By Melody Klink
Disenchantment, the new Fantasy-style show from the mind of Matt Groening, made its debut on Netflix this past Friday, and it’s making a lot of waves.
Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and my beloved Futurama, has been mulling the idea for Disenchantment over since Futurama was in its early stages. It finally came to life on Netflix, which is a huge difference for those of us who used to catch his works weekly on tv, but it fits the binge culture that we’ve all become a part of-- all ten episodes of the first season are ready and ripe for watching.
Disenchantment focuses on Princess Tiabeanie, who goes by the nickname Bean. Bean is a wily woman who likes to drink, fight, and otherwise do non-princess-ish things. She’s the daughter of King Zog, ruler over Dreamland… a not-so-dreamy destination bordering a fantastical Enchanted Forest (whose sign warns you against a “racist antelope” because yep.) Dreamland’s in a bit of a slump and the King will do just about anything to perk things up… and that’s where the shenanigans ensue.
The joke style, social commentary, and self-depreciating jabs are clearly Groening-- fans of Futurama will note the quick banter, very much resembling that of the Planet Express crew. Of course, it’s more than the delivery-- a large chunk of the Futurama cast has returned to work with Groening, including John DiMaggio (Bender, and now King Zog), Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, and a handful of others!
Seriously, as you watch through episodes, you’ll hear Fantasy Bender interact with Fantasy Fry.
For a massive Futurama fan, that’s tops.
A few other famous faces are also in the show, such as Eric Andre, who plays Princess Bean’s new demonic sidekick Luci. He’s funny as hell (YEP I SAID IT.)
I personally love the wit that comes with the show. The writing’s tight, and the lines are quick; the characters aren’t afraid to break the fourth wall, so to speak, and point out how flawed their medieval society is.
Now one thing that might throw some folks off is the pacing of the show; you’re given an intro to everything, and you’re off to the races… but there’s an underlying story. You get in and you laugh, but it might be a slower burn for those who want things to get to the point.
I am not one of those people. Most of the time. *cough*
Bean, along with her new Elf friend Elfo, and Luci, get into every kind of mischief. You’ll see more blood than you might have ever seen on a Groening show (seriously, medieval. You know folks are gonna die, that’s how they settled all the things back then!), and there’s more sex jokes than ever. Bender might have talked about blackjack and hookers, and enjoyed a few ladies of the evening (please say you read that in Sigourney Weaver’s Planet Express Ship voice), but one of the first things that come up in Disenchantment is a mermaid orgy… spoiler alert, those are walruses. Thirty of them.
As they say in Bad Santa, “There is an adult's world and a child's world and that's okay.”
Anyone who watches Family Guy, American Dad, etc won’t be the slightest bit fazed by any of this. Hell, even in the later seasons, Futurama got a bit racier.
The animation for the show is interesting to me. It keeps the “cell-shaded” style of Futurama--the backgrounds are painstakingly rendered and expertly detailed. Some of the characters? Not so much. They’re not straight-up poorly animated, they just take on more of the “modern animation” quality and style. Which isn’t my favorite style, by the by, I feel like it looks gross.
(Now I feel all crotchety grandpa about it. GET OFF MY LAWN.)
Still, for me, Disenchantment felt like coming home. I love Futurama so much, and I literally cried when it ended for real. (Who am I kidding? “Meanwhile” makes me cry every single time I watch it.) Of course, it’s different, and it is certainly its Own Thing, make no mistake. But the style is more evocative of that than The Simpsons. And you (like me) can binge it! Huzzah! It’s a fantasy. It’s debauchery. It’s fun.
Welcome to Dreamland.