12 oz. Mouse – Episode 1 “Hired” Review
Over the last decade, the immensely disturbing minds at Williams Street have brought us several off-beat comedic gems. First, over ninety episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, then Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, and now this. Longtime absurdist writer/voice actor Matt Maiellaro, who worked on all of the aforementioned shows has obviously written some bizarre material, but nothing quite as profoundly off-kilter as this. The show begins with a camera swooping amongst cardboard buildings, most of which are quickly destroyed by random explosions, as the show’s theme song is screamed over blaring distorted guitar and drums. From this we quickly enter the show’s usual world, which consists mostly of uncolored pencil doodlings that look like something culled from the pages of a deranged three-year-old’s sketchpad.
The show’s title character, a bulbous green mouse, crashes his jet into a nearby building. Due to his carelessness, anonymous people begin dying, as they do throughout the episode, and we are quickly thrust into the world of a near-comatose mouse who casually does whatever he wants on the spur of the moment, regardless of consequences. The mouse is soon hired by a purple shark who sends him out to do a job, which he quickly decides not to do. Along the way, he is joined by Skillet, possibly a kangaroo rat, who serves as Mouse’s oft-screaming partner in crime. Together they rob a bank, invade a bar and destroy property, meeting a cast of other bizarre characters along the way.
All of this when summarized, just sounds like a bunch of random destruction taking place – not at all uncommon for shows on Adult Swim. But the humor isn’t so much found in the big plot events as it is in the details of how it all happens. Maiellaro’s awkward script, while wonderful, could very well have come off as painfully unfunny if it had not been placed in the hands of such skillful editors and voice actors (one of which is Maiellaro himself). The actors deliver their lines with a convincingly dry seriousness, and the show’s many visual gags generally wind up working very well due to the editors’ pause-laden comedic timing. In particular, the conversations between Shark and Mouse are a great example of the Williams Street creative team doing what it does best - crafting hysterically asinine, dialogue-based humor.
For many, I suspect the show will initially be off-putting, due mostly to its visual style and relaxed pace. But for fans of shows like Space Ghost Coast to Coast – wherein the poor drawings are apart of the joke – this will likely become a new reason to turn to Adult Swim for late night comedy.
Score: 8.0 / 10
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