The stop-motion animated series “Robot Chicken” serves as a pop-culture battleground as creators and executive producers Seth Green and Matt Senreich pit absurd ideas against each other to create a series of hilarious skits that — more often than not — end in an onslaught of crimson clay blood or awkward sexual exploitation. Similar to the continual envelope pushing that “South Park” displays season from to season, Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken” exhibits a no-holds-barred comedic approach in the third season, which was recently released on DVD. Whether it is Jesus portraying the “33-Year-Old Virgin,” the cast of “Saved By the Bell” being held at the hands of Jigsaw from “Saw” or Bob the Builder going crazy “screwdriver-style” on a mob of gangsters, no topic creeping under the pop-culture radar (or the Bible, for that matter) is safe.
The writing is representative of post-pubescent boys reunited once more with the toys of their childhood. Except this time around, they’re crafting scripts around the concepts of sex, death and unicorns. Beneath the blatant language lies a snide wit that slinks along the screen, even in the shortest of skits. Critics have been taking notice as well. The show was recently nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program and won two Emmys in 2006 and 2007 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.
The series DVD contains 20 episodes from season three. Although each episode is only 11 to 12 minutes long, the show takes on subtle sweetness in its brevity, with each skit being long enough to fully grasp the presumably short attention span of its viewers. Some familiar voices also serve as attention grabbers. It seems Green has held tight to his celebrity connections, lassoing in a few big names each episode to be tucked under an insignificant voiceover credit; some from season three are Hayden Panettiere, Rosario Dawson and Snoop Dogg.
With the purchase of the DVD, buyers can enjoy a series of enticing Robot Chicken bonuses. The first is a gag reel that runs through every horrifically violent moment aired throughout the season. If you think the sight of evidently fake deaths composed of kindergarten art supplies won’t make you squirm, think again. The extras boast a series called “Chicken Nuggets” which presents sketch-by-sketch video commentary by Green and Senreich on select episodes. “Special Features” also takes you into a tour of the studio, which gives an appealing look at the creation and chaotic mess that happens behind scenes.
Take caution in the fact that the bizarre skits may crush the innocent images left by beloved childhood programming (i.e. “Rainbow Bright,” “ThunderCats,” “Doug”), but only with the intention to leave audiences in uproarious laughter.
4 stars out of 5