Friday, July 29, 2011

Recommendation: Cartoons

Cartoons for adults are by no means a new phenomenon. As we all know, The Simpsons has been on the air for 73 years, and Family Guy, South Park, and Futurama enjoy wide-spread popularity. So I'm not going to talk about those shows. This week, I want to recommend some cartoons you may not have heard of yet but that you definitely check out. Each of the following is pretty unique, so hopefully everyone will enjoy at least one of them.

1. Ugly Americans (Comedy Central)
Ugly Americans is a show about life in the Big Apple. Living in New York is never boring, even more so because the world of the show is populated by both humans and monsters. Protagonist Mark Lilly is a social worker whose job is to help immigrants assimilate into American culture. And yes, those are immigrants of both the human and monster variety. His roommate is a zombie named Randall, and he has an on-again/off-again relationship with Callie, his boss, who is also the half-human/half-succubus daughter of the Devil. This is a recipe for comedic gold, my friends. The show also features a cast of wacky supporting characters. One of my favorites is Doug, a giant koala that never speaks and is usually crying. He's precious.

Ugly Americans currently airs on Comedy Central Thursday at 10:30pm after Futurama.

2. Archer (FX)
Archer has been described by its creator as Arrested Development meets James Bond. Not surprising, since three of the actors from Arrested Development (Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, and Judy Greer) do voice work for the show. Stirling Archer is an agent for ISIS, which stands for International Secret Intelligence Service. He works for his mother and alongside his ex-girlfriend Lana, her boyfriend Cyril the Comptroller (voiced by Chris Parnell), and a cadre of support staff with varying degrees of competence. Archer is pretty terrible to all of these people, particularly his butler Woodhouse, which gives the show a great deal of its comedic value. Stylistically, the animation is pretty minimalist (some might say, lazy)* and features styles and technology from a variety of time periods. For example, the clothing and hair styles tend toward 1960s fashions, and they use very outdated computers, but the characters also have access to cell phones and laser sights. Hilarious.

*A friend of mine once called the animators lazy after watching a scene that was simply several minutes of a shot of a door while the characters talked in the background. Maybe that was a stylistic choice. Or maybe they were being lazy. I'll let you decide.

Archer airs on FX and will return in September. You can watch the first season on Netflix Instant.

3. Regular Show (Cartoon Network)
This is a new one for me, and so far I've only seen a few episodes, but I think I'm a fan. While all the shows on this short list are bizarre in their own ways, Regular Show is probably the strangest. Its protagonists are a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby, two 23-year-old friends who work as groundskeepers at a park. Their coworkers include a living gumball machine, a yeti, and a man shaped like a lollypop. The humor and animation style are reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butt-Head, and the show can get pretty surrealistic at times. But the episodes are short (only around 11 minutes each), and myself 23, I feel a sort of kinship to our heroes. Give it a shot. If you don't like it after three episodes, you've only wasted about 33 minutes.

Regular Show airs on Cartoon Network. The start date of the third season is currently unknown, but several episodes can be viewed on the YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment