A New Kid in Animation
If you haven’t seen “Allen Gregory,” then you’re missing out. I know I said that about “Angel,” “Joey” and “The Cleveland Show,” but I mean it this time. This show is gold. The main character of this brilliant show is none other than seven-year-old Allen Gregory DeLongpre, the upper-class, suited-up and spoiled son of two gay dads (actually, one of them is straight, but I’ll get back to that).
If there was ever a character suffering from full-blown narcissism and delusions of grandeur, it is little boy Gregory. If you take the ego of Tony Stark, the lifestyle of Jay Gatsby and the witty dialogue of Dwight Schrute, and stuffed them all in a tiny Woody Allen (after he got fashion advice from Barney Stinson) body, you’d have a pretty good Allen Gregory.
The first episode starts off with Allen attending his first day of public school. He immediately falls in love with his principal, who looks strangely like Jabba the Hutt. I can’t do justice to the scene where he first meets and tells her of all the chemistry they share together. It’s comic gold. And unlike some other shows (cough cough “Glee” cough), the show actually gets better from an already funny pilot episode.
Allen finds himself ever trying to impress the too-cool school bully, Joel Zadak (with a name like that, I’d want to impress him too though). He goes to elaborate lengths to do this, including having his gay dad force everyone in the school to ask same-sex partners to the school dance and convincing the school that he and the principal made a sex tape. The show doesn’t rely on reoccurring gags to make a joke, and it makes good use of the conflict between the gay fathers and Allen’s adopted Cambodian sister.
To start, Allen’s actual father, Richard is constantly belittling his life-partner Jeremy. While Jeremy is always reasonable and presents arguments quite logically, everyone always attacks him for having such terrible, destructive ideas. To make things even more dysfunctional, Jeremy isn’t even gay. He just loves Richard, and so he puts up with his awful ideas, abusive words and terrible parenting. It’s quite amusing to watch.
Allen’s sister Julie has really, really nerdy friends, which made me love the show even more. Her friends are the epitome of friendless geeks, which is great, because everyone can relate to their social ostracism in some way or another. The juxtaposition between Allen’s sense of grandeur and Julie’s sense of insignificance in school is very well-written too.
I’m not a huge fan of Jonah Hill, who voices Allen Gregory and is one of the main writers of the show. For that matter, I’m definitely not a huge Jarrad Paul fan, who writes the show (if you’re not familiar with his work, think of “Yes Man” and then try not to throw up everywhere).
However, I will say that this show really surprised me. I didn’t think I could get past Jonah’s extremely distinct voice, but the show definitely has a way of grasping the viewer. You just want to stay and watch Allen boss around his co-student/friend-turned-secretary/slave. You want to see everyone in the DeLongpre family abuse Jeremy. There’s nothing better than watching a cartoon child cry when they realize they have no friends. Really. It’s awesome.
I think what stands out above everything else is how well-written the whole show is. There aren’t any static characters in this show. Everyone has a full, fleshed-out personality. They all have motives and the audience understands them. I think what’s interesting is that it seems like every character is almost an exaggerated caricature of a specific trait. Allen, for example, personifies the fear that we aren’t good enough. He’s always trying to prove how great he is to everyone. Richard is the stereotypical parent in that he feels like his ideas are always perfect and great. Every character in the show has a bit of normalcy within them. This makes it very easy for a viewer to identify with not just one, but many characters on some level or another.
It would be really difficult and time-consuming to list all the people that would enjoy this show, so instead, I’m going to give a description of the type of people that wouldn’t enjoy this show: You have an aversion to laughing; you hate witty TV shows, and you don’t like any of the other Fox animated series.
If you meet at least one of the criteria above, then definitely don’t watch Fox on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. You’ll be sorely disappointed by how not disappointed you are.
Rating: 5 out of 5