STUDIO: Universal Studios
MSRP: $29.99 RATED: NR
RUNNING TIME: 228 Minutes
• Commentaries
• 3 Never Before Seen Episodes

There is some CHUD debate over the Shrek franchise. Some like the movies and some hate them with fiery passion. Personally, I enjoyed them. I don’t have any desire to watch them again, but next time I’m at Universal Studios in Orlando I’ll go on the attraction.

I don’t think there will be any debate regarding Father of the Pride (also from Dreamworks animation). This is easily one of the worst television shows I’ve ever watched. Honest. It makes Tru Calling seem like an Emmy winner. It makes Clerks: The Animated Series seem funny.

Wow. Talk about tempting fate.

The Flick

Father of the Pride is a short-lived (thankfully) animated show about the animals that lived in Siegfried and Roy’s Magic Garden (insert animal fetish joke here). At the top of the food chain is Larry (John Goodman). He’s the new star animal of the show, taking over for his father-in-law Sarmoti (Carl Reiner). Ultimately it is your typical family sitcom with Larry’s wife, Kate (Cheryl Hines); daughter, Sierra (Danielle Harris) and son, Hunter (Daryl Sabara) rounding out the Pride.

Actually, calling it a typical family sitcom is an insult to all the family sitcoms out there. It doesn’t matter how mediocre any other sitcom is, it will usually have some element of comedy. Hence the “com” in sitcom. Father of the Pride brings an absence of humor that is so great it is almost amazing.

I use this argument whenever my wife starts talking about having kids.

That might be hard to swallow but it’s true. There is nothing funny about this show. Occasionally (about once every 4 episodes – or 4 times in the season) I let out a chuckle. Not a laugh mind you but a chuckle. That’s only slightly better than a faint smile and a golf clap. Four chuckles per episode still wouldn’t indicate anything special in a show, but four times in a season? Eek.

I’ll start with what works well with the show:

1.) Carl Reiner. He is great as the voice of Sarmoti. He is occasionally chuckle-worthy and never annoys you while on screen.

2.) The animation is pretty slick.

This is a good question. What sick bastard did come up with this show?

That’s it for the positives. There is one semi-positive as well – Siegfried and Roy. An animated version of the duo goes on various adventures in some episodes that are almost funny. For instance, one episode follows them trying to find a 7-11 to have a Big Gulp. It was almost funny. Someone must have worked overtime on that one.

Some people said that this show was just a victim of bad timing. It premiered around the same time that Roy was attacked by a tiger during the duo’s show in Vegas. Suddenly laughing at animals in their show wasn’t funny. This show didn’t fail because of its unfortunate release. It failed because it sucked.

Oh, that sick bastard.

The show is a train wreck of amazing proportions. I’ve never watched a show this badly put together. Fundamentally the show fails on two fronts – writing and voice talent.

The writing is plain bad. I really don’t even know how to describe how bad the writing is. Nothing about it works. Not the plots, dialogue or characters. Every part of the writing effort is flat. When each show took a reported 6-9 months to animate you’d think they would have had enough time to tweak the scripts a bit. But, alas, they didn’t.

And if you are a jackass to the guy on the phone – your pizza is going to contain an extra ounce of liquid love.

The voice talent just isn’t given anything to work with. It doesn’t matter how good you are. If the script sucks there is only so much an actor (or just their voice) can really do.

John Goodman is the guiltiest. He phones in his performance as Larry. Most of the time he seems bored. Not just the character, but Goodman himself seems bored. Like not even the paycheck could make him care. Basically he regurgitates his work in Monsters, Inc., and hopes no notices.

The rest of the cast follows suit. Orlando Jones gets a chuckle or two but nothing more. I found him funnier the 100000th time I saw the “Make 7, Up Yours” commercial. That’s sad. I imagine him and Goodman meeting up at a recording session talking about buying pre-IPO stock in Dreamworks Animation and then seeing the scripts for this show and deciding against it.

I can see why NBC pulled this show so quickly. There is just nothing appealing about it. Besides, if I want to watch an animated character in Vegas I’ll watch James Caan in Las Vegas.

2 out of 10

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The Look

The show looks very slick. All the talent, creativity, money, desire and longing must have gone into animation (because it certainly didn’t go anywhere else). Dreamworks animation continues to improve their product look-wise to try and compete with Pixar. I don’t know if they are competing, but at least they are keeping up. Now Dreamworks needs to realize that story is important too, which is something they haven’t grasped yet.

8 out of 10

Most wieners do.

The Noise

There really isn’t much here. Everything sounds just fine and you can hear the lame jokes fine and dandy. The sound is so good that you can hear crickets chirping in the background every time a joke bombs.

6 out of 10

The Goodies

3 never before seen episodes! Yea! I should go negative for that. Extra episodes of this show is like a second helping of a cheese grater to the nuts. But, if you’re into that sort of a thing…

2 out of 10

Mike, I’d like you to meet Roy. Roy likes to wear a black leather and loves it when I call him the Lord of the Codpiece.

The Artwork

There’s nothing too offensive here. Maybe if they had a lion-ravaged Roy on the cover…

5 out of 10

Overall: 4.6 out of 10