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Frisky Dingo: Season Two (2007-2008)
Warner Home Video
DVD Released: 1/6/2009
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/3/2009
My daughter recently asked me, "Why are the beginning of some books so weird?!" I won't go into the details of her story, but she does bring up an excellent point. Any form of entertainment, be that a book, a movie, a TV show, or an album, should invite the viewer/listener in and make them feel at home. After that, the piece can get as weird as it wants, but I've always felt that it's very important to establish a connection with the audience early on. There are many independent and arthouse films which go against this idea, and many viewers don't make it past the first act. When I reviewedFrisky Dingo: Season One, I commented on the fact that the show introduces such a brilliantly simple concept that even viewers who are often off-put by Adult Swim will like what they see. Of course, things got super-crazy after that, but that's beside the point. Apparently, the makers of Frisky Dingo must not be all that insane, as Frisky Dingo: Season Two once again brings us an opening with universal appeal.
(SPOILER WARNING: It's impossible to discuss the events of Frisky Dingo Season 2 without divulging plot points fromSeason 1. So, if you haven't seen Season 1, please read with caution.) Season 2 of Frisky Dingo continues the saga of Killface (voiced by Adam Reed) and Xander Crews (also voiced by Reed). Killface is a supervillain who is bent on destroying the Earth...if he can get past all of the other problems in his life. He has created a machine called the Annihilatrix, which will push the Earth into the sun, but he spent all of his money building the device and can no longer fund his evil empire. He must also deal with unreliable employees, and his odd son, Simon (voiced by Christian Danley). Crews, on the other hand, has an alter-ego in the superhero Awesome-X and is a rich playboy. Unfortunately, he is also an idiot and is more interested in having fun than in either saving the world or running his company, much to the chagrin of his Chairman of the Board, Stan (voiced by Stuart Culpepper). As Season 1 came to a close, Killface and Crews were having a standoff on the Annihilatrix when it was suddenly activated.
Season 2 picks up one year later. We learn that the Annihilatrix worked just long enough to move the Earth three feet in space, but that was enough to stop global warming. Because of this, Killface is now a national hero, and the DNC convinces him to run for President. Dottie Bunch (voiced by Marsha Crenshaw) is assigned to run Killface's campaign and rapper Taqu'il (voiced by Killer Mike) is chosen as his running mate. After living as a homeless man for a year, Crews re-emerges to regain control of his company and decides to run against Killface as the Republican candidate. Despite the fact that the stakes have changed, the old problems still remain. Killface's campaign is constantly running into money problems and the infantile Crews wants Fred Dryer to be his running mate. As if this weren't bad enough, old nemeses re-appear to stop both candidates.
It would be a great understatement to say that the latter part of Season 2 of Frisky Dingo gets weird. Weird wouldn't begin to describe some of the events of the last few episodes. But, the beginning is pure genius. Season 1 drew in the viewer by taking the old idea of a comic book superhero and super villain and turning it on its head. The ideas were familiar enough to be accessible, but quirky enough to seem fresh.
With Season 2, the writers of Frisky Dingo have once again seized on this notion, but instead of looking to the world of comics, they have looked to the headlines. Given the dramatic election year which has just past, it was a stroke of genius to give this season a political spin. And while the political ideas may be a bit shallow, they are still fun. The Democratic candidate is literally a monster and a villain, but he has sound political ideas, despite the fact that he isn't rich. The Republican candidate is a millionaire "good guy", but his ideas are ridiculous (breast implants for teachers will improve education) and he's a morally bankrupt moron. Both candidates have campaign managers who are forced to not only babysit their charges, but make questionable decisions as well. Crews is dealing with a girlfriend who wants to be first lady, Grace Ryan (voiced by Kate Miller), while Killface has his son, who could be a political burden. My only complaint about the storyline of Season 2 is that following the break between episodes 208 and 209, the election story suddenly took a backseat to a host of odd plot lines which felt as if they were left over from Season 1.
The new storylines in Season 2 present new opportunities for comedy and the writers don't fail to seize them. In fact, I think that Season 2 was funnier than Season 1. The dialogue here is more clever than ever before, and while Season 1 presented some great quotes, I found myself laughing at more than just the odd lines in Season 2. The fact that some of the storyline is rooted in our reality allows the show to go back and forth between clever observations of the truth and humor which is simply bizarre. Killface was the star of Season 1 and he continues to shine here, as he is both a super villain and the straight man who is constantly befuddled by the insanity going on around him (and his lack of insurance).
The one major drawback to Frisky Dingo is that it's not for everyone. Again, to say that the show is odd would not begin to cover it. For an 11-minute animated show, the series is full of characters and plotlines, and even if you can follow it all, that doesn't mean that it will be to your liking. But, if you like your humor with a sly and often dark twist, then you should definitely give Frisky Dingo a chance.
Frisky Dingo: Season Two encounters a large pair of pants on DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The DVD contains all 13 episodes from Season 2. The shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good the image is never dark or bright. The unique animation used on the show does produce some stuttering in some shots, but otherwise the transfer is solid. The DVD offers a Dolby 2.0 stereo audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track is not outstanding, but it is satisfactory, as the ever-important dialogue is always clear and audible and the stereo tracks are used to create off-screen sounds, which are usually jokes.
The Frisky Dingo: Season Two DVD contains only two extras. "Xtacles Skit" (2 minutes) is a brief promo for The X-Tacles TV show. Be warned, this is uncensored. "Political Commercial" (30 seconds) is simply an ad for the DVD.
Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long