Friday, September 7, 2007

DVD Review: Robot Chicken, Season Two

Emperor Palpatine receives a collect call from a devastated and emotional Darth Vader after the destruction of the Death Star. Mike and Carol Brady duke it out a la “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Ted Turner paints himself blue and warns viewers to “protect the environment, or I’ll fuckin’ kill you. Captain Planet!” It’s all par for the course for the [adult swim] cult classic “Robot Chicken.”

Created and produced by Seth Green and Matt Seinrich, the second season of “Robot Chicken” hit shelves on September 4, 2007, and brought more stop-motion sex, violence, and general irreverence to the masses. The critically acclaimed show (more for animation than content, mind you) is back with twenty more episodes, all of them packed with the wit and violence that made the show a hit.

“Robot Chicken” is television for the truly ADD viewer, as each eleven-minute episode is crammed with nearly a dozen short sketches. The show is fast-paced and funny, racing to each punch line with obsessive attention to detail. The sketches feature a variety of popular toys and classic action figures parodying many aspects of pop culture, from cartoons and television shows to celebrity scandals and general nonsense.

The show’s humor has evolved somewhat since the last season, where all the laughs seemed to be focused on the physical humor and sight gags. The second season is laced with lots of verbal humor and clever situations, which makes for much more engaging comedy. For example, in one sketch Jesus stops his acolytes from stoning a man, saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” When the acolytes drop their stones, Jesus pulls out one of his own and cracks the man across the face.

The show’s creators have also learned to laugh at their own creation quite a bit. In one skit, a coach stares at his deflated sporting equipment and laments, “My balls! Oh, my balls! Who would do this to my balls?” while an onlooker remarks, “This show is soooo clever.” In another episode, the creators end with a spoof of VH1’s “Best Week Ever” with various celebrity action figures mocking the preceding sketches.

No worries though – in addition to the clever side of the show’s humor, the award-winning stop-motion humping and lengthy fight scenes that the show became famous for are still present as well, and in full force. Clearly the animators have been fine-tuning their skills, because the animation style of the second season is noticeably smoother and more creative than that of the first season. For instance, one episode features a sketch where Lindsey Lohan uses impressively animated sword fighting skills to kill off her fellow teen starlets Highlander-style (“There can be only ONE!”).

Some of the skits are several minutes long, like the “A Very Dragonball Z Christmas” sketch which pits classic anime characters against familiar holiday figures. Other sketches take only a few seconds to get to the punch line; for instance, in one sketch two kids stare at their grandparents with glowing eyes, and the grandfather grumbles, “Damned kids.” Scene.

Viewers who enjoyed the first season of “Robot Chicken” should be equally engaged by the second installment. The DVD set features all twenty episodes of season two, as well as deleted scenes, commentary, and a controversial episode in which Beavis and Butthead become Teen Titans, which was omitted from the Season One line-up due to copyright issues.

The second season is definitely a worthwhile purchase for any “Robot Chicken” aficionado. However, fans that would rather not spend the money can catch re-runs of the notorious show on the [adult swim] website’s video feed, as well as new episodes of the series’ third season which are aired every Sunday night on [adult swim].

1 comment:

Edie said...

You write very well.