Originally published in The Daily Toreador.
When it comes to stop-motion animation, family friendly shows like “Wallace and Gromit” are out, and “Robot Chicken” is in.
Using toys, dolls, clay and similar items, the team behind “Robot Chicken” create very short (sometimes no longer than a few seconds) comedy sketches that are typically filled with pop culture references. These sketches are compiled together into episodes that run around 10 minutes on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim.”
The recently released Season 3 2-DVD set of the show contains 20 of these episodes, as well as an assortment of special features.
The results are often quite funny. Sketches like “1776” – a parody of the film “300” set during the American Revolution – could easily have you laughing out loud with friends. If you love making fun of popular culture, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
However, there are also points where the show falters. Certain sketches simply aren’t very funny – especially if you don’t have a friend to enjoy them with – and in a couple of cases there are entire episodes that are just disappointing in their non-humor.
There’s also the issue of the show’s humor not appealing to everyone. A lot of the laughs are derived from the pure randomness (and blatant stupidity) of what’s happening on screen. Some people will find this hilarious while others will find it pointless.
There’s also the issue of controversy. “Robot Chicken” doesn’t pull punches in any regard. Politics, religion, sex, language … anything and everything is free game.
This is compounded by the fact that the DVD is uncensored. It includes all of the language and sexual content that the creators originally intended to be seen. In one instance, this involves a very real topless model who appears in a sketch through the power of green screen technology.
If all of this sounds perfectly acceptable (and extremely entertaining) to you, then there’s a good chance you’re a fan of “Robot Chicken” already. And if that’s the case, there is a lot for you to love in this set.
There is a commentary track for every single one of the 20 episodes in the set, and said commentary often includes fairly large guest stars (at least, large to the slightly more nerdy audience that the show often appeals to), such as Stan Lee.
There are also deleted sketches, video blogs, a studio tour given by the show’s co-creator Seth Green, and a gag reel.
If you’re not a fan of the series, this DVD set probably won’t change your mind, despite showcasing some of the best work the show has seen so far. If you’re a casual fan, you may find reason to enjoy the show even more.
And if you’re already a “Robot Chicken” fan? This set may be a no-brainer. Packed with features and the kind of humor you know and love, it’s hard to go wrong with this DVD.