The Adam Finley Award: Winner - VIDEOS
by Jason Hughes, posted Jun 6th 2008 11:59PM
In the end, this turned out to be one of the closest races of all the TV Squad Awards, both utilizing our internal selection system of manatees in tanks with nominee balls and you all using your clicky devices on your computers to vote via that fancy poll at the end of my post regarding the nominees for the Adam Finley Award for excellence in animation. I'd also like to nominate the previous sentence for The Pointlessly Longest Sentence in TVS History Award. And if that seemed completely random, than it's a perfect way to introduce the most randomly hilarious show on television, and our winner, Robot Chicken. They won specifically for their half hour long Star Wars special, wherein they skewered all five of Lucas' good Star Wars movies and Episode I.
Even though some of the Robot Chicken: Star Wars Special was rehashed material from previous episodes, there was still plenty of new material to giggle about. And the material that was repeated, like Darth Vader's collect call to Emperor Palpatine after the destruction of the original Death Star, was awesomely brilliant. "He's crying."
Among the new sketches was an absolutely hilarious look "behind the story" of Ponda Baba. He was the alien in the original movie who got his arm chopped off in the cantina in Mos Eisley after he and a friend tried to instigate a bar fight with Luke. In the original movie, Ponda Baba did not speak English and so had his words translated by his friend, creating an opening for Robot Chicken to have his friend be a douche and mis-translate his benign words to Luke. The loss of his arm cost him his job. And his day had even started off right with a bowl of Admiral Ackbar cereal. Hey, look at that. That's how you make a funny sketch not funny by describing it. Good stuff, huh?
Another instant classic is the short where we learn that the Death Star technicians only pretend to be strangled by Darth Vader, to pacify him (he's made out to be a whiny bitch throughout). They just don disguises and keep working under new identities after he "kills" them. "Private Perkins has been strangled more than thirty times," and we see him in dark glasses, a fake nose and beard, hat, etc. Quick sight gags (Luke and Leia in bed, "That was so wrong") abounded throughout, and in typical Robot Chicken fashion, you barely had time to absorb one bit before we moved on to the others.
But the highlight of the whole thing for me was when Jar Jar Binks, after being thrown out an airlock by Vader for annoying him one time too many, was transformed into an "all sparkly and shiny" Force ghost, where he could torment his old friend Ani-Bobani into eternity. Bonus points for the callback of having Darth Vader talking to the aforementioned Private Perkins beforehand.
All in all, with more than thirty sketches throughout, this half hour is packed with so many quick jokes and hilarious gags it actually brought the laughs more consistently than our other Star Wars related nominee. It may not be as funny if you're not a Star Wars fan, but I suspect that the majority of Robot Chicken fans are at least passingly familiar with it. As heavily as the show pulls from pop culture, it'd be hard to be a fan of it and have no idea anything about Star Wars. But even if you do, some bits will still be funny.
READER'S CHOICE: SOUTH PARK
For you, it was a dead heat between Futurama: Bender's Big Score, Family Guy: Blue Harvest and your ultimate winner, South Park, with the final votes of all four within four percentage points. But in the end, it was those four lovable bastards that stole the award.
On a final note, I'd like to say that The Venture Brothers will be available for nomination in this category next year. If nominees were based solely on votes, this show would probably have stolen both it and the award despite being ineligible; you kids love you some Venture Brothers.