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October 9, 2015

Moral Orel: Repression

by Adam Finley, posted May 7th 2007 12:40PM

moral orel(S02E12) Stop-motion animated sex is kind of disturbing. While watching this episode I wondered how much needed to be cut to make it suitable for air. Perhaps nothing needed to be cut, but this was certainly one of the more sexually graphic episodes.

The series was renewed for a third season recently, but I wonder how deep the "idea well" is for a series like Moral Orel. The city of Moralton and the denizens therein are trapped in their own little world, and it's not a world like Robot Chicken or Family Guy where gags can just come from anywhere, and it's not a satire of everything like The Simpsons. I'm obviously a fan of the show and its menagerie of characters struggling to appear righteous while committing all the sins us "normal" folks do, but the Moral Orel universe is so specifically constructed to represent a certain way of life I can't imagine it continuing further without starting to repeat itself.

Unless it becomes a half-hour show. I also mentioned this in my last review, but I'll go into more detail here. Moral Orel can be very funny, very twisted and very sick, but there are some "real" moments that make it stand out from other shows on Adult Swim (Venture Bros is another example of a series that mixes the funny and emotional quite well).

However, as the show progresses, it's becoming more and more clear that an eleven-minute runtime is not good for a show like this. I think the people behind the show have done a great job of including certain amounts of emotion and subtext, but given a full half-hour, those moments could be explored even more.

Okay, I know I just wrote four paragraphs without actually reviewing the episode, but this was actually a review of sorts. I thought the whole idea of repression and just pretending your good was really funny, and I loved it when Principal Fakey convinces himself it's his wife who gave him an STD, and comes to this insane realization while he himself is having sex with Nurse Bendy. However, that kind of delusional thinking is par for the course in Moralton, and I wanted more than that, thus my wish that the episode had more time to delve into the lives of the characters.

I'll give it a five out of seven.

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Dino is simply denying Morel Orel being a parody to avoid legal issues. There is no way anyone who has ever seen a single episode of Davey and Goliath would not immediately recognize Morel Orel as an exact mockery of the show. The animation, the subject matter, the voices, and the characters in both shows are identical. The only difference is that while Davey is a "model" of 60's Christianity, Orel strives to be and fails miserably due to his stupidity and comical naivety. Dino's denial is like Vanilla Ice trying to say he didn't rip off David Bowie.

June 16 2007 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can agree to that, Adam.

May 08 2007 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

I think you could argue that Moral Orel parodies the LOOK of Davey and Goliath due to the stop-motion animation, but speaking as someone who has watched the show religiously (ha!) since the beginning, and someone who has interviewed Dino and had brief e-mail exchanges with him here and there, that's where the the similarities end.

Dino's original idea for this show was a live-action series starring Iggy Pop (no kidding). The idea to do it as animated came later, then it became stop-motion, so comparisons to Davey and Goliath are inevitable. But it's clear he never intended it to be a parody of anything.

May 08 2007 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heh. Apparently I misunderstand Dino _and_ you. :) And the word "parody" apparently.

http://m-w.com/dictionary/parody defines parody as
"a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule". Is Orel non-parody because it's not literature or music? 'Cause it really sounds like it's parody from the rest of the definition. I'm not trying to be argumentative [well, not _belligerently_ so] but I don't get it.

May 08 2007 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

Dino also spoke about it not being a parody in my interview with him:


May 08 2007 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

Here's what Dino said to Adult Swim (cut and pasted from http://www.adultswim.com/shows/moralorel/stuff/interview/index.html):

"I am never offended by anything, the closest I get is when people say this is a parody of Davey and Goliath. I'm very insecure about that because I hate parodies. Sure, I've written them in my life, but always with the knowledge that they had to stand on their own and be funny, even if you weren't familiar with the source material. But Moral Orel isn't a parody show. So there."

May 08 2007 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam, I gotta disagree with you about Dino not intending Orel as a direct parody of Davey [I'm talking show as well as characters]. Stop-motion aside, there's the religious aspect and the fact that Orel looks almost exactly like Davey. Perhaps I misunderstand you but it seems to me like it's a clear-cut parody.

May 08 2007 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Finley

I don't think Dino Stamatopolous ever wanted the series to be a direct pardoy of Davey and Goliath, though the claymation makes it difficult to avoid such comparisons.

I understand what you mean by "it practiaclly smacks you in the head with its pacing, then leaves it ringing with laughter," but I think it could do that, and have an emotional undercurrent not unlike early Simpsons if it was extended to a half hour.

Thanks for your comment, though. Civil disagreements are always welcome. :)


May 07 2007 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gotta disagree with you here. First of all, Moral Oral is a satire of those christian brainwashing programs that were force-fed to us on saturday mornings by passing them off as cartoons.

I also think that it's a little closed minded of you to think that there isn't much more that can be done with the concept without repeating itself. I mean, if "Davey and Goliath" can get 5 seasons and six or seven specials out of what is basically the same material, then I think that "Moral Oral" should be good for at least 3 seasons.

Lastly, i think that the show would lose quite a bit of its edge in the 30 minute format. One of the best things about Oral is the fact that it practiaclly smacks you in the head with its pacing, then leaves it ringing with laughter. In a longer format, it would lose that punch.

May 07 2007 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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