New show fizzles only minutes in
"Brickleberry," Comedy Central's latest series, opens with a montage of its setting, a beautiful, animated park at sunrise. Well, if the animation looked any good, instead of being simple, ugly and poorly-drawn-in-Flash.
Anyway, shots of the national park where the show takes place continue to play, until the camera cuts to... two bears fornicating - ha - then two mountain lions doing it - hilarious - then moose, then foxes, then a buffalo drops a rock on another buffalo's crotch and the scene concludes when the camera finally pans to a scene of hundreds of woodland creatures having sex.
Would you believe me if I said it was all downhill from there?
Daniel Tosh, the executive producer of "Brickleberry," has his comedic fingerprints all over the show, as it's like "Family Guy" and "Tosh.O" had a baby. The jokes are fast and they're very vulgar (immigrants, Scouts, amputees and rape all make appearances). More importantly, none of the jokes are actually funny for anyone older than the age of 14. "Brickleberry" is the definition of low-brow and lowest common denominator humor. I almost hate that I hate it so much.
Tosh plays Malloy, a bear cub rescued by the main character park rangers, all of whom are one-note jokes. Jerry Minor's Dwayne is an offensively stereotyped black guy and his material that doesn't manage to be offensive simply doesn't work. There's also a masculine, ugly female ranger with a growling vagina (not funny) and a war-vet leader voiced by Tom Kenny whose post-traumatic stress disorder is the punchline of a joke (also not funny). Much like "Tosh.0" and Tosh's standup, which got him in trouble over the summer when his rape joke in response to a heckler offended thousands, "Brickleberry" is focused on going "too far" with rapid-fire joke delivery.
Unfortunately, when "South Park," "Family Guy," "Archer," dozens of Adult Swim shows and even other Comedy Central shows have done off-color, mature comedy mixed with impressive animation, Tosh's show pales in comparison. Every bit of it is lowbrow from the beginning to the end, from the ill-advised rape jokes to the jokes about gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation that aren't just offensive, but offensively bad considering they're not funny, only there to shock. Sure, it was created by the guys behind MTV2's strange, disturbing "Stankervision" back in 2005, but the whole thing feels right up Tosh's immature alley.
The plots in this episode could have been interesting if the show had a smarter script. Unfortunately, because it's focused on cramming as many vulgar jokes as possible into its 22 minutes, it doesn't have time to do anything original; subvert the genre, comment on the state of the animated sitcom, at least branch off into something different. Without this, its humor is lazy and forced.
Of special merit is Tosh's Malloy, obviously meant to be the Stewie/Brian hybrid of the show. All he has are one-liners and cut-aways. He's a terrible character in both actions and motivation and not funny enough to become fond of. In another unfortunate Tosh rape joke, the episode ends with the young bear cub lured into a pedophile's trailer, where the show did do something that, to its credit, I had never seen before on TV; directly show an animal in the process of being raped. Nothing more needs to be said here.
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