Moral Orel: Volume One (Uncensored) (DVD)
In Moral Orel, a 15-minute stop-motion, animated series created by Dino Stamatopoulos, Orel, an 11-year-old boy who loves church, just wants to do God's work. His unbridled enthusiasm for piousness and his misinterpretations of religious morals, however, often lead to disastrous results - including self-mutilation and crack addiction. But no matter how much trouble he gets into, his reverence and faith keep him cheery to the bitter end. The DVD contains 15 uncensored episodes from the first and second seasons, along with all-new uncensored bonus materials!
What exactly makes this double disc of Moral Orel's first season just so "unholy"? Well, for starters, it's uncensored, but that label is really just an amusing ruse, because if anything, the original episodes, which ran as part of Adult Swim's programming, are more offensive than anything you're likely to see on network or cable television. The brainchild of TV writer Dino Stamatopolous (Mr. Show, The Ben Stiller Show), the animated series Moral Orel skewers both conservative viewpoints and children's shows like Davey and Goliath, from which Orel borrows its animated style and naïve world view. The series follows the thoroughly misguided adventures of Orel, a very impressionable young resident of the small town of Moralton. The citizens of said burg live by a very strict interpretation of Christian beliefs, and this rigid interpretation tends to land Orel in very hot water when he attempts to apply them to the less-than-black-and-white world around him. Over the course of the first season's ten episodes (which are all included here, as well as five episodes from the second season), Orel accidentally unleashes a plague of zombies on his townsfolk ("The Lord's Greatest Gift"), develops a horrific crack addiction ("Charity"), gets pierced in an unmentionable place ("The Blessed Union"), and in the series' most jaw-dropping episode to date, "God's Chef," turns a wrong-headed interpretation of sex into a town-wide rash of unexpected pregnancies.
If you're no longer shocked by South Park, chances are that Moral Orel will fill that void, but it's important to note that like South Park, Orel isn't just about breaking taboos. There's a lot of very clever dialogue here, and the "lessons" taught to Orel by his dad, Clay, and the miserable Reverend Putty, do much to skewer the double-talk that permeates zealous types on both sides of the religious and social fences. Supplemental features on The Unholy Edition include eight commentaries by Stamatopoulous and his production team (which includes fellow Mr. Show alum Jay Johnston, who also provides many voices for the series), which cover the trials and tribulations involved in the show's productions, as well as the many headaches incurred by the network over content and thematic issues. Several featurettes are also included, and the most entertaining of these is "The Awkward Comic-Con Panel," in which a seemingly deranged Stamatopolous gets into an argument with Venture Bros. creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer; commentaries by both sides of the fracas are also included. The extras are rounded out by deleted scenes, network bumpers, and footage of Stamatopolous recording the voice of Reverend Putty (he was replaced by William Saylers). --Paul Gaita