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Drawn Together draws blood

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Drawn Together on Comedy Central is easily the best new tv show I’ve seen this year. It’s sharply written, with lots of strong personalities and viewpoints.

The creators have made satirical takes on various kinds of animated characters, from Disney movies to video games and Superman, and let their egotistical and sometimes evil natures come out, sticking them all together in a house a la The Real World.

Looking at their credits, it appears that most of the top brain trust for this show came from Greg the Bunny, late and lamented. The best known voice talent is Adam Carolla, late of The Man Show. Appropriately, he plays the pig, Spanky Ham.

The most evil character is Toot Braunstein, a black and white sex symbol from the 1920s- which means that she’s “fat” by modern standards. At least that’s what she thinks in her deep seated self-loathing which drives her in jealousy and rage into constant sabotage of the others, and self-mutilation with a razor blade to “relieve the pain.” If Mike Myer’s Dieter character were creating a satire on Betty Boop, this is what he’d come up with.

Princess Clara is a direct satire of Ariel, the little mermaid. Only in this version, the princess has absorbed the whacked class consciousness and overt racism of a child of privilege. There’s nothing malicious about her at all, but she just doesn’t seem to grasp how anyone will take her comments badly.

Thus, when the hot mystery solving black girl Foxxy Love whips her ass over some of her bigoted comments, Princess Clara is genuinely surprised. “I thought you people liked to pick banjos, not fights.” They resolve their dispute by making out to a parody of “Part of Your World.” It’s almost like they’re inviting Disney to try another Air Pirates Funnies massacre.

I appreciate how far they’re willing to go. From the racial insensitivies of Clara to Toot’s masochism and self-mutilation, they seem willing to follow an idea all the way out.

Indeed, they’ve managed to make even so jaded a character as myself flinch a couple of times. I’m not sure which was more disturbing, that Captain Hero hung another superhero to shut him up about an incident in a bus station bathroom [What happens in Bizarro World stays in Bizarro world], or the complete casual disinterest in this “suicide” in their living room on the part of the other roommates.

Probably not the most controversial thing, but I was really struck by a plot with Ling Ling, the psychotic Pikachu doppleganger. Spanky Ham had seriously cheesed him off, and he was ready to watch a huge transformer of third world kids kill him. In the nick of time, Spanky remembered the biggest thing that Asians want: honor. After winning a huge all out fight, Ling Ling felt totally rewarded, purring like a kitten because “He has given me honor in hat form.” Spanky made a paper hat for him, and wrote the word “HONOR” on it. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Some have criticized the show for a lack of empathy. The characters tend to the unsympathetic, violent and egotistical. You might say that there’s no one to root for.

Rooting for characters can be overrated, though. Seinfeld went well out of his way not to make his characters sympathetic, and that worked out pretty well. Actually, though, I’d rate at least a couple of these characters as more sympathetic than the Seinfeld cast.

Hey, this is some harsh humor, and it’s definitely not for everyone. If you’re easily offended, stay away- unless you like being offended and having something to complain about. In which case you should support the show by stridently and publicly protesting it so that you can continue being offended.

The third episode ended up with God talking to a member stuck through a glory hole. Now, you could decide- not entirely unreasonably- to be Deeply Offended by that, or you could find it really funny. On the other hand, this could also lead to deep theological speculation as to who would rate being on the other side of God’s glory hole. It’s just a question of how you take it.

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