Robot Chicken: Season Two
Robot Chicken: Season Two
Whatcha Gonna Do, Brother?

There's just something intrinsically comical about cartoon characters that curse. Call me immature, but that's just the way it is. Imagine if your favorite action figures and childhood icons were able to come to life, shed their plastic personalities and walk around in the real world? Surely a space alien toy would take a stab at your Buck Rogers action figure, taking the opportunity to call him "F*ck Rogers." I mean, why wouldn't he?

Stop-motion mischief-makers Seth Green and Matthew Senreich are back with a second season of random and entirely absurd satires and sketches that surpass Robot Chicken's first season in size and scope. And this time, it's completely uncensored. The Season Two DVD is packed with your favorite sketches from the popular Cartoon Network series, with so many extras and bonus features it boggles the mind!

Following in the conventions of other popular [adult swim] programs, Robot Chicken breathes new life into those forgotten playthings of the 80s with irreverent, sometimes completely cryptic humor. In the same manner as Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Venture Brothers, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken is nothing short of clever entertainment for a generation raised by television.

As with all [adult swim] shows, you either get the comedy or you don't. Robot Chicken's humor isn't going to go over anybody's head, but between the extremely esoteric parody sketches and adolescent low-brow humor, the show can come off as completely bizarre and juvenile to some.

Speaking of juvenile, it seems the majority of Robot Chicken's audience is made up of teenage boys who fixate on fart jokes and potty humor. These kids have never felt the joy of holding a Kenner Chewbacca figure, or the crushing heartache that follows when your favorite Wookiee is chewed to death by the family dog. Half of these whippersnappers probably don't know who Buck Rogers even is, nor do they remember the prime of Hulkamania or the Transformers before Michael Bay.

Yet there are the 20-somethings who watched the same movies and television shows that the writers and creators watched. These young adults can appreciate the nostalgia contained in a Macho Man rubber wrestler, or the funny side of a Jesus, Jason and the Argonauts skit.

The real key to enjoying Robot Chicken isn't its rather obscure humor, but its stop-motion style of animation. Stop motion isn't used much these days, and that's a shame - as even though it's a painstaking process, its authentic feel is still unmatched by even the best of ILM's computer effects. The animation is so good, in fact, that the program received an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation (for the episode "Easter Basket"), and has been nominated for Outstanding Animated Program.

The sketches in this season of Robot Chicken are by far some of the funniest. In one of my favorite all-time scenes, Emperor Palpatine (voiced by Family Guy's Seth McFarlane) is in his palatial office on Coruscant in the middle of a meeting with some advisers. The meeting is interrupted by a collect call from Darth Vader, who alerts his master that the Death Star has just been destroyed. Palpatine is livid, taking out his frustration on his favorite Sith. Vader suggests they could just rebuild it and Palpatine replies, "And who's going to give me a loan, Jackhole? You got an ATM on that torso Lite-Brite?"

Palpatine goes on to belittle Vader with comments on how he was such a whinny bitch when Padme died. This leads to Vader crying, tears clogging his respirator. Palpatine is forced to apologize and the whole event seems so absurd but at the same time, genuinely authentic thanks to the stop-motion animation and the attention to detail given. If you can say anything for Green and Senreich, it is the fact that they are complete nerds when it comes to Star Wars and other pop culture touchstones. Their parodies seem to hit closest to the source material.

In another sequence, a new spin on the classic television show Hogan's Heroes, Hulk Hogan and his squad of 80s WWF wrestling stars must get the camp in spick-span shape for Hitler's arrival. It's the kind of completely random, zany humor that keeps fans coming back for more. Did I mention Hulk Hogan actually lends his voice to several sketches on the show?

As for as bonus features go, Chicken fans will be happy to know that season two is jam-packed them. Check out the collection of deleted audio clips from such guest stars as Hal Sparks, Michael Ian Black, Dana Snyder, and Michael Winslow. If that's not enough, there are episode commentaries for every episode.

Another benefit of the DVD is it's ability to give viewers an insight into the making and creative process of Robot Chicken. With the the Animation Meetings and the Making of feature, you feel as if you're in on the production of every episode - and you'll understand just how crazy and random Seth Green and the rest of the Robot Chicken crew really are.

Overall, Robot Chicken: Season Two is more of the same that made the first season so enjoyable. Not everything is laugh-out-loud funny, and sometimes its hit and miss, but overall this season is packed with even more obscure pop culture humor and gorgeous stop motion animation.
Reviewed by: adam