Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hey, You Got Robot In My Chicken

Had occasion over the past few days to watch some episodes of Robot Chicken. For those not in the know, RC is a new Adult Swim 'toon from Seth Green and the Unusual Gang of Idiots over at Toyfare magazine. Through a combination of old action figures and limited claymation (which I have dubbed "toymation," so if you hear it in Entertainment Weekly, you know whom they stole it from), the show presents short humorous sketches, often pushing the boundaries of good taste.

I'm of two minds about the show. It's funny, and most of the humor is right up my alley. Some of the longer sketches are genius, like "12 Angry Little People," where the dog being part of the jury goes from a silly sight gag to an important plot point, the Cobra HQ sketch ("we're in full compliance with OSHA regulations), and "The Benny Hill Funeral." Plus, while they do have an awful lot of celebrity guest stars (and even regulars), they don't make a big deal about it; most of them, you can't even tell until the credits. Finally, the opening sequence is just gloriously demented, kind of a mix of Danny Elfman and Sid and Marty Kroft.

On the other hand, little things about it bug me. Since the show's only ten minutes long, most of the sketches are "quick cuts," with amusing one-liners or visuals before a cut to another scene. It's a disturbing perpetuation of the American short entertainment span. The crew are good writers, and could easily write longer sketches. I hope that their decision not to do so is motivated by monetary and time costs (I do know, from reading Twisted Toyfare Theater, the photocomics from which Robot Chicken spawned, that it the process is neither cheap nor quick).

Also, there's a great deal of toilet humor and pop culture references. The former is ok in short doses, but it's overdone at times, and once you've heard a long series of farting/crapping noises, you don't really need to hear them again. As for the latter, well, Voltron breakdancing is funny to me(although not as funny as the Green Lion humping the Blue Lion during the transformation sequence), but it does limit the show's shelf life. Eventually, the demographic is going to move on, and the ones who replace them won't be as amused at gags they don't understand.

Lastly, while the "Bloopers" concept is a funny one, it doesn't merit three separate sketches. Again, once is enough for the joke to sink in.

I'm all in favor of stupid and tasteless humor; just ask anyone who's ever hung out with me. But even within stupid and tasteless humor, there's room to do a little more. I'd like to see that.

1 comment:

toymation forums said...

its funny stuff for our generation