Friday, December 19, 2008

Moral Orel

Adult Swim just finished "44 Nights of Orel" showing the entire series over the course of eleven weeks in a special order to compliment the new episodes of the third and final season. I'm still not fully clear on whether it was canceled because it was so depressing or it was so depressing because it was canceled, but based on the last episode I think it's the latter. When the show first aired a couple years ago, it was a unique but somewhat simplistic parody of old sitcoms and religion. Every episode featured Orel, an innocent and painfully devout Christian boy, grossly misinterpreting some sort of lesson from his father or pastor and doing something horrible like selling his urine or raising the dead. Afterward his dad lectured him on how he was wrong with the help of his belt and then reminded Orel of one of God's "missing commandments". It was often clever and funny enough, but pretty disposable too.

I didn't watch as much after that, but as I learned in the last couple months, they started going in a much different direction with the show starting in season two, and taking it even further with the last one. The focus is less on being funny and more on just developing the characters in the strange town of Moralton. There's still some darkly humorous stuff happening, but starting with the hunting trip that ends the second season, it can get downright disturbing. Orel's less pervasive of a protagonist, and it starts to be about his dad's dirty little secrets more than him. Just because it's not that funny doesn't mean it's without merit though, as some moments in the last season are as meaningful as any I've seen on Adult Swim. And it's not all bad though, with the final episode doing a nice job of showing that there's still hope in the world. It's probably not for everyone but I liked it.

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