Let's get straight to it. Midnight Rec: The Oblongs I'm a sucker for a family sitcom that plays by all the rules. It's why I can watch that episode of The Nanny where Fran gets cast as Juliet because the producer wants the show to flop over forty times and still laugh at it. It's also how I made it through Life with Fran and Reba. The Oblongs is an animated family sitcom that simultaneously obeys and subverts every single rule of the sitcom to the point that I doubt most people realized what they were watching anymore. I mean, just look at them. The father has no limbs; the oldest sons are conjoined twins; the daughter has a giant tumor sticking out of her head; the middle child is a sociopath on more meds than half of Hollywood; the cat is a chain smoker; and the mother is a chain smoking alchie with no hair left on her head (yes, sadly, that lovely quaff is a wig). And yes, they do live in a toxic valley, hence the deformities. Based on the characters introduced in the illustrated book Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Children by Angus Oblong, The Oblongs only lasted one season on television. But what a season it was. Take, for example, my personal favorite episode of the series: Milo Interrupted. Milo, the aforementioned sociopath, discovers his obese, crass, crude friend Helga (pictured below for reference) is living by herself. Her parents went on vacation and never came back. Meanwhile, a nasty racist spinster is pushing her own parenting agenda on the residents of the Valley, and wishes to meet with Mr. and Mrs. Fugly about their daughter, Helga. Milo tries to keep the secret, but can't take Helga's unwelcome sexual advances any longer. To make matters worse, Milo's father is convinced he's doing illegal drugs because of the spinster's parenting guide. The spinster is pulled in to find the missing Milo, guns ablazing, and Helga is arrested on charges of kidnapping; she will be tried as an adult due to her weight. The spinster steps in with the bail to raise Helga as her own daughter, teaching her valuable skills like proselytizing and hate mongering. In the end, at the custody trial, Milo reveals he has found Helga's parents, who survived a horrible transportation accident by resorting to cannibalism. They present Helga with a necklace made of human teeth and declare she looks good enough to eat. Does it sound ridiculous? It is. But look at the values racist spinsters, hop heads, and cannibalism taught: family is the most important aspect of life; friends should always be there to help you; and if you shrink down life to thirty minute installments, everything turns out all right. But don't take my word for it. Watch the episode for yourself.
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Brilliant, isn't it? Will you at least give me utterly twisted? The series is great, even if Angus Oblong wasn't a fan. Give it a try.
Labels: Midnight Rec