punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Adult Swim: Funny One Time Out of Five

I used to work for Time Warner, it's true. I worked at AOL, and then there was that merger, but TW flooded us with all kinds of their other merchandise. But as a UNIX Systems Administrator, I didn't get to vote in any way what was shown on any channel they owned. cyaneyed does that now, and if she claims she doesn't, it's all part of her master plan to make us all suffer*.

One of the things she did was introduce the philosophy, "If it's weird enough, it doesn't have to be funny." I am not sure why a good friend of mine would do that, but she's mad with power, I tell you. I think most of the shows they show on Adult Swim seem to hinge on some kind of grossness factor, too. Like people who missed the concept that the original Ren and Stimpy was funny because of exaggerated irony, and just thought it was because they focused on body humor, especially the nose. "Let's do that! Let's be gross AND random! Boogers! Tee hee!"

Here's my list of funny/unfunny:

- Robot Chicken
- Venture Brothers
- Harvey Birdman
- The Oblongs
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (sometimes)
- Metalocolypse (sometimes)
- The Boondocks (sometimes)

- Assy McGee
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (sometimes)
- Frisky Dingo
- Home Movies
- Minoriteam
- Metalocolypse (sometimes)
- Morel Orel
- Perfect Hair Forever
- Saul of the Mole Men
- Sealab 2021 (although the first season was funny)
- Shin Chan
- Squidbillies
- Stoker and Hoop
- Tim and Eric Awesome Show Good Job
- Tom Goes to the Mayor
- Xavier the Angel

Most of my "unfunny" list comes from the fact that the writers seemed to be partially stoned most of the time. They have disconnected bits, no continuity, and often run an idea or joke into the ground, and they just keep digging to bury it further. When I look at the list I made, I think the most common element in shows I like have some kind of plot and character continuity.

Take Frisky Dingo. I find this show unwatchable, like some private joke gone awry. Same with Xavier the Renegade Angel. This show is even worse, because it seems like a private joke between several stoned pre-teens. When I look at my "unfunny" list, many of them are jokes run into the ground, like Assy Mcgee is an ass, ha ha, okay... now what? What? Nothing? Okay... Moral Orel is a spoof on Davey and Goliath, we get it. Saul of the Mole Men is a spoof of Land of the Lost, Jules Verne, bad 70s TV shows, and ... nothing else.

Squidbillies is just plain bad. Home Movies is like that filler sitcom you find on the CW.

Minorateam is one of those "shock" shows where you try to offend your audience, but there's no reason behind the offense. South Park offends, but has at least a moral message, whether you agree with it or not. The offense has backing. Minorateam seems like a strong of insults done by high schoolers in the privacy of some basement where they drink cheap beer and say what they really want to.

The Venture Brothers is a good, strong show, even though the original premise was a Johnny Quest style spoof. The characters all stay the same kind of character. Not only that; it actually has plot lines that move through different shows, like Brock's affair with Molotov Cocktease. It's cleverly written, has character dynamic, and makes sense. Harvey Birdman is the same way, even though it experiments with a few concepts, like the training film for Seben and Seben (which was one of their finniest self-spoofs).

Aqua Teen Hunger Force has many hits and misses; it's almost like the script writers with vastly different styles are fighting with one another. The funny ones have a premise, a development, and a resolution, even if the resolution is intentionally no resolution at all. But then some are just a random string of jokes that seem to hint, "This would be funny if you were in the script meeting with us. Dude, a moon alien made of Atari 8-bit graphics, OMG... no wait, it was funnier at 3am when we were high... that's right... what?"

Robot Chicken does not have any continuity save a few reoccurring characters, but it's funny because it's a pretty fresh and mocking approach to various popular media. Compare this to Tim and Eric Awesome Show Good Job. I couldn't even explain this show to a stoner. It is literally confusingly unfunny. It reminds me of the kind of unfunny stuff we'd come with in Prune Bran as filler at the very last minute, or by a script writer who has long since lost his love and desire to be a writer, and turning something in simply for the word count.

But if I had to find the one summation I dislike about the majority of shows they put out there, it would have to be "it's so weird, it must be funny." It's not. Like a joke repeated too many times, maybe ONE weird and strange show is funny in an ironic sense, but to repeat it over and over and over... it's crap, guys. Like the plethora of reality TV out there, it's a concept that getting old, stale, and stereotyped.

You can do better, Adult Swim.

* She used to run the Discovery Channel, too. She invented "Shark Week" and everything. She denies it, but it's true.
Tags: adult swim, cartoons, humor
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