Friday, January 20, 2012

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE...the TV Show (That's Right. I Watched It.)

Quick Update: Hectic two weeks back from winter break. My biggest highlights: getting to ride in a hot air balloon (for FREE!), learning how to blow bubbles with gum (only took me seventeen years), and finding out next week's spirit week is medieval-themed. Woot.

Song Stuck In My Head: "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger. It's a 90's song. I fell in love.

Okay, so today and hopefully next week will be sort of a TV-themedd series of blogs, starting with an animated series that just premiered last Sunday night as one of Fox's mid-season replacement. :) Read on.

Whether you were a budding preteen or a young adult yourself in 2004, It’s likely you remember the ridiculous, fantastical, and quirky NAPOLEON DYNAMITE movie. You remember the tots. The ligers and llamas. The Vote For Pedro badges. And, of course, Jon Heder’s crazy dance scene.

While a lot of critics questioned the movie’s comedy, ND managed to gain a cult of fans who quoted it, bought every merch possible for it, and found their inner geek through it. Now, only eight years and apparently one videogame later, the Idaho-native dweeb is back. You can now watch Napoleon, Pedro, Deb, Kip, and Uncle Rico every week during Fox’s “Animation Domination”. If you’re willing, that is.

Let’s get to the review, shall we?

There isn’t an exact premise. The Napoleon Dynamite TV show doesn’t even to seem to be a continuation of the movie. For instance, his older brother Kip isn’t married like he was at the end of the film, since it‘s more comical if he‘s a geek pursuing online relationship interests. If the show had a premise, it would be throwing the characters into a cartoon version of the already cartoon-ish world they exist in.

The main difference is the perspective. While Napoleon Dynamite the movie was the world’s perspective of an extremely odd character, the show is more the character’s way of seeing the world. Since the show is animated, there are no longer limits. However, someone of the movie version’s humor came from live action. Would you rather see a cartoon geek break-dance onstage or a live action one who has no idea what he’s doing? Exactly. Movie-Napoleon would only claim to have mad ninja skills stolen from the government. The TV Napoleon might have an episode where he actually becomes a warrior master.

Yet, we can’t forget the pros. For one, all the original actors are back to voice their characters. I gives the show a more natural feel - besides, if someone other than Jon Heder had voiced Napoleon, the show wouldn’t stand a chance. Since it’s a part of “Animation Domination”, there’s also a chance for more outrageous antics and jokes that couldn’t fit in on any other channel. Of course, this might ruin the movie’s famously kid-friendly rating. So far the show’s puns have strayed away from cursing, gore, or “toilet” humor. Will the innocence stick?

One of the show’s biggest pluses is how it does remain loyal to the film’s main entertainment: awkward geeks with superb vocabularies and big dreams. If you think about it, if it wasn’t for the nerds of Napoleon Dynamite, actors like Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenburg wouldn’t be the household names they are today.

An interesting subplot in the TV show is Deb and Napoleon’s relationship, something only hinted at before. The show is not subtle at all about Deb’s crush on her friend. However, it’s also clear that Napoleon isn’t exactly capable of romance. Whether this plotline is a pro or con is yet to be seen.

In its own way, the ND show is more or less a tribute to the original. While the storyline and jokes are original, there’s no shortage of references to tots and Uncle Rico’s golden football days. This is neat right now…but it could get very old, and very fast.

My best advice for the show would be to stick to the original jokes. The original jokes so far have been the most outstanding. They got such great characters - use them!

All in all, if you’re a fan then you should definitely give the show a chance. Even if you don’t laugh, you’ll at least relieve the year 2004 and find yourself renting Napoleon Dynamite for memory’s sake. Think of how far we’ve come since then! Juno. Superbad. Easy A. Now if only we could have such a cult classic in the YA world…you know, without vampires.

Take care, peeps. Oh, yeah, and vote for Pedro. All your wildest dreams will come true. ;)

Favorite Quote From Show:

Principal (I think it was the principal): Young man, let's go talk in my office.
Napoleon: No, we'll go to my office.
Principal: You don't have an office!
Napoleon: Okay fine then we'll use yours.