November 02, 2011

TV: Allen Gregory (Fox, Sun 8:30)

The latest addition to Fox's Sunday animation lineup, and what a mess it is.

Allen Gregory DeLongpre (voiced by Jonah Hill, who also produces the show) is an obnoxiously precocious 7-year-old who wears nothing but suits, looks down on everyone, and believes himself to be the most important person in any room. When his gay dads face some sort of financial crisis, he is no longer able to be home-schooled and forced to attend public school, where he does not fit in very well.

That isn't an inherently awful premise, but for the show to work, we would have to have some reason to root for Allen Gregory, and we don't; he's utterly loathsome. But then, in this show, everyone treats everyone else with contempt, and there's not a single decent human being to be found. Allen Gregory and dad Richard (French Stewart) heap abuse on younger, hunkier dad Jeremy (Nat Faxon); the school superintendent (Will Forte) dumps on the principal (Renee Taylor); everyone dumps on Allen Gregory's adopted Cambodian sister. The only person Allen Gregory likes is the principal, a morbidly obese elderly woman with whom he falls instantly in love, declaring that they are destined to spend their lives in bliss together.

An odd quirk of the casting/drawing of the characters to mention: Richard looks and sounds so much like Community's Dean Pelton that I was sure he must be voiced by Jim Rash, who plays that character; Rash happens to be the writing partner of Faxon, who voices the other dad. Rash and Faxon don't appear to be involved in the writing of this show, so I guess it's just a coincidence.

The visual style of the animation is sleek and attractive (and Jeremy is pretty darned hot, as animated characters go), but that is the only thing the show has to offer, and it's not enough to make me want to spend any more time with these horrid people.

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