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Unequal Opportunity Offender

Comedy Central's animated version of reality TV missteps with dull take on racial stereotypes.

There is a difference between being offensive within material that is funny on its own merits and just being offensive to be offensive, and the first episode of the new block of “Drawn Together” debuting 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 25 on Comedy Central falls on the wrong side of that line.

The show trots out numerous racist stereotype cartoon characters commonly seen in cartoons from the 1930s through 1950s, especially a few black stereotypes, as part of a plot in which the show’s Foxy Brown character gets transformed into one such character. “Drawn Together” tries to hedge its bets in this exercise by having the other characters trying to save her from being erased along with the other stereotypical characters -- by a megalomaniacal Darth Vader-like Mickey Mouse, if you can imagine that.

While such a villain does ring funny, the show’s creators end this episode with a tacked-on moral delivered by the male chauvinist pig character about the incorrectness of trying to erase history. The episode’s lazy parody hasn’t earned the right to moralize about anything.

It’s too bad, because all the same there are certain equally sick or wrong jokes that do fly, like the superhero character’s becoming wheelchair-bound like Christopher Reeve and repeatedly failing to save the day as a result. Overall though, this “kick-off” episode is irretrievably marred by its dull trafficking in stereotypes.










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