Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dan Vs. Review


OVERVIEW: Dan Vs. is an animated series that ran on the Hub Network from from January 1, 2011, to March 9, 2013 until it was put on an indefinite hiatus. The show centers around Dan, a jobless man with severe anger management issues living in Los Angeles, and his continuous quest to rid the world (and himself) of the annoyances that plague society, usually after said nuisance has "wronged" him.

Complete with a melodramatic scream.
He is often accompanied in his insane plots by his best (and only) friend Chris, a somewhat childish middle-class American who usually ends up paying for Dan's ridiculous ideas due to being a huge pushover.

Although not a total pushover.
Chris goes along with whatever insane scheme Dan cooks up, despite the objections of his wife Elise, a secret agent for the US government. Elise sees Dan as a hindrance to Chris, although she occasionally gives her blessing and even tags along with the two to help in Dan's plans, secretly using her skills as a spy to make even Dan's craziest schemes work out.

"Say goodnight, Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre." Yes, that's an actual episode.
Together the three of them go on insane adventures trying to avenge the "wrongs" that have made Dan's life miserable.

REVIEW: This show is just as insane as it sounds. There are episodes about Dan getting revenge on mythical creatures (The Wolfman), areas of land (New Mexico), and even insubstantial concepts (Stupidity). Each episode is so bizarrely creative that you have no idea how it will end before it does. The writers do a great job at creating new and bizarre concepts for episodes, and even the more straight-forward ideas have their own special twists that give the show its unique flair.

This image alone is enough to make my point for me.
One thing that I have noticed about the show that simultaneously works for and against it is the amount of adult jokes it contains. I'm referring not to jokes that are inappropriate for children (we'll get to those in a second), but to jokes only adults would really understand. A lot of jokes focus on concepts that younger audience members don't understand, like traffic, health care, taxes, and other such adult-related issues. Even a lot of the basic vocabulary they use would go over kids' heads; I myself had to look up a word or two that Dan said in a fit of rage. That said, younger viewers still have a lot to laugh at, as the show has just as much physical humor as it does jokes and does a good job of merging silly and sophisticated.

Still no shits being given.
The characters are more lovable if you're a little sadistic; you're definitely not going to like them, or the show, if you don't enjoy a little hateful humor. Dan's obviously crazy and his constant anger will either have you laughing until you pee yourself or wondering how so much rage can fit into such a small person.

I'm going to make you pay for calling me small.
If you don't like Dan then you'll at least sympathize with Chris, who constantly has to deal with Dan's nonsense. Chris is kind of your Average Joe character and he makes a good contrast to Dan's over-the-top insanity.

It's hard being a human leash.
This show has some rough patches, but it still has a lot to offer. Some of the jokes fall flat or go over the younger viewers' heads, but for the most part the show does an excellent job of combining intelligent and stupid humor into a unique blend that makes the cynic in all of us snicker with sinister delight.

AGE RATING: I have noticed that the show tries to push the edges of its TV-PG rating. While nothing especially sexual or violent is portrayed on the show (sometimes an overly-cartoonish death occurs, like someone getting disintegrated with an alien laser), violence is often implied and can sometimes be more gruesome than you might expect. There are tons of adult jokes in this show as well (here's a list, if you don't mind spoilers and want to rate it yourself), but for the most part they seem to be subtle enough to go over most kids' heads. Personally, I didn't see anything in the show that would traumatize a child (visually, it's not half as bad as Ren and Stimpy), but I definitely would try to keep younger children away from it, if not for the premise itself. It's definitely fine for teenagers, and it may be fine for older kids as well (11 or 12).
What's a little horrifying maiming between friends?
VERDICT: With the show being put on hiatus for over a year now, it's safe to assume that the higher-ups at Hub decided to cancel the series. The show ran for three seasons (with the third being interrupted by the hiatus), which is a noble run for any TV series, let alone one on a network that doesn't come with most basic cable or satellite plans. That being said, The Hub has become a more popular network due to a certain cartoon that has taken the internet by storm.

My Little Pony: Merchandising is Magic
While it did have a worthwhile run, the show still had so much potential left untapped. The writers were so good at coming up with unique and crazy concepts for episodes, and I'm certain there is still so much they can do with the characters they created. The biggest thing holding it back was its rating; if the writers could have gone as far as shows like Family Guy or Archer, I'm sure the show would have become a huge hit. Even the title of the show indicates just how much there was left to explore; just slap any word in the English language at the end of Dan Vs., and you've got yourself a premise for an episode.

"I'll show those ponies what happens when you steal my airtime."
On the whole, I think Dan Vs. deserves to come back. It still had so much edgy material and anger-fueled nonsense left to give.

SCORE: 7/10 (Good)

1 comment: