Robot Chicken: Season 7
Blu-ray ALL - America - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Anthony Arrigo (17th August 2015).
The Show

It came as something of a shock to me when “Robot Chicken: Season 7” (2014) showed up on my doorstep because, as I had incorrectly assumed, I thought Adult Swim gave this subversive sketch comedy show the boot years ago. But nope, some television network is still paying Seth Green and his buddies to get stoned and play with the glut of 80's action figures that likely spent a solid decade and change in storage before being called back in for active duty. The show likes to joke about being canceled and “uncanceled” frequently, or so my online research tells me. Despite being away from the series for nearly a decade, there was a mild feeling of comfortable nostalgia as season seven’s episodes quickly proved that nothing has changed. These lunatics are still running their own asylum.

As part of the standard operating procedure, “Robot Chicken” continues in its quest to subvert all things pop culture. No childhood icon is left unscathed, with frequent targets including G.I. Joe, The Smurfs, DuckTales, Boglins, Transformers and so many, many more being unwittingly used as comedic fodder for sketches that are equal parts puerile and witty. The length of these bits can range from mere seconds to several minutes, perfect for today’s impatient audiences who like their humor in quick YouTube-sized bites. If, however, you are a chronic cell phone checker be prepared to miss out many skits and most of the minutia the creators pack into every frame. For a (seemingly) low-rent concession of comedy bits, the mis-en-scene is incredibly adept.

Season seven contains nineteen episodes and one special focused on the holiday season, spread out across two discs. The episodes are as follows:

- "G.I. Jogurt" - The Robot Chicken writers are back for Season 7! We open with a wild and crazy puppet orgy! We find out why God hates bees, a drunken visitor from Narnia comes through the wardrobe, the Dino-Riders get a rock song and Cobra Commander joins SAG.

- "Link’s Sausages" - The creators give us a look at what they believe is really behind Punky Brewster's Punky Power, Clarice Starling has a run in with Multiple Miggs multiple times and Skeletor tries to blow up Snake Mountain.

- "Secret of the Booze" - The RC writers wonder what would happen if the alien from Alien was a different alien? Bert from Sesame Street gets a new roommate, we see what The Terminator would have been like as a step-dad and Papa Smurf sees what goes on behind the scenes in Undercover Smurf.

- "Rebel Appliance" - A dad has an uncomfortable talk with his daughter about the birds and the bees, the origin of the bagpipes is revealed and the Robot Chicken writers let the Robot Chicken Nerd take a trip into The Game of Thrones.

- "Legion of Super-Gyros" - No one knows what disease Gerry injected himself with in World War Z...until the Robot Chicken writers take a crack at it! See Benjamin Franklin's greatest invention, Hannah from Girls gets a new boyfriend and we see the prequel to The Parent Trap.

- "El Skeletorito" - Our writers unearth The Cryptkeeper to bring you three tales of terror that will haunt you for the rest of your life, the Iron Sheik makes an appearance, the Robot Chicken crew tries to come up with a Candy Crush movie, and Woody Woodpecker gets an unwanted phone call.

- "Snarfer Image" - The Robot Chicken gang thought the drift in Pacific Rim could use little reworking, the future is revealed to kinda suck for Looney Tunes characters in Looper, Voltron gets a new member, and Skeletor takes a trip back through time to rid himself of He-Man once and for all.

- "Up, Up, and Buffet" - Our writers imagine how Scrooge McDuck would do on Shark Tank, Fred Flintstone gets a colonoscopy, Shrek has a moment of clarity, and Doc from Mike Tyson's Punchout passes on to the great arena in the sky.

- "Panthropologie" - The zany writers of the show put Master Chief and Cortana in an uncomfortable conversation, Drones are put into action on the G.I. Joe team, we see a few more animal totems from the Visionaries cartoon, and the little Lego folks take on some scary stuff in World War B.

- "Catdog on a Stick" - The Robot Chicken crew lets you know if Santa Claus is a racist, Tiger Woods gets his own Space Jam type of movie and we find out what The Bratz girls did last summer.

- "Super Guitario Center" - Have you heard of The Boglins? The RC writers have. And they make a splash with a swamp song, we see what it's like to live the exciting life of a Lemming, Sleeping Beauty has a dream... and no one cares and a forbidden love blossoms between Shredder and April O'Neil.

- "Noidstrom Rack" - The minds behind Robot Chicken reveal what happens when the Zybots try to join the Autobots, Man-E-Faces gets a shot at stardom, the Enterprise night crew has a wild adventure, and we get a look at what goes on behind the scenes of Medieval Times when the costumes come off.

- "Stone Cold Steve Cold Stone" - The Robot Chicken writers expose the real reason why no one plays the piano in Wayne Manor. We find out what James Potter and his friends did while in animal form, and the Disney Princesses get into a little scuffle.

- "Walking Dead Lobster" - The Robot Chicken dreamers send Kim Possible on a mission to North Korea, worthless Beanie Babies end up turning a man's life around, and the Robot Chicken Nerd has his greatest adventure yet...with Doctor Who!

- "Victoria’s Secret of NIMH" - From the minds of the writers, we watch as The Count from Sesame Street has a run in with Blade, Jor-El has some very helpful advice for Superman, and a new nemesis comes to Gotham City.

- "B*tch Pudding Special" - Robot Chicken fan-favorite character Bitch Pudding gets her time to shine in a brand new solo special! When her fellow citizens in Pastryville get tired of suffering Bitch Pudding's abuse, they hatch a plot to eliminate her once and for all! Now Bitch Pudding will blaze a trail of raging revenge, and the world better learn how to duck and cover!

- "Batman Forever 21" - From the minds of the writers we see how Bear Grylls deals with some Wild Things, Dr. Ryan Stone calls a radio station, Brainy Smurf manipulates events in House of Smurfs, and Baloo discovers he hasn't always just been a bear in the jungle.

- "The Hobbit: There And Bennigan’s" - The creators of Robot Chicken wonder what happens when Dumbledore breaks bad, we see a documentary on the war of the Kitchen Commandos, where sheep go when people are done counting them, and G.I. Joe Extreme!

- "Chipotle Miserables" - The Robot Chicken writers imagine where the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park learned to be so clever, the Bop It toy has a mind of its own, Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man have a ghostly encounter, and as the season comes to an end will we see the cancellation of Robot Chicken...again?

- "The Robot Chicken Lots of Holidays (But Don’t Worry Christmas is Still in There So Pull the Stick Out of Your A** Fox News) Special" - A celebration of every holiday that has ever existed, featuring a Jewish boy rapping about gelt, a pilgrim surprising his family on the first Thanksgiving, and Santa having trouble with a neighbor.

If I’m recalling correctly, back when I watched the show, during its first and second seasons, most of the lampooning focused on relics of the 80's and early 90's, which makes perfect sense given the average age of Green and his cohorts. But with this latest season, it looks like the show is skewering pop culture landmarks both past and present. Obviously this makes total sense, given the wealth of contemporary material just begging to be inserted into crude, acerbic sketches. As someone who disembarked the wagon years ago, it’s certainly nice to see nothing has changed.

Video

All episodes of the show are presented at a ratio of 1.78:1 in anamorphic widescreen. The show has been shot in HD for a while now, and there were Blu-ray releases for previous seasons, yet this season looks to be getting a DVD-only release. Curious. So, despite an expected drop in definition and color saturation each episode overall looks very good. The image quality can vary from sketch to sketch, often intentionally so, but taken as a whole there isn’t much fault to be found.

Audio

An English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track handles the audible side of things. There isn’t much to say here – it’s clean, intelligible, defect-free and delivers a mildly dynamic experience when necessary. The are no subtitles.

Extras

Here’s the good stuff – a whole lot of bonus goodies. In addition to audio commentary on all twenty episodes, expect to find cut sketches, featurettes, a special episode and weird challenges.

DISC ONE:

The show’s cast & crew are on hand to deliver an audio commentary track on every episode, including the Christmas special. Participants can vary from track to track, although core members such as Seth Green are a constant presence. These are fun, like hanging out with your buddies. The commentaries include:

Audio commentary on the episode "G.I. Jogurt" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Donald Faison and Seth Green.

Audio commentary on the episode "Link’s Sausages" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Seth Green and Skeet Ulrich.

Audio commentary on the episode "Secret of the Booze" with creator Matthew Senreich, actor Seth Green, director Tom Root, writers Rachel Bloom and storyboard artist David Schwartz.

Audio commentary on the episode "Rebel Appliance" with director Tom Root, creator Matthew Senreich, actors Larisa Oleynik and Seth Green.

Audio commentary on the episode "Legion of Super-Gyros" with creator Matthew Senreich, actor Seth Green and director Tom Root.

Audio commentary on the episode "El Skeletorito" with creator Matthew Senreich, actors Carlee Baker, Seth Green and director Tom Root.

Audio commentary on the episode "Snarfer Image" with actors Seth Green, Fred Tatasciore, Bob Bergen, director Tom Root and creator Matthew Senreich.

Audio commentary on the episode "Up, Up, and Buffet" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Dana Daurey, Seth Green, J.K. Simmons.

Audio commentary on the episode "Panthropologie" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Dana Daurey, Seth Green, Hugh Davidson and J.K. Simmons.

Audio commentary on the episode "Catdog on a Stick" with director Zeb Wells.

“The Ones That Got Away” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 6 minutes and 8 seconds, the show’s writers discuss their sketch ideas that wound up being rejected.

“Beneath Harv’s Beard” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 6 minutes and 54 seconds, staff member Harv loses a bet when someone finds his childhood idol, leading to his 20-plus-year-old beard being shaved.

“Favorites from the Room” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 4 minutes and 2 seconds, the creators talk about what sketches they’ve loved the most.

“The Gummy Bear Challenge” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 5 minutes and 1 second, apparently sugar-free gummy bears wreak havoc on the intestinal tract and two staff members place bets on what will occur after eating a package.

“Born Again Virgin Christmas Special” is a special episode that runs for 11 minutes and 10 seconds. It includes optional audio commentary with actor Seth Green, creator Matthew Senreich, actors Drew Massey, Jason Ritter and director Tom Root.

“Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Takes San Diego Comic Con” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 4 minutes and 2 seconds, offering up a look at some of the panels featuring “Robot Chicken” staff.

Cut sketches (16x9) are shown in animatic form, with intros from the show’s creators:

- “Air Bud Goes Pro” runs for 1 minute and 27 seconds.
- “Beast Likes “Kindergarten Cop”” runs for 1 minute and 21 seconds.
- “Cable in Heaven” runs for 1 minute and 21 seconds.
- “Devil Wears Cobra” runs for 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
- “DuckTales Dynasty” runs for 2 minutes and 21 seconds.
- “McDonald’s” runs for 1 minute and 18 seconds.
- “Starcom in the House” runs for 1 minute and 14 seconds.
- “Ed, Edd n Eddy” runs for 2 minutes and 13 seconds.
- “Parents’ Weekend at Xavier’s School” runs for 1 minute and 27 seconds.
- “Sleepaway Camp Extended Ending” runs for 1 minute and 15 seconds.
- “The Disney Vault” runs for 1 minute and 23 seconds.

DISC TWO:

Audio commentary on the episode "Super Guitario Center" with creator Matthew Senreich, actors Seth Green, Madison Dylan, Rachel Bloom, writer David Phillips and director Tom Root.

Audio commentary on the episode "Noidstrom Rack" with creator Matthew Senreich, writer Hugh Davidson, actors Seth Green, Abraham Benrubi and director Tom Root.

Audio commentary on the episode "Stone Cold Steve Cold Stone" with director Tom Root, creator Matthew Senreich, actors Carlee Baker, Rachel Bloom and Seth Green.

Audio commentary on the episode "Walking Dead Lobster" with creator Matthew Senreich, actors Seth Green, Doug Goldstein and director Tom Root.

Audio commentary on the episode "Victoria’s Secret of NIMH" with director Tom Root, creator Matthew Senreich, actors Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Brenda Song and writer Erik Weiner.

Audio commentary on the episode "B*tch Pudding Special" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Seth Green and Billy Dee Williams.

Audio commentary on the episode "Batman Forever 21" with creator Matthew Senreich, actors Seth Green and Skeet Ulrich.

Audio commentary on the episode "The Hobbit: There And Bennigan’s" with director Tom Root, creator Matthew Senreich, actors Seth Green, Brenda Song and Breckin Meyer.

Audio commentary on the episode "Chipotle Miserables" with creator Matthew Senreich, director Tom Root, actors Seth Green and Zachary Levi.

Audio commentary on the episode "The Robot Chicken Lots of Holidays (But Don’t Worry Christmas is Still in There So Pull the Stick Out of Your A** Fox News) Special" with writer Erik Weiner, actors Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, creator Matthew Senreich and director Tom Root.

“The Making of the Bitch Pudding Special” (16x9) is a featurette that runs for 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

Packaging

The two-disc set comes housed in a white amaray DVD keep case, with one disc on a swinging hub while the other rests in the usual location. An insert is included with a simple disc breakdown.

Overall

The creators of “Robot Chicken” know their audience and what they expect; as such, this is more of the same show they’ve been making for ten years. Sit back, light one up, and slap on those rose-tinted glasses for a warped trip down memory lane.

The Show: B Video: B Audio: B- Extras: A- Overall: B

 


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