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October 13, 2015

Freak Show -- an early look

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 22nd 2006 2:04PM

freak showI had the pleasure of checking out the first couple episodes of the new animated series for Comedy Central from comedians David Cross and Jon Benjamin called Freak Show. Don't worry, though, I'm not going to give away any specific details, but I'll try to give you an idea of what to expect.

The Freak Squad is comprised of a group of circus freaks, each with their own unique power. Tuck and Benny, the siamese twins (voiced by Benjamin and Cross) have the power of separation; the Bearded Clam (Janeane Garofalo) shoots blinding bitch juice; the World's Tallest Nebraskan (Brian Stack, a writer and performer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien) can shrink up to six inches; Primi, the Premature Baby, has the power of pinpoint vomiting; and Log Cabin Republican, the only gay member of the squad, can transform into Burly Bear, a large, hirsute man in S&M garb. Log Cabin Republican is voiced by Jon Glaser, also a writer and performer on Conan.

The Freak Squad consider themselves super heroes, but they're never called upon when a real emergency strikes. Instead, they're a second tier group of heroes who are called when the president runs out of his favorite kind of nuts, or when he needs the odometer on his car rolled back so he can sell it at a higher price. When they're not being super heroes, they're part of the last independently owned freak show run by a kind old couple who are also completely insane. The freaks battle against Duncan Schiesst (voiced by Arrested Development's Will Arnett) and the corporate Freak-Mart that wants to take over their quiet hometown business.

Besides their main characters, Cross and Benjamin also play others, but neither of the comedians are exactly Mel Blanc or Daws Butler, so all their characters pretty much sound like slight variations of their real voices. The animation style is very similar to "TV Funhouse," which is a style I've never been especially fond of, but I think it works for this series. Usually a new series with such a weird premise takes a few episodes to catch on, so it's tough to say how this one will fare. The two episodes I saw had plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, and there are a lot of subtle jokes sprinkled throughout the episode that had me pausing and rewinding to catch them all. The series kicks off on October 4 at 10:30 pm.

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While this concept sounds pretty funny, its all been done before. Catch the movie (or comic book series) for Mystery Men. It was an absolute hoot. This sounds like a nearly identical imitation - right down to also featuring Janeane Garofalo. I'm sure I'll watch it a few times since it is Cross/Benjamin but I keep wondering why not something more original?

I gotta admit though - the Bearded Clam joke did make me spew my coffee when I read it. Hilarious.

September 23 2006 at 6:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looking forward to it. The Bearded Clam joke alone is enough for me.

September 22 2006 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I will honestly watch just about anything with Jon Benjamin...when you add Cross into the mix it just has to be good.

September 22 2006 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am SO EXCITED to catch this! That's a pretty fantastic cast assembled for this show... And I'm always happy when there's something to watch with the illustrious H. Jon Benjamin involved... Between this and Lucy, Daughter Of The Devil (when it finally pops up...) I think I might explode.

September 22 2006 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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