"Stroker and Hoop": The Case of the Dull Detectvies (sic)
A number of Adult Swim’s early comedy staples have been canceled or rerun enough that the more dedicated fan has likely committed them to memory. Thus, a number of new shows are set to premier in an effort to bring new life to the lineup. Unfortunately, one such show entitled Stroker & Hoop is dead on arrival.
Stroker & Hoop is a show about the wacky misadventures of a pair of detectives who, along with their talking car C.A.R.R., attempt to solve bizarre cases while managing their dysfunctional private lives. Stroker is a controlling single man who makes a minimal (and misguided) effort to spend time with his son when he’s not busy with a case or trying to pick up a woman. Hoop is a clueless guy with a grating voice that still lives with his mother and has a knack for making bad situations worse. Characters with such negative personality traits can be appealing to the audience if the characters are funny enough (examples of such characters can be fond in other Adult Swim comedies), but the characters in Stroker & Hoop can’t pull this off. Without humor behind them, the characters are simply abrasive.
Many of Adult Swim’s comedy shows are driven by offbeat stories, and Stroker & Hoop is no exception in that regard. However, unlike many other Adult Swim shows, Stroker & Hoop makes a rather concentrated effort to tell these bizarre stories in a straightforward manner. The stories found in this show are neither funny nor interesting enough to make this approach enjoyable, and ultimately the show feels terribly drawn out and, at worst, boring.
The episode “The 5 Diamonds aka A Hard Act to Follow” involves four entertainers with “Diamond” in their name and a large, talking diamond who have formed the boy band The 5 Diamonds in order to ensure the fulfillment of a prophecy about the entertainment industry. In “Foiled Again aka Star-Crossed Livers,” the detectives uncover a plot by Ron Howard to control the minds of the movie-going public after falling victim to a ring of vestigial organ thefts. While these stories aren’t typical of most comedy shows, they don’t have enough humor behind them to make their eccentricities entertaining.
The jokes that drive these stories are mostly predictable ones that have been done elsewhere a number of times. There are jokes about boy bands that should have been put to rest years ago, lame sexual innuendos that feel immature even by Adult Swim’s low standards, and (in keeping with an increasingly common practice) some arbitrary cursing thrown in for good measure. Occasionally, there are some small laughs to be found, but they’re not enough to hold interest after long stretches of flat comedy writing.
The animation fond in Stroker and Hoop also feels lacking, though I suppose there’s a question as to how much that means with an Adult Swim show. It’s true that Adult Swim shows have always had limited animation, but after seeing what shows like The Venture Bros. can do with “limited” animation, a show that looks like Stroker & Hoop is a bit of a letdown. Many of the character designs are odd (particularly the women), and the animation looks a bit stilted at times. The show doesn’t look terrible (Adult Swim has certainly shown worse), but it does feel like it could be greatly improved upon.
Stroker & Hoop disappoints in just about every way. The jokes aren’t funny, the characters aren’t likeable, and the stories aren’t clever. I don’t think this is a terrible show, but there certainly isn’t much of anything good about it to make watching worthwhile.
Stroker and Hoop premieres on Adult Swim Sept. 4.
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