So-called “reality television” has been around long enough now, I suppose, that we can actually start making fun of it. And I don't mean providing self-referential little twists to the genre like in “Joe Schmo” and “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé.” No, I mean outright, vicious mocking of the whole preposterous trend. Thankfully we can always rely on Comedy Central to provide a rancorous, juvenile and often quite funny jab at the things in popular culture that annoy the crap out of us. (See also: “South Park” on its best nights, “The Daily Show” pretty much every night of the week.)
Recently, C.C. decided to jump on the reality bandwagon with its own particular twist. “Drawn Together” is billed as the world's first “animated reality series.” The show follows a group of second-string cartoon characters picked to live in a “Real World”-style house. Naturally, all the expected fighting, backstabbing and sexual shenanigans are soon unleashed.
The characters include Captain Hero (an egotistical Superman clone), Spanky Ham (a rude Internet pig voiced, appropriately, by “Man Show” alum Adam Carolla), Ling-Ling (a violent Pokémon rip-off), Xandir (a closeted gay video game adventurer who constantly talks about his need to rescue his “girlfriend” from the forces of evil), Foxxy Love (a sassy variation on Josie and the Pussycats), Toot Braustein (an aging Betty Boop-based sexpot), Princess Clara (a wide-eyed Disney-inspired princess) and Wooldoor Sockbat (the show's resident loony toon).
The show nicely skewers the reality genre while poking fun at the last 70 years of cartoon culture. Toot, realizing her chubby, black and white figure can't compete with today's sexy toons, decides to become the show's “bitch from hell.” Princess Clara, in a pointed jab at Disney, is a naive racist who assumes that afro-babe Foxxy is her new servant girl.
The show, being on Comedy Central, is certainly not above lowbrow laughs and leering sexuality. But even in these realms, “Drawn Together” finds room to be clever. Following a bisexual makeout session in the house's requisite hot tub, Princess Clara is inspired to burst into a song titled, “What is This Thing in My Mouth?”
Some would say that the reality show genre has already driven itself far beyond parody. (“The Littlest Groom” anyone?) Still, seeing all the cartoonish reality show stereotypes (the buff frat guy, the lecherous slob, the sassy African American girl, the overprotected princess) reduced to literal cartoons feels utterly appropriate. Whether or not the show can maintain its sense of humor for an entire season (eight episodes anyway) remains to be seen. It's not a one-joke premise exactly, but it is a two-or-three-joke premise, and I can only hope the writers have enough in them to keep up the show's gleefully rude trashing of both reality TV and animation. An entire season of a pig pooping in a toaster won't illicit many snickers, but a few more well thought-out swipes at the TV stereotypes lodged in our own idiot boxer brains will certainly draw viewers to Comedy Central on a weekly basis.