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Frisky Dingo: Season One (2006-2007)

Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 3/25/2008

All Ratings out of
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Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/14/2008

I often wonder how the marketing reps for home video companies feel about critics. On the one hand, the very fact that a DVD gets reviewed puts that title out in front of the public. On the other hand, if that review is a scathingly negative one (and frequent visitors to this site certainly know that I'm capable of that), does that truly hurt a movie? One can see how the marketers could have a love/hate relationship with critics like myself. Well, today, I'm turning the tables, and I'm becoming the marketer. Based on the DVD cover art, which is displayed above (and this is the first time that I've ever posted a DVD back cover!), the powers-that-be behind Frisky Dingo: Season One aren't very interested in a selling a single copy of the title. Just look at the pictures; A huge white face and no text. Would you buy that sight-unseen? So, I'm here to market it for them and tell you how good, this twisted little show is.

Frisky Dingo tells the story of a super villain and a super hero. The villain, Killface (voiced by Adam Reed) is a very buff, totally white humanoid creature who has cloven-hoof feet and speaks with a British accent. He has a master plan to destroy the world by hurling the Earth into the sun. However, he can't find an affordable way to get his message to the people. The superhero, Awesome X (voiced by Adam Reed), along with his team of cyborg sidekicks, "The X-Ticles" have defeated every known bad guy in the city. In actuality, Awesome X is really millionaire playboy Xander Crews, and the only person who knows this is Stan (voiced by Stuart Culpepper), the CFO (?) of Crew's company. Stan informs Crews that they can no longer afford to employ The X-Ticles. Xander decides that if he is to keep Awesome X in business, then he must find a new super villain to fight.

That synopsis only begins to scratch the surface of the wild world which is Frisky Dingo, as both Killface and Xander Crews are surrounded by their share of supporting characters. Killface lives with his son, Simon (voiced by Christian Danley), an apparently troubled young boy who always mumbles and enjoys breaking dishes. Xander is dating local reporter Grace Ryan (voiced by Kate Miller), but she's obsessed with getting a Peabody Award, and Xander has difficulty remaining faithful.

Frisky Dingo airs during the Adult Swim programming portion of Cartoon Network. In case you've never watched an Adult Swim show (I'm referring to their original shows in this case, not things like Family Guy), allow me to throw out a word which easily describes all of their productions: weird. Now, let me throw out another word, one which is rarely, if ever used to describe a show from Adult Swim: accessible. And yet, that word can be used to describe Frisky Dingo. Yes, brother, it's weird -- really freakin' weird at times -- but the main concept is something which most people will understand...which is saying a lot for an Adult Swim show.

At it's core, Frisky Dingo is a spoof of the super hero genre. All of the trappings of that genre are here. The super villain is slightly human, but clearly different and he has a diabolical plan which involves technology. The super hero is the alter ego of a rich man whose parents were murdered (Batman) and who is dating a reporter (Superman). Anyone who's ever read a comic book or watched a super hero show or movie will immediately recognized the archetypes here.

The difference is that the characters in Frisky Dingo must deal with the sort of day-to-day issues which never seem to plague those in this genre. Killface and Xander Crews are both dealing with budget problems. Killface has spent all of his money constructing The Annihilatrix, the machine which will destroy the Earth, and now he has no capital left to get his manifesto to the public. (The opening of the first episode spoofs a well-known bad-guy cliche and asks the kind of questions which we've all been wondering for years.) Killface must also deal with Simon and his desire to be a good parent. Xander Crews must come to terms with the fact that Awesome X is no longer needed and therefore, the funding for his crime-fighting adventures will be cut. There's also the fact that Xander is an idiot.

The 13 episodes of the first season of Frisky Dingo play as a serial and these concepts are introduced in the first few shows. Despite the fact that the episodes are only 11-minutes long, the show gives the audience the time to get to know the characters and to grasp the world in which they live. Then, things begin to get weird. As Killface and Xander Crews attempt to one-up each other, the situations around them get more and more surreal, as characters turn into sea-creatures, characters are possessed by insects, and no less than two characters go blind. Despite the fact that the show goes screaming off the rails at times, it will have already hooked most viewers with the fact that it's skewering a very familiar concept.

The show may sound manic and weird, but it's also very funny. The humor is scatological and low-brow at times, but for the most part, itís clever. OK, most of the show is pretty stupid, but itís still funny. The only time that the jokes truly miss is when the show goes too far. Like many shows (Iím looking at you South Park), when Frisky Dingo wants to be truly shocking or crass, it simply isnít funny. Itís the absurd jokes with a hint of truth which truly work. I found myself laughing the hardest at things like Xanderís conviction that one can fax glitter, or the constant confessions of masked member of The X-Ticles. And I even laughed at the fact that thick glasses make oneís eyes look really big. Ants in the brain? Not so much with the laughing there.

If youíre like me and grew up on super heroes, but youíve reached the point where even the grittiest comic characters are still too unrealistic, then Frisky Dingo is for you. The animation is somewhat limited at times (although some of the paintings are quite good) and youíll often roll your eyes over the stupidity of the show, itís very funny and does a great job of skewering the super hero genre. I canít wait to see Season Two.

Frisky Dingo: Season One attempts to take over the world of DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. All 13 episodes from the showís first season are included on this DVD. The shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain nor any defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, and the image is well-balanced. I noted some mild shimmering at times -- mostly when characters moved -- but otherwise the video was digital broadcast quality. The DVD has a Dolby stereo 2.0 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The audio is always distortion-free and audible, but there really isnít much to report beyond some minor stereo effects which signal off-screen action.

There are no bonus features on this DVD.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long