DumbLand (TV Mini-Series 2002– ) Poster

(2002– )

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As is typical of Lynch, you'll (sort of) like it, even as you're hating it
Jonny_Numb23 July 2007
I picked up the "Dumbland" DVD around this time last year, despite the poor marks other sites had given it. I consider myself a David Lynch fan, even though his output has been erratic (in terms of both quality and content) over the past three decades. The first time I watched "Dumbland," I was dumb-founded and more than a little angry at the end of its 33 minutes--the animated series of 8 short episodes, previously available only to paying members of Lynch's website, was a total wash...awful sound, awful stories, and probably the worst animation known to man (at least a child's flipbook of drawings wouldn't cause a migraine). Near the end, I was semi-entranced by the dancing ants who sing a taunting song at our obnoxious, white-trash 'hero,' thinking a little of Lynch's bizarro craft was clawing at the surface. Foregoing a review then, I decided to watch the DVD a second time before giving an opinion. (I know Lynch well enough to realize his films often play better upon repeated viewings.) Well, the time has come. One year later, "Dumbland" is...still not that great, but a little better than my initial viewing. I don't care what pretentious justifications you have for this fitting into the Lynch Pantheon of Strange, its (clearly deliberate) efforts to be a subversive, "anti-entertainment" come across as obnoxious all the same: not only is the animation horrible, it is incredibly abrasive on the 'ol eyes (the white is so bright, in fact, that it is like watching black squiggles dance on a fluorescent lightbulb); and the sound mix is also poor, with the 'hero's screams louder than any other character. Again, I have no doubt that Lynch intended ALL of this, but if this is his new tactic of alienating audiences, it's pretty lame to stoop to aural/visual abrasion for its own sake.

That being said, the first 2-3 episodes have a certain quirky humor that is not apparent upon an initial viewing--trouble is, the gags (along with that damned animation) become VERY repetitive after that. Lynch's imagery of suburbia is crude and bizarre, including a panicked, scarecrow-haired wife; an androgynous embryo of a child; a blood-vomiting uncle; duck-f*cking neighbors; ants with attitudes; smiling flies; and tanks driving down the street, among other strange happenings. All of this is pure Lynch, and while "Dumbland"'s crudity doesn't merit "Eraserhead"-style analysis and debate, it ultimately makes for a low-budget, low-class, low-expectation, and low-level hypnotic experience (though that could just be attributable to the spiral that starts each episode).
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Reflection of Life's Absurdities
farrrkas17 January 2007
I consider myself a great admirer of David Lynch's works, for he provides the viewers with absolutely unique motion pictures with typical "Lynch-elements." Having seen most of his works, I naively thought I could predict Lynch's next step. I was dead wrong. Dumbland is something I could have never imagined under the name of David Lynch. Still, after my recovery from the first shock, I started to contemplate about this extremely primitive main character, and I drew the conclusion that all the absurdities, cruelty, brutality and disgust presented here are mirroring bits from reality, being emphasized by distorting it. There are things in our lives we hardly ever emphasize, for they are either disgusting or horrible, however, they are surrounding us, so I take the courage to say, Dumbland focuses on these bits and pieces. This is not a movie to enjoy, though you'll sometimes laugh out of a strange, perverted sense of humor, this is an animated reflection of all things we rather reject to observe, with its simplicity, morbidity and absurdity. Take it as it is, you don't have to like it. It just exists. And finally, if you're attentive enough, you'll find elements typical to Lynch as well. I recommend it for tolerant people!!!
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Crude, odd, and sometimes funny...
gokugreen21 June 2006
This is a short, crudely animated series by David Lynch (as it says in the beginning), and it follows the misadventures of a backwoods, overall-wearing large man, with a wife who has a stress disorder and an annoying son. Both of those elements are harped upon repeatedly in the short episodes, and there's no real plot to be seen. It's easier if you think of this as an exceptionally odd, slightly macabre Looney Tunes- with far more gore, profanity, bloody violence, and occasional moments of hilarity.

I bought the DVD along with Eraserhead, having previously seen Eraserhead. Don't look to this series if you want an artistic masterpiece- this is anything but. In fact, it seems to almost be a statement against such things, as its rough style spits in the face of any sort of animation convention you may see. As Lynch says, "If this is funny, it is only funny because we see the absurdity of it all."
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The absurd animated comedy...
MisuBisu30 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Dumland focuses on the lives of one (American?) family... The father; a violent and obscene person who loves to fart and use profanity and who has no redeeming qualities. The mother; who appears to be a paranoid psychotic, never really says much. The son; an obscure annoying repetitive little fellow. The animation is simple and crude, but does suite the stories and the characters. The episodes were originally only available from the davidlynch.com website, but have now been released on DVD. There are 8 episodes on the DVD and a brief synopsis follows:

1- The Neighbor: We meet the next door neighbor, and find out three things about him... he has a really nice shed, he only has one arm and he likes to do naughty things with ducks.

2- The Treadmill: We find out that the wife has an affinity for exercise, but the husband doesn't really think it's a good idea. In the end, the exercise treadmill is victorious.

3- The Doctor: The father has an unfortunate accident with an exposed live wire... the doctor's examination is quite thorough (if not unconventional) but the diagnosis is "you are perfectly normal" (but we knew that).

4- A Friend Visits: After an altercation with the new clothes hoist, a friend comes to visit (Believe it or not, he has one! but after we meet him we can understand why), no surprises when he tells us what his hobbies are.

5- Get The Stick: We meet another neighbor, he has a stick stuck in his mouth (although we never find out how it got there). Unfortunately, removing the stick from his neighbor's mouth ends up being harder (and more violent) than expected... but he is victorious in the end... Jesus some people can be ungrateful!!!

6- My Teeth Are Bleeding: This was my favorite episode... and was also the most mind- numbingly repetitive and annoying (hmm, what does that say about me??). Not sure why the son's teeth started bleeding, but believe me when I say it was minimal to the plot of the story. Which is an oxymoron, as the story had no plot. But did have a funny ending (involving a fly)!!

7- Uncle Bob: After meeting Uncle Bob, and Uncle bob's wife, we get a distinct feeling that the Dumbland gene-pool is very shallow. Uncle Bob is a sickly fellow (I shan't elaborate, lest I spoil it for you). Uncle Bob's wife definitely wears the pants in his family... and the father definitely ends up on the wrong side of her ample fist (and spends the rest of their visit cowering in a tree in the back yard).

8- Ants: After the home gets infiltrated with ants, and a misbegotten attempt to bug-spray them goes awry... he ends up spraying himself in the face with the bug-spray and starts hallucinating. The ants put on a fabulous song and dance show... he goes berserk trying to kill them, winds up in a full body plaster... and lets just say, the ants get their vengeance in the end.

As bad as these stories are, there is something that kept compelling me to watch them. They do give another insight into the mind of one of my favorite directors. David Lynch. Maybe they were an outlet for him, to get rid of some of his violent thoughts?? I did actually laugh out loud at many points within the episodes. Many aspects are absurdly funny!!
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Dumbland rhythms
ericscartier7 March 2007
Since September of last year, I have been borrowing four to six films each week from the Harold Washington Library, which boasts an impressive DVD collection. (The HWL truly is a circulating library: three-quarters of its films are out at any given time!) Recently, I was thrilled to find The Short Films of David Lynch. Yesterday, knowing little about the animated series, I picked up Dumbland. I'm here to report that, for David Lynch fans, watching the eight episodes is half an hour well-spent.

The most remarkable feature of these brief pieces are their soundtracks. Each episode has its own rhythm. Respiratory and digestive systems provide percussion. Outrageous voices accent pauses' ends. Physical violence supplies the beats. Chirping birds and buzzing sockets brush along the edges. Many other elements fill out the orchestra. The pacing of the crude animation often keeps in sync with the sound, but the soundtrack itself struck me as Lynch's primary interest in creating and disseminating this work. In a way, these eight shorts are unique Lynchian rhythms.

That said, the situations are odd, ugly, profound, dumb and funny as hell. And there's enough space within them to reflect on how absurd we humans can be. I can't say that I'll watch the collection again, but for anyone who revelled in the movements that is the suite Inland Empire, Dumbland is worth half an hour of your time.
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WretchedSmith1 November 2006
I'm gonna tip the scales here a bit and say I enjoyed this. However, the cartoon is really only going to appeal to those who have very absurdist tendencies. It's definitely something that most people will not get, as is the nature of absurdism.

the animation is horrible, but yes, that's the point. The main character is foul mouthed, violent, and stupid. no redeeming qualities whatsoever. his wife shrieks and wails, apparently just barely capable of the most basic communication skills. most of these stories completely lack any kind of point.

but again, that's the point ;)

If non sequiters, foul language, and complete and utter randomness are your thing, you're going to love this.

It is really short, so I would probably rent instead of buying.
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awful for the sake of awful is still ... awful
kvaughan-66 December 2007
Let's be honest here: the only reason anyone bought this, the only reason anyone reviewed this, and the only reason anyone could possibly claim to enjoy this is because David Lynch made it and because you want to have David Lynch's children. But guess what? Even David Lynch can produce a piece of crap.

Maybe Lynch wanted you to transcend normality and experience absurdity in-itself as a pure subject-of-knowing. Maybe the atrocious, cacophonist sounds, and chicken-scratch visuals are supposed to imply something about humanity's place in the world, about our relation to the Real, about the absurdity of it all.

Instead, it just says one thing to me: I just lost $20.

If I wanted offensive for the sake of offensive, I could crank Hansen on high and let me ears bleed. If I wanted absurd for the sake of absurd, I could just take a dump on a plate and watch that for 33 minutes.

There is a single redeeming quality to Dumbland -- it is meta, meta funny. That is, it is so bad that it isn't even funny because it's so bad. This fact, however, is a little funny.

If you hate yourself and hate your money, then buy Dumbland. If not, spare yourself the agony.
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Lynch Does South Park
mstomaso25 August 2008
David Lynch's crude and crudely drawn take on South Park presents us with a nightmare of disturbing clichés about suburban middle class families. The father is a hideous monster with three teeth and a disproportionately large circular mouth-hole from which are uttered the most horrendous guttural noises, the son and mother are permanently horrified, incoherent creatures for whom terror is a way of life. A number of equally absurd characters are introduced throughout the series.

Lynch is not famous for his comedies (i.e. On the Air, aspects of Wild at Heart), and I am not particularly fond of comedies in general. However, there were a couple of scenes in Dumbland which made me laugh out loud. There are some clever bits of animated cinematography - where Lynch conveys wide ranges of reaction in his characters through a syntactical arrangement of shots as opposed to facial expressions (which never really vary in Dumbland).

I believe Lynch was really trying to give his audience a straight-forward, if disturbing, animated comedy here. Interestingly, he chose to follow in the footsteps of the recent wave of ultra-low-brow humor (i.e. most Will Farrell films) while adding elements of vicious social critique and classic cartoon violence and gross-out humor. While the blend doesn't really work very well here, it is nothing if not Lynchian.

Worth seeing by Lynch fans.
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"Get the stick, get the stick!"; whacked out and usually a riot
MisterWhiplash11 May 2007
It is said that David Lynch's films and shorts won't appeal to everyone. Neither will Dumbland, maybe more than ever. I have a feeling that Dumbland, as people come across it, will be a true mark of 'I get it' or 'what the hell'. It's not surrealism exactly, but absurd to the point of no return. It's also very, very, very stupid. But in this stupidity can be a sort of ironic intelligence to it, that the maker knows so well how childish and repugnant this is, and this self-consciousness is a plus, not a detraction.

It's just a bunch of crudely drawn shorts- the kind that might not even make it on Hertzfeldt and Judge's Animation show (which, I might add, Lynch here has a lot in common with both directors in their work- centered on a lummox with an IQ of 20 who has a constantly quivering-with-fear wife, and a child who looks like a cross between the gingerbread man and/or an alien. The episodes include little situations like a faulty treadmill, a salesman who can recite the Gettysburg address, watching over a sick brother in law, ant hallucinations, and just wallowing on the couch with noise all around. All the while, Lynch is still experimenting, as he was constantly for better or worse during the period of five years he made on and off Inland Empire.

For one thing, he's going back to the roots of his very first short, Six Figures Getting Sick Six Times, in the usage of repetition as a means to an end. This sometimes works excruciatingly well, and sometimes not. Sometimes, like with the episode with the sitting around the house doing nothing as teeth are bleeding and a fly buzzes around, the absurdism sort of waxes and wanes without much of a good effect. And even an episode like with the guy's friend coming over is funny more-so for the Beavis & Butt-head comparison (both laugh like idiots, and are equally engrossed by killing things like fish and sheep). What ends up working is how Lynch shows up front delirious abstractions, in the crudest ways imaginable, and excessive violence.

In what comes closest to surrealism in "ants", the guy mistakenly sprays bug-spray (just called "Kill", one of Lynch's very cheap but fun pokes at societal conventions) on himself, and envisions ants in a musical chorus line, solos included. And one of the most harrowingly funny things I've ever seen from the filmmaker is "get the stick", where we just see the guy, cheered on by his son, getting a stick lodged in his mouth. Soon the neck breaks, eyes pop out, and once said stick is removed he doesn't watch out for traffic waddling like a manhole cover. Other moments pop up like this in unexpected crevices, and it's drawn as if on cheap paper with an impetus to shock with foul-mouthed language (mostly from the man, as well as from the 'grandmother', who in one of Lynch's voices for the characters is the deepest of all), and a shaky quality that's reminiscent of the cream of the crop from (early) Hertzfeldt.

All the same I'm still not sure if Dumbland is something I would put into someone's hands if they haven't seen much of Lynch yet let alone anything by him. There are some little points on society made via complete exaggerations that may or may not be in Lynch's mind closer than we usually think to those in real life. However in general there's not a whole lot that should be read into it, which is why I'd say more than half who see it will hate it with a passion. Those who dig the bottom-less pits of animated comedy, be prepared have a blast.
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An interesting satire
Rectangular_businessman17 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure if this was the real intention that David Lynch had when he made this, but I see "DumbLand" as a great parody of everything what is wrong with many of those "adult" cartoons that spawned in the wake of South Park and Family Guy and such:

1) An unlikeable, amoral jerk as the main character.(But at least in "DumbLand", the viewers aren't supposed to sympathize with that kind of protagonist, something which I appreciate)

2) Unfunny fart jokes

3) Lots of violence happening without any reason

4) Bad animation with horrible characters designs

5) Including "controversial" and "offensive" content just for the sake of it

6) Random musical sequences

7) Including lots of "random" stuff with zero relevance to the real plot of each episode.

8) Endless gags sequences

9) Lack of punchlines

Seriously, the only two things that were missing were the pointless 80s references and some unfunny Star Wars parody.

At least in "DumbLand" the combination of those kind of elements is portrayed as it actually is: Ugly, rude, lazy and utterly dumb, something which doesn't deserve to be glorified.

And that is, unfortunately, the sad situation of many of the adult animated comedy series from the recent years, thanks to the influence of shows like "Family Guy" and "South Park" (Though I have to admit that I like that series)
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The most bizarre cartoon ever seen
Josephpr19906 April 2017
Last night I watched all the eight episodes of this American black comedy cartoon on YouTube and it is the most bizarre and disturbing cartoon I've ever seen!

It's about a caveman-like man who lives in a house along with his frazzled wife and squeaky-voiced son.

Randy's son Sparky looks like an extraterrestrial.

His wife has terrible problems.

The style of this animation is basically a child's drawing.
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As much amazing as it is awful
alexcrazybassist28 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw it, I was at work, and laughed out loud right at the office. I couldn't help it, and was looked at as a weirdo, but it was worth it. Combination of style and plot is killer. You may never understand this, but it's a masterpiece. It's a triumph of absurd, true madness in flesh. It exploits aesthetics of abominable, so it's definitely not suitable for anybody, but if you are a prepared person, you must see that. Cruel jokes, violence, lots of swearing and outstanding, shockingly far out of scale dumbness of main character make it. All sins of modern society — they are there, right on the surface, and they hit you very hard, just like this monstrous idiot hits the dude with a stick in his mouth. And, in fact, I loved the style — a cartoon like this should be drawn that ugly to fulfill impression. If you aren't ready to dive into dirt we're producing each day and see yourself in one of the characters, that's not for you. Otherwise I recommend to watch this nonsense. You won't be left indifferent.
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More shocking than comedic value
Horst_In_Translation14 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This 32-minute short film (or mini-series) is a collection of 8 very short films (all black-and-white) about a completely insane man. He is husband to an equally insane, yet not violent wife, and father to a complete lunatic of a son. We see the man's interactions with a doctor, mailman, family members, neighbors etc. This was done by David Lynch 13 years ago and that should give you a rough idea of how weird it's gonna be. My favorite episode was "The Doctor" and the episode named "Uncle Bob" was maybe the biggest shocker in here, no matter how repetitive it got towards the end. Even the fart jokes were tolerable in that one in contrast to the first two episodes. Sadly, there were also a couple really unfunny segments in my opinion. As a whole, it's only worth remembering this half hour for its shock value. All in all, it's not too funny and not really relevant for anything else. That's why only hardcore fans of David Lynch should watch. Everybody else won't really care or even be offended, which was probably Lynch's intention.
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Not Much to it
Scars_Remain11 August 2008
In film, I feel as though it should be more than just art. I think it should be more than that, a way to tell a story on screen. This short from David Lynch tells a story but not much of one. I felt that it was funny but too bizarre to be a comedy. It is good film-making but there really isn't anything else to it. As I've said before, I am a huge David Lynch fan but I get frustrated by some of his work because I don't see a need for it at all. This is definitely my least favorite thing he has done so far but I know he's still got a ton of talent and I am excited to see what he has in store for us in the future. If you like Lynch, check this out but don't be surprised when you don't like it very much.
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Regression can provide art too, Dumbland is proof
dcw-1229 November 2007
This is a bit of a puzzle for a lot of the artsy Lynch crowd. They tend to try to write this off as some kind of meaningless, crude, side project of Lynch's. Like this is Lynch passing gas between his real pieces of film art. Well it may be a fart, but its one of those intriguing farts that you catch of a whiff of and are embarrassed to admit you enjoy.

Dumbland distilled down beyond this is art. What can you do with aspects of modern life but laugh at it. If you took it seriously you would go nuts. You hook into it, smell it, taste it, feel its agonies, its unreasoning stupidities, and then express it in any medium you choose. Thats called art, and art isn't dumb. But it is Dumbland.
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read this if you can you illiterate shoe thief
avant-artiste27 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
if you like this film then your from dumbland, if you like eraserhead then your from dumbland, if you wipe your backside with brown toilet paper then your from dumbland, if you wish to burn the soles of your shoes while your wearing them - with a lighter and collect the progressed material into an empty starbucks coffee cup only to then pour the red hot liquid down your pants because certain unknown truths in this world hold no bound, hence the screaming and the general disruption you cause at public transport centres when you haven't even bought a ticket (after finding out you cant get home)because it turns out there is no place called dumbland then your screwed
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A hilarious and entertaining cartoon series by David Lynch
cinefreakdude7 August 2013
If you're wondering how a David Lynch-directed cartoon series would look, here is your answer. DumbLand isn't as brilliant as the best Lynch films, but it is still definitely worth watching. In it's entirety, it's only about 30 minutes, so if you have seen every film in David Lynch's filmography, DumbLand is some more of that Lynch you crave. The series follows some very, well, dumb, people and it is mainly centered on a family: one very big, brutish and stupid man; a high-pitched boy with a tendency to repeat things over and over, and a ceaselessly screaming lady. David Lynch is all the voices, and I think he did a great job. The humor is black and very Lynchian and at some points I just couldn't stop laughing. This is a great cartoon series that I would highly recommend if you're a casual or hard-core David Lynch fan.
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Dumbland is Lynch makin' a Lynch stuff
libre98mx15 February 2008
Dumbland is not for all. In fact Dumbland maybe in for nobody except Lynch and that's what make it funny and a collective cartoon. Violent? Yes. Profanity? Yes. Absurd? Yes. A piece of garbage? Never. Dumbland is a wonderful picture of some Americans that don't have brains and hit wife and kids for fun. From México I can say I love it! My favorite episodes are: 1- My teeths are bleeding, all the noise around and violence make me wanna scream and put me behind my bed. 2- Get the stick! Yeah baby get it and learn a lesson: some people never be thankful for your actions. 3- Ants. The more Lynch episode of all, music, surrealism and a very sweet revenge...
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A surprising waste of time
Mason102411 October 2007
Lynch. The man has some really great stuff! He knows how to disturb us, then reward us by getting us think in different ways. This, however, is altogether different. Dumbland's reward is 1% absurd comedy, earned by enduring 99% stupidity. I may have laughed once, but somewhere around episode 4 I just started watching on fast-forward. Didn't miss a thing. I felt relieved when it ended, and that's part of the point with this series. It's an annoying series about annoying characters in annoying situations, rounded out with annoying animation, voices and sound. But recognizing this and its other absurdist qualities still fails to make Dumbland worthwhile.
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DumbLand is indeed very dumb.
fcote-494831 May 2016
I can appreciate David Lynch movies although I do not fully understand them, but I least I can see their brilliance and make my own statements and opinions about them. However, DumbLand left me disappointed.I know that people will find it brilliant simply because it is a Lynch creation and everything Lynch does is supposed to be brilliant.

Besides episode 7, that I thought was funny and I could somewhat recognize people though the main character, the rest was pointless to me.

I guess I recommend it for its weirdness and for you to realize that, hey, you too could be an 'artist'.
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