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|Index||21 reviews in total|
The title of this review should say it all. The people who created this
are clever writers, appealing to an intelligent viewer by delivering
what those who don't quite understand it think is absurd and unfunny.
The truth is, it's anything but.
This is an intentionally poorly animated, comedically fast-paced glimpse into the twisted, surreal world of Xavier, an aesthetically (not to mention morally) objectionable wanderer, with delusions of philosophical grandeur. As Xavier lands himself in situations born almost completely out of his absurd incompetence and inability to reason, he attempts to further understand himself and nearly always fails.
Comedically, this is a real gem. The attention to detail elevates this from a 'weird cartoon' to something that has very obviously had a lot of thought and care invested in it. The show has many layers, from odd almost dream-like logic to conveying some very intelligent ideas (which unlike South Park it doesn't always turn into the main focus of the show). It's a show that can move dramatically in completely unexpected directions, often from just a turn of phrase or an internal after-thought. In that way it's very similar to Wonder Showzen, but Xavier takes the surreal humour to a whole different level! I'm loathe to say "if you don't like it, you don't get it" about comedy shows because it's invariably a cop out of a proper justification, but some of the criticism this show is getting is as a result of things (deliberately dubious animation, consciously offensive stereotypes, etc.) that the creators intentionally set out to portray. There's often a very tangible commentary on social responsibility to the show's sub-text and in amongst it's absurdity lies some pretty deep stuff, apparently lost on it's critics.
In summary, I haven't been this excited about a comedy show since, well, Wonder Showzen.
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
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.
Don't worry, mattbromagin, I won't tell you you JUST don't get it.
Because you went far beyond JUST not getting it.
The first brilliant thing about this show is that there isn't a bit of dialog that's throw-away. Every sentence, every word is carefully crafted in service of some point. Sometimes the point is as crass as a stupid wiener joke, sometimes the point is a genius bit of biting social commentary. Which brings me to the second brilliant thing about this show is that it is equally comfortable with the high brown and the low brow, recognizing that each has its place and that "smart humor" isn't about content as much as craft. It makes little distinction between the two and fluidly uses one in service of the other.
If you think the dialog is dumb or inane, you don't get it. If you think the content is pointlessly crude, you don't get it. And if you think the animation is crappy, you reaaally don't get it.
I decided to write this review as a counterpoint to the one star review
which was obviously written by someone who didn't quite get the show
despite their insistence on understanding it.
Xavier: Renegade Angel (from the creators of MTV2's Wonder Showzen) is a show best described as the TV show Alejandro Jodorowsky would make if he was obsessed with wordplay. Every episode (with the exception of two) follows the title character, who is voiced incredibly well by series creator Vernon Chatman, NOT Jim Tozzi, as he tries to help people who he believes need help while causing a chain of events that only harm and frequently ruins the lives of those he is "assisting" all while searching for his father's killer and his missing mother. He is a character that was purposefully made as ugly as possible in order to show his inner wretchedness. He speaks mostly in wordplay in an attempt to appear more intelligent than everyone else. The wordplay is, for me, the highlight of the show and is by far some of the most clever I have ever heard. A favorite line of mine is (in reference to the Mayan God Quetzacoatle) "Let's give this sadis-dick Sun God a taste of his own meta-META- sin, man". A common problem amongst people who don't enjoy this show is not being able to see the multiple layers of a single line like that. And that lines a simple one...
The animation is also not as bad as detractors like to ascertain. The first season was very choppy and a bit clumsy but by the second season the animation improved drastically. Like Xavier the show was purposefully made to be ugly as another way for the creators to challenge the viewers and our often shallow perception. Theirs a reason that the show's writing is so good and that because it's the star of the show, not the animation. If you can't look past the animation you simply shouldn't be watching the show and if you enjoy ANYTHING else on Adult Swim you are a hypocrite for saying the animation effects your experience as it's the best animated show on the network (tied with Superjail).
Xavier was described as "a warning to children and adults about the dangers of spirituality" by the shows creators though it's other main focus is displaying ignorance as one of mankind's biggest flaws. Xavier himself is possibly the most ignorant character on the show though he perceives himself as a gift from God and the answer to stupidity. This again ties into the shows look which only exposes the ignorant among us. Speaking of "ties in", another major aspect of the show is the fact that every episode is insanely well constructed (something the other reviewer said the exact opposite about and more so than anything proves he doesn't quite understand the show and it's structure). The show normally starts with Xavier walking through the desert and speaking to himself about the topics we will come across during the next 10 minutes. It's very important to pay close attention to this as everything he says here comes back up in more wordplay and metaphors/visuals later in the episode. Each episode is very tightly put together and references to important issues and jokes are spread throughout. How someone can say "there is zero balance" to this show is absolutely beyond me.
If you need any more proof of the other reviewers ignorance of the show go watch the episode "Shakashuri Blowdown" on AdultSwim.com. He claims Xavier simply plays the flute on and on and on. Go watch it and see if thats a correct statement or maybe you'll see that flute part for what it is... A brilliant piece of animation that marries music and image incredibly well. Hope this helps. And as I said before, if you don't like the show then that's totally fine but don't judge something if you don't understand it for what it is. This review barely scratched the surface of what this show is so give it a shot. The whole first season is up on Adult Swim though it's far more tame than season two which is my favorite season of any animated show ever.
Surreal, bizarre, completely 100% nonsensical at times... but so, SO
unbelievably consistently hilarious, intelligent, clever, and
mindbending. This is an absolutely brilliant show, from top to bottom,
and is probably way too intelligent for the average Adult Swim viewer.
So, if you're the typical Hot Topic-shopping "oh man look how funny
this is when I'm stoned!" Adult Swim fan, you may want to pass on this
...but if you're into the films of Lynch, Giuseppe Andrews, Jodorowsky, etc. or the music of The Residents, Harry Partch, Captain Beefheart... you know, the truly bizarre and "outside" part of the entertainment world... you will most likely love this exploration of existentialism and absurdity. This show is probably the most insanely and violently brilliant thing on modern television. Ever. So unbelievably packed with sight gags and clever quips, an 11 minute episode has more energy and ideas than an entire season of.. oh, I dunno.. Stroker and Hoop or whatever Adult Swim fans like.
So, yeah, this probably isn't for your typical AS fans, but personally I think it's the most brilliant thing I've seen in forever, and I've fallen so hard in love for it that it's ridiculous.
When you were a kid did you ever have crazy, bizarre nightmares filled
with images right of Salvador Dali's psycho-analysis sessions? Well, if
you didn't, now you can pretend you did thanks to Xavier Renegade
Xavier Renegade Angel is an intensely surreal (even by Adult Swim standards) show from Wonder Showzen creators, PFFR. It's about a freakish man beast who is covered in fur, has 6 nipples, backwards knees, a third eye where his penis should be, a snake for a hand, an eagles beak, and Heterochromia, who wanders America trying to find spiritual fulfillment and the identity of the man who killed his parents. Unfortunately for Xavier and everyone with whom he comes into contact, he has no spiritual insight whatsoever, and remains totally oblivious to the fact that he was the one who killed his parents, even though their ghosts tell him so repeatedly. He most often ruins the lives of those he is trying to help while failing to grasp even the most basic truths about the world around him. At the end of each episode Xavier knows even less about the world than he did at the beginning.
I could write 1000 words on how Xavier employs Brechtian narrative elements and uses alienation to allow the viewer to perceive reality with disinterested contemplation. Or how it acts as a reader for the work of Jean Baudrillard. Or how it brilliantly remixes elements of Foucault, Judith Butler, Hegel, Marx, Kant, Nietzsche, Douglas Adams, Vonnegut, Gogol, Voltaire, Ginsberg, Beckett, T.S. Eliot, E. E. Cummings, and David Foster Wallace with an art style that is heavily influenced by the proto-Dada work of the Die Bruke and Blue Rider movements of the Weimar Republic. But it's one of those things where if you don't already know, I probably couldn't tell you.
Xavier is not a show for everyone, or even most anyone. It is vile, obnoxious, mean-spirited, confusing, and really ugly to look at thanks to CGI graphics made by a company that usually does economy class video game cut scenes. However, if you can see beyond the aggressively alienating exterior of the show you will discover a razor sharp Juvenilian satire of American Bourgeois values that makes salient points about the hypocrisy of mainstream and subculture ranging from hippies and environmentalists to neo-cons and fundamentalists.
The wonderful thing about Xavier is how high brow/low brow it is. The program goes well out of its way to ask complex, soul searching questions about the nature of reality and humanity's inability to perceive truth, but then asks these questions using the most base and puerile dick and fart jokes imaginable. During the best episodes of season 2 there are some 40 jokes a minute thanks to its triple and quadruple-entendre dialogue. And though the creators designed the show to look as unappealing as possible, underneath the hideous character design there is actually some really inventive and boundary pushing use of the camera going on.
Upon a first viewing, most will notice the sparse, clipped dialogue featuring words seemingly arbitrarily echoing into infinity, but after seeing a few episodes it becomes clear that this is a stylistic choice. Every time the vocals abruptly cut it signals the viewer to some type of wordplay within the sentence. Clips and phrases like "Take that! Taste the pain!" repeat in all 20 episodes in different contexts, sometimes dropped in in the middle of other words. It's really mind-bending stuff. Meanwhile, the echoing effect is most often used to recall a reference to a previous episode or else to highlight a piece of new age jargon that the show is mocking.
At first glance Xavier seems like a show with less plot than Family Guy, every two minutes or so there is a bizarre plot twist that seems to come from nowhere and lead nowhere. One of the best episodes begins with Xavier trying to sell road kill to a restaurant and ends with a prostitute aura (who provides aural sex to the point of soul-jaculation) causing the end of the world with a spiritually transmitted disease. Along the way the episode also touches on huffing glue (as well as snorting tacs and shooting staples), bestiality, cannibalism, and camels that open up to reveal machine guns. It's pretty abstract and incredibly weird, but upon second and third repeat each episode begins to come together. Instead of seeming random, the show's intricacies come into view, with each successive turn clearly foreshadowed and generally motivated by larger thematic elements. The show employs nonstandard narrative structure and deeply couched post-modern plotting that can be difficult to decipher, but is very rewarding if you're willing to put in the effort.
Basically, if you love An Andalusian Dog, Beyond Good and Evil and Freddy Got Fingered all in equal measure, then Xavier Renegade Angel is for you.
Like somebody else said, this show is the "future of comedy". It is densely clever, gut-bustingly hilarious, mind-growingly psychedelic social-satire. I guess it can be hard to follow... if you're an idiot. As a "generation Y" person of North America, I feel this is representative of me and my people. Hey Zoomers! We're comin' to get you! Get used to it, bud! Okay, I tried submitting this and the Zoomers are telling me that there aren't enough lines to submit this as a proper review so I am writing right now this is how I'm writing right now to fill proper line requirement to satisfy the dinosaurs need for me to fill up a certain amount of lines of writing required to post this review. Good day.
Xavier: Renegade Angel is the apocalypse of randomness. This show is
about the strange-looking...person(?) who is trying to find out his
origins-His father's killer, is mother whom abandoned him, and whoever
else in the next season. I Think. This show makes NO sense, so if you
try to follow it...you'll stop breathing because your lungs would've
already busted out and your brain will be virtually non-existent since
it would've been burnt out in the war of your mind...kind of. This show
features humor familiar to Wonder Showzen, since it IS pretty edgy
(although not as racy as Wonder Showzen in my opinion), but surly
crazier (and THAT'S saying something). Xavier (portrayed by Jim Tozzi,
who also played Him on WS) is of himself 'deep' and complicated and
there could've just been a show about his ramblings and philosophy. It
would've been awesome. Vernon Chatman and John Lee have created what
seems to be a cult classic, a show where you can say "Yeah, I watch
Xavier, but you shouldn't. You'll hate it." Kudos to you guys of
PF/F/FR for creating another designated audience show.
Try it out if you liked Wonder Showzen, (to some extent) Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and other shows with VERY awry and eccentric views of life, and seem to create philosophy of nonsense. You'll be quoting this for weeks...IF you're not brainwashed by Xavier's powers of philosophical awesomeness.
9/10. Worthwhile for a weekly viewing. Next season.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This show is so funny it hurts, but just like myself it is not often
understood. The show takes advantage of every scene by squeezing as
much humor as you can from every possible situation. As ridiculous and
crazy as Xavier himself is, the people he comes in contact with are as
There are basically no rules to the humor presented in each episode from Xavier kidnapping seven babies whom he thought were abandoned and spending the rest of the episode hunting himself down to a town catching a virus from hundreds of computers thrown into a lake infected with the question "What Doth Life?"
It is a show that can only be loved or hated. An acquired taste that gets better the more you watch it.
Xavier, the Renegade Angel will not be to everyone's taste. It can be ludicrous, lewd and is scatological and juvenile at times. But here also is deconstructionist combination of smart-ass street jargon and zen poetry diatribe. Xavier's rambling nonsensical musing are like a modern cultural melting pot, he talks from his unconsciousness, our unconsciousness. Some people don't want to go there. But I love it and I have re-watched this show twice and enjoyed it equally each time. Repeating review below to fulfill the 10 line minimum. Xavier, the Renegade Angel will not be to everyone's taste. It can be ludicrous, lewd and is scatological and juvenile at times. But here also is deconstructionist combination of smart-ass street jargon and zen poetry diatribe. Xavier's rambling nonsensical musing are like a modern cultural melting pot, he talks from his unconsciousness, our unconsciousness. Some people don't want to go there. But I love it and I have re-watched this show twice and enjoyed it equally each time.
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