We follow Rus and Chelli, two roommates living in an imaginary world inside the body of a dog. While the world around them is often wild and absurd, their daily lives are anything but. In fact, consider their day-to-day just as shitty and mundane as your adult life. But these two face the banality and boredom of adulthood the only way they know how: by kicking it in the balls.
Watch the destruction and demise (often others’) Rus and Chelli leave in their wake as they try to skirt responsibility in this animated series: the twisted brainchild of a mother-son duo.
Let's dig deeper!!!
It’s 2020, and things are dark. It’s easy to resign to the tragic reality of life, but for Rus and Chelli, it’s just not possible - it isn't not in their DNA. They might be oddly shaped, act childish and ridiculous, but they in all their outrageousness reflect our collective desires: they’re able to act in self interest, defying society by doing whatever they want, whenever. In doing so, they confront taboos and harsh truths of life along the way. Pointing a mirror back at society, they show how crazy and unreasonable everyone else’s expectations are.
In the spirit of classic comic duos - think Abbott and Costello, or even Pinky and The Brain - we have a confident if audacious “mastermind,” Rus, and an earnest if simple-minded compatriot, Chelli. They’re both working stiffs, errand boys for the city government inside this dog’s stomach, and know there must be another way to live. Rus follows his desires to get out, thinking he’s outwitted the world around him no matter the consequence. Chelli points out the obvious pitfalls before them, even if he follows Rus’s every move. There’s comedy in the yin and yang of personalities, but a true sincerity in their friendship.
Rus is an eager dreamer with illusions of grandeur for him and his main man, Chelli. His heart is in the right place, but his approach is misguided. His “act first, think later” style leads him and Chelli to consistently misinterpret work orders and devise half-baked plans to take on their personal plays, leading to constant misadventure. In all of Rus’ methods he reaches for the quick and dirty route, leading to more work on his plate and holes he needs to dig himself out of. But no matter what schemes, cons, or simply outrageous adventures he gets them into, Rus never journeys without his best (and only) friend, Chelli.
Rus and Chelli grew up together in the streets, so he knows he can rely on the little dude. Rus thinks the world of Chelli and embraces his immaturity. When it comes to work, Rus finds that things are a lot more fun when Chelli is involved. He also happens to think Chelli is the funniest dude in town.
Chelli is the only person Rus trusts in this crazy world. Rus can seem selfish at times and may use Chelli more as a tool than a partner in his plots, but he never - and I mean NEVER - puts their friendship in jeopardy. Rus relies heavily on Chelli for moral support and companionship which Chelli provides unconditionally.
Chelli is the beloved, sweet, simple-minded goofball. He balances the duo with his warm, wholehearted compassion and excitement for life, which brightens any predicament he finds himself in. Nonetheless, Chelli’s 4th grade mind leaves him with no filter when it comes to social decency, pranks, or general emotional intelligence. Fellow citizens find it impossible to predict what Chelli might do next or what’s on his mind. Rus is the only one who truly understands Chelli… well, to the best of his ability.
Chelli looks up to Rus as an older brother figure. Chelli sees every half-baked plot Rus comes up with as a new adventure for the day. He thinks of his time spent working with Rus as a day of goofing off and adventure, regardless of the task at hand. But sometimes when Rus has taken a dark turn or things look bleak, it takes Chelli’s warmth and compassion to guide them back on track.
And Chelli’s biggest weakness? A blinding surge of excitement for all things adorable.
Renny is Rus and Chelli’s immediate supervisor who runs a tight ship for maintenance and order inside the dog. He loves his solitude. His short temper and unrealistic expectations for perfection lead him to be a big ball of stress. He has a knack for organization and structure, which is why he’s so reluctant to assign any work to Rus and Chelli. Rus and Chelli almost have to twist his arm to be put to work.
So why doesn’t Renny just fire them, you ask? Well, someone’s gotta do the bottom of the barrel labor around here. And with the number of applicants and volunteers dwindling, Renny has no one else to turn to. Little is known about Renny's past, or what he does in his spare time, but Chelli did once recall spotting him venting his frustrations to pigeons by the city pond.
Down The Road
Over the course of the series we will slowly unravel the dark origin story of Rus and Chelli. Learning their backstory, it is revealed to the audience that the characters they have grown to know, laugh at, and love, are actually mutated viruses contracted by the dog during a time of viral conflict.
At the series’ conclusion, in a gesture fitting to the show’s dark and bleak comedic tone, Rus and Chelli will ultimately be inadvertently instrumental in the collapse of their world…
xx The Team xx
Peggy’s many years directing at Duck Studios and Kurtz & Friends has made her a veteran in her field. As an animation director with 40 years under her belt, Peggy brought to life some of our most recognizable childhood characters, including Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes), Polly Pocket, Toucan Sam (Froot Loops), and Miss Chiquita Banana, to name a few.
Tom’s humble beginnings in the animation world started at Duck Studios under Peggy’s direction. He moved on to become a Post Production Producer for FX Networks, Awkwafina’s TAWK, and nine projects for the award-winning documentarian Laurent Bouzereau. For the past eight years he has been working in the feature film industry as an Assistant Editor for New Line and STX Entertainment, working alongside James Wan (The Conjuring 2) and Melissa McCarthy (Life of the Party, Happytime Murders).
In 2011 Tom Yamamoto ran to his ma with reams of paper full of doodles and scripts following two characters he’d named Rus and Chelli. After a long conversation over snacks and juices, Peggy realized that Tom had some legs on his idea. The team was formed. A year later, they had a child together and named it In The Belly with Rus + Chelli.
In 2017 they launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, and with the help of a couple writers and animators across the sea they are now producing the first batch of episodes. The first and only (maybe, maybe not) mother + son duo bring you the deranged world of Rus and Chelli!