Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ugly Americans

I have such low expectations for Comedy Central programming these days that I was expecting the new animated series Ugly Americans to be some sort of disgusting train wreck along the lines of Drawn Together. Instead it's mildly clever and mildly amusing, not something I'm excited to watch beyond the two episodes I've seen, but not painful to sit through, either. It's actually less manic than I expected, not desperate to deliver a punchline every two seconds. It reminded me a little of MTV's '90s heyday of weird animated series like The Head and The Maxx and Aeon Flux, although it's also a lot sillier and a lot less weighty than those shows were.

Americans takes place in a New York City inhabited by humans along with every fantasy and sci-fi creature you can imagine: zombies, demons, wizards, robots, aliens, werewolves, vampires, etc., where the human main character is a social worker helping to assimilate various strange creatures into the city. It's a loose structure as an excuse for riffs on various genre conventions, some of which are funny and many of which are just lame. Still, the animation and character design is fairly creative, and there's an effort to create real characters rather than just spew gross-out jokes. It's not hilarious, but at least it's trying.

Premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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