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Robot Chicken flies high

Robot Chicken poster

Written by : published Wednesday 12th September 2012

In the season six premiere of Adult Swim's Robot Chicken, the show honors the DC Comic Universe, much in the way it has previously done for Star Wars. It's an interesting choice, given how DC's competitor, Marvel, is dominating the theaters right now. Perhaps it was hard to get the rights to Marvel, or maybe the Robot Chicken guys just saw more potential in characters that haven't been played with on screen as much lately. Or perhaps they thought that honoring DC in this way might drum up more interest in DC movies. Whatever the reason, the result is a very funny half hour using many familiar heroes and villains from the comic book pages.

The main group parodied are the Justice League, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and their counterparts, The Legion of Doom, which is led by Lex Luthor. Neither side is presented as very intelligent or successful, in true Robot Chicken fashion. The good guys act like jerks, and the bad guys are sympathetic, more complex characters. They do battle with each other, but other than the big confrontation at the climax, the best parts are just when the characters hang out among their own, ripping on each other. It makes them relatable, like old friends.

Some of the chosen targets are pretty easy. Aquaman has long been lampooned, and rather than take a different approach, Robot Chicken goes after him with aplomb, making him central to the larger arc in the episode. However, they do it in a way that still feels fresh, rather than using the same stale stuff (mostly). Watching him jump onto an "invisible jet," only to realize he is being tricked by his friends, is very amusing.

Another running gag is Batman getting his back broken by Darkseid. Many might show the bit three times, following the general rule of humor. Robot Chicken takes it the unexpected step further and does it a fourth. What sells this rule breaking is then the characters acknowledge that they are straying from the accepted path. Somehow, that makes the fourth go-round even better than the first three!

Much of the DC episode has a central story, unlike most Robot Chicken episodes, which thrives in the small bits. This may provide less laughs overall, but when going for a full half hour, it seems necessary and right that scenes go on for more than twenty seconds. In this, the show makes the wise choice.

The stars turned up in spades to lend their voices to this episode. Many of them have guest starred on the series before, but it's cool to hear them all together, and many lend some geek cred. There's Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly), Alex Borstein (Family Guy), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Megan Fox (Transformers), Alfred Molina (Spiderman II), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman himself), and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith lends some vocals.

But besides the big names and big characters the episode is playing off of, Robot Chicken also stays true to itself by tossing its own recurring characters into the mix, like the humping robot, and using may of the regular voice actors like Abraham Benrubi, Tom Root, Breckin Meyer (Franklin & Bash), and the creative team of Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Zeb Wells, and Kevin Shinick. Green even tosses a bit to his wife, Clare Grant. This shows the heart and dedication of those making the show.

All in all, while maybe not as memorable as the Star Wars tributes, Robot Chicken does a good job with the DC universe. Who might they target next?

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About the author JeromeWetzelTV


Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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