It's the Ten Days of Repentance, and we're told that we should judge everyone in a good light. But once they're over, it sure might be fun to throw away all our preconceived P.C. notions and hang out at the place that gives bad taste a new name, Drawn Together , showing on YES Stars, Monday at 9:20 p.m.
We weren't even close to being prepared for what we got when we slid the DVD of this cartoon series into our machine: a takeoff on just about everything, but mainly reality TV and cartoon characters, presented with enough brash wit and questionable taste to make Southpark seem like The 700 Club.
The premise, as the announcer intones at the opening of the show, offers: "One House! Eight Cartoon Characters! 1,000,000 cameras!" and takes off from there in surely one of the most creative, if also one of the most vulgar, TV offerings we've ever encountered.
No folks, this is not for the easily insulted. Picking up from last year, we're introduced to the octet, just about to go down in a helicopter after deciding they had to get away from the house and the Jew Producer, a regular character in this program who actually has an organ that can play the organ.
All eight are spins on traditional TV cartoon characters, among them Foxxy Love, a black, oversexed mystery solver; Toot Braunstein, an over-eating Betty Boop type; Ling Ling, a Pokemon-style character with strange sexual inclinations; Princess Clara, the dim-witted good princess who happens to have an octopuss in her vagina; and even a Jewish character, based on Spongebob Squarepants, called Wooldoor Sockbat, whom we will return to in a moment.
When their copter crashes on an island and they're confronted by Survivor's Jeff Proubst, our heroes decide to take it on the lam, leaving behind the beached Toot and heading for Hollywood to seek what they are certain is fame and fortune awaiting them after their first season of reality show glory.
Alas, nothing could be further from the truth, and the disheartened group decides to head back to Drawn Together House, minus Wooldoor, who's shown committing suicide, with the aid of a Word Document paper clip who lends advice on how to write a suicide note. ("Avoid cliches like: 'Goodbye, cruel world,' and remember to blame your parents.")
Back at the house, Jew Producer insists they find another housemate to replace Wooldoor, so they hold auditions in perhaps the funniest bit in the episode. Among them: a drugged out Speedy Gonzalez, and Wilma of The Flinstones, who when asked what she's like explains: "I'm the kind of girl who uses an armadillo for an iron, a terodactyl for a record player and a prehistoric worm for a tampon."
Ultimately, the new cast member chosen is Strawberry Shortcake, who's also sugar and spice and everything nice. But just as they're celebrating their new arrival, Wooldoor shows up after digging his way out of his grave, which included a marking: Wooldoor Sockbat, 5753-now, again stressing his character's Jewishness.
The remarkable scene that unfolded was a parable based on the Holocaust, in which Wooldoor identified Strawberry Shortcake as being behind the destruction of his people. "The Sockbat Genocide is nothing but a terrible lie perpetrated by the evil Sockbat banking conspiracy," says Princess Clara, to which a furious Wooldoor says: "In Sockbat Sunday school, we are taught to never forget. NEVER FORGET!"
The story of the Sockbat Holocaust was then told, starting with a strawberry famine. "Looking for someone to blame, the Shortcakes turned on the innocent, sweet-living sockbats. The story included the initial "tagging" of the sockbats, and their being forced into hard labor before they are ultimately turned into tasty treats by the Strawberry Shortcakes. This entire sequence was totally incredible, a brilliant parallel to the real thing. But after hearing him recount the story, all Strawberry Shortcake can say is: "My bad."
"Wooldoor, I may have massacred your people, but that's in the past," she says, trying to get him to forgive her. "After all, you can't spell slaughter without laughter."
At first, Wooldoor agrees, thanks to a bar of nougat, but soon Foxxy's warning that ignoring the lessons of the past "only assures that these atrocities will happen again" ends up with Wooldoor literally in hot water, as Strawberry Shortcake tries to kill him after first buying him a pair of striped pajamas and making him wear an ear tag...
This entire sequence was startling, but brilliant, as is the entire show. In part it's disgusting and in awful taste, but it's amazingly drawn, has an incredible base of TV and cartoon trivia, and, it appears, a sense of history. In short, not your usual cartoon.