Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-three - Robot Chicken: Season 1, Episode 4, "A Behind the Music sketch with The Muppets? Sign me up! Again!"

Alright, I consider doing an episode of Robot Chicken for Couchbound to be almost as close to cheating as Pucca was, due to both of them having really short episodes, but at least Robot Chicken has actual content!

Produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich and featuring Emmy-winning stop-motion animation using, I kid you not, old action figures and toys, Robot Chicken is about as close to frat humor that geek society can get as a subculture.

Featuring quick cut, ADHD jokes that last as long as it takes to "change the channel" on the show, this particular episode features several bits with Ryan Seacrest (of American Idol fame) throwing out his trademark outro in several different contexts (my favorite being his revealing dress fetish), as well as a feature on the fall of Muppets house band The Electric Mayhem, an Armageddon parody featuring Harrison Ford (who is impersonated), and an improbable extreme pet sport.

On the whole, Robot Chicken is more crude than insightful, but manages to present lowbrow humor with enough geeky references and celebrity guest stars (not to mention impersonators) to keep things fresh and relatively funny. While it's sometimes a bit too obvious and on the nose, the writing waffling between puerile and clever, even the fart jokes manage to bring at least a smile.

While each episode is an exercise in hit or miss skits, it's hard not to find genius in this particular episode's Muppet sketch. Seeing Doctor Teeth, Floyd, Animal, and Janice (Zoot isn't really featured save as an aside about getting arrested) fall from grace is nothing short of brilliant... especially when Janice talks about getting Hep C from Tommy Lee with Howard Stern. That harsh, "F#$% you, Howard, I'm dah-ying!" is bloody hilarious!

Sure, the animal ski slalom is meh and the Armageddon sketch is more than a tad predictable, most everything else in the episode makes up for it and really evens out the show's rough spots.

I think that I only have two complaints, really.

First, the show is only ten minutes long... not that it would be much of a problem, as it's best in short spurts anyway, it's just that Netflix has that annoying "Are you still watching?" popup that triggers every two episodes. It gets to be a hassle, seeing that thing after only twenty minutes.

Second, like the rest of the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim shows currently running on the Stream, it only has the first season. I mean, really? These shows have been on for years, even well over a decade for some (like Dexter's Lab and Samurai Jack)... and have long since completed their runs for the most part (Robot Chicken is still slowly plugging away, last time I checked). Would it kill Williams Street, et al., to let all the seasons onto the Stream?

Overall, I don't think that Robot Chicken is for everyone. It's geeky, juvenile humor that probably only hits with the Gen Xers and Millennial set. That said, it's a fun ride full of dark humor.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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