Xavier: Renegade Angel Seasons 1 And 2
Review by Robert Ham
If you are at all familiar with the deconstructionist children’s show parody Wonder Showzen that Xavier creators Vernon Chatman and John Lee cooked up for MTV2, you might have some insight into the depths that its creators was were willing to go to provoke a reaction (not necessarily laughter, either, though there was plenty of that to be had). But I doubt anyone could have predicted this show as their next step.
In it, we follow the wanderings of the titular character, a hairy bird/man hybrid with a snake’s head for a left arm who spouts out all manner of twisty New Age speak as he searches for the murderer of his father (in Season 1) and his long lost mother (in Season 2). Along the way, he decides to help people, whether they necessarily need it or not. This unusual template provides the base for Chatman/Lee to wander all over the conceptual map, and still providing them a platform to mock organized religion, modern psychology and psychopharmacology, America’s penchant for mass consumption, the commodification of almost every aspect of our lives, and knee-jerk patriotism. Throw in a healthy smattering of sexist, racist and just plain sick humor, and you have a potent and hilarious cocktail that finds a way to ruffle everyone’s feathers.
For a crudely animated TV show – it looks like a chintzy Grand Theft Auto-style video game – it’s a lot to sink your teeth into. But what will keep you coming back to it is the incredible amount of substance and energy they are putting into it. Each episode goes through a far-reaching stream-of-consciousness, going down rabbit hole after rabbit hole before circling back to start devouring its own tail. And the dialogue bursts at the seams with silly puns, double entendres and straight up dirty jokes that would make any 5th grader snicker with delight. It’s a treat to finally have the 20 episodes of Xavier on DVD as it is a program that warrants multiple viewings, allowing fans plenty of time to peel back the layers of it and possibly their own mind in the process.
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