Before you watch this set, Judge Cynthia Boris thinks you should know it contains spoilers for the entirety of pop culture.
Our reviews of Robot Chicken: Season Two (published September 4th, 2007), Robot Chicken: Season Three (published October 27th, 2008), Robot Chicken: Season Four (published December 24th, 2009), Robot Chicken: Season Five (published November 4th, 2011), Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II (published August 3rd, 2009), and Robot Chicken: Star Wars III (Blu-ray) (published July 18th, 2011) are also available.
"Taking any bit part he could, Hulk's acting career plummeted, and eventually he sold his name to Hulk Hogan. (Real name: Chesterfield Evenpurple.)"
It's a freaky world we're living in. A world where Charlie Brown has a four-letter word vocabulary. Where Batman, The Hulk ,and Catwoman live together in The Real World house—and what the heck, is that Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg having a Brokeback moment? No, it's not Nyquil induced hallucination, it's the stop motion animation series from the twisted mind of Seth Green (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Family Guy). So gather up Barbie and G.I. Joe, we're all sitting down to watch Robot Chicken, Vol. 1.
Facts of the Case
Remember all those Mego action figures you had as a kid: Starsky & Hutch, The Dukes of Hazzard, the Justice League? Well, they're all here, starring in their own episodes of Robot Chicken. The show is a strange mishmash of pop culture-crunching comedy bits acted out in stop motion with familiar action figures. Claymation-style eyes and mouths are added to give the appearance of talking and facial expressions. Every action figure is fair game, from Smurfs to Carebears, He-Man, and Pikachu. If they made a toy of it, Robot Chicken exploits it.
On this DVD set you get:
Robot Chicken's sketches fall into three types. First are the nonsensical movie parodies such as Enter the Fat One, where Joey Fatone hires Pat Morita (The Karate Kid) to train him for a martial arts competition where he will avenge the death of his band mates from N'Sync. Second are the Saturday Night Live-style sketches that cast unsuspecting toys in very suspect roles. Imagine Mr. Peanut being interrogated by the cops and The Incredible Hulk starring in his own pathetic E! True Hollywood Story. Finally, there are the faster than light, one joke gags that go by so quickly that if you stop to get the joke you miss the next three. Honestly, half of these just left me going "huh?"
Actually, quite a bit of Robot Chicken left me going "huh?" Seth Green has a sense of humor that is not always understood by normal mortals. But don't let that deter you from watching. For every gag I didn't get there were two others that left me snorting milk out of my nose (ex: '80s Toys—Where Are They Now?). On the third hand, Robot Chicken is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. There are no bounds. As a matter of fact, the show excels at going beyond the bounds of traditional good taste (Jesus tracks down the Easter Bunny in a Kill Bill spoof, for example), but that's one of the things that makes the show so funny.
Turning to the DVD itself…the packaging is dark and quirky, and would leave most shoppers wondering what the heck this thing is all about. The foldout insert has two plastic snap holders for the discs and I like the test pattern graphic on the discs themselves.
The navigation screen is as schizophrenic as the series. Locating particular episodes is a bit tricky when presented with a screen full of still photos that represent a stack of TV sets. The extras are plentiful, but not always worth the effort to scan through them. Deleted animatics, deleted scenes, and alternate audio are hit and miss. Many of the changes are very minor and add nothing to the enjoyment of watching the show. Behind the Scenes and Photo Gallery (still photos from behind the scenes) are actually fun to watch and the animation meetings are nonsensical but worth watching just to see Seth Green acting out the sketches in full body mode. You'll also find a couple of shorts produced by Green and his partner, wacky promos, and commentaries.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Hitler: [in heaven] "I'm just as surprised as you are."
And that pretty much sums up the downside of the series.
Robot Chicken is one of those love it or hate it TV shows. There's nothing in between. The crude, in-your-face humor is lost on many. For others it's the funniest stuff ever written. It's Family Guy with stop motion. Let me summarize with this:
"Stoopid Monkey." If that makes you laugh, you need to buy this DVD.
This court finds Robot Chicken, Vol. 1 guilty of lewd acts in public, discrimination, extensive copyright violations, and breaking all laws of human decency. Keep up the good work!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Episode commentaries
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