“It’s like a poultry polka party in your pants!” reads the back caption on the DVD case of “Robot Chicken: Season One.” Readers, strap on your pocket protectors and hang on to your bong sliders, because here comes the next biggest thing to hit nerds and stoners since the bully in high school. “Robot Chicken” is touted as one of the newer cartoon sensations on Cartoon Network’s late night Adult Swim programming block, featuring adult oriented animation such as “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.” If you’ve never heard of these shows, don’t worry! It probably means that you go out at night, like most people.
All teasing aside, “Robot Chicken” is the brainchild of Seth Green (Scott Evil in the “Austin Powers” series) and Matthew Senreich. The only apparent plotline I can discern appears in the opening credits of each episode, where a mad scientist rebuilds a dead chicken he finds lying in the street with robotic parts and forces him to watch TV. Adultswim.com labels the show as “Old-school stop motion animation and fast-paced satire.where action figures find new life as players in frenetic sketch comedy.it’s television formulated for the Attention Deficit Disorder generation.”
Each 12 minute episode (on the 20 episode DVD) is divided up into a number of fast-moving segments, ranging from 10 seconds to five minutes, where action figures and claymations of pop culture “icons” such as Superman and the A-Team appear in various off-the-wall sketches. For example, the first episode, titled “The Deep End” features a segment called “Real World: Metropolis,” in which superheroes such as Batman, Wonder Woman and the Incredible Hulk live together in true MTV fashion. Mayhem ensues.
Other vignettes include Ryan Seacrest in “Zombie Idol” and “Unsolved Mysteries: Who Killed Christmas?” featuring the claymation characters from the Christmas classic, “Year Without a Santa Claus.” Some of the sketches are genuinely funny, with witty takes on the absurdities of American pop culture, while some fall flat, with potty humor and mindless violence.
My take on the show is that if you’re going to make a show out of short cartoon sketches, each and every one should be laugh out loud funny. If some only bring very limited laughter, then that brings the overall quality of the show down greatly. Unfortunately, the majority of the segments do flop. Therefore, “Robot Chicken Season One” gets a poultry – I mean paltry-C-.