November 9, 2011


Seth Green lives a life that would make many geeks sell their souls to El Diablo Robotico. He’s been a part of multiple defining franchises ranging from Austin Powers to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’s gotten George Lucas to laugh at the excesses of Star Wars. And, for the past five years, he’s been getting paid to play with dolls on camera. It’s hard to believe Robot Chicken has been around for that long, but the season five DVD is here. More on the new set after the jump.

robot-chicken-season-5-dvdRobot Chicken was born out of the pages of the late, lamented Toyfare. Twisted Toyfare Theater became a fan favorite as it blended pop culture and superheroes into a frothy, filthy and hilarious mix. It centered around comedic versions of classic Marvel superheroes and eventually expanded into toys of all shapes and sizes. Two of the writers joined forces with Seth Green to create Robot Chicken. The show took more of a sketch comedy approach by having multiple set-ups in the episodes. A typical episode veers from Predator to He-Man to Power Rangers to Halo and more, all in less than fifteen minutes. The show dives deep into the well on some of the sketches. Remember the cartoon about Rubik’s Cube? Even though this set features quite a few episodes, it’s easy to tear through the set in one sitting.

The rapid fire pace of Robot Chicken works to its benefit. If a sketch isn’t working, it’s over quickly enough that the smell doesn’t last. Fans of Family Guy will recognize a similar format with a reliance on film references, cutaway gags and last-second left turns. It’s no surprise – Seth MacFarlane is often a writer and voice talent on Robot Chicken and Green shares the same breakneck sense of humor.

The easiest way to describe most of the humor on the show is “dark fart humor”. No punchline is too gross, no beloved character too innocent to be covered in blood. If you have a favorite cherished memory from the cartoons of the 80’s or the 90’s, chances are you will find it here savaged for the sake of a dick joke. Many of the deleted scenes start with one of the writers talking about how they cut the sketch because they (or, more likely, Adult Swim) thought it was too dark.

The funniest sketches of Season Five are the ones that mash up pop-culture elements perfectly. Beavis and Butthead join the Teen Titans. He-Man participates in a documentary about his gym. Yogi Bear’s Power Rangers. There are some decent mimics in the regular cast, but Green’s showbiz connections and the Scanning the credits becomes a fun game of seeing that yes, that was Mark Hamill voicing the Joker in that sketch.

The best feature of the set are the deleted scenes. The jokes are meant to be consumed in quick potato chip fashion. The deleted scenes are like finding a second bag in your grocery container on the way home. Some are obvious why they were cut but there are still plenty of good choices.

The worst feature of the set are called chicken nuggets. They feature Seth Green and the other producers watching the show themselves. When the icon appears on screen, clicking on it cuts to a short video clip featuring the producers discussing the sketch. There are already commentaries for most of the episodes which makes this a redundant features. The clips also don’t deposit the episode exactly back where the cut occurred. Plus, is commentary about how Superman is a douche really necessary?

This is a worthy buy for anyone who loves pop culture, crude humor and who knows the theme song the Silverhawks by heart.


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