Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cartoon Review: "Clarence"

For our first and more than likely last review considering how terrible this site is already, Critics 2D is taking a look at Cartoon Network's latest attempt to not fuck up their brand name, "Clarence".

So what was the verdict? Well, the answer might just surprise you.

From first glance, it's no wonder so many people immediately avert their eyes from this show. Cartoon Network, at least in recent years, has been known to destroy any hope of their shows futures through advertising. Whether it's too little of it so it will die out, too much exposure, over excitement and loudness, etc. You name it, CN has probably messed it up. 

So when this new show Clarence came on the scene with it's really simplistic design and absolutely cringe worthy lead character voice, it's no wonder so many people claimed it's just another Uncle Grandpa. Hell, I was one of them for a time.

In fact, let me just sum up everyone's initial reactions.

"This looks absolutely terrible. The designs are shit, the character is retarded, his friends are retarded, the stories will be replaced with fart jokes, and all hope is lost. Oh well, at least it's not My Little Pony."
- Everyone 

Well that's where most of you people went wrong. You never went out of your way to give it a chance. If you did, you'd be surprised to learn this show isn't that terrible. In fact, it's good. Not great, but good. What you don't believe me? Well shut the hell up and read further, you dingus.

First off, my feelings about what everyone's initial problem are exactly the same as their's. I completely agree with the idea that these characters are really, really, really simplistic. Annoyingly so. They're just blown up simple shapes with spaghetti arms à la Adventure Time. I mean just look at this kid's head. Look at it. LOOK. LOOK I SAY.

What a square
This seems to be the direction a lot of new shows have been going recently. Similar/simple character designs with only slight variations from each other, focusing on making the environment more unique. Unfortunately though, the setting in the show is very simple as well. Basic sets with basic colors. To be fair though, this show isn't supposed to be an epic adventure tale or mystical environment. It's really just a classroom and coming of age comedy cartoon.

So with such simple designs, you'd think the animation it's paired with would be on par with lazy Canadian flash animation, correct? Well surprisingly, the animation isn't that bad. In fact it's fairly well done. Oh it's not Disney or anything, but everything seems to move smoothly with very few faults. Which adds another surprising fact that this show is very slow paced for the most part, at least from how the pilot turned out.

Yeah, you wouldn't think that would you? From the way the ads portray it, it'll be another loud, annoying show that's all in your face with it's "Super cool" characters. Once you watch the pilot, however, it's a completely different feeling. Clarence seems to be a relatively quiet show, that let's it's characters' personality and actions bounce off of each other. Save for one part around the middle of the video, the show is pretty quiet and laid back, which is a nice thing to see CN do every now and then. We get to learn who the characters are and how they mesh together. 

And that's where I'm on the fence. Are these characters good, or are they bad. Well to those characters given little screen time, really only there to progress the story, they work well. Moves everything along well and we even get a few sight gags out of it, but no one stands out too much. The real concern I had was with the main characters, in this case there's three of them.

The first you meet is, of course, our title character. First off, yes, this voice is absolutely terrible. I mean this is the main reason people I know put it along side Uncle Grandpa. And, wouldn't you know it, the worst voice in the entire show is voice by it's creator, Skyler Page. Seriously, have you noticed this trend lately? Creators voicing their main characters? I mean we lucked out with J.G. Quintel voicing Mordecai, but seriously, this needs to stop now. (Reminder: Editorial on why show creators must not voice characters).

Aside from his voice, Clarence is a relatively good character. Loud and joyous with out the headaches you associate those qualities with, he has an infectious personality and ability to blindly see the good in any situation. Is he too stupid at times? It seems like it, but again, it's not to the extreme level of a character like Patrick Star. Just enough to cause problems and let you relate to some other idiot you know. And, in fairness, he redeems himself fairly well by being a good friend and just loving everyone, with out question.

Jeff. Jesus that's boring. Which ironically fits the character. While I don't have a strong hatred or anything for Jeff, I don't have strong admiration, either. Voiced by Sean Giambrone, he's a straight forward, clean cut, mega white kid who spends his time memorizing a rip-off of Jeopardy. Stereotypical, yes, but not every character in every show can be a gem can it? And, to his credit, Jeff is a nice person and does have a few funny quirks. He's clearly a germaphobe, carrying around a spray can of to disinfect unclean stuff around him like leather, kittens, or his wrists (and no, not for the reason you're thinking of you pervert). With his intelligence clearly above his peers, we also get to see how everyone react to it, to the point he doesn't know he's ever freaking them out. So yes, there's something to take away from a relatively forgettable character like him.
Beavis Sumo
Our final character is Sumo and he's Beavis. Literally, if you know the character Beavis from MTV's Beavis and Butthead, you know who Sumo is. I mean he even has an eerily similar voice that's portrayed by VA superstar and racist transformer Tom Kenny (tough in the pilot he's voiced by Jason Marsden). He's hyper active, rock and roll loving, off the wall, willing to try yeah, a PG version of Beavis pretty much sums him up, and it works. Sumo is a fun character, he's nice and eager to be friends with Clarence and Jeff. He goes along with everything or makes his friends go along with him, and I can tell he's going to be the one to get them in to the most hi-jinks, if not Clarence himself.

So we know the characters, for the most part, mesh well. So how does the overall writing and concept hold? Well let's face it, a kid and his two friends is no new set up by any means. Trios of guy friends are probably the biggest show set up of all time. The writing however, knows what it's supposed to be, a comedy. The gags in this show surprised me around every turn. Clarence's random outbursts of happiness and affection, mystery Pinatas filled with mystery things, and just some good little sight gags. One of my favorite moments, SPOILERS, was when Clarence hands his teacher this special invitation.

>Dat photoshop though
So, all in all, will Clarence work on CN? Is it going to be a good show? More importantly, is your lazy ass going to watch the pilot episode below that I so graciously embedded for you to watch? Well to those first two, I think it is. The characters, aside from some seriously bad voicing, are fun. The writing has that early creativity that's nice to see, the animation is relatively nice, and with a new ad campaign maybe we can see Clarence doing well with it's run. It's no Steven Universe or Last Airbender, but the show does have a laid back likability that makes it hard to hate once you get past the design and lead voice. As an answer to that third question, seriously, watch the pilot below. You can get a lot more out of something by watching it first hand then letting some Horse guy type about it on the internet.

6/10, Looking forward to more material

Now watch this



  1. I like this character but I have never seen it before. I think this animated should have viral to get the popularity all over the world. 2d animation video - VideoJeeves

  2. I don't think Clarence's voice is terrible, its cute unlike Uncle Grandpa.

  3. Thanks dear for this wonderful blog!! I like all these animated characters but never saw some of these characters before. I watched cartoon shows on every Sunday and Tom and Jerry is still one of my favorites.

  4. I think this cartoon should be taken off the air it is not teaching our children nothing positive that can be applied in their daily lives please remove it and uncle grandpa if people can make money off of it you can basically shit pit it in a box and someone will want to buy it

    1. A double negative and you think you're qualified to voice your concern over what a cartoon teaches kids? since when does any form of entertainment have any obligation to teach anyone something useful?

    2. young kids shouldn't watch this. One time I was watching this show with my 6 year-old sister.. then all of a sudden Sumo and some other girl made out, leaving my sister shocked and confused. I mean wth.

    3. Really? Are you that stupid? If she is 6 years old she should watch disney junior not CN!! People these days are dumb. A cartoon it is not made to teach you anything, it is made to entertain you. So many freaking soccer moms here that overreact at everything.

    4. age racist i watch cn when i was 5 im 11 now so shut the fuck up bitch

  5. Adventure Time and other CN shows have done that too. Yet know if trying get those shows of the air so stop with that nonsense.

  6. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of this show. I respect it, but don't like watching it. Especially after "The Incident". If you don't know about it, you're lucky...

  7. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of this show. I respect it, but don't like watching it. Especially after "The Incident". If you don't know about it, you're lucky...

  8. I gave it a chance. It is retarded ad unrealistic. The fat retarded guy is the most popular guy in school and all the illegal hings they do no matter how awful are completely ignored. Setting a house on fire is not something that is ignored so easily. Juvy is the place where Clarence should be and Sumo in a mental hospital.

  9. this is pure bullshit i wish cartoon network would burn and crash it i would rather watch Steven universe this is idiotic clarence is a f*****g b***h sumo is a dumb asshole i would rate it a 1/10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 the worst fucking show the only thing i like is jeff this is an insult to everything awsome if youre favorite cartoon is clarence you need to die

  10. Clarence is either autistic or DS. Either way, he's a "Special Needs" kid.
    Poor Jeff is suffering from a split family and now has Two Mommies. His neuroses are easily explainable.
    Sumo is close to normal but is still "Special Needs".
    Just look at the kids in his class. One girl always eating her hair, others in la la land, and the Teacher spends most of her time just trying to keep their attention.