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Friday, April 21, 2006

Wonder Showzen | The A.V. Club

With few exceptions, TV seeks to be broad, accessible, and inoffensive. Boundary-pushing shows do exist, but there are unspoken lines that most don't even bother approaching. Enter Wonder Showzen, a half-hour MTV2 program that feels like Sesame Street reared by smart, cynical, degenerate wolves. (A disclaimer before each episode states, "The stark, ugly, and profound truths Wonder Showzen exposes may be soul-crushing to the weak of spirit. If you allow a child to watch this show, you are a bad parent or guardian.") Sure, but what about the kids that are actually on the show? The first season—out now on DVD—features mostly young children interacting with evil (or stupid, or both) puppets and the occasional guest star (Amy Sedaris, Flavor Flav, Christopher Meloni). A smiling kid saying "I want to punch God in the face" may be one of the weirdest things on TV this year, but it isn't even close to the show's funniest or most offensive moments. Regular features include Clarence, a puppet that harasses people on the street; cartoons on everything from a heroin-shooting Bible to a canine gynecologist; and the amazing "Beat Kids," in which precocious preteens (most notably a red-headed scamp named Trevor) ambush unsuspecting people with bizarre, biting questions. (To a stockbroker: "Who did you exploit today?") Just prior to the second season's debut, The A.V. Club spoke with joke-prone Wonder Showzen creators John Lee and Vernon Chatman. (full interview at link)

Wonder Showzen | The A.V. Club

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