What is the deal with Adult Swim, anyway?

Sunday night’s mishmash starts with an hour of FUTURAMA/VENTURE BROTHERS, an hour of solid storytelling and resonance. The New Venture episode — “Victor. Echo. November.” — was one of the best ever, as everyone goes on a double date, a character gets a mechanical hand, The Phantom Limb is given four variant origins, and Brock goes on a particularly savage spree, naked and bloody a knife in his hand. “We might not win this one; just get to the panic room.” Plus, Kim was wearing goggles.

200608141242And then…it all goes kerflooie. What sort of drug are you supposed to be on to enjoy all this? Bad claymation, animation that rips off David Rees ripping off institutional art, hillbilly squid — lots of squid actually — crazed Swedish rockers. Every show on Adult Swim Sunday Night is symbolically — and often literally — bleeding from the eyes, ears and anus. The people who use this to ease back into the work week need to be kept under surveillance, because when they go, they’re taking the rest of us with them.

PS: we kind of like METALOCALYPSE.


  1. Watch that last scene this week’s Venture Bros again. It took me a couple views to see it but Billy was fixing his own mechanical arm after reattaching Doc’s severed limb. I agree though, this might be the best ep this season. Metalocalypse just whizzes right past me, though. Guess I’m not metal enough.

  2. I don’t have cable right now, so I’m really behind, but I was hoping that Metalocalypse would be worth seeking out. It’s by Brendan Small, the same guy who did the excellent “Home Movies” and was really nice to my girlfriend and I in San Diego a few years back.

  3. Oh Heidi, you saved yourself in my eyes, liking Metalocalypse. I haven’t been able to stop watching the first episode on Youtube since I caught it Thursday. I’m not a Death Metal guy, which makes it all the more awesome, realizing one can take pretty much anything and make it into a Death Metal song. I’m loving this easily as much as I loved Home Movies so far.

  4. The saddest thing about Adult Swim is it’s apparent disdain for the animated medium itself. The foundation for the entire block, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, was a writer’s show to be certain. But it was chock-a-block full of great visuals and genuinely funny “animation,” too. By and large, everything created since then at Williams Street has seemed almost deliberately reduced to a level of graphic expertise ne tends to encounter on the back of most any beer-soaked cocktail napkin at closing time.

  5. I think that Adult Swim is still revolutionary, possibly just because of these reactions. Many who use it as an example of ‘bad animation’ are playing right into its hand, it is the television extention of Dave Eggers’ 2000’s post modernism, and such is always fun to watch. Venture Bros. and Futurama are its two most conservative [in style. Both are still pretty amazing…] selections. Moral Orel and Robot Chicken, also sleections that create thier own styles, much like AS’s best…

    I think Tom Goes to the Mayor is actually one of the best, its the best source of ‘pure wierdness’ since ATHF. Yay verily.

    12 oz Mouse, PHF and Squidbillies were disappointing though, most of all for seeming like ATHF ripoffs.

  6. I will admit to liking ROBOT CHICKEN, kinda’ liking MORAL OREL, and haven’t seen METALOCOLYPSE; otherwise I pretty much agree with the article.

  7. Sorry for the double post, but I have THE LEGEND OF GRIMJACK VOLUME FIVE sitting in front of me and it occurred to me how utterly cool it would be to have a balls-to-the-walls, animated GRIMJACK series on Adult Swim!

  8. Adult Swim sort of rules my life, while also irritating me to no end. The way it started out was the best, with Space Ghost and Sealab 2021. I still can’t quite get all hyped about Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

    But Venture Bros and Metalocalypse are the only two reasons to own a TV right now.


  9. Tom Goes to the Mayer sucks hard. I really hate that show and have since it first aired. For those that like it, more power to you, but it’s horrible. A big reason I won’t even watch the other shows in rerun after Venture Bros is off.

    I like Robot Chicken of course and Moral Oral can be funny. Squidbillies is ok, but I’d really rather have something better int hat time slot. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is funny, but it’s not as good as when it first aired. Sealab 2021 was good but there hasn’t been a new one in a while and I think it’s done with right?

    Yeah if they got a few new ones and replaced the ones that suck, I’d be happy. Trouble is, they seem to think Tom Goes to the Mayor is the best thing they ever made. I know there’s fans as even steaming piles of crap seem to have people to watch it, but there’s no way it’s way up there in being so good it should have gone to a second season.

  10. TGTTM should not be called a ‘pile of crap’. Its a show that requires more thought into its style of comedy and a certain world, and an association with a town like Jefferton and people like Tom. The show is achingly realistic, and its photography think is, like [as]’s best efforts, a new style, hate it or love it. TGTTM could indeed be one of thier best efforts. At least it doesn’t revel in its own drool. Or pander. And its something to talk about at the least. The word is not ‘good’, its ‘seemingly popular’. TGTTM was disliked by those who use the internet to post opinions in quick snippets. Only a fraction.

  11. Love Robot Chicken, currently ignore all else on The Swim (I’ve got the Futurama DVDs already, thanks, and I watch Family Guy and American Dad first run on Fox – and buy the DVDs).

    Your description of Venture Brothers intrigues me, though. A character called the Phantom Limb has four variant origins? Is that a shout out to the Phantom Stranger?

  12. The Venture Bros. is my favorite show, but I have to admit I love Metalocalypse so far. The REAL joke is that Death Metal is not popular and has never been popular. I’ve never been into Death Metal, I just know what it is and still think it’s hilarious because it lampoons all of the narcissism and self-indulgence we’ve come to expect from our celebrities, no matter what medium or genre they work in. Make it about rap & bling culture, jetset DJs , pop-punk rock bands, even Bam Margera and the Jackass crowd, or twentysomethings brat pack actors/actresses and all the jokes work. The whole spot with them in the grocery store in episode one is like the heavy metal version of Nicole Ritchie and Paris going to a yokel grocery store in The Simple Life. The show’s all about unearned celebrity, I think, and the ignorant self-importance behind it as well as society’s willingness to bend over backwards for and take some innane crap from our celebrities…

  13. The Venture Bros. is the best show on television. Still, I usually wind up watching it on my computer since the show is always over by the time I sit down in front of my TV. Since when does Adult Swim start at 10:00?

  14. I find Venture bros. to be brilliant on so many levels. I’ve watched the first season on DVD a few times now and every time I watch an episode I discover a joke or reference I had not noticed before. Any show that references the after-school special “You can do it, Duffy Moon” is thumbs up in my book.

  15. I’ve never seen an entire episode of Robot Chicken (which is sad considering how short it supposedly is!) but I have seen some sketches or bits out of context that seemed pretty funny and clever.

    I loved Home Movies and the occasional episode of the Brack Show. But the randomness for randomness sake can get tiring. Especially if you have to try and explain why “it’s kind of funny because it’s not really funny…it’s just um..random” to the person sitting next to you with a blank expression.

  16. Venture Brothers and Metalocalypse are the sole reasons I’m considering getting a working TV again. Luckily AS’s The Fix is not making this an important or timely decision. Those shows may be the best on television right now.

  17. I totally had to go pull out my technotronics CD after the last Venture Bros. episode. The constant 90’s club and rave culture references are totally awesome.

  18. Dave, I think you nailed it. I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE the old Space Ghost and Brak Show (and still do) because they were an oasis of randomness in a diet of Scoopy-Doo. Now the ENTIRE CN line-up is pretty damned random, with with all the anime and what not. Sunday night Adult Swim makes me feel like I’m floating in space listening to a Harry Dacre song.

  19. You are quite mad. MORAL OREL is hilarious. I admit ROBOT CHICKEN is probably stoner humor only, but Moral Orel is pure satire, funny, sharp and contemporary.

  20. Tom Goes to the Mayor is genius as in Mr. Show was genius. Everything about is an absurdist parody of real life. The “actors” act like real human beings, not characters made for a show.

    Squidbillies, 12 oz. mouse, Metapocolypse, Minoriteam are aping Family Guy’s own cheap humor. Funny randomness for funny randomness’s sake. Only more deadpan to seem hip. No more, no less.

    Morel Orel tries too hard for its own good.

    Robot chicken is the kind of show that can only be watched three, maybe four times. After that, the humor’s shot and if I watch it a few years later, it will be incredibly dated. Kind of like Family Guy.

    Sealab, Space Ghost, Brak, and Stroker and Hoop are all classics that should’ve never been cancelled. Well, maybe Sealab.

    Venture Bros. and Korgoth are the two most promising show yet. Now, I just hope they start making their own action shows.

  21. I don’t have cable right now, so I’m really behind, but I was hoping that Metalocalypse would be worth seeking out. It’s by Brendan Small, the same guy who did the excellent “Home Movies” and was really nice to my girlfriend and I in San Diego a few years back

    With summer rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about sun, fun, swimming pools, beaches and water sports.
    the first item on your checklist should be swimming goggles, summer is coming and the bikini-girl is waiting for me, so……..

    BTW.I need a swimming goggle, is anyone knows this website?


    IMO , it is very cheap