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The Current State Of Adult Swim

Started by Small Man Big Horse, January 11, 2022, 08:52:04 PM

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Small Man Big Horse

When I used to recommend Adult Swim shows to friends a lot of them thought they were poorly animated sweary efforts that relied on shock value too much of the time, and while there's always been some series like that I've in the past tried to defend the channel.

The problem is that nowadays I find that the criticisms made by said friends all too often apply, I just watched the first episode of "Smiling Friends" and felt exhausted by it after 12 minutes, there was one moment that I laughed at but it's really ugly and annoying most of the time.



I still love Joe Pera Talks With You, but bar that can't think of anything I've liked in far too long, The Venture Bros. have been sent off to HBO Max for one (possibly) final movie, the recent PFFR show Teenage Euthanasia was okay but after two episodes I had no urge to watch any more of it (despite loving Maria Bamford in everything she does elsewhere), Birdgirl didn't really work for me, and the other series I've seen like YOLO: Crystal Fantasy have just been very, very average, and again all too often the kind of thing Adult Swim seem to toss off without putting any care in to.

Then again I'm now a 47 year old man and so clearly not the demographic for the channel any more. But what about you, younger, sexier, balder people? Do you still watch Adult Swim?

madhair60

I think the Venture Bros finale movie is confirmed to be a finale, from the horse's mouth

I watch Rick and Morty. I've been recommended Smiling Friends but it just doesn't look very novel or interesting

C_Larence

I'd be interested to know what moment in Smiling Friends made you laugh, because I watched it last night (a friend showed it to me, then later admitted she'd been drunk when she'd watched it the night before) and found it totally devoid of any humour.

sutin

Honestly had no idea that Adult Swim still exists. I was a huge fan in the era of Coast To Coast and all it's spin offs.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

I used to watch Adult Swim when it was on FX. My favourite shows were Robot Chicken, The Venture Bros, Sealab 2021 and Moral Orel. Frisky Dingo was all right, the few episodes I saw of it. But most of it was weird/badly drawn stuff like 12 Oz. Mouse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies etc. I'd watch anyway because I was whatever age and wow cartoons that curse and are violent. I say all this because that screenshot in the first post looks like exactly the type of shite that would be on Adult Swim.

Old Nehamkin

January 11, 2022, 09:31:44 PM #5 Last Edit: January 12, 2022, 12:41:02 AM by Old Nehamkin
Apart from Tim and Eric, Adult Swim was always a bit of a comedy blindspot for me. When I was in my teens/early 20s I generally found their animated programming pretty impenetrable - it always felt steeped in a very particular style of oblique post-irony that I struggled to get along with. I never really gave that stuff a proper chance though and I'm sure that shows like Venture Bros. and Aqua Teen Hunger Force are held in high regard for good reason, I just feel like I kind of missed the boat on that whole scene.

Having said that I did watch the first 4 (I think) episodes of Smiling Friends last night, and I quite enjoyed them. I probably went in with quite a generous mindset because I love Michael Cusack's youtube animations and the Australian Rick and Morty parody he did for AS a couple of years back, and I'm also quite fond of the co-creator/co-star Zach Hadel from some of his let's play stuff I've seen. The episodes themselves felt very Season One and there's a bit of an overreliance on sudden outbursts of violence and/or screaming, but I dunno, I still found it pretty charming and likeable. I like how there's lots of attention paid to weird background details and how much variety there is in the character designs and whatnot. It's got lots of funny and arresting images. I liked the grotesque stop-motion demon from the halloween episode and how a couple of characters are just randomly rotoscoped.  At the very least I think it's kind of heartening to see a couple of  young independent animators from the Newgrounds school getting the chance to play around with a bit of a budget on the proper telly.

Oh and I liked that they got Mike Stoklasa from Red Letter Media to voice a character cos I like him.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Does it have much of a niche any more? Obviously it didn't invent adult animated comedy shows, but it felt like it had a distinctive identity twenty years ago*. I get the feeling that its influence has spread so much, that identity has become diluted these days. I initially assumed stuff like Archer and Axe Cop were Adult Swim shows, but nope.

* Fucking hell.

RetroRobot

... I liked Smiling Friends a lot. Then again I'm an immature little gremlin that grew up on Newgrounds cartoons and I'm probably in their target demographic.

sutin

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is one of the worst shows i've been unfortunate enough to have seen, but the Coast To Coast episode they featured in is incredible.

Aindíles

I never really watched it, but as a real MF DOOM fanatic I really enjoyed this podcast with Jason DeMarco, former creative director there, talking about making The Mouse and The Mask album and working with the supervillain.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1bHjWj79cY1QRkWDWsMcQc?si=b2yv0SY4TMSkwd82je68qA

JamesTC

Quote from: RetroRobot on January 11, 2022, 09:42:29 PM... I liked Smiling Friends a lot. Then again I'm an immature little gremlin that grew up on Newgrounds cartoons and I'm probably in their target demographic.


Yeah, I feel like you need to be familiar with Zach to enjoy it, which makes it rather small in scope for an audience.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

Quote from: sutin on January 11, 2022, 10:06:31 PMAqua Teen Hunger Force is one of the worst shows i've been unfortunate enough to have seen, but the Coast To Coast episode they featured in is incredible.
why are they food

the only funny episode is the one where Shake goes to Tijuana for dodgy plastic surgery and then Meatwad is a devious little fucker and goads him into getting more and more

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on January 11, 2022, 09:37:11 PMI initially assumed stuff like Archer and Axe Cop were Adult Swim shows, but nope.
Adam Reed, the creator of Archer, was a co-creator of Frisky Dingo, which was an Adult Swim show.

Old Nehamkin

Quote from: JamesTC on January 11, 2022, 10:40:29 PMYeah, I feel like you need to be familiar with Zach to enjoy it, which makes it rather small in scope for an audience.

I've been saying this since day one.

(sorry)

The Mollusk

Quote from: Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse on January 11, 2022, 09:24:54 PMFrisky Dingo was all right, the few episodes I saw of it.

You should try and make time to revisit the first season (ideally watching it all in one sitting if possible as it's only about 2hrs long in total). It's one of my fave AS shows, Reed does such a great job of creating this contained universe in such a short space of time (same as he did with Sealable 2021). It sort of creates its own memetic references which don't mean or reference anything but are inherently funny because they sell it so well. Very quotable and very funny.

IIRC the second season didn't need to happen and I watched it maybe twice and didn't really get much out of it but I don't care since S1 is so great.

Pink Gregory

Frisky Dingo doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves, and there was so clearly meant to be more.

I personally think both seasons are essential but I haven't watched either for at least 8 years so mileage may etc etc

It's very much about the little exchanges rather than the overarching plot, very proto-Archer (of course it is)

Xander Crews can be a bit annoying at times, but Killface as the neurotic, insecure doting father and also supervillian is fantastic.

madhair60

ATHF on form is a joy imo. I expect a lot of it is tough viewing now, but stuff like Broodwich, Ezekial and Super Bowl will always tickle me. I just like hearing Dana Snyder talk.

Small Man Big Horse

Quote from: madhair60 on January 11, 2022, 08:56:18 PMI think the Venture Bros finale movie is confirmed to be a finale, from the horse's mouth

That's kind of a shame, I'd have preferred it if we'd had one final season where they could take their time wrapping everything up, but I guess at least it now will get a proper ending.

QuoteI watch Rick and Morty. I've been recommended Smiling Friends but it just doesn't look very novel or interesting

I forgot about Rick and Morty, though that's a show I loved for three seasons, had doubts about during it's fourth, and then really went off in this latest season.

Quote from: C_Larence on January 11, 2022, 09:12:34 PMI'd be interested to know what moment in Smiling Friends made you laugh, because I watched it last night (a friend showed it to me, then later admitted she'd been drunk when she'd watched it the night before) and found it totally devoid of any humour.

I can't remember the exact line but it was when they visited Pim's sister and one of them delivered a line which caught me off guard, and I briefly thought hey, maybe I was being too judgemental but then sat their without finding any of it funny again.

Quote from: Pink Gregory on January 12, 2022, 07:57:40 AMFrisky Dingo doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves, and there was so clearly meant to be more.

I personally think both seasons are essential but I haven't watched either for at least 8 years so mileage may etc etc

I feel the same way, absolutely loved both seasons, but it has been a little while since I've watched them now. I wish Reed would revisit the show, I don't know how much of a demand there might be, but a one off special catching up with the characters after all this time would be something I'd love to see.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

also I can't believe I forgot Metalocalypse. Great show and one people should check out even if they don't like heavy metal. It's just as much about how celebrities are completely out of touch with the real world.

Povidone

Quote from: Aindíles on January 11, 2022, 10:12:30 PMI never really watched it, but as a real MF DOOM fanatic I really enjoyed this podcast with Jason DeMarco, former creative director there, talking about making The Mouse and The Mask album and working with the supervillain.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1bHjWj79cY1QRkWDWsMcQc?si=b2yv0SY4TMSkwd82je68qA

I went to see MC Chris in Pudsey in 2010 and after the gig, while getting him to sign the back of my National Insurance No. card, I happened to ask if he was working on any new stuff for adult swim. He claimed that he had an animated show in the works with MF DOOM called 'Tight Bros', as far as I can tell it never made it out of development (quick google search confirms it has been mentioned in interviews but nowt else happened). Reckon I would have given that a watch.

madhair60

I watched the first two Smiling Friends and I wasn't very impressed, sadly. I remember people (not here) really praising the pilot and I was fairly nonplussed. The second one was better but still felt very familiar; at least three of the scene-ending jokes were just... someone started screaming.

The guy from Sick Animation (brilliant btw) voices their boss and he's easily the highlight.

The Mollusk

Quote from: Pink Gregory on January 12, 2022, 07:57:40 AMFrisky Dingo doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves, and there was so clearly meant to be more.

It's very much about the little exchanges rather than the overarching plot, very proto-Archer (of course it is)

Absolutely. Reed made excellent use of dialogue and voice talent to compensate for the very minimalist animation style - again something he already excelled with in Sealab 2021 and a part of why lots of the original AS shows were so great, just really funny conversations. Xander I think is fantastic and every exchange between him and Stan is very entertaining.

I'm laughing now thinking about my favourite quotes but they don't really work on paper at all. It's the little contained world that Reed created which is immediately involving and conceivable, and how the characters interact within it whilst not needing to explain things too much as you just get swept along for the ride, which makes it so great.

Pink Gregory

The one that comes to mind is Sinn saying something about Killface's son Simon being chubby and Killface responds wearily with something like "see? words like that will send him just right back in the cupboard..."

Aindíles

Quote from: Povidone on January 12, 2022, 09:29:44 AMI went to see MC Chris in Pudsey in 2010 and after the gig, while getting him to sign the back of my National Insurance No. card, I happened to ask if he was working on any new stuff for adult swim. He claimed that he had an animated show in the works with MF DOOM called 'Tight Bros', as far as I can tell it never made it out of development (quick google search confirms it has been mentioned in interviews but nowt else happened). Reckon I would have given that a watch.

Wish it were made, that would be class I'm sure. But it easy to see after that listen why they didn't want to work with him any more. Really sort of fucked them around a lot, took cash for stuff that never got made. But he is the villain, you're not meant to like him!

Mister Six

I've been checking out bits and pieces of old and new Adult Swim, and I think a lot of it (especially the best ATHF, but even the later seasons still tickle me) stands up.

I'm surprised there's no discussion of the great live action shows they've made, though. Childrens Hospital is probably one of my favourite sitcoms of all time, and Dream Corp LLC has a great queasy claustrophobic vibe coupled with some brilliantly thought-through rotoscoped dream sequences (a la Waking Life). NTSF:SD:SUV never failed to make me laugh. Three Busy Debras is a minor entry but it grew on me. And Joe Pera Talks to You is the antithesis of screamy, shouty Adult Swim, and I hope they use him as inspiration for a wider emotional palette. Plus, obviously, The Eric Andre Show and Delocated.

Of the newer animated stuff, only Tigtone and YOLO Crystal Fantasy have struck a chord, but the former is very trad SHOUTY ADULT SWIM CHAOS and the latter's lol gore gags night feel worn out except that female protagonists dealing with twentysomething woman shit does actually invigorate it quite a lot.

Never quite got on with China, IL though, despite loving the song numbers whenever someone would link to them, and generally liking the art style.

Quote from: Povidone on January 12, 2022, 09:29:44 AMI went to see MC Chris in Pudsey in 2010

In Pudsey in Leeds?

chutnut

Childrens Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV are 2 of my favourite shows ever (although I haven't seen either in a long time)
Haven't really paid attention to any Adult Swim stuff (apart from Joe Pera & Rick & Morty) for a good 5/6 years, it does look they're still churning out the same old stuff they always have but I'll need to catch up on all of these!

Mister Six

Quote from: chutnut on January 12, 2022, 04:30:27 PMChildrens Hospital and NTSF:SD:SUV are 2 of my favourite shows ever

Have you seen Netflix's Childrens Hospital spin-off Medical Police? It's superb.

Worth rewatching Childrens Hospital, too. The first season is a bit ropey, but it just gets better and better. The Midsummer Night's Dream episode in season 5 is a series highlight for me.

Small Man Big Horse

Quote from: Mister Six on January 12, 2022, 04:03:44 PMI've been checking out bits and pieces of old and new Adult Swim, and I think a lot of it (especially the best ATHF, but even the later seasons still tickle me) stands up.

I'm surprised there's no discussion of the great live action shows they've made, though. Childrens Hospital is probably one of my favourite sitcoms of all time, and Dream Corp LLC has a great queasy claustrophobic vibe coupled with some brilliantly thought-through rotoscoped dream sequences (a la Waking Life). NTSF:SD:SUV never failed to make me laugh. Three Busy Debras is a minor entry but it grew on me. And Joe Pera Talks to You is the antithesis of screamy, shouty Adult Swim, and I hope they use him as inspiration for a wider emotional palette. Plus, obviously, The Eric Andre Show and Delocated.

That's a good point and I really enjoyed or loved all of those you mentioned bar Dream Corp LLC, which I thought had a lot going for it, and could completely understand why some on here really praised it, but I didn't quite click with it. In many ways I wish they did more live action, the recent season of Joe Pera was superb, and I'm pleased Three Busy Debras and The Eric Andre Show are supposed to be returning, but otherwise I can't think of any ongoing live action shows that I've enjoyed in the way I did with the aforementioned, along with The Heart, She Holler, Eagleheart, Hot Package, and Neon Joe.

QuoteOf the newer animated stuff, only Tigtone and YOLO Crystal Fantasy have struck a chord, but the former is very trad SHOUTY ADULT SWIM CHAOS and the latter's lol gore gags night feel worn out except that female protagonists dealing with twentysomething woman shit does actually invigorate it quite a lot.

Never quite got on with China, IL though, despite loving the song numbers whenever someone would link to them, and generally liking the art style.

In Pudsey in Leeds?

Tigtone's another I'd forgotten about, though I never did finish the second season as I felt it was getting a bit repetitive. I did like China, IL an awful lot though, but everything Brad Neely's done since has left me cold, and his recent Paramount+ series The Harper House was surprisingly bland.

Petey Pate

Delocated, Eagleheart, The Heart She Holler and Children's Hospital represent the peak of Adult Swim's live action sitcoms. I can't remember if there was a point where all four were running simultaneously, but being around for those shows felt like an exciting time in comedy, especially when the closest UK equivalent to such shows was Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.

That said, on the whole Adult Swim has always been patchy. For every Superjail and Frisky Dingo there's a Squidbillies, one of the most unfunny shows undeserving of its longevity.

Mister Six

...and I didn't even like Superjail! I think I find shows where "that guy died!" is used as a flippant punchline off-putting. One of the reasons I didn't really get into Metalocalypse either.

The Mollusk

Quote from: Pink Gregory on January 12, 2022, 12:38:50 PMThe one that comes to mind is Sinn saying something about Killface's son Simon being chubby and Killface responds wearily with something like "see? words like that will send him just right back in the cupboard..."

"Apologise to his self-esteem!"