(S02E08) This episode, written and directed by Scott Adsit, reminded me of an old Emo Philips joke that you can read here. The gist of the joke is that two people share almost identical religious beliefs, but one insignificant difference is enough to make them enemies. In this episode, a new family, the Posabules, moves in next door to Orel's family. They seem like the perfect neighbors: their kids get along famously, both the men enjoy the album "Non-threatening Negro Comedy Volume 6," and the wives find common ground in their love of organizing detergents. Even when Bloberta goes monkey-crazy because one of her cleaning products is out of place, it's all quickly smoothed over.
(S02E07) The first thing I noticed about this episode was the opening. As far as I know, this is the first time creator Dino Stamatopoulos wasn't credited with writing the episode. Instead, that credit went to Mark Rivers, who composes the music for the series.
At this point, I think fans of Moral Orel have come down off the high of the first season and have settled in to simply enjoying the show. We're more familiar with it now, but it's still smart and funny, and manages to go places you don't expect. When this latest episode began, it had a very "first season" feel to it: Orel hears Reverend Putty's sermon and takes the lesson to heart. I settled in for an enjoyable if not familiar episode, but by the end of it I was laughing so hard I had to take anti-laughing pills to stop.
(S02E06) This episode dealt with the line between faith and reason, which may be why I wasn't as drawn to it as other episodes. I thought it was a good episode, but the way in which the citizens of Moralton use fractured reasoning to explain their religious beliefs has been a major component of the show since it began. This episode merely brought that idea to the forefront, and while it was still funny, there wasn't much to surprise a fan like myself. I laughed several times, but was ultimately left with a feeling of "oh yeah, I knew they were gonna say that." That being said, this wouldn't be a bad episode to introduce someone to the show, as I think it's a great overview of the show and what it's trying to say.
(S02E05) You can never predict what might offend some people. I've expressed opinions on this blog and elsewhere, convinced my views would raise the ire of certain readers, and been greeted by the Web equivalent of chirping crickets. In contrast, it's usually the stuff that seems completely innocuous that manages to stimulate some section of a person's brain dedicated to making everything sound offensive.
(S02E04) Sadness is nature's spankings. - Clay Puppington
Those of us who have been watching Moral Orel since the beginning know that the show is more complex than it appears on the surface. The inner tensions within his own family and the other grown ups in Moralton were hinted at in the first season and have come more into focus this season. I'm not a television writer, but I imagine trying to meld the funny and the emotional into an eleven-minute amalgam can't be easy, which is why I think the "slow reveal" approach has worked so well for Moral Orel. In this episode, when Orel finds out his mother might have another family, the scene doesn't feel like it was suddenly sprung on us out of nowhere, because Bloberta's unhappiness and detachment has been part of the show's subtext since it first aired a year ago.
(S02E03) So far this season Moral Orel has delved a little deeper into the lives of the other characters, and it's nice to see Orel's tiny universe expanding to include everyone else.
This episode examines the enigmatic, mostly homosexual and definitely polyamorous Coach Stopframe, who jumps between loyalty to God or Satan as frequently as he gains and loses interest in both men and women. He definitely has a thing for Orel's father, but it's still somewhat vague what their history is exactly, or what it is Clay wants from the relationship. I can't decide whether Clay is in denial about his homosexual tendencies, or if he just likes being lavished with the kind of attention Coach Stopframe gives to him. People don't always reveal themselves with absolute clarity, and Moral Orel seems to understand this, peeling back a little more about each person with every episode.
Finally, some religion is coming to iTunes. Religious satire, anyway.
Starting tomorrow, and following the premiere of each episode of Moral Orel on Adult Swim, the latest episode will be available on iTunes. If you're bummed about Morel Orel not being shown on Adult Swim Fix, or you're like me and can only enjoy animation when it's on a tiny screen you hold in your hand, then sing hallelujah and rejoice, brothers and sisters. Moral Orel joins Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros. and Sealab 2021 in the iTunes store. This news is according to the always-informative bumps that pop up during Adult Swim's block. That onscreen text hasn't steered me wrong yet. I trust it more than my own mother, who doesn't even watch Adult Swim if you can believe it. Since the show doesn't hit iTunes until tomorrow, I'm not sure of the cost per episode, but one would assume the usual $1.99.
(S02E03) First of all, the animation keeps getting better and better. The opening scene at the park had so much happening, and the show pops off the screen in a vibrant way it didn't during the first season. Not that the first season had bad animation, far from it, but the look is improving as it does in most animated shows. I also loved the bubbles foaming in the sink in the final scene when Bloberta is scrubbing a turkey and a lobster.
In the beginning, Dino Stamatopoulos created Moral Orel, and it was good.
Anyway, if you read my interview with Dino, you know that at some point Moral Orel would be getting the versatile digital treatment, and Warner Bros. has just announced that Volume 1 will be in stores March 20, 2007. The set will include fifteen episodes, and I'm going to assume that means the ten episodes that comprised season one plus the first five episodes from season two (Dino also told me in an e-mail that'll most likely be the case). I tend to like my DVD sets in seasons rather than volumes, but when the episodes are only about 11 minutes long sans commercials, this approach does make more sense. No official word yet on extras, though Dino tells me they have recorded commentaries for the episodes.
(S02E01) I'd have to go back and look at my recordings of the first season to verify this, but I think creator Dino Stamatopoulos has the writing credit on most of, if not all the episodes from the first season. It was nice to see Nick Wiedenfeld's and Scott Adsit's name alongside Dino's in the opening credits. As the old cliche goes, too many cooks make the broth totally awesome.
As any god-fearing protestant knows, God made us in his image, at least, those of us who are white. After all, Jesus was white, as we can easily tell by all those pictures of him. Also, why else would they make Band-Aids that color?
In case you didn't read my interview with Dino Stamatopoulos, you may be interested to know that he hepped me to some interesting news about Robot Chicken. Here's what Stamatopoulos, whose show, Moral Orel, shares a production facility with Robot Chicken, had to say:
"We're actually gonna shut down on Friday because Robot Chicken has a special they're doing. I don't know if I'm supposed to say, but I don't give a shit, I'll tell you anyway. LucasFilm saw some of their Star Wars parodies and now they're financing a whole half-hour special that's gonna be played for one of the network's halftime shows for Super Bowl Sunday. So they're building all these Star Wars sets around here. The nerds are creaming in their pants."
So there you go, Robot Chicken fans, a full half-hour of Star Wars-inspired Robot Chicken goodness. This was the first I had heard of such a thing, and I'll let y'all know when I find out more information.
(Left to right: Scott Adsit, Jay Johnston and Dino Stamatopoulos)
Dino Stamatopoulos has written for some of the funniest cult comedy series in the last ten years, including Mr. Show, TV Funhouse, Tom Goes to the Mayor, and most recently Moral Orel, an oft-misunderstood stop-animated cartoon created by Stamatopoulos himself. He's also written for other series, including Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Mad TV.
With the new second season of Moral Orel starting November 12, Stamatopoulos and I spoke on the phone about what fans could expect in the new season, and about TV comedy in general.
Ever since getting a Tivo a little over a year ago, I no longer watch TV shows when they actually air. When I'm not catching up with what's on my recorder, I'm either reading, listening to podcasts, or pounding out a blog post about what I'm watching on television. The big deletion from my Tivo Season Pass this year is House. I still admire the show, but for me the magic is gone. The season opener sat on my Tivo for quite a few days, unwatched. When I finally sat down to view it I realized, about fifteen minutes into it, that I had completely lost interest in it. I didn't even finish the episode, and took it off my Tivo for good. Perhaps my attitude will change in the coming weeks, but who knows? Anyway, some of these shows are winding down their current seasons, some have yet to air. All times are Central because I live in Minnesota.
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