• Review: Ugly Americans returns to Comedy Central with absurd storylines and surprising morals

    After a seven episode run earlier this year, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans is back with more, with its season premiere set for Wednesday, Oct 6, at 10:30/9:30c. In case you missed the show’s initial run, there’s not all that much you need to know to start watching now. In fact, the first episode does a nice job by itself of setting the scene and reintroducing the main characters.

    The show’s premise is based around the idea of a New York City turned upside down, with humans and various other “creatures” coexisting. The central character, Mark Lilly (Matt Oberg), is a social worker with the city’s “Department of Integration,” whose job it is to help newcomers assimilate. Mark’s boss is the flirtatious, sadistic, and literally demonic Callie Maggotbone (Natasha Leggero), and his roommate, Randall Skeffington (Kurt Metzger), is not quite your stereotypical zombie. Other characters include D.O.I. desk clerk and wizard Leonard Powers (Randy Pearlstein), “Officer” Frank Grimes (Larry Murphy), and department director Twayne Boneraper (Michael-Leon Wooley).

    Ugly Americans Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c
    New Episodes October 6
    www.comedycentral.com

    With those preliminaries out of the way, you need to know that Ugly Americans is no Simpsons or Family Guy. The humor is dry, and combined with the comic-book-like animation of often morbid scenes, laughing moments were rare, or at least for me. However, even if the show is not as funny as I would prefer, it is not entirely without merit in other areas. The absurd storyline is refreshingly unique and surprisingly moralistic, due in part to the setting of an alternative NYC, which allows the writers and producers to probe and ultimately take a stand on questionable social conventions.

    In the season opener, one particular scene involves Mark leading a group session for new citizens. Through the character of the “two-headed worm creature,” denying the social commentary on racism and segregation is impossible. On a larger scale, an overarching theme for the episode—appropriately titled “Better Off Undead”—is explicitly stated by Mark, in that people should not try to change who they are, a point well-made by the episode’s events. And finally, the series’ very title is difficult to overlook without questioning the creator’s (Devin Clark) intentions. For these reasons, on the sub-textual level, the show gets an “A” in my book.

    Ugly Americans Weds 10:30pm / 9:30c
    Preview – Psychiatric Evaluations
    www.comedycentral.com

    All in all, Ugly Americans, though not “laugh out loud” funny, has a promising fall season in store as a distinctive new show that has definitely made its mark in comedy. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how this concept develops.

    WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien