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'Brickleberry' full of hits and misses

By: John Thomas Staff Writer

Most of the time when I hear about a new show on Comedy Central I will clear a night to watch it. Yeah, there are a lot of naysayers out there, but for every “Jeff Dunham Show” there’s a “Jon Benjamin has a Van,” and for each “Secret Girlfriend” there’s a “Michael and Michael have issues” or a “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show.” I hold no ill will for Daniel Tosh, executive producer of Comedy Central’s new animated series “Brickleberry,” but I just didn’t have any inclination to watch it. Tosh is a sometimes-funny, always-polished comedian who really loves what he does, but Brickleberry just seemed like a host of dead jokes strapped together by a thin conceptBrickleberry is animated like a half-assed flash movie, and that bothered me so much that there were points when I had to pause, close my eyes, and remind myself that Bo-Bo-Bo-Bo-Bo-Bo was just a click away once I had finished this ordeal. The character designs are lazy and obtuse, completely childish without any sort of charm. Aesthetics are even more subjectively criticized than humor, I understand, but I just feel like there was no effort here, no sort of driving idea behind the design of this show; and that’s what gives me license to eviscerate this sad excuse for programming. That being said, the voice casting is solid, and the writing is definitely humorous, even though it never achieves the level of pervasive laughs that every animated sitcom needs to achieve to be worth anybody’s time. “Brickleberry” does episode-long jokes very well. Every time a comedic thread pops up, it feels fresh, with a new, usually surprising dimension to the joke. In my favorite such sequence, a character dies to bring the series of quips to a humorous climax, coming back to his coworkers after being sent to hell. The script is skillfully crafted, but the material just isn’t there. From pedophile priest riffs, to black-people-are-different-than-white- people bits, and the whole sphere of people-from-the-south comedy, all of the jokes seem such par for the course in televised comedy these days it’s hard to invest in them. To the Tosh-led band’s credit, there aren’t any rape jokes. Well, except for the kiddie-loving Father, but no one seems to count those. I really wish I could say that Brickleberry was more than the sum of its parts. The effort put into crafting its jokes is evident, but that is simply not enough when faced with an unappealing cast, disgusting design, and the choice to lampoon topics that its audience has already passed on. “Brickleberry” is a cluster of dull jokes held together by a thin premise, so I can’t recommend anyone watch it. With a dramatic makeover and a more topical focus, this program could be something worth my time. I just don’t think anyone cares enough about this splatter on Comedy Central’s wall of ideas to make that happen.

TV that Matters: Parks and Rec, New Girl

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