TV Review: Napoleon Dynamite

michael dworkis looks at the animated adaptation of the cult classic …

Photo Credit: FOX Networks

While the rest of the world watched the Golden Globes tonight, I sat and watched a few hours of animated comedy. As you all know by now, Allen Gregory earned the axe. Jonah Hill’s train-wreck of a show saw the fastest drop in ratings for Sunday night television in FOX network history. It was so poorly received, ratings for the other shows on the FOX Animation Domination block dropped. Allen Gregory was last place nearly every week, even losing to reruns of other animated shows. How pathetic.

 

What is next for FOX? We get a show eight years after its hit film release – Napoleon Dynamite. You read that right. Tonight, Napoleon Dynamite began its animated run as FOX hopes it will be a solution to midseason blues. Mike Scully, writer and producer of The Simpsons, is co-creator of the animated Napoleon Dynamite series along with its film creators Jared and Jerusha Hess. No doubt there are concerns about who will be doing the voices of the characters known from the movie.

Well, GOSH!

All the actors from the hit film will be reprising their roles as their animated counterparts. Jon Heder voices Napoleon,with him is Efran Ramirez as class president Pedro. The rest of the cast will be there along with some new faces. The 13-episode series seeks to capture the same charm from the film of living in rural Idaho.

I question FOX. They debut their show by showing two episodes. Normal, right? Not when it is split up by a new episode of Family Guy. The ratings for Family Guy have seen a slight drop, likely due to over-bearing shock value skits and over-the-top quick punch line humor. The first episode of Napoleon Dynamite aired at 8:30pm following a new episode of The Simpsons, and then episode

two at 9:30pm right after Family Guy. The schedule was slightly off due to the Giants game and competing with the Golden Globe Awards. The first episode felt bland. The essence of the characters from the movie are there, with a few funny moments, but I felt a bit let down by the first episode. To be honest, after watching Family Guy afterwards, I was tempted to turn off the TV, as Family Guy proved to be a very good episode which satisfied my need for animated comedy. However, I stayed the course and hung on for the second debut episode of Napoleon Dynamite.

As it turns out, this was the right call. The second episode had a number of humorous moments and the story of the episode was very entertaining. The characters, including some new ones shined and I was very glad to see a successful second episode. It is a shame that the ratings will likely be a bit lower due to the schedule bump and the competition of the awards.

Napoleon Dynamite seems to be a fix for FOX. There have been other shows which began as midseason replacements or fillers, and turned into success stories. Two that come to mind are The Simpsons and Family Guy. I think Napoleon Dynamite will easily see a second season, unlike the fate of Allen Gregory, a show which could not even go a half-season.