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I admit to being a fan of Fox’s “animation domination” line up.  The Simpson’s, American Dad, Family Guy, even The Cleveland Show has moments that I like.  This is probably because for the most part these show tilt liberal and are some of the few that actually present an alternative viewpoint.

But there has always been a hole in the Fox line up that is proving difficult to fill.  In its latest attempt, Fox is trying what is quite probably the worst show on Television; aka Allan Gregory.

I don’t write reviews and usually take the position that if something isn’t worth watching, well then, change the channel.  So take the fact I am doing a review at all as an indication of just how bad I think this new show is.  It takes offensive and lifts it to the stratosphere of poor taste; or rather, I should say plunges it into the deepest sewer.

The premise of the show surrounds a pretentious 7 year old boy named Allen Gregory De Longpre being raised by two (supposedly) gay fathers; Richard (his biological father) and Jeremy (Richard’s husband).  Allen Gregory (and that is his full first name) also has an adopted Cambodian sister, named Julie.  In the pilot, Allen is informed that because Richard has money problems, he can no longer be home schooled and has to start attending the public school that his sister Julie attends.

Now at this point, I was expecting a somewhat bland, reasonable clichéd half hour entry that replaced the forgettable Bob’s Burgers.  Sort of an animated Modern Family meets Boy Meets World.  Na uh.  Not a chance.

The fact that Julie attends public school and isn’t home schooled as well, is the first indication of the direction this show is set to take.  In the first episode, we watch as both Richard and Allen treat Jeremy with utter distain.  Allen hopes Jeremy has full blown AIDS, insults his sister and throws a tantrum on the balcony when he learns he hasn’t won a Tony nomination but rather has to go to school.   And this is in the first 5 minutes.  

Despite it being continuously suggested that Allen has a higher than normal IQ, he is enrolled in a normal second grade class where he promptly shows contempt for his teacher, calling her by her first name (Gina) with heavy emphasis on the first syllable, refers to her as an idiot, denigrates the only boy who is friendly to him and starts to sexually harass his 60 year old, married, female principal.

When the first day blows up with his other classmates rejecting him, Allen states he is never returning to school again, where upon Jeremy sits down to talk to him.  Here we learn that Jeremy isn't actually gay.  He was a married man with two children and Richard was one of his clients.  Richard decided they were destined to be together and began a campaign of harassment.  Ignoring all “barriers” including restraining orders, Richard continued his pursuit of Jeremy until Jeremy lost his family, his job and finally gave in and moved in with Richard.  So now we have the hilarious knowledge that explains Richard’s contemptuous treatment of Jeremy; he is a stalker who has captured his victim.  He isn’t actually in love with Jeremy, he simply owns him.

If you thought the show couldn’t get any less worse, in subsequent episodes, Allen ogles his principle as she is seen bending over, claims he has a “sex tape” of her and him (a felony that for some reason doesn’t initiate a call to the police), refers to his teacher a whore and suggests to her face that she’s had breast augmentation. We also get to laugh and laugh as Richard decides that Julie’s friends aren’t up to his standards (one wears a permanent body cast and the other has brown skin) and hires white actors to replace them.  The denigration of Julie, as an adopted Asian child, at the hands of Richard and Allen is a non-stop laugh riot.  

The last episode dealt with the sensitive subject of racism with Allen insisting that a Latino boy be fired from the school because he wouldn’t clean up a mess in the cafeteria.  He refuses to believe that that boy is just a student and not also the janitor.  He then claims reverse racism when his teacher punishes him for it.  He then goes on to produce a play detailing his victimization had the hands of his insensitive teacher.  After being booed off the stage, there is a risk that Allen might actually learn an important lesson in human behavior.  Not to worry though, on the verge of actually seeing his teacher was right, Allen is cheered by audience members who mistake the Latino boy’s condemnation of the play as being part of the script.

The whip cream on this special sundae of offensiveness was the little back story that revealed the school superintendent is also sexually harassing Allen’s teacher.  The revelation that he had slipped a date rape drug into her drink when he invited her out for coffee is a source of true comedy gold.

It is not unusual for unlikeable characters to be likeable; it is a very old formula.  South Park’s Cartman, Family Guy’s Quagmire, American Dad's Roger and the Simpson’s Mr. Burns are cases in point.  But each of these characters are able to be likeable despite their evil and malevolent characteristics because everybody else around them recognizes them for what they are and reacts accordingly.  In the case of Allen Gregory, we get the feeling that Richard and Allen are the norm and everybody else is the problem.  Each show is set up not as a learning experience for Allen or Richard, but as a “how are they going to get out of this pickle” quandary.  The solution inevitably involves telling a bigger and more outrageous lie or by just pretending that problem created just doesn’t exist anymore and ignoring it until it goes away.

Compounding the extreme distaste of this show’s apparent message that shallow, cruel sexism and harassment are acceptable standards of behavior, is that the motivation of the main character is confused and inconsistent.  Not in a way that suggests growth or learning mind you, but in a way that makes you wonder if you missed a scene at some point.  In one episode, Allen’s rival, a boy named Joel, is off sick.  Despite being humiliated by Joel on countless occasions - acts that given Allen's own repulsive personality, don’t really generate much sympathy for the pretentious monster - Allen insists on being the one to take the ailing Joel his missed homework.  Why?  We are never told.  Back at school, Allen makes a play for Joel’s girlfriend and moves to separate Joel from his friends.  But when Joel returns to school and finds himself suddenly excluded and ignored, Allen (seemingly) has a change of heart and maneuvers Joel into winning back both girl and posse.  Again.  WHY?  Did Allen learn something from all this?  Grow as a human being?  Develop a better relationship with Joel?  No.  There was absolutely no point to the entire story you just watched; other than we get to see Allen call his teacher a stupid whore while browbeating his only friend into giving him Joel’s homework assignment.

I really didn’t think it was possible that Fox could put on a show that would be beneath even them, but they have risen to the challenge.  Allen Gregory is an appalling piece of garbage that hopefully will be cancelled and soon forgotten.

Poll

Allen Gregory is:

13%18 votes
3%4 votes
1%2 votes
7%10 votes
15%21 votes
52%69 votes
6%8 votes

| 132 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    “Tax and Spend” I can understand. I can even understand “Borrow and Spend”. But “Borrow and Give Tax Cuts to Billionaires”? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 11:52:11 AM PST

  •  Sorry. (5+ / 0-)

    I thought you were talking about David Gregory.

    People shouldn't fear their government. They should fear the corporations that own their government.

    by tdub901 on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 11:55:40 AM PST

  •  Funny you should bring this up. (6+ / 0-)

    I love Animation Domination on FOX. I honestly didn't get into "Allen Gregory" after seeing the first few "sneak peeks."  Then, I saw the opening of last Sunday's show and was totally turned off. I mean, as in, yeah, I will NEVER WATCH that show.  It left a really nasty taste in my mouth.

    But, I do disagree with you on "Bob's Burgers." The first episode only got me to "Meh." Then, after the second ep., I really started to go with it and ended up enjoying it. I was hoping they were working on new episodes as we speak.

    •  After seeing what they replaced it with... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlynne, Dirtandiron, Deep Texan, pgm 01

      I miss Bob's Burgers myself.

      “Tax and Spend” I can understand. I can even understand “Borrow and Spend”. But “Borrow and Give Tax Cuts to Billionaires”? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:09:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't like Bob's Burgers that much.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, Deep Texan, prfb, urnumbersix

        until I saw Allen Gregory, now I desperately miss Bob's Burgers.

        I've seen all three episodes of Allen Gregory so far, I keep hoping that is will get better and it doesn't.  In all honestly, I've never laughed during at any point during these 3 episodes, I've never even cracked a smile.  They could replace it with old Family Guy reruns that I've seen a bazillion times and I would enjoy it a lot more.  Hell, they could bring back King of the Hill and it would be an improvement.

        •  about all that has happened for me (0+ / 0-)

          is that I absolutely detest almost all the characters.  And that's hard to do.

          "... a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself." -- Hannah Aredt, regarding the behavior of the National Socialist (NAZI) Party in the Reichstag in the Weimar Republic.

          by billlaurelMD on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 01:11:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, Bob's Burgers will be back (0+ / 0-)

      Fox renewed it last April. Presumably they're holding it till midseason, when I imagine Allen Gregory will be replaced.

  •  Those are the jokes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea

    Maybe you don't think they're funny, that's wholly a matter of subjective taste. But insisting that characters in a cartoon be made to learn and grow as a person? That's just mindless fascism. Are you concerned about the morals of a fictional cartoon? Or your own morals? Or those of the other viewers?

    I know the difference between cartoons and real life. Though I will continue to watch, you need not concern yourself with my morality.

    •  Please dear God in Heaven, tell me this is a snark (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John DiFool

      I know your sig line suggests it, but please tell  me for my own peace of mind, this is a snark.

      “Tax and Spend” I can understand. I can even understand “Borrow and Spend”. But “Borrow and Give Tax Cuts to Billionaires”? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:31:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, that's sincere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bythesea

        I think it's funny to see animated drawings in unfortunate situations,  just like in the days of Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck. And while it may not be to your taste, I do not understand your insistence that a protagonist of an absurdest farce be a role model.

        Snarka snarka snarka!

        by Hunter Huxley on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 01:14:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why watch Fox at all? (0+ / 0-)

    There's much better things on television on any night..

    Or you can hit the internet archives.  I started downloading The Wire and Babylon 5 over the weekend.

    •  Fox is actually more liberal than Fox News... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Deep Texan, pgm 01

      But they are treading closer to the Right with this kind of bile.

      The right wing King of the Hill was acceptable and watchable, so I don't know what they are thinking with this.

      “Tax and Spend” I can understand. I can even understand “Borrow and Spend”. But “Borrow and Give Tax Cuts to Billionaires”? That I have a problem with.

      by LiberalCanuck on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:30:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't Roger from American Dad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, billlaurelMD, pgm 01

    and not Family Guy?  Yeah, I know too much about this thanks to having teenage boys.

  •  I saw the racism episode (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, prfb, pgm 01

    I was reeling.  I don't know what they thought they were shooting for, but they missed badly.

    The subtext in the whole thing drove me nuts.  Jeremy's acquiescence in his own victimization, Gina's matter of fact acceptance of the harassment as just part of the job, Julie's eagerness to be in the play so she can be the weird Asian girl that people walk by, instead of through.  The message is "yeah, these things are bad, but not that bad and they are a small price to pay for security."  

    Made me throw up a little in my mouth.  

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

    by jlynne on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:24:37 PM PST

    •  That had to be the worst episode yet (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, jlynne, prfb, pgm 01

      the others were mildly offensive, but the racism took the cake.  Usually when a show touches on a topic like that, the character learns some lesson in the end...well not Allen Gregory.

      It's one thing to be offensive in the name of comedy (sort of like Family Guy, it's occassionaly offensive but almost always hilarious), but Allen Gregory is just offesive, there is nothing funny about it.

  •  I gave up after the pilot episode (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    protectspice, prfb, pgm 01

    absolutely one of the worst written shows that I have seen in years. Not just 'animated shows' but just plain shows.

    It reeks of a vanity project gone amok.

    "Jonah Hill is really hot right now, he's not fucking Seth McFarlaine, or the expensive voice talent behind the Simpsons looking for another raise, and we've got him if we can reel his ass in. Do whatever it takes to get that show in the can and keep him and his friends happy."

    I imagine a bizarro character actor version of Entourage meets greedy up and coming members of Fox's Entertainment division wanting a hit but not wanting the price tag of adding to Seth or Matt Groening's cartoon empires, behind the scenes.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:26:00 PM PST

    •  If you are going to make an offensive comedy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01

      that you intend to push the envelope and people's buttons it has to be extremely well written.

      Just imagine if South Park was scripted by the hacks who have been cranking out those bad blockbuster parody movies like Superhero Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans.  

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:32:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I liked the episodes... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    of "Bob's Burgers" that I saw. I thought the voice talent on that show was terrific, and the daughter with the bunny ears usually made me laugh out loud.

    But thanks for the warning about "Allen Gregory." The commercials didn't strike me as being funny, and it's been widely panned. I haven't seen it and don't plan on doing so.

    On a brighter note, I think "Family Guy" has been great this year, and I'm still stunned that Seth and company got through an episode about 9/11 without getting tasteless. Well, except for the one tasteless (and needless) joke about Pat Tillman. Still, I was impressed, and I thought that episode was a riot from start to finish. The Stewie/Brian-centered episodes tend to be funnier, it seems.

    I stopped watching "The Simpsons" years ago, when it stopped being funny. Has it gotten funnier, or should I just cling to the memories from the '90s, when it was the funniest thing on TV?

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 12:59:25 PM PST

  •  haven't watched it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aximill, pgm 01

    i think i figured out it wasn't a good show by the commercials.

    love all the other shows though.

  •  I really miss King of the Hill, I tell you what. (0+ / 0-)

    King of the Hill fit so nicely into the line-up. Would take it over any other adult cartoon with the possible exceptions of Family Guy and Comedy Central's Drawn Together.

    Oh, and Bob's Burgers was just stupid.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 02:10:56 PM PST

  •  One of foulest, most egregiously nasty (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01, undercovercalico, TofG

    shows ever aired. It is so cruel and mean-spirited that it's hard to tell what intention the makers of this program had in releasing it.

    Obviously not comedy.

  •  allen gregory is hateful garbage, but The Simpsons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    is wonderful!

    Yes, allen gregory seems to be all about hate, in every way shape and form. There's nothing funny or charming about it. Fortunately, reviews with titles like "Worst show on TV?" ought to kill it off pretty quickly.

    On the other hand, in bold displays of who-owns-who, The Simpsons takes every opportunity to trash fox, and rightly so. The only bummer about The Simpsons is that its wild success built the evil fox network. It would be really cool if The Simpsons could move to another network -- it would be a fabulous blow to the murdoch crime family! But I imagine there's some contractual agreement preventing that, or it would have happened a long time ago.

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