Groening Goes Medieval


Disenchantment – I took a while in watching this still relatively new Netflix series created by Matt Groening, but I’m caught up as of last night. It’s an animated comic medieval fantasy, and as such the jokes focus largely on parodies of fantasy tropes and the crappy, unhygienic conditions of medieval society. Along with this, there’s a pretty callous attitude to minor characters dying or suffering other tragic fates. I’d say it’s consistently funny so far, but not uproariously so. Then again, The Simpsons and Futurama were both pretty funny at first but took a while to really hit their stride. The main character is Princess Tiabeanie, or Bean for short, daughter of King Zog of Dreamland. Bean is a rebellious sort, disliking the strictness and decorum associated with her position as many fantasy princesses do, but also with a drinking problem. The King is an angry and not-too-bright guy, sort of an Archie Bunker type as can be heard in the cadence of his voice, but does genuinely care about Bean in his own way. His first wife, Bean’s mother, was turned to stone, and he married an amphibian woman from a neighboring kingdom and had a son with her. In the first episode, Bean meets up with two other characters, who become her regular companions. Elfo, from a hidden village of elves that seems idyllic but insists on conformity and being happy all the time, is naive and has an unrequited crush on Bean. I love that they went with such a ridiculously simple name for the character, and it’s even addressed in-universe. And his clothes are basically the same as Bart Simpson’s, not counting the hat. Luci is a demon sent by a mysterious sorceress to corrupt Bean, although she seemed to be doing a pretty good job of that herself. Most of the other characters think he’s a talking cat. There are only ten episodes available so far, and the first few are pretty episodic, based on Bean getting in some kind of trouble and/or Zog trying to find her something useful to do, and returning to the status quo at the end. Towards the end, however, there’s are some major plot twists, and we’re left with a cliffhanger, as well as a death we’re actually made to care about (although I’m pretty sure it won’t be permanent). I have to wonder where it will go from here and how much the basic feel of the show will change in the next season.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Fairy Tales, Families, Futurama, History, Humor, Magic, Middle Ages, Television, The Simpsons and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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