Monday, March 12, 2018

Final Space: Chapter Four Review

"Commencing rescue. Commencing destiny."

First of all, I'd just like to offer a highly profound thank you to Olan Rogers, who was such a gentleman that he actually gave me access to all of the episodes through to Chapter Six for reviewing purposes! That's such an utterly humbling thing for him to do, and in a strange way, it makes me feel more committed to my self-imposed job than ever. It almost makes it feel like what I do is... credible. Which is an odd sensation that I really dig.

Of course, with that, there's also the consequence of simply becoming a parrot who talks about how amazing Final Space is for the sake of stroking Olan's ego, but that ruins the point of why I'm here in the first place, and that's not what he wants to see. With that being said, though, the argument is a little difficult to defend considering how genuinely solid this episode was regardless.

That's not to say that it didn't yield a few issues, however. Chief among them is that, since this marks the reunion of Gary and Quinn, we get to see more of the side of Gary from the first chapter that didn't work so well, finding him as a klutzy and haphazard womanizer without a lick of poise. Sure, watching Gary's melodramatic notions is fun, especially as he Footloose-dances his way across the ship filled to the brim with woeful angst, but the struggle persists between how much it does for the narrative and how much it detracts from it.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Amazing World of Gumball Review: The Anybody

"Tell me again what he looked like?" "He's about yea tall with a hat, a green shirt, and an orange tie." "Okay buddy, I'm gonna give you a ten-second head start."

If there's any character I would've chalked down as "Most Unlikely to Make a Successful Comeback," Clayton would probably be near the top of the list. He's always been a very one-note character by design with one defined quirk: the compulsive need to consistently be lying in an attempt to make his boring life more interesting. As far as hooks go, he's got one of the weakest that the show's got to offer, so going into "The Anybody," I was fairly skeptical.

Then again, Season 6 truly is all about fun surprises, and against all odds, the episode was quite a treat. I suppose it makes sense; even though Clayton's kept a low profile for a while, the show's coming back with one final idea for him, and even if it doesn't have that same sense of closure as a lot of the other character-based episodes this season, it's a closer in spirit with a concept to squeeze everything we can out of Clayton once and for all. And squeeze out they most certainly did.

I think what's interesting about "The Anybody" is that it acknowledges the limits of Clayton as a character; the full extent of who he is has already been explored in "The Move," where we, more than less, piece together why he's a pathological liar and bear witness to his internal struggles when that status is challenged, and this episode doesn't try to do anything new so much as hone in on what the show has.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Amazing World of Gumball: The Candidate Review (A Second Opinion)

“They say lions throw their cubs off ravines and only raise the ones strong enough to climb back up. Well firstly, that’s not true and it’s also completely irrelevant to the story, but it makes for a cool opening!”

Hey! I'm doing this whole thing a bit late. I was super tired yesterday from the past week, and then my WiFi got torn to shreds by high winds through all of Saturday, so that was a lot of fun. There's not much to this post, though I will inform you that the meat of all of my thoughts is right here:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Final Space: Chapter Three Review

"Dude, are you crying?" "No... no, I'm not crying, it's... space pollen."

In discussing the first two chapters, I wisely opted to skip around the idea of talking about the show's narrative, something that I've deemed my Achille's heel. With that being said, though, this is Final Space, and the plot is just as important as the characters, if not even more so. They aren't mutually-exclusive; they go hand-in-hand, and "Chapter Three" manages to find an exciting equilibrium. Don't get me wrong: this is a particularly loaded episode, but the interconnectivity of every arc occurring on the screen catapults it to success, all while allowing for a visually-diverse episode that keeps you engaged.

Consider the fact that there are three distinct plots going on in this episode (Gary and Avocato try to provide sanctuary for Mooncake; Mooncake gets forced to fight in the Deathcropolis; Quinn ventures out to the gravitational disturbance), and even more bubbling just below the surface. Again, that could so easily set the show up for failure, but they exist to let these things settle in, basically laying their claim for later episodes to explore. What Final Space does is put its most immediate plot at the forefront to take up the meat of each chapter, though with plenty of space to allow all of the other story elements to simmer and slyly loop back around; that's how Olan gets you hooked.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Final Space: Chapters One and Two Review

"I am going to MURDER your face off!" "I will murder your face... on?!" "That doesn't make any sense!"

There's not a single content creator I will ever have more enthusiasm for than Olan Rogers. He's everything the universe needs right now; charismatic, engaging, and hysterical, and his penchant for story-telling and manic comedic instincts are unrivaled. Sufficed to say, I'm proud to see someone like him, who works his butt off to make people laugh, finally got his due in something that he's always wanted to do: create television. And, for the most part, it works.

Now, as a self-important idiot standing on my humble soapbox, I have specific issues that I want to tackle, but as a disclaimer: I do think Final Space is good, and I do believe in its potential. Early episodes, after all, will always struggle a bit when you put into consideration how much they have to do–establishing the characters, setting the tone, and creating the universe of the show is a pretty tall order.

The first two episodes weren't rough, but they did have rough patches. However, I want to make the distinction that I think Final Space is reparable, so bear with me for a little while.

The Amazing World of Gumball Review: The Faith

"See? He's physically incapable of saying anything remotely positive about me!"

Unsurprisingly, to just jump straight to the meat of this review, "The Faith" was incredible. While it may not have been the most uproariously hilarious episode the show's ever done, that's not what it's going for; "The Faith" uses a more understated approach to comedy to address relative tragedy with a clever, optimistic spin. 

What I find so great about "The Faith" especially, and what I think sets it so far apart from other outings, is how it's written: more than anything else, it plays out like a sort of short story more than just another episode. There's a fascinating sense of ingenuity to how everything unfolds. First, the episode starts on an ominous foot as the world turns to black and white; we don't really know what's happening, and the episode uses this relative, brooding ambiguity to set the tone of the episode. It also uses that opportunity to play around with striking visuals and delightful concepts as far as the comedy is concerned. There's something delightfully surreal, for instance, about Gumball and Darwin stumbling across a graffiti-covered building to a point of being disoriented, and it uses that strand of visual cleverness to make some great jokes (in the form of Hobo and his useless directions).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Eric Andre Does Paris Review

"Did you do the voice of Kuato in Total Recall?"
Here's a break from the stuff I normally write about, but hey, gotta fulfill that dark horse category on the review bingo card sometimes.

To the uninformed, The Eric Andre Show is an incredibly difficult show to explain in any way that does it justice. What it boils down to is 11 minutes of insane, unrefined, nihilistic anarchy as Eric Andre does everything he can to cause destruction in his wake. You can interpret it as whatever meta-commentary you want, but for the sake of right now, we're leaving it at that.

This also means that your ability to enjoy the show is highly dependent on if you even think that's remotely funny. The Eric Andre Show is, in practice, the antithesis of a prank show; everyone emerges from the situations the show conjures looking like an idiot, but Eric Andre, dressed in any assortment of strange garb or lack thereof, is dead-center. It's a show as surreally conceptual as it is firmly rooted in performance.