Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Music, Cartoons and a Much-Delayed Review


I really should have titled that in a different order, since I'm actually starting with the last item, first ("Oh, Uncle P, you're such a card!").

Anyway, while I finally was able to watch two episodes of Comedy Central's newest animated series "Ugly Americans," I had been putting off my official review for one reason or another. But I finally realized it's actually because I hate writing bad reviews. And I am sad to say that "Ugly Americans" is not very good, at all. That's not to say they don't try.

Set in an alternate reality version of New York City, "Ugly Americans" suffers most from trying to jam too many sub-genres together in one show. Mark works at the Bureau of Integration, trying to help various supernatural and extraterrestrial beings assimilate into life in Manhattan. He runs counseling sessions, job placement programs, etc., for beings other than human. His boss is literally from Hell (Daddy is the big S, himself), but that doesn't stop him from sleeping with her; his roommate, Randall, is a zombie (who turned for a fickle girl who only dated zombies, but had moved on to warlocks by the time he did); his co-worker is an alcoholic wizard and his clients are any number of beasties, monsters, aliens and robots in need of socialization.

Lord knows, I'm all for alternate realities; monsters; zombies; vampires; demons; aliens and robots. I'm just not sure how they all fit together. And, apparently, neither are the writers. One joke characters pop in and out with no rhyme or reason and the regular characters are simply tired cliches, stereotypes and been-there-done-that parodies. The first episode introduced us to the show's characters and the second dealt with a man accepting that he'd become a werewolf, while forgiving the werewolf that ate his arm, along with a "Meet the Parents from Hell" sub-plot. Neither episode was particularly funny (I may have chuckled a few times between them) and to be quite frank, I've seen better animation.

I suppose my biggest problem is with the show's central conceit. If this is an alternate reality where such beings are commonplace, then there would be no need for a Bureau of Integration. And if the Bureau exists because of a change in the status of "reality," then we need to why (or at least how) the status of reality changed. Yes, I know - "It's an animated comedy, fer cryin' out loud! Get over it!" I would, if the damned thing wasn't trying so hard. *1/2 (One and a Half Stars Out of Four).

It's a shame, because I really had high hopes for "Ugly Americans." And maybe it will get better with time, though I kind of doubt it. For now, I'll happily await the return of "Futurama."



And probably thanks to Sunday's Betty Boop cartoon, Q seems to be in a Max Fleischer kind of mood, because she posted the below video on Facebook today. Personally, I'm always in a Max Fleischer kind of mood, but that's just me. I am not familiar with The Real Tuesday Weld, but after hearing "The Day Before You Came," I intend to find out more about them and their music. It's an interesting song that fits amazingly well with the old Felix the Cat cartoon (even better than Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz):



That sort of reminds me of this:



And finally, via Towleroad's Tuesday music roundup, comes this clever and just a little gay video from Diane Birch. "Valentino" is Bubblegum Pop Song fun, with a video that is sure to elicit a smile or two:



I think I may very well love this young woman. Or her art director.

More, anon.
Prospero

1 comment:

Sean said...

I completely agree with your review of Ugly Americans, I just could never write it as well as you did. When I first heard the title of the show I thought it was about the tea baggers and Republicans.