A comedic treat that’s going to be fit for only the most hardcore of Robot Chicken fans, there’s no denying the fact that the DVD of Season Two collects some of the best and funniest Robot Chicken sketches into one place. Everything from the macabrely adorable Li’l Hitler to the energetic Six Flags Guy are on offer here – but if the collection suffers from a problem then it’s simply that there’s too much on offer here for any of it to be properly savoured.
While long-time acolytes of Robot Chicken will obviously feel right at home with the fast-paced string of sketches, those of us who’ve not tuned in to every single episode quickly find our heads spinning with the high-voltage barrage of pop culture references and black comedy. That’s a big problem for this double disc collection, which makes it all too easy to glide seamlessly from one end of the series to another – at which point the series starts to become a mite dizzying. Worse, you start to realise exactly how hit and miss Robot Chicken can be at times; a fact normally hidden by the relentless pace and furious disregard for comedic timing.
Like the sketches themselves, the shows start to run into each other, and exposure to more than one episode at a time starts to reveal the majority of the series as being guffaw-worthy at best. The endless blur of parodies start to feel like the serial equivalent of throwing ideas at the screen as fast as possible in the vain hope that some of them will stick. Obviously, most of them do because Robot Chicken is a very funny series – but when you’ve got 220 minutes of it strung together then you inevitably start to focus more on the ones that don’t stick.
Still, as a body of work, Season Two of Robot Chicken is still worthy of its infamy and repute – it’s just that to enjoy it you need to monitor your dosage quite carefully. Sitting down with your freshly delivered double-disc collection may be a tempting way to spend the evening, but by the end of the first run you’ll be more fatigued than satisfied.
Especially noteworthy is the growing roster of celebrities who’ve signed up to work on the series this time around, with everyone from Sarah Michelle Gellar to Gene Simmons clamoring to get their voices on the show – if only because it’s easier to be part of the joke than the butt of it. Again though, one of the unfortunate side effects of the pace and puppetry is that you mostly won’t notice the presence of your favourite celebrity until the credits roll franticly by.
Of course, if you’re a long-time fan of the series than you won’t need to be warned of these particular faults – and you probably don’t see them that way anyway. Robot Chicken is an assault on the senses by design, “TV for the ADD generation”, as they say. One thing it’s likely worth bearing in mind, though, is that there have been some culls for legal reasons – with one sketch from the Veggies of Sloth episode being apparently omitted, though we can’t say we would have noticed had we not confirmed the issue independently. Still, the singular reduction is somewhat balanced out by the fact that the DVD is gloriously uncensored when it comes to swearing.
Extras-wise, Robot Chicken Season Two is dutifully packed, with the usual selection of deleted scenes rounded out by some hidden easter eggs and faux-adverts for a Robot Chicken album. Still, despite the apparent quantity, it really isn’t worth getting your hopes too high as, like the series itself, the brevity of the extras is typically lacking.
The animation meetings especially, which show co-creator Seth Green talking through the storyboards for some scenes, are less than 30 seconds long – and there’s only four of them too. Other extras, like the PS3 Competition Advert, seem out of place if judged against the context of the show and whiff a little of profiteering, to be frank.
Still, judged on its own merits Robot Chicken Season Two is at least consistent, proving as unabashed and lightning-fast as the rest of the series. It has to be stressed that it’s possible to fall out of love with the series through overdose – but that’s more a fault of personal will rather than the product itself, which is just what you’d expect of the series.
Robot Chicken Season 2 is out now.