Xavier: Renegade Angel (2007– )

TV Series  -   -  Animation | Adventure | Comedy
6.4
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Xavier is a faun-like wanderer/seeker who is traveling across the land to find out the truth about his mysterious origin. Facing rednecks, inflicting righteousness and preaching about the 'strong, silent types' and morality, this hero has his work cut out for him.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Vernon Chatman ...
 Various Characters (20 episodes, 2007-2009)
...
 Various Characters (20 episodes, 2007-2009)
Alyson Levy ...
 Various Characters (20 episodes, 2007-2009)
Jim Tozzi ...
 Various (20 episodes, 2007-2009)
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Storyline

The show follows Xavier, a rather strange-looking faun-like wanderer/seeker (complete with snake hand, backwards knees, a beak and six nipples) who is traveling across the land to find out the truth about his mysterious and uncertain origin. Xavier meets all kinds of different folk on his journey who he bores to tears with self obsessed tales about his life and his ability to "blow minds," and encounters rednecks who don't take kindly to his appearance. He speaks in a low, gruff, movie trailer-type tone that accentuates his narcissistic rambling. Although Xavier has a sense of morality and means well, he tends to cause havoc wherever he goes, attempting to help characters along the way, but unknowingly making situations worse due to total incompetence. In the pilot episode, we see in a flash-back that he burnt his house down as an adolescent whilst practicing a spiritual ritual. The fire killed his adoptive parents, yet he is totally oblivious that it was his fault, and is still out ... Written by Jake Reed

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2 November 2007 (USA)  »

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Xavier  »

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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

 
Boundary-Pushing, Futuristic Story of Spirituality and Modern Life Gone Awry
6 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Xavier: Renegade Angel is the future of entertainment. From the faux-philosophical, rambling main character to the awkward nature of the animation to the consistently recursive puns, overwhelmingly deep metaphors, and biting themes...Xavier's quest is clearly much more than a satire of spiritual guide principles turned to zany vaudeville nonsense, it's a major comment on morality and human nature using new and surreal (potentially off-putting) methods. Its overall style has simply yet to be employed on a popular scale, but I believe entertainment in general is headed in this direction anyway: To sheer, near-incomprehensible overload. Xavier, therefore, is ahead of our time.

Xavier's existence can be attributed to the nature of our modern (specifically American) lives. It's a frustrated, overdosed response to increasingly ridiculous and bombarding experiences (ignored abuse, religious subservience, spiritual/moral delusion, mindless violence, fascination with the rich, self-obsessed altruism as a virtue, etc etc) on television and in our culture. The writers of Xavier have something complex to say of these conundrums, which they smartly chose to communicate in a highly marginalized way*. They are speaking through Xavier from outside of our world, past the common comprehension of rational thought, and far over the way most stories are told. This is true especially in the second season, in which the dialogue is ramped up to a breakneck speed, with wordplay and puns pushed at the viewer nonstop and clue-ridden, metaphorical imagery trickled throughout each episode. Not to mention the often cyclical and recursive nature of the disasters Xavier usually unknowingly causes, and the dimwitted-for-us "freak of nature" himself, who is misguided, obnoxiously confident, self-centered, and most of all, clueless.

Xavier is also considered repulsive (well, the beak, heterochromatic eyes, six nipples, snake-for-a-hand, backward-bending legs, and coat of fur don't bother some), which serves as an anchor point for initial appeal in the show. If you're not turned off at first glance, you've past the first level and now you're in. His appearance commands the viewer as Xavier does of others in the show: Accept me and watch what I can do for you. I love you.

The show, like Xavier himself, is tough to get into at first due to all of this figurative and literal bombardment (even in the first season), but that's where the enjoyment lies: In soaking up as many details of the story as you can before the 11 minute mark is hit and breaking down that superfluous content later, when your mind is able to work at its own speed. Xavier is trying something new here, and soon becomes a highly satisfying gem *if you are willing to apply a bit of thought and analyzation to its material. The outcome may not be rational, but at least it'll always be insane. And that is the ultimate appeal of the show as entertainment AND art, whether it arrives to you as something enlightening or as complete nonsense.

This is where we arrive to Xavier as it is labeled by adult swim; a comedy program. Folks on this site complain that "The characters just blather nonsense with the random and extremely offensive sexual innuendo the only discernible speech". First of all, Xavier does not promise humor just because of the category it was placed in. Secondly, of course the dialogue interpreted as "nonsense" is subjective. The sexual innuendo as the only discernible speech is the only nearly accurate part of this complaint. It is not offensive as most of the taboo topics addressed on the show aren't offensive (in general): It's all subjective. Even so, I believe such reactions are cause for celebration: Xavier is doing his job by pushing these boundaries, by breaking barriers down by engaging in them, and thereby angrying folks so. That's apart of his (and the show's) antihero persona, that pushing of buttons to get you to a different plane of understanding and comprehension (not to mention the show's necessity for these events to occur to get those highly metaphorical messages across in a meaningful and memorable manner).

Regardless, the sparse obvious jokes, clever bits (Xavier eating bacon and smoking to "take minutes off his life and thus go back in time"), lewd sexual puns, off-the-cliff "taboo" situations (pregnant and lactating strippers, Xavier's snakehand eating babies), and overall absurd nature of the show are highly entertaining. "Clever" writing or not, shows that pull too much from (a sensible) real life are wastes of time (time spent watching situation comedies can be spent having one's own situation). This is also why Xavier is worth watching: It is fantastic and impossible, art and imagination reaching some modern limits. Don't we have a duty as a race of intelligent creatures to see how far we are able to stretch our ideas? Let the most creative of us run free within the limit of harming others? Besides, the show will at least always warrant a "what-the-hell-am-I-watching?" kind of laugh. Otherwise, maybe even a genuine chuckle or two (per episode).

In no aspect is this a "safe" show, which is also what makes it so groundbreaking. The story structure is plainly out-of-whack, the characters annoy, and there are no rules to what may or may not appear on screen (setting changes, sudden characters/images). It is TV's anti-show, forcing you along an often hallucinatory maze in order to add unheard-of layers to the chosen episode's theme. To understand it, you must allow yourself to plunge into Xavier's surreal and irrational world for a time. It must be embraced or else be lost to much easier-to-digest but substanceless modern bombardments. If we don't give this show and others like it time to sink in and evolve in our own minds and on its own, this meaningful vision of the present from the future will be demolished in favor of sweet-tasting garbage. The untouchable sense of obscure future is, after all, one of the reasons I like this show so much. That and Snakehand.


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