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"Drawn Together:" The "New Kids on the Block" Cartoon was Better

by on October 28, 2004

The concept seems like it has potential. I mean, reality cartoon? How warped is that idea? I mean, it’s supposed to be a first, right? Oh wait, CN did a Survivor parody with some of their bumps and packaging back in the day. Oops.

I simply can’t wrap my head around why someone, anyone would produce, let alone air Drawn Together. It redefines the concept of awful. Sure, they’ve got some interesting, albeit cliched vocal talent (Adam Corolla as a sleazy webtoon pig? What “cuttingly accurate parody.” Cree Summer playing a stereotypical African-American? All up in the hizzle, girlfriend… or something to that hackneyed extent) but the plot itself consists of a cavalcade of awkwardly paced punchlines with little to no setup, robbing it of what little humor it could have. To make matters worse, in their attempt to shoot off a joke with every line, the writers miss at least a dozen or so funnier jokes at any given point in the show. Add to that some of the most pointless and gratuitously foul humor I’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing, and it’s the first animated program I’ve ever watched that made me physically sick, and not because it left me emotionally stunned and ambivalent (like KoiKaze) but just because the show was ridiciously, horrifically terrible.

I’d like to stop here, but that’s not a review, that’s a rant, so I find myself forced into greater detail as to why this show is so astoundingly, incessantly bad. First off, though Comedy Central tries for a reality show parody, what comes out is an hour’s worth of melodrama mockery crammed into about 20 minutes, leaving jokes with no setup. A great deal of the humor in reality shows is the space after the punchline, the awkward silence or stunned reactions of the characters that are so uncharacteristic of scripted sitcoms. The jokes in Drawn Together are suffocated by their fast pace. They aren’t given enough time to become funny. Meanwhile, the writers seem so busy unsuccessfully trying to imitate reality TV cliches that they miss a lot of the animation-related humor. Seeing a Josie and the Pussycats reject make out with a forgotten member of the Disney princess legacy isn’t even conceptually funny, and no faux-Disney musical number can save it. It’s stomach churning. Not sexy, not funny, but something that requires a bottle of Pepto. Some of their character concepts miss a comedic target a mile wide. The Pikachu “satire” could have been funnier if it had only been saying its name and been subtitled comedically, or had it been speaking real Japanese and been subtitled comedically. The Generic Web Flashimation character also could have been been funnier if the vocal work had been recorded with a 3 dollar microphone, so he’s also a case of missed potential. As a matter of fact, none of the characters really live up to expectations.

There are a few positives to note though. The animation is all right. They were very careful to match animation style to animation character, more or less, which does pay off in some very rare, semi-successful sight gags. The VAs do as much as they can with the dialogue they’ve been handed, and some of them are getting to flex some vocal range they don’t usually get to play with, particularly in the case of Cree Summer and EG Daily. Unfortunately though, animation and VA work are only one part of a show, and they couldn’t stop this train wreck.

A swift cancellation would be too good for this show. Firing all known tapes of the show into sun, that’d be justice…

…in the hizzle.

Drawn Together premiered October 27 and now airs every Wednesday at 10:30 PM E/P on Comedy Central. Discuss the show and this review here in Toon Zone’s General Animation Forum.

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