An all-cynical, all-evil absurdist variety show that parodies the classic educational PBS shows of the 1970s, made up of old cartoons and educational films, children, and puppets from one's worst nightmares.
A juvenile religious fanatic. His alcoholic, closeted homosexual father. A sexually and emotionally repressed mother. The father's gay, satanist lover. Scenes of gay bashing, molestation, and underage drinking. All the things that make a comedy great.
Moral Orel is an Adult Swim comedy with an extremely dark heart, even crossing over into dramatic territory in its last season. It focuses on the family of Orel, a young evangelical Christian living in the Midwestern town of Moralton. Due to his often literalistic interpretations of his parents' and other adults' advice, Orel's actions frequently culminate in distinctly immoral results.
This is a show that gets better as it goes along. The first season and a half were characterized by an extremely formulaic approach as each episode followed Orel's screw ups. (The episode "Loyalty," for instance, is a masterpiece of dark humor.) Although many of the individual episodes were funny, watching more than one or two at a time could grow very tiresome, very quickly.
However, the third season is arguably a masterpiece of adult animation. It marked a dramatic shift in tone for the series, with much more emphasis on the development of individual characters aside from Orel. For example, the episode "NUMB" focuses on Orel's repressed mother Bloberta, and often crosses between the darkly comic and the genuinely disturbing.
Moral Orel will clearly not appeal to all people, and is best enjoyed by those whose sense of humor leans toward the warped. Nevertheless, with those who are up to it, it is a great, under-appreciated series.
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