"Disenchantment" Part 1 Review

Anything Matt Groening touches I will always check out sans hesitation. As a lifelong Simpsons fan it is the least I can do. So when I found out he was headed to Netflix for a new animated period piece show I was all the way in. Futurama was great. It wasn’t just good – it was great. If you disagree, well kindly shut your idiot mouth, stopping you from further embarrassing yourself with more loud and incorrect opinions. If you go into Disenchantment looking for a 2018 Simpsons, you’re gonna have a bad time. If you are, however, looking for another Futurama then you’re gonna get about 75% of your fix from Disenchantment.

Critics so far have had a lukewarm reception to Disenchantment, with audience scores on IMDB (7.4/10) and Rotten Tomatoes (74%) showing that most give this show a solid C. It’s good, it just feels like it left some meat on the bone. Screenrant’s review goes on and on about how this show’s storytelling is too slow and it’s archaic in its character development. Where it fails most, to me, was that there is no Bender, or Homer, or Bart, or Stewie, Cartman, Rick Sanchez, etc. Not that I expected this show to have an all time character, it’s just that I don’t know who they would sell merchandise at Hot Topic around in this show.

That character should be the Eric Andre-voiced Luci, a demon sent to act as Princess Bean’s evil conscience. Eric Andre’s one of the funniest motherfuckers alive right now and I was exponentially more excited when I saw he was tied to this project. Luci’s a smartass in the same vein as a Bender or Bart but I kept waiting for him to be more demonic, a larger pain in the ass, a bigger wise ass, and it never fully came. Luci definitely had his moments, and his story is far from complete, but there were plenty of opportunities presented throughout these first 10 episodes where he could have been a total jackass and held back, which feels counterintuitive for a demon.

Elfo, a half-Elf/half-we don’t find out yet, is as horny as they come. Guy just wants to beat cheeks throughout the entirety of the season: Elves, humans, giants, anyone can get it. Which I respect wholeheartedly. He is Luci’s counterpoint, as he is oblivious to the world in an “ignorance is bliss” way. He stumbles upon a war immediately after leaving his homeland behind and after witnessing mass carnage on both sides he says, “I like war, but I don’t love it.” (Classic Groening back at it again with the political takes.)

Elfo and Luci are constantly with Bean, the drunken princess of Dreamland. Her father, King Zog, is voiced by John DiMaggio – known best for his work as Bender and Jake on Adventure Time, which brings me to why I enjoyed this show. Perhaps the best part of Disenchantment is that it plays to the nostalgia of Groening’s past works making it a comfortable world to enter. The voices, animation and joke formats are all familiar, the constant non-sequiturs pull straight out of early-Simpsons, and Disenchantment is laden with easter eggs to both The Simpsons and Futurama – ranging from look-a-likes (Shocko is straight up Todd Flanders) to full blown plot conspiracies.

While Disenchantment didn’t reinvent television, nor does it seem to top either of Groening’s predecessors, I found myself disappointed when Part 1 ended. I wanted to keep watching, which tells me that I did – in fact – enjoy this show. At worst, it’s a solid show to pack a couple of bowls and binge in an afternoon on the couch with many delicious snacks within arm’s reach. But at the very worst it’s a corporate money grab preying on the sensibilities of nostalgia from the creator of the biggest show of all time with underdeveloped characters and an overarching story that truly begins only in the waning episodes of the season. (I’m not that cynical, it’s a fine show.)

If you like Futurama, you’ll probably enjoy enough of Disenchantment to make it worth your while. If you don’t like cartoons made specifically for adults, I have no idea why you read all of these words wtf is wrong with you it’s a beautiful day outside go for a hike or something you weirdo.