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Warner Home Video presents

Frisky Dingo: Season One (2006)

Valerie: Please don't kill us!
Killface: Please don't make it so appealing!

Stars: Adam Reed, Mike Bell
Other Stars: Stuart Culpepper, Kate Miller, Christian Danley, Neal Holman
Director: Adam Reed, Matt Thompson

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, sexuality, language)
Run Time: 02h:24m:00s
Release Date: 2008-03-25
Genre: television

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Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-BB D-

 

DVD Review

Any superhero worth his tights knows the value of a good alter-ego. Clark Kent is such a bumbling nerd, Superman has but to remove his glasses to render himself unrecognizable. Bruce Wayne is such a ditzy playboy that no one suspects he's Batman, even though no one else in Gotham can afford that kind of branding campaign. Awesome X, the hero of Cartoon Network's latest Adult Swim diversion Frisky Dingo, apparently doesn't get the distinction. He's as much an idiot in costume, blasting away at everything in sight (including his own entourage, a team of cyborg commandos tastefully known as X-Ticles), as he is as billionaire businessman Xander Crews, who decides it's a good idea to put all of his company's assets into pumping out Awesome X action figures, even though he's shy one arch-nemesis to boost sales.

This is more of the same from the guys who brought you Sealab 2021, which turned the cast of an old sci-fi show into a troop of narcissistic morons. The joke is, Xander is pretty useless as a hero (the X-Ticles seem to do most of the heavy lifting), but doesn't notice, much to the consternation of Crews Company executive Stan. Without a bad guy to market, the company stands to lose billions on the action figures, so Xander goes about finding his own Lex Luthor.

It turns out the only villain with the dumbs to match our hero is Killface, a demon beast with the personality of Stewie Griffin, who advertises his plan to use rocket boosters to drive the Earth into the sun via a direct-mail campaign (after killing two-thirds of his marketing staff, and using the corpse of one-third of his marketing staff as a ventriloquist's dummy). He lives in an apartment complex with his young son Simon who seems to be an unhappy child, possibly because his mother-figure is a sexy robot who has been seeing a lobster mutant on the side.

Like most Adult Swim shows, Frisky Dingo seems more concerned with quotable dialogue than anything else, but it actually has a plot of sorts too, and as thin as it is, the continuity between 11-minute episodes makes all the non sequiturs a lot easier to take. As the season rolls on, Xander faces an assassination attempt and corporate takeover, while Killface worries that he's losing touch with his boy.

This kind of humor is a dividing line; you either like the excessive violence, sex, and shock humor ("I hope your baby is born dead!") or you aren't under 30. I kid, but this isn't exactly P.G. Wodehouse, despite the continued skewering of corporate culture, from product placement (love that Scion TC!), to marketing speak, to inadequate health care (the X-Ticles kidnap Xander when the company slashes their benefits), to compromised news coverage (though the fact that Xander is sleeping with reporter Grace Ryan probably affects her reporting more than the fact that he also owns the network she works for). The rapid-fire dialogue is often very funny, in part because the writers will say anything for a shock-value laugh (Killface, while beating up super-villainess Antagone: "The next one's right in the tit!"), but when it doesn't work, it's really kind of grating. But that's sort of par for the course for the Adult Swim shows, and I can't imagine any fans blaming Frisky Dingo for not bucking the trend.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The simple full frame animation looks pretty strong for the most part, with very bright colors; however, there are some interlacing problems in many sequences with rapid movement, resulting in a noticeable "combing" effect. I've never watched the program on TV, so I can't say for sure that it isn't native to the source material (which was obviously produced on the cheap).

Image Transfer Grade: B
 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 surround mix is fine. Voices and music come across well; the material is rather shrill, but you can't fault the audio track.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: No on-disc extras, though the insert is a reproduction of Killface's Strunk & White-impaired direct-mailing campaign. Welcome to You're "Doom!"

Extras Grade: D-
 

Final Comments

[(traditional cartoon premise + pop culture references) x irony) / shock humor] = Adult Swim sensation

Frisky Dingo fits the formula so well, you might have trouble differentiating it from Cartoon Network's other, slightly better "superheroes are idiotic boobs" program (that would be The Venture Brothers... or, no, wait, Harvey Birdman). If this is your thing, then this is the thing you're looking for.

Joel Cunningham 2008-03-11