Review: Ugly Americans returns to Comedy Central with absurd storylines and surprising morals

By | September 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm | 3 comments | Audio/Video, Reviews, TV/Movies | Tags: , , ,

After a seven episode run earlier this year, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans is back with more, with its season premiere set for Wednesday, Oct 6, at 10:30/9:30c. In case you missed the show’s initial run, there’s not all that much you need to know to start watching now. In fact, the first episode does a nice job by itself of setting the scene and reintroducing the main characters.

The show’s premise is based around the idea of a New York City turned upside down, with humans and various other “creatures” coexisting. The central character, Mark Lilly (Matt Oberg), is a social worker with the city’s “Department of Integration,” whose job it is to help newcomers assimilate. Mark’s boss is the flirtatious, sadistic, and literally demonic Callie Maggotbone (Natasha Leggero), and his roommate, Randall Skeffington (Kurt Metzger), is not quite your stereotypical zombie. Other characters include D.O.I. desk clerk and wizard Leonard Powers (Randy Pearlstein), “Officer” Frank Grimes (Larry Murphy), and department director Twayne Boneraper (Michael-Leon Wooley).

Ugly Americans Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c
New Episodes October 6
www.comedycentral.com

With those preliminaries out of the way, you need to know that Ugly Americans is no Simpsons or Family Guy. The humor is dry, and combined with the comic-book-like animation of often morbid scenes, laughing moments were rare, or at least for me. However, even if the show is not as funny as I would prefer, it is not entirely without merit in other areas. The absurd storyline is refreshingly unique and surprisingly moralistic, due in part to the setting of an alternative NYC, which allows the writers and producers to probe and ultimately take a stand on questionable social conventions.

In the season opener, one particular scene involves Mark leading a group session for new citizens. Through the character of the “two-headed worm creature,” denying the social commentary on racism and segregation is impossible. On a larger scale, an overarching theme for the episode—appropriately titled “Better Off Undead”—is explicitly stated by Mark, in that people should not try to change who they are, a point well-made by the episode’s events. And finally, the series’ very title is difficult to overlook without questioning the creator’s (Devin Clark) intentions. For these reasons, on the sub-textual level, the show gets an “A” in my book.

Ugly Americans Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c
Preview – Psychiatric Evaluations
www.comedycentral.com

All in all, Ugly Americans, though not “laugh out loud” funny, has a promising fall season in store as a distinctive new show that has definitely made its mark in comedy. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how this concept develops.

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Josh Evans

  • Vick Marks

    @ Douche for men: If you took the time to watch more than 10 minutes of the show you would see that there are not strictly white humans.

  • Adam East

    Anyone who doesnt think this show sucks is mental

  • Douche for men

    The only human characters are white

    Is the monster diversity supposed to be representative of NYC’s ethnic diversity? That being said are the monsters/ethnic city dwellers supposed to be an extended metaphor or some type of allegorical racism?

    Just asking