately, it’s all these little details that make the sketch what it is. The comedy of I Think You Should Leave is expertly balanced in the escalation from “nascent anxiety” to “wild and hilarious ending.” There are low-level problems (a prank show gone wrong; a doggy door solution) taken to absurd and unexpected heights (“I don’t want to be around anymore”; a weird pig monster coming through a doggy door).

The game as Robbins designed it is actually playable; Robinson is playing it in a few shots, even though Robbins was nearby manually cueing up the appropriate pop-ups. While Robbins acknowledges that they could’ve just loaded up an animation, or even let Robinson just play the game, but he was more than happy to go the distance and stand just off camera prompting the messages on the screen. It’s the little things that make shooting go smoother, and make the jokes really sing.

“You find a way to make something both efficient and visually appealing. And a really good game gives you some nice toy-like rewards for doing in-game tasks — even if you’re not getting scored for feeding it eggs, it’s still fun to watch it chew its food every time!” said Robbins. “The more real the game seems, the better we sell the premise of the sketch. And the more insane you feel as the sketch unfolds.”

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