Bad vibes from a pair of new animated shows
"Allen Gregory": a precocious elementary school student holds forth in the Fox animated series premiering Sunday.
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Animation can be a tough medium for TV: It takes longer to produce, which means if a network orders an animated show, it's basically committing to producing whatever it orders (usually 13 episodes), unlike with a live-action comedy when production can be shut down even before the initial order is complete (see: CBS's "How to be a Gentleman").
So it's disappointing to report that two new animated shows are not impressive in their initial outings, and give no reason for viewers to ever watch them again.
Aggressively dumb, sex-obsessed and occasionally misogynistic, "Good Vibes" (10:30 tonight, MTV) follows overweight transplanted New Jersey teen Mondo (voice of Josh Gad, "Book of Mormon") as he navigates his new life in a California beach town.
He's constantly horny and falls for a girl out of his league who has a bullying, tattooed boyfriend.
Mondo meets his new best friend, Woodie (Adam Brody, "The O.C."), when Woodie crashes through a skylight while spying on Mondo's mom (Debi Mazar) as she takes a shower. This happens not long after mom accidentally gives Mondo her pickle-shaped sex toy.
A recurring gag involves mom saying she's looking for a job where she doesn't have to be on a pole/on her knees/on her back/a hooker, followed by scenes of her working at jobs that are not of the sexual nature the dialogue leads you to imagine. But still.
The only good news is that "Good Vibes" follows the return of "Beavis and Butt-Head" (10 tonight), which may play around with the same type of bathroom humor but does it in a smarter, more satirical way.
Executive producer Mike Judge ("Office Space," "King of the Hill") is again at the helm as the early '90s troublemakers return. This time they're mocking modern pop culture touchstones like "16 & Pregnant" and "Jersey Shore."
"I'm a whore, hello," Snooki says in one clip.
"That's how she answers the phone," Beavis says in response.
In clips, "Allen Gregory" (8:30 p.m. Sunday, WPGH) looks promising but then you see the show and realize quickly it's the same jokes repeated ad nauseum:
• Title character Allen Gregory DeLongpre (voice of series co-creator Jonah Hill) is a wildly precocious elementary school student with the taste of a wealthy snob, a trait he evinces over and over.
• Allen has two dads. Richard (French Stewart, "3rd Rock from the Sun") is an aesthete like Allen; Jeremy (Nat Faxon) is more of a well-meaning hunky lug who is constantly put down by Allen and Richard.
And that's pretty much it.
Oh, and there's also a wizened, overweight school principal who Allen falls in love with. She looks just like the wizened, overweight sex ed teacher in "Good Vibes," because, evidently, elderly women are comedy gold when you're making a TV show for teenage boys.
Maybe as an animated sketch on "Saturday Night Live," "Allen Gregory" would leave viewers eager for more.
But in half-hour form, it's too much of the same, including what some viewers may see as homophobia (Jeremy says five years ago he was happily married with kids but turned gay after being badgered by Richard).
Some of the comedy is -- the way Allen mistreats authority figures, including his teacher and school principal -- amusing because it's recognizable as bad behavior you'd see from someone with an overblown sense of self-importance and entitlement, but how many times can you laugh at the same basic joke in a half hour, let alone week after week?
First Published October 27, 2011 12:00 am