Brickleberry Review: "Welcome to Brickleberry" (Episode 1.01)
Brickleberry is the type of program that immediately reveals what kind of show it is. Seconds after starting, the show cuts to two bears having sex. Then two foxes. Then three possums. Then an entire woodland orgy breaks out, before Brickleberry’s Ranger-of-Every-Month Steve Williams announces, “Welcome to Brickleberry!” It’s at this point that any group heading into this park would jump back into the car and speed away as fast as they can. And if you’re watching Brickleberry, you should be grabbing for the remote as quickly as possible.
There is a bare-bones story to Brickleberry—Steve is afraid of losing his position to new ranger Ethel—but that’s hardly the focus here. Brickleberry seems like it must have made a list of offensive ideas, then decided what would be the least funny ways to present them. “Welcome to Brickleberry” is filled with jokes about AIDS, amputee children, the KKK, race, sexuality and thrown in for good measure, lots of rape. But if you think sniffing a bag full of toenails, giving an alcoholic a tequila-soaked tampon, or watching three different animals get shot in the head is funny, then welcome to Brickleberry.
Brickleberry tries to play itself off like a gross-out version of Yogi Bear, but with even worse animation than that show had 50 years ago. It’s just an ugly show, from its visuals to its script. It really has nothing except its attempts to shock and a wasted cast of talented voice actors. Daniel Tosh plays Malloy, a bear cub rescued by Steve after he accidentally ran over his parents then also accidentally shot them both in the head with the same bullet. Tosh can be funny at times, but when the punchline of his story is that he complains to the rangers while he is being raped, nothing else really matters. The cast also features potentially great voice actors like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson, SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny and Jerry Minor, but once again, the material isn’t there to make them worthwhile.
Even without the crude jokes, the script is sloppy. “Welcome to Brickleberry” features three separate montages, one more useless than the next. Every character here is a stereotype of some sort, from Denzel (really?), the black guy who openly accepts the racist jokes about himself, to Woody, a ranger who has clear post-traumatic stress issues after being in the military, to the worst offender, Connie, a butch female ranger who can make her vagina belch and stalks Ethel.
Now is Brickleberry a terrible show because it tries so hard to be offensive? No. South Park returns this week for its 16th season, and that show has been able to be offensive and funny for over 200 episodes. Even Family Guy, which Brickleberry so desperately wants to be the R-rated version of, can sometimes pull off a successfully offensive joke. But Brickleberry is poorly constructed, horribly executed and groan-worthy rather than funny in any way. It’s a show that’s actually painful to watch, because it keeps finding new depths of tasteless jokes without any punchline that are worse than the ones that preceded them. It’s a continual downhill slide of depraved jokes without any humor or hardly anything redeemable at all. Even worse is realizing that after Daniel Tosh’s infamous stand-up problems this summer, this is the edited down version of Brickleberry. That’s right: there used to be more awful bits about rape. This is actually them holding back. Animated shows can be so great when they are at their best. Brickleberry is the type of show that holds those great shows back. If this is what they think is funny, Brickleberry most likely has no chance of ever being something worth watching.