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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Father of the Pride: The Complete Series (review)

“Oh my god, they’re gonna die. Siegfried and Roy are gonna die,” John Goodman (Beyond the Sea) the white lion intones boredly and sarcastically in the first episode of this frequently bizarre and always tiresome animated series. He’s watching the Vegas showmen’s schtick from offstage, waiting for his cue to enter, and this is his commentary on the faux danger his human employers are in. This is “edgy,” because all sarcasm is automatically “smart,” apparently, and also because this aired after Roy (or was it Siegfried?) was mauled nearly to death by one of the big cats onstage and yet that cruel-in-retrospect line wasn’t cut. Mercifully, the series itself did indeed die after a short, ignominious run in 2004 — the great tragedy of it is the unanswered question it raises: Who thought sitcom stereotypes would be funnier if they were performed by cheesily rendered CGI animals? Did no one think twice before actually producing the episode in which John-Goodman-the-lion’s father-in-law moves into his house, where his put-upon wife is mostly ignored and his sofa is his best friend? And why do all the CGI people look like they just stepped out of the Sims video game? (Siegfried and Roy themselves appear once in a while to pretend to send up themselves and show-biz self-centeredness, of which this series is its own best example.) You get all 14 episodes, including three that never aired, to attempt to figure it out.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

posted in:
tv on dvd

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