Moral Orel, Vol. 1, The Unholy Edition
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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
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Top customer reviews
I have to mention that this is NOT a show for young children. Despite the innocuous-seeming claymation, Moral Orel contains a glut of mature and sexual content.
The show outlines how easily misinterpreted and ambiguous religious texts can be. This is very understandable, given the plethora of Christian sects and the difficulty they have in finding common ground. Schisms sometimes lead to extreme violence, as was the case between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait was fueled primary by the rift between two Muslim sects.
Volume 1 includes the first 15 episodes. Themes of censorship, "moral" outrage, charity and more are viewed through the lens of an impressionable and naive young boy and his (to put it mildly) extremely dysfunctional and wacky family.
There is s much irony, humor, spite, wit, satire, and cleverness in this series. Not once did I think that Dino Stamatopoulos was insulting religion. His criticism was with hypocrisy and society, because Orel triumphs in the end.
Orel's parents are bitter, nasty people. His father Clay Puppington is a miserable alcoholic, who is also the town's mayor. His mother Bloberta Puppington loves to clean, but she longs for the love of her husband. She is defensive of her youngest son, but regardless of how bad of a mother she is, her son's counterpart wants to stay with her.
Orel is completely innocent, very naive, good-hearted, so inevitably, he takes things to heart and does everything wrong. His righteousness can offend even the righteous, and one of my favorite episodes was Offensiveness. His actions have consequences, because of the absoluteness of his innocence, but I understand he means well.
You like Orel. Despite how much he fouls.
The set-up for the DVD is interesting in that it has 1.5 seasons, but that is probably due to the fact that the episodes are rather short (generally 15 minutes each, unless there is a special). There is some entertaining episode commentaries and short behind-the-scenes vignettes.
I assume that placing the rest of the episodes onto one more volume DVD would be fairly easy because there would be 1.5 seasons left over. The second DVD was rumored to come out years ago, and it still has not happened. I am really hoping that Adult Swim will finally change this, as there is a significant market for the DVD.