Robot Chicken, Season 1
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Robot Chicken: Season One (DVD)
Old-school stop-motion animation and fast-paced satire are the hallmarks of this eclectic show created by Seth Green and Matt Senreich. Action figures find new life as players in frenetic sketch-comedy vignettes that skewer TV, movies, music and celebrity. It's television especially formulated for the Attention Deficit Disorder generation.]]>
Take the stop-motion animated toy action of Kablam! and the pell-mell-paced gag barrage of, say, Laugh-In and you've got the fast and furiously funny Robot Chicken, the addictive addition to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim late-night lineup. Co-created by geek-God Seth Green and filmmaker Matthew Senreich, Robot Chicken episodes run a scant 12 minutes or so, which invites repeat viewings to catch what you missed during the channel-flipping mayhem through TV, movie, and commercial parodies, and non-sequitur blackouts, all acted out by dolls and action figures. To truly appreciate this series, it helps to have a Family Guy grasp on pop-culture trivia, although you need not remember the failed TV series Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place to enjoy "Two Kirks (Admiral James T. and Cameron), a Khan and a Pizza Place." Suffice to say, if you grew up with the Transformers, Voltron, He-Man, and the Care Bears, you'll cackle loudly at Robot Chicken. Each episode is hit and miss, with moments that border on mad genius, such as The Diary of Anne Frank re-imagined as a vehicle for Hilary Duff, or a sketch involving the Tooth Fairy and a little boy whose happiness is short-lived as his parents brutally bicker off camera. It may just live up to its billing as "the darkest sketch in television history."
Other moments to remember: actress Rachael Leigh Cook (voiced by herself) gets carried away during a "This is your brain on heroin" PSA; the shape-shifting superhero adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; a popsicle-stick adaptation of Debbie Does Dallas; and a Behind the Music devoted to Muppet house band the Electric Mayhem. Robot Chicken's coolness cache extends to its voice cast, including Sarah Michelle Gellar, Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, Mark Hamill, and Macauley Culkin. This two-disc set hatches a wealth of archival goodies, including deleted scenes and "animatics," behind-the-scenes footage of animation meetings, and alternate audio takes. Robot Chicken is a fowl ball! --Donald Liebenson
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Seth Green and his co-conspirators have cooked up an inspired melange of spoofs (I think my favorites had to be the Cannonball Run and Real World: Metropolis bits) and short, often Monty Pythonesque bits, all done in stop motion animation with what often appear to be modified off-the-shelf action figures. Along the way they take on cultural icons as disparate as Gandhi, the Olsen twins, Voltron and the A-Team. The extras are worth a view and the DVD allows you to slow down and catch bits in backgrounds and crowded shots you might otherwise miss. The episodes are 15 minutes each which are a perfect length, great for a quick laugh but nothing goes on overly long. The creators show special love for 70s and 80s pop culture and the more references you know, the more you will appreciate the humor.
Excellent show, can't wait for the next season!
Sure glad I did. The episodes are only 15 minutes or so long. Each contains quite a few "skits" varying from 5 seconds to about 3 minutes long. It's all animated unbelievably crudely, and that's part of the charm. It's all about the twisted combinations of action figures with story lines. And a great voice cast. For example, a favorite of mine was KILL BUNNY. What do you do with a Jesus action figure? A spoof of the trailer for Kill Bill, of course. When Jesus heals Daryl Hannah, instead of plucking her other eye out, I thought I'd keel over laughing.
Not every skit is a winner. No one will like them all. But they go by so fast, that even the clunckers (An A-Team spoof seems redundant) only take a minute of your time. These are great to watch when you have limited time, need a quick pick-me-up, or have a large group of people over who can't concentrate on anything too long.
Also, anything that has music by Les Claypool automatically takes a step UP in the cool department. It's not the greatest thing since sliced bread, doesn't hold a candle to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, but it is funny. If you want funny...you get it. If you want genius, a high budget and uncanny special effects...keep looking.
With many featurettes, deleted scenes and how this show came about along with several different would be names for the show and also some ads plugging the Robot Chicken show. It's all that and a Robot Chicken.