Getting season two of Robot Chicken, volume one of Moral Orel, volume two of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and volume three of Space Ghost Coast to Coast just seemed like a bonus. Well worth the suggested retail price of $69.98 for Adult Swim fans who haven't already purchased any of the included sets.
The pilots are a mixed bag, but mostly good. The Best of Totally for Teens is a live action parody of a moralistic teen variety show hosted by thirtysomethings trying to be hip. It's a promising premise, one that should maybe be revisited, but the pilot is a bit of a mess. It hits topics ripe for satire in the format like teen insecurity, drugs, and sex, and has the right look for Adult Swim.
This is an early review.
This two-parter really made me hate Clay Puppington, and I don't think I can say that about any other cartoon character. Hell, Cartman from South Park has done tons of horrible things, even indirectly killed people, but watching Clay treat Orel so poorly and so dismissively made me want to break off his frail, wire-supported arms.
This is an early review.
Clay Puppington: Hunting dogs are just nature's rabbits.
With every episode, more and more layers have been peeled back from the dynamic between Orel and his father. At first, Orel seemed blissfully ignorant of his father's distance and abuse, but over the course of this season, Orel, like all kids do eventually, is realizing his father is only human, and not a very sane one, either.
This is an early review.
Orel [reading from the Necronomicon]: I'm gonna read from this book that's written in a different language: "bon jour, arrivederci, ooh la la, that's Italian!, ching ching ching chong, spaghetti, top o' the mornin' to ya!"
When I interviewed Moral Orel creator Dino Stamatopolous last October, he mentioned that an upcoming episode would feature a short film created by Orel himself (but actually animated by Dino*). This is that episode, and it both rewards fans of the series and takes a few shots at those who hate it.
(S02E16) This was probably the most sitcomesque episode of Moral Orel so far; I think it could have played on network television without any issues, which is saying something for a series that has been challenged by the censors on more than one occasion.
But let's not confuse "sitcomesque" with "formulaic," because even if a plot centering on a school pageant has been done before, it hasn't been done in the super-pious town of Moralton, where everyone loves Jesus, and Christian folk bands tell folks to think with their heart and "put a motorboard on your aorta."
Major apologies for being late with this review. I've had a bit of a pain in the gulliver the last few days, but I'm doing better now, thank you very much.
Anyway, perhaps it was because I was sick, or maybe my humor sensors just weren't tuned in properly, but this episode kind of left me cold. I'll admit I loved the whole idea of Orel and the Pious Scouts going on a camping trip but never really exposing themselves to nature, and I loved all the signs at the nature preserve that read, "Warning: Actual Nature" and "No Birds After Six PM," and if you really want to make me laugh, a squirrel committing suicide via hanging is always a good way to go, but the overall theme of this episode felt like something I had seen too many times before.
Clay: Orel, you know you shouldn't upset your mother by coming home with dirty clothes, because then your mother talks to your father, and no one wants that.
In my last review I said that Moral Orel would benefit tremendously by being a half-hour, rather than an eleven-minute, show. Creator Dino Stamatopoulos has said the same thing in interviews. There's simply too much subtext to cram into such a short amount of time.
(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.
Note: This is an early review. The episode airs Sunday, or you can watch it here now.
Clay: Orel, throw dogma a bone: pray correctly.
I liked this episode. I didn't love it, but I liked it.
First, the animation and effects keep improving with every subsequent episode, and this one had several moments where I was really impressed with what they were able to accomplish, especially with the dream-like meditation scenes: Orel's room disassembling and reassembling as he slips out of, and back into, reality was unlike anything the show has done before, and his encounter with a Buddha who speaks like a Southern waitress was probably the pinnacle of the episode, a combination of great visual effects and funny, but poignant (but weird) dialog.
A simple search on this site for the words "moral" and "orel" should provide you with all you need to know about my feelings for this Adult Swim series, but in a nutshell: I've been a fan since the first Christmas episode aired back in December of 2005.
As it turns out, "The Best Christmas Ever" was actually supposed to be the last episode of the first season, something that is discussed at length on the audio commentaries of this DVD set, which hits stores on April 24. Going back and watching the shows in order (the set contains all of season one and the first five episodes of season two), it's easier to see how the writing and animation improved as the creators became more and more comfortable with the town of Moralton and its citizens. The first ten episodes follow the same basic template of Orel trying to do good but ultimately having his intentions backfire, resulting in such chaos as attacks by Christian zombies who pray before they devour people, and a rash of pregnancies across town caused by Orel injecting his sperm into women while they sleep using a pastry bag.
Hello, people who like Adult Swim. Here's some news and random coolness for you:
First of all, Adult Swim has updated its schedule, and as you can see, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters is on the schedule for April 1, which is most likely a gag, considering it's not even scheduled for theatrical release until April 13.
Speaking of Aqua Teen, check out some more alternate endings to the movie here.
(S02E10) Well, Moral Orel fans, that's it for new episodes until the show comes back to conclude the season in March. So far, this season has delved much deeper into the lives of the citizens of Moralton, and it might be the only series on Adult Swim that's not afraid to add a layer of emotion to the comedy. Granted, that wouldn't really work for something like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but it does help Moral Orel to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
If you read my reviews of Moral Orel, you know I've been a fan since the first episode. It's often misunderstood as being nothing more than an eleven-minute joke at the expense of Christians, but its real target is not Christians or Christianity, it's how people will twist and contort their religion until it jives with their own selfish needs. The stop-animated residents of Moralton aren't seeking any kind of Divine Truth, they just want a religion of convenience.
Granted, Moral Orel can sometimes be quite vicious in its satire, but that's comedy. Aside from knock-knock jokes and preschool riddles, it's rare that comedy, and especially satire, doesn't offend on some level. Another "truth" about comedy is that you shouldn't analyze it too closely. The more you tear into it to see what makes it work, the more the magic seeps out of it.
Someone left a comment on my latest Moral Orel review asking whatever happened to Boondocks. Oddly enough, Boondocks will return with a new season in March, along with the second half of the current season of Moral Orel.
Before all of that, however, there are two new series debuting in February: Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, a fifteen-minute sketch show from Tom Goes to the Mayor creators Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim will kick off on February 11 at 11:45pm, followed by the Sid and Marty Krofft-inspired Saul of the Molemen at midnight. Also look for fifth season episodes of Family Guy to debut the same night. In addition, new episodes of anime series Trinity Blood, Eureka 7 and Bleach will continue throughout February along with repeats of 12 Oz Mouse, Harvey Birdman, Minoriteam, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies and Home Movies. Adult Swim HQ also writes that a new anime series will replace Trinity Blood in March.
Finally, it looks as if a third season of the Venture Bros will debut sometime later this year. Wikipedia says as much, and on January 4 co-creator Jackson Publick wrote on his LiveJournal that they had just begun to write episodes for the next season. So it's happening, but you'll have to be patient. I suggest watching the first and second DVDs over and over again.
(S02E09) The Adult Swim schedule grid has this episode listed as "Holy Image," but the opening credits had it as "Holy Visage," so that's what I'm calling it. At the start of this season I received an e-mail from creator Dino Stamatopoulos that said the title of the episode may change from "Holy Image" to something else. I assume it was changed so viewers wouldn't confuse it with "God's Image," an earlier episode. [Note: Dino e-mailed me and confirmed this after I posted this review].