I tend to wait to try and watch at least three episodes before judging a cartoon, but I felt like my comments on the new Fox animated series Napoleon Dynamite could not wait. I was initially a fan of the Napoleon Dynamite movie. I enjoyed the characters and most of the humor. I was also a teenager and haven’t watched the movie since.
On January 15, the first two episodes of the Napoleon Dynamite television series aired during Fox’s Animation Domination. I didn’t really enjoy the episodes and without diving too deep into an analysis of each episode, here are some of the reasons why.
The main thing that shocked me was the unoriginal animation techniques used for the Napoleon Dynamite animated series. I guess it isn’t bad but it is in no way amazing. I found that it was just looked like the standard Fox animated television series. The horribly unfunny Alan Gregory cartoon looked more original than Napoleon Dynamite…
Relation to the Napoleon Dynamite Movie
I’m really glad that the original Napoleon Dynamite cast are voicing their movie characters in the television series. Yet, I wish that the dialogue writers had not tried to shove in so many catch phrases in the movie. One or two would have been just fine, but it seems that almost every scene had to incorporate at least one reference to the original movie. They were funny at the time, but it’s been almost a decade. I want some character development!
Actually, two characters have been changed: Pedro and Kip. Kip is still the same pretentious idiot but he is no longer married. I was disappointed because the animated series could have portrayed him in ‘family’ situations. Pedro talks a lot more. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing. I rather enjoyed him as a silent type.
Hit or Miss Jokes
The real problem with the new Napoleon Dynamite television series is the lack of really funny jokes. I’m not going to lie, it did make me chuckle but not enough! Apart from the use of reusing the movie catch phrases and funny character traits, the cartoon’s humor is much too similar to other Fox Animation Domination shows. For example, the witty messages on billboards in the background in every school scene reminds me of the Simpsons. The random re-occurring jokes such as the Happy Hands club both looks like a Family Guy gag.
Actually, I guess my main point is that the Napoleon Dynamite cartoon isn’t original. As a teenager, I liked the movie because it was trying something new or at least felt different from other comedies. On the other hand, the cartoon just feels like a plain old Fox cartoon. They mix and match different styles of humor from the Simpsons, Family Guy and King and the Hill. You can even tell that the humor will be similar by looking at the animation and character design! Yet, I did see a slight improvement between the first episode and the second, so I will be watching Napoleon Dynamite episode three when it airs. The teenager inside me is really hoping that this cartoon will become good!