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Drawn Together

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Back in the early years of South Park (and who could’ve guessed that the show would last long enough to have “early years”?), the boys did a telling parody of “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” that garnered most of its laffs from the contrast between the gentle edutainment characters who populated that 70’s kids cartoon and the foul-mouthed reality of contemporary urban street life. I thought of that parody watching the premiere of Comedy Central’s newest cartoon series, Drawn Together, because that’s the show’s central gag: taking a series of representative animated icons – Disneyesque ingénue, videogame hero, “wacky” children’s watchamacallit, superhero, Fleischer-esque flapper, etc. – and making them act out the worst characteristics of their stereotypical selves, rather than the idealized versions. Thus, Princess Clara, the lithesome fairy tale heroine, also turns out to be a loathsome racist who, upon meeting the black “mystery solving musician” Foxxy Love, immediately assumes she’s the “servant girl.” Zaftig “20’s sex symbol” Toots Braunstein is played as fat and depressed, futilely hounding the oblivious video knight Xandir and slashing herself with a razor blade “to relieve the pain.”
On the one hand, the show’s premise – plunking these figures into a faux “Real World” house and watching the animated fireworks spark – provides plenty of opportunity to make mocking fun of the cultural sensitivities that informed each character, but on the other hand, much of what we see in the debut episode of Drawn Together is, well, kinda icky. It’s cute when Carla and Foxxy, engaging in a prolonged surprise soul kiss, do a voiceover rhapsody straight out of a Disney musical ballad (“I’m totally Frenchin’ a racist ho!”), but when Carla turns a vote-Foxxy-out-of-the-house scene into a modernized slave auction, you have to wonder what writers Dave Jeser & Matt Silverstein are getting at. Is the scene meant to take the princess’ sense of royal privilege and superiority to its logical extreme? Is it meant as a comment on the dehumanizing nature of most “reality show” competitions? Or is it simply an I can’t believe they just went there moment? Whatever its underlying purpose, it wasn’t all that funny.
When the South Parkers did their brief takedown of the Cosby Kids, it was just one piece of a larger storyline. And no matter how extreme the stories on that show can get, the key to its longevity lies, I suspect, in the fact that its two central figures – Kyle & Stan – remain appealing innocents. Like Chris Onstad in “Achewood,” Parker & Stone know to ground their crassest conceits with doses of recognizable humanity. Not so in Drawn Together, where one of the most distinct figures is an Internet cartoon animal named Spanky Ham, whose defining characteristic is a predilection for publicly defecating in all the wrong places. Gotta wonder if you can stretch a whole teevee season out of that kinda crap. . .

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About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.
  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Bill! super job of explaining why I felt so soiled and debauched after watching only an extended trailer of the show, and another reason South Park lives and thrives is that they continue to suprprise with the positions they take – it makes sense after the fact but you never know what’s coming.

  • Clayton

    I’m a 28 year old father and I’m sad that Comedy Central has chosen to show such a vulgar cartoon called, “Drawn Together.” My family and I will not be watching Comedy Central now because this program. I know that I am just one person, but I’m speaking for those children that are “drawn” into watching this show, simply because it is disquised as a cartoon. I know that making money is what you’re trying to do, but please…at the cost of polluting the minds of young children? Will you please re-think what you’re teaming up to do?
    A concerned father——-Clayton

  • Jesse

    Clayton…

    The show’s on at 10:30 pm. If your kids are still up, they should be mature enough to watch. If they are not…you’re a terrible parent. Maybe they should make a cartoon of you…oh, wait…they already did (Homer, Peter Griffin, Duckman)

    The show is funny and a nice slam at pop culture.

    Now quit surfing the web and take care of your kids before they find your gun and you blame gun manufacturers for someone’s death.

    I’m off on a neverending quest to save my girlfriend…

    Jesse

  • Clayton

    I understand your take on this. Do you see mine? As a Children’s Minister I have over 100 children in my care, 5th grade and under to shepherd. I am speaking on their behalf and others as well. If this show is not appropriate for those ages, why then should it be appropriate for adults? Just because of their age? Whether it is acknowleged or not, there is a right and a wrong. Fortunately Jesus Christ is the judge for that, not me. The truth of the matter is that this show teaches (ALL who watch it) to think homosexual lifestyles are good, abortion is ok, nudity on TV is acceptable…etc. I know my battle is not with you or even with comedy central. (Read Ephesians 6:12) Therefore my hope is that you do not take offense with me, but instead, that you would see it from the perspective of “right” and “wrong.” (John 15:11-32)

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Comedy Central is not presented as a kiddie channel in the first place.

    And yes, there are lots of things that are reasonable for adults but highly ill advised for children. Leaving aside vile slasher pics, I wouldn’t want young children under my care watching even an outstanding work of art such as Saving Private Ryan.

    Also, there’s going to be a wide disparity as to what is appropriate or inappropriate for what children. I appreciate concern about the state of the culture and all that stuff, but what you think is appropriate for your children has nothing at all to do with what is appropriate for ME to watch.

    If Comedy Central does not suit your needs though, it’s totally cool for you to not watch it. South Park is their crown jewel, and they show Cheech & Chong and unedited Richard Pryor concert films. Nothing personal- I’m sure you’re a fine fellow- but a Christian youth minister is just not their target market.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com andy marsh

    But he did say he was going to handle it the way it should be handled…by switching the channel. If that’s the way we all handled things like this instead of trying to be so damned PC all the time, the world would be a much happier place!

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Yes, absolutely and totally cool.

  • http://oakhaus.blogspot.com Bill Sherman

    Is it me – or did Clayton’s first comment read like a form letter? (If only because the “you” in it seemed misdirected. . .)

  • Wolfgirl

    Hey when the fuck is there ever gonna be episodes of Drawn Together on DVD,huh?!

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Patience, dear Wolfgirl. They only broadcast their premiere at the end of October, and they’ve shown all of the original order of 8 shows.

    My question is whether they did good enough with the original batch to continue original production.

  • pmd

    The “Bleh” and the “Octopussoir” episodes *still* make me pee. “She’s retarded hot” and “it crean dishes!” Oh, Ling-Ling…

  • Kurtis Moffitt

    HaHaHa.

    Wow – Drawn Together is one of the most humorous shows I have watched in a long time. What the hell kind of mindframe were the creators in when they made that stuff. Whatever mindframe… I hope they keep up with the quality work.

    ~~Clayton~~ If your still reading these messages – Drawn Together is a fine example of what America is based upon. FREEDOM. Freedom of speech and expression in this case. Hell, it is the same thing that our soldiers are dying for in Iraq. If Freedom was wrong in the eyes of religion… I don’t think our religious president George Bush would be sending our men into a battlezone to fight for it.
    FREEDOM? FOREVER.
    RELIGION? NEVER.

  • http://buffoons.blogspot.com The Preacher

    This series is amazing, they’re broadcasting it here in Europe and I’m itching to buy the DVD when it’s released. Truly clever writing.

    Definitely the best new series I’ve seen in a long time and the Comedy Central web site has some pretty cool clips for download.

    Clayton, you’re entitled to your view but since this programme is being shown at a time when children shouldn’t be viewing. Even if you are irresponsible enough to let your young children watch this, I hardly think that they’ll become raging sexual satanic deviants because they saw two cartoon chicks kiss (I love the song they did during this scene – classic!!).

    Biblical quotes are irrelevant, often offensive to non-christians, and prove absolutely nothing. I can produce quotes from the Bible to justify genocide and murder – does that make my view that ‘genocide is solution to many problems’ any less ludicrous?

  • KEEP IT OG

    100 REASONS WHY DRAWN TOGETHER IS TOTAL SHIT HERES 5

    1) EVERY CHARACTER ON THIS IS RIPPED OFF AND SLIGHTLY ALTERED (CLEVERLY TO VOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT)

    2) THE JOKES ARE ALL FORCED.. HOW MANY DOES DO WE HAVE TO SEE THESE DOUCHE BAG”S PRIVATE PARTS OR HEAR THEM FART BEFORE THE JOKE GETS OLD.??

    3) REALITY TV IS A JOKE IN AND OF ITSELF.

    4) THE QUEER THING IS SO PLAYED OUT. THAT BEING SAID, I CAN SEE WHY FAGS PROBOLY JACK OFF WHEN THIS COMES OFF.

    5) IF THIS IS A PARADOY OF REALITY TV, WHY HAS IT LASTED MORE THAN ONE SEASON? (ONE SEASON TOO MANY)

  • mr. person

    Drawn Together is the funniest show since South Park. It’s so funny and offensive! I LOVE IT WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To Clayton: this show is on when your kids should be in bed. How old are your kids? 15 and up can watch. I think a bigger issue is some of the shows that are actually aimed at kids. Anyone who’s ever seen “Billy and Mandy” will know what I’m talking about. I like B&M, but it’s defiantly not appropriate for children under 12. There is also a lot of innuendo in childrens shows too, but Drawn Together is not aimed at kids. Children shows are aimed at elementry shool kids. I hope this helps. – mr. person

    Anyway, back to Drawn Together…Ling-Ling is cool and adorable and Foxxy Love is hot YAY!

  • Amy

    ok u know what if u dont like Drawn Together dont watch it go fuck urself its the best show ever.OK FUCK YOU!

  • Amy

    O’o and just to clear it up I am a child I am in the 6th grade I am 11.

  • seaboy

    ok if u dont like a show why go and complain about it not just change the channal this goes for everyone i personally think drawn together is awesome so who goes around the web and complaines instead of just changing the channel thats what i do when i see something i dont like on t.v

  • oh my

    I must say the joke was obviously lost on some people. The characters are supposed to be taken from other cartoons. That`s the point and the cartoon is making fun of reality shows by puting typical cartoon charachters together in one. They have to be tipycal, you have to know where they`re supposed to have come form, or there is no point. I do agree that some jokes are a bit forced. And the gay thing? Well, the princess is sometimes overly christian (not meant as an offence to christians) but it all works well together. The show exaggerates everything it can think of and that is its purpose :)
    And another thing that I really don`t understand: why do most people think that only children are supposed to watch cartoons? Thinngs like cartoons for adults do exist and just because something is a cartoon it doesn`t mean it`s ment for children. Drawn together is just one of such cartoons

  • tim

    I’m all for freedom, and certainly all for making fun of reality TV. But I think Drawn Together is just not funny. I think it started from some funny thoughts, but the product that came from it is just stupid. It tries way to hard, but comes off very weak and unintelligent.

    I know I could just change the channel, and most of the time I do… but there’s nothing wrong with making an effort to let comedy central know how you feel. Comedy Central is about the only channel I watch, and I love most everything on there. South Park is funny, and usually intelligent. The Daily Show is the same. And a good comedian is funny because they are intelligent. Drawn together thinks they are intelligent. Little kids think it is cool because it’s random.

  • http://t ghfgj

    keep it OG and clayton need to shut the hell up
    drawn together kicks ass, and clayton doesn’t need to pe pushing his religion on us, we can decide whats right and wrong for ourselves. if you dont like the show, great, but dont go whining about it on the internet

  • http://t ghfgj

    and one more thing
    clayton: i see it in terms of right and wrong
    and (clayton=wrong)

  • Andrew

    I think South Park has been going for so long because its both sophisticated and purile at the same time.