REVIEW: OUT THERE ‘A Chris By Any Other Name’

Does IFC’s foray into animated comedy make the grade?? Find out in this review of the sneak peek before the premier episode airs Feb 22nd.


Out-There-post-1-510x308

Spoilers Below

Welcome to Horford High School. It here we meet narrator and star of the show Chad, a seemingly nice but certainly awkward kid that often becomes an innocent accomplice to whenever his somewhat of a dick friend Chris opens his big mouth getting them in trouble. We also meet Chad’s potential love interest Sharla, who seems to be an adorable high school girl that has a bright future and this is seen as quite evident when she tries to make a speech in front of the class only for Chris to start yelling in the middle of it bringing to her light her pee-stained past. That said, it doesn’t last long because Chris gets tripped down the auditorium stairs at the behest of school bully Troy, of whom Chris had a run in with earlier in detention.  Chris not only ends up with a broken leg, but is also the laughing stock in front of the entire school when he starts crying for his mother.

After Chris gets high as a mofo from paint fumes, we meet his mom Joanie and her boyfriend Terry. After a rather entertaining conversation at dinner, we head on over to Chad’s house where we meet Jay, Chad’s little bro. However, Chad doesn’t stay for long as he leaves Chris in his room while he takes off for Sharla’s dance to help prep for the school dance. The next day at school, Chris tries to make an impression in hopes kids will drop the whole ‘mommy’ thing, but it doesn’t work and instead gets the shit kicked out of him by Troy.

Chris decides to do something completely crazy, he is going to eat a mouse at Sharla’s dance and Corey is taking bets on whether or not he does it. Sharla decides to confront Chad about it in hopes he can convince his friend otherwise. So, what does Chad do?? Does he help his friend complete the stunt in hopes of clearing his name?? Or does he beckon to the call from the girl of his dreams??  As expected, Chad follows his heart and sides with Sharla even hurling mommy insults at his now former best friend after he starts making fun of her. Back at Chad’s house, we meet his parents Wayne and Rose and guess what?? They are chaperoning the school dance, as from the sounds of it Wayne wants to make sure Chris doesn’t get out of line.

We soon learn that Chris is starting to enjoy the company of his new mouse that he plans on consuming at the dance, but Jay comes by to make sure he goes through with what he promised so that they can both be rich and famous. Later at the dance, Chad gets ready to ask Sharla to dance, but gets side-tracked by Chris’ unwillingness to eat a mouse. Thankfully, Chad’s quick thinking gets him off the hook, but it certainly doesn’t help his case with Sharla of whom is pretty jaded by the whole stunt.  Are they able to patch things up??

I don’t know who put together the audio mix for this show, but the episode sounds REALLY low. Like if you watch the program at a certain volume, then watch the promos/commercials, the show’s sound comes in at quite a few decibels lower which tells me the  audio was mastered incorrectly. Seriously, I tried it on a few different TVs and my tablet, and the audio was oft-kilter.With technical glitches aside, let’s talk about the show…

UPDATE: WHEN WATCHING IT AGAIN LAST NIGHT, IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THE AUDIO ISSUES FROM THE ORIGINAL BROADCAST WERE FIXED AND AS A RESULT GRADE HAS BEEN ALTERED TO REFLECT THIS

My initial issues with Out There, before watching the first episode, was wondering if the series was going to fit on IFC’s type of humor. In the past, IFC hasn’t had great success in getting an animated series off the ground, but Ryan Quincy has the right ingredients in place to turn this one into a great find for the alt-comedy flavored network.  So how would I describe the show?? This may sound strange but I keep thinking of it as like an animated Wonder Years that has strands of Napoleon Dynamite for lead character Chad (played by show creator Ryan Quincy). Ryan does a pretty remarkable job lending a narration that helps tell a rousing story that is funny through and through, but definitely keeps you wondering right up until the last sequence ala Wonder Years.  What’s really funny is I just posted a review for Fish Hooks an hour ago starring Justin Roiland as ‘Oscar’, and I was thinking he was going to be a bit of a softie due to his Disney credentials but am happy to announce its quite the opposite as his character ‘Chris’ plays the role of the crazy best friend very well and more importantly shows some of the heart that Justin is known for in prior roles.  Linda Cardellini does a sound job of playing the role of ‘Sharla’, as does her fellow Loyola Marymount alumni Kate Micucci in her role as ‘Jay’.  Of all the parents Fred Armisen as ‘Terry’ is funny but John DiMaggio’s ‘Wayne’ character best reminds me of early ‘Randy’ from South Park. This has me thinking ‘Wayne’ could be a bigger part of future story lines with the potential of episodes that aren’t all about the kids, but also about wacky parents.

It’s ironic that I should bring up South Park as Ryan Quincy was a long-time animator on the legendary Comedy Central series, and yes you can see some strands of DNA with how the characters are presented in Out There. The full-frontal wide-eyed look that has been a staple in South Park’s long history and is noticed here but with a tad-better finish more so with just about everyone else not named Chris. The characters are a bit more adorable than Ryan’s prior job, but its certainly evident with their wide eyes, big heads,  and bodies usually symmetrical with the camera, that one can’t help but point out a few similarities with the animated stylings of South Park but certainly more refined with better color. That said, a South Park derivation this certainly is not as the show follows more of a dramedy style plot that pushes along  at a decent pace with funny dialogue from an outstanding cast that I think given a chance should give people a novel alternative to what is currently ‘Out There’.

 

(9.5 out of 10)

Founder and Chief Editor of Bubbleblabber, LLC. Founded Bubbleblabber on Sept 12, 2011 and has been playing armchair Quarterback ever since.