Sausage Party: Foodtopia Is Undercooked

Comedy Reviews Sausage Party
Sausage Party: Foodtopia Is Undercooked

To make a Sausage Party show in 2024 is a bold choice. Bold in the sense that Amazon ultimately thought there was more room to mine the concept of food products cursing, swearing, and critiquing religious beliefs. The 2016 Seth Rogen-led cinematic antithesis to VeggieTales thrived on simply being an R-rated CG-animated movie when the landscape was dominated by family fare. And at the time of release, these raunchy foods felt fresh. During adolescence, I remember seeing Sausage Party in theaters on four separate occasions. My first experience was an early, unfinished test screening the night before my AP Calculus exam (my “One Day More” moment before the inevitable failure). Every other watch was with a friend from high school who didn’t operate in the same circle.

Upon rewatch before going into its sequel television series Sausage Party: Foodtopia, the “second term Obama” stench reeks as you can feel the last remnants of a movie being full of racial stereotypes was part of its satire, evoking the same “could Blazing Saddles be made today” conversation for these more progressive times. But I can appreciate the film from an adult lens for its strong anti-religious themes, an anti-VeggieTales if you will, and some of its R-rated irreverent humor. If only the Sausage Party follow up Foodtopia had the same thematic ambitions as its feature source, instead of becoming a watered down, albeit sizably mature, version of itself. 

Funnily enough, watered down is where it all begins. 

Kind of continuing the idea from the movie—negating the meta finale of the Shopwells supermarket food items venturing across the dimensions to rip Seth Rogen a new one—the series continues the idea that food is warring against humans.

Using an infinite amount of bath salts, sentient sausage Frank (Seth Rogen), his bun lady-love Brenda (Kristen Wiig), their friends Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), and pint-sized thrill-seeker sausage Barry (Michael Cera) finally get the upper hand on the last human standing in their way and emancipate their fellow food brethren. 

Now food has become the dominant species on the planet. Frank and Brenda dub the new paradise Foodtopia, a place for food to live and fornicate freely. “It’s like they’re our children. But all our children are fucking each other,” Brenda exclaims as they witness a celebratory food orgy. Their uncomfortable-to-watch sexcapade is disrupted when they get caught up in a rainstorm, which is foreign to the newly outdoor supermarket food items. In typical Sausage Party fashion, a hilarious food massacre erupts and many die, including their genius ally, Gum (Scott Diggs Underwood). In order to comprehend the strangeness Frank and Brenda decide they need a human, “a humie” as they nickname ‘em, to teach them their ways and survive. They eventually find one in Jack (Will Forte), the last man on Earth (surely inspired by his starring role in the TV show of the same name).  

As they rebuild Foodtopia, their new basis of society begins to mirror western American civilization. 

To be frank (not the character), Sausage Party: Foodtopia improves on the film’s dated perspective, literally killing off (David Krumholtz’s Lavash has an off-screen death that impacts Sammy throughout most of the show) or not even mentioning its most egregious stereotypes (they completely omit Salma Hayek’s lesbian Teresa del Taco and the Bill Hader Native American Firewater) in the process. Also to its benefit, the swear count is limited, not operating on 100 f-bombs per minute.

In its stead, the writers go full-on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and overload the scenery with thankless, unfunny food puns that are probably as childish as the excessive f-word usage. Jokes pertaining to Ice-T and Megan Thee Stallion but with food fill the void as you can feel the series’ strain to justify its existence across the eight dull 22-minute episodes that hardly land laughs compared to its counterpart. 

The seeds for a good concept are there; using a human to service Foodtopia even though they’re food’s sworn enemy is intriguing. Outside a developed relationship seemingly inspired by Bee Movie of all things, like many aspects wrong with the show, it doesn’t live up to its full comedic potential. 

The religious motif was the core element that gave Sausage Party’s concept sizable depth. To be a studio-released production (animation be damned) and combat humanity’s blind faith on main, especially in a society that doesn’t want to separate church and state within a courthouse, Sausage Party had a voice worth hearing beyond the f-bombs. But the series is actively uninterested in making any satirical conversations about our way of living.

As if this second term Obama-birthed franchise couldn’t get any lazier, they threw in a Donald Trump stand-in arriving at the worst possible moment. As the series continues, Frank and Brenda inadvertently invent democracy and replicate American society in Foodtopia’s image. What follows is a less than interesting election-oriented plot that involves a money-obsessed (or teeth, which is their currency) orange named Julius (Sam Richardson) and his rise to power. 

While it’s not strictly boring and the low-budget animation seems to capture the same spirit as the film, nothing in Foodtopia is worth getting hungry over. It’s one of those shows that’s just there. It’s not too bad, nor is it anything good either. It just exists for some reason. But for an Amazon series, we’ve come to expect better from the streamer. Amid your Invincible and Hazbin Hotel, Foodtopia arrives with the energy of a day-one launch title for a new console that you know isn’t going to become anywhere near profitable—that’s just there to fill out the lineup. Compared to the rest of the adult animation landscape, right now, it’s a cold hot dog. 

Rendy Jones (they/he) is a screenwriter, journalist, editor, and stand-up comedian based in Brooklyn, New York. Their writing has appeared in Them, Entertainment Weekly, RogerEbert.com, Vanity Fair and more. They also run their own movie review outlet called Rendy Reviews. Rendy is also a member of the Critics Choice Association and GALECA.

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