The trick to using controversial topics in comedy is to do it in a smart way. Especially in animated comedies this has been an issue, from Beavis & Butthead to South Park. Except both of these shows used their controversial aspects in order to comment on various ideas, such as religion, celebrity status and world issues. Chozen chooses to be controversial for controversy’s sake. In an age where almost anything can and has been done on television, that just isn’t going to work.
“Love & Bottlerockets,” the second episode of Chozen, already drops the idea of Chozen’s rise to super-stardom for at least one episode. Here, Chozen tries to find out if his sister’s boyfriend is cheating on her, since if he is, him and his group will have to probably find a new place to stay. The logic in it all doesn’t make sense, but that’s not the point. The entire episode is based around Chozen and company sneaking into the supposed cheater’s frat house and scaring him into the truth, which is that Chozen and his friends are completely wrong. The girl they saw him with was his cousin, really making the episode more or less a complete waste of time.
But along the way, it’s just constant jokes that are attempts to shock the audience. The one that truly sticks out to me is when Chozen decides to tell his friends of a former inmate named Tookie who knew how to get heroin into the jail. Through flashback, we get to see how he does it, where a girl visits him in jail, pukes up a gigantic sack of heroin, to which Tookie then reswallows, puke and all. It’s not funny in the slightest because it feels so much like a desperate attempt for laughs.
“Love & Bottlerockets” is full of moments like this. For instance, when Chozen and his friends do get into the frat house, they sneak in dressed in ghost costumes that actually look like KKK outfits (again, something that South Park did much better). Then there’s just stuff thrown in because the writers seem to think it would be screwed up enough to get a laugh. There’s a girl jumping off a diving board and then apparently breaking her neck. There’s also a girl at a frat party who is roofied, then dragged away for no reason. Just throwing controversy on the screen doesn’t make it funny; there has to be the barest amount of wit to it as well.
At least “Love & Bottlerockets” does introduce some new characters and dynamics. We meet Hunter, who Chozen met at a Roman-themed party and had sex with, and now it looks like he will use Hunter whenever he needs something. But more interesting is the triangle arising between Chozen’s newly single sister, Tracy, and Troy and Ricky. Troy is clearly too nice, and Ricky is far too forward, so odds are she’ll go for neither of them, but at least it adds a new element to these three characters.
Considering that much of the creative team behind Chozen are from Eastbound & Down, it’s surprising they don’t realize that being offensive alone just isn’t enough. There doesn’t seem to be many actual jokes in this second episode, just disgusting visuals that hope to elicit at least a chuckle. Right now Chozen is sloppy, but hopefully it can get on track soon.