Monday, 13 March 2017

Let's Talk About Viacom's "Flagship Six" : Comedy Central

There's not much to say about Comedy Central other than its the only network getting cheddar. Ratings have been low, mostly due to the departure of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but Comedy Central is still going strong in areas of critic and viewer reception and social media.

But let me tell you something, as far as adult animation goes, Comedy Central has become the bottom of the barrel, the gold standard for everything wrong with the medium. To them, it's still the 90s, when animation was perceived to be children's fare. South Park helped to change that with the juvenile, senseless "humor" of its earlier seasons. Even after the show became more topical and critical in nature, its earlier seasons are still considered the show's golden age.

Today, there is a demand for adult animation to have more variety, a demand that Netflix has been more than happy to answer with Bojack Horseman, F is for Family, Voltron: Legendary Defender (along with other DreamWorks Animation fare) and the upcoming Castlevania series, which is supposedly going to be as dark and edgy as the games. It's not just western animation either, Crunchyroll's one million subscriber milestone means the audience for Japanese animation is getting bigger, and has gotten bigger since the days of 4Kids Entertaiment and Bionix. Japanese companies are now looking to create anime that caters to the tastes of a more international audience, and collaborations with American companies are becoming a thing.

I can go on and on about shows like The Legend of Korra and Adventure Time and comedies like Harvey Beaks and the Loud House, but I've already talked about this in previous posts. My point is no one wants to watch "adult" animation anymore, they want "mature" animation. There's nothing wrong with being immature, as long as its done right, and Comedy Central's animated shows...don't.

Brickleberry was just an endless romp of offensive jokes and squick; The second season of TripTank takes everything that was wrong with the first season and amplifies it to the point where the show is just a disgusting, unfunny mess; Jeff and Some Aliens is just a spinoff of TripTank that should have never been greenlit; and Legends of Chamberlain Heights is basically an urban comedy version of South Park, right down to its kindergarten artsytle, which just about sums up the whole thing.

If it ain't like South Park. it ain't worth shit.

Now if Moonbeam City, Ugly Americans, or Drawn Together are anything to go by, it seems as if the best animation seen on Comedy Central are shows that were cancelled due to critical dissonance or because they weren't as "good" as South Park. But beyond that, the show with the most wasted potential was Futurama, possibly the only other animated show on Comedy Central besides South Park to be highly-acclaimed. It's final season wasn't even supposed to be its final season, Comedy Central simply decided not to renew the show for another round.

So what we got instead was more of the same garbage. No variety. No subtlety. Just a half-four per week of toliet humor and shots taken at topics and people that are, frankly, far more entertaining than anything the network has put out. If you wanna watch more South Park, then watch more South Park. Its a one of a kind show and there's nothing else like it. You shouldn't have to waste time on a bunch of half-assessed attempts to rehash only a fraction, a fraction, of what makes South Park enjoyable.

No wonder Viacom's been whining about low ratings, who the hell would watch this crap?

But that's only animation. As far as the rest of the network's programming goes, Comedy Central is comedy. TBS and, especially, TruTV have a lot of their work cut out for them.

Meanwhile, FXX has been going strong, thanks to the breakout success of Man Seeking Women and You're The Worst, but they're still hungry for more animation. Between Archer's move to FXX, and John Landgraf's comments, they REALLY want to fill the adult animation void, especially after the near-failure of Animation Domination (High-Def). It wouldn't be too hard for them to trample Comedy Central as the new prince of adult animation, Comedy Central is still airing reruns of one of their shows!

The endgame will be to steal the crown from Adult Swim, the king of adult animation and the number one millennial-targeting network. But outside of Toonami, Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, and The Venture Bros., Adult Swim's animated series have become a lot more redundant than what they used to be in its heyday. The cancellation of World Peace and the controversy surrounding it verses the hype for season five of Samurai Jack could be taken as a sign that things could change in the future.

But am I talking about adult animation or Comedy Central? I think I'd prefer the two topics to be as far away from each other as possible. Now, if MTV were to announce a new animated series...

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