Drunk in Public
“The Drinky Crow Show” on Cartoon Network
Your hometown alternative paper has run Tony Millionaire’s “Maakies” comic strip for ... well, a really damn long time. Now, after, like, a freaking decade or something, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim animation block has turned the cult hit comic into a weekly series. Just goes to show you how far ahead of the curve we are here at the Alibi. Or something.
In the late ’90s, a handful of “Maakies” Flash animations were produced for “Saturday Night Live.” They were based on previously published strips. On May 13, 2007, Cartoon Network ran its “Night of 1,000 Pilots” promotion. “The Drinky Crow Show”—named after the primary character in “Maakies”—was one of those pilots. Now, after more than a year, CN has finally made good on its promise, delivering “The Drinky Crow Show” in all its weekly, 15-minute-long glory to legions of patient, besotted fans.
It’s not easy translating Millionaire’s black-and-white, pen-and-ink drawings into the realm of moving animation. “The Drinky Crow Show” does an admirable job, delivering a detailed art style and an appropriately pastel color palette. The end result looks like Winsor McCay’s “Little Nemo” shotgun-wedded to a Tijuana bible.
All the usual hallmarks of “Maakies” have made the leap from newspaper to cable network. Our anti-heroes are still suicidal fowl Drinky Crow and his partner-in-dabauchery, the drunken monkey sailor Uncle Gabby. The nominal 18th-century nautical theme remains—as do most of the supporting characters. In print, Millionaire rarely bothers with any sort of continuity of story or tone from week to week. On TV, Millionaire’s free-form surrealism is slightly tempered by the fact that “The Drinky Crow” show seems to have actual (more or less) story lines. In the first ep, for example, Drinky Crow gouges out his eyes and replaces them with patented “Beer Goggles,” giving him an impossibly rosy outlook on life that upsets his simian drinking buddy and leads to various unpleasant consequences. Good times.
Dino Stamatopoulos, creator of Adult Swim’s “Moral Orel,” provides the voice for Drinky Crow, while David Herman (“Futurama,” “King of the Hill”) does Gabby duty. Guest voice possibilities seem promising with Flight of the Conchords comedians Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie showing up in the first ep as invading space aliens.
The show does shed some of Millionaire’s weirder flights of fancy (no guest artists and no appearances of Terrence Ross just yet). By way of compensation, there’s an inordinate amount of drunken behavior, bloody violence, urination and interspecies bestiality. Grab yourself a bottle of booze, dook it up and enjoy!
“The Drinky Crow Show” debuts Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1:15 a.m.