Paradise PD is dumb, thoughtless, shallow, and a lazy, pale imitation of much better adult-oriented animation.
If you have a profoundly undeveloped sense of humour and have seen every season of South Park, Family Guy and American Dad, you’re in luck today. The ten-episode first season of Paradise PD, the new animated comedy from Brickleberry creators Waco O’Guin and Roger Black, just arrived on Netflix, and you too can enjoy the exploits of dumb cops doing dumb things in a dumb, backwoods redneck town called Paradise.
You know how, at its best, Family Guy would use those surreal cutaways and bonkers scenarios to make scathing assessments of popular culture? And how American Dad would use Stan Smith’s employment at the CIA to commentate on American political culture and hot-button social issues? Well, forget all that. Paradise PD doesn’t do anything of the sort.
The worst thing is perhaps that it could have. The setup – incompetent police officers in a Podunk town that hates them – provides plenty of fertile, relevant creative territory, but the few instances in which Paradise PD really tries to be about something are its most flailing and embarrassing. So much has been made lately about race relations and abuses of power in law-enforcement that the national conversation in still on-going, with no signs of slowing down, but Paradise PD has so little to say about these issues that when it does open its mouth you wish it hadn’t bothered.
Of course, the target demographic likely don’t give a shit about such things; they want a constant, anarchic stream of lowbrow gags and reaching absurdity, and Paradise PD does provide that. Its cast are generally irredeemable bundles of insufferable quirks who fail to develop or really accomplish much throughout the season, and whatever relevance they might have to an adjacent talking point or cultural issue are mostly left alone – which I suppose is for the best.
For what it’s worth, that cast includes Chief Randall Crawford (Tom Kenny), a lifetime copper whose bollocks were accidentally shot off and who now has to wear testosterone patches to stop his moustache falling off; his son, Kevin Crawford (David Herman), who shot the testicles; and his ex-wife, the Mayor of Paradise (Grey Griffin), who’s shacked up with a new fella – a doctor, no less, albeit a doctor of dentistry. The officers on the force include Gina Jabowski (Sarah Chalke), a sexed-up irritant with anger management issues; Gerald Fitzgerald (Cedric Yarbrough), a PTSD-suffering blow-in from Chicago and, notably, a black guy; Stanley Hopson (Dana Snyder), a demented and deluded old dude who’s still on the force because the department can’t afford his pension; Dusty Marlow (also Snyder), who’s mostly just “the fat one”; and Bullet (Kyle Kinane), a drug-sniffing dog who takes his role a little too literally. Yes, Paradise PD included a talking dog with addiction issues; how novel.
This is all various degrees of terrible, obviously. It’ll find an audience – stupidity always does – but I can’t say it deserves one for how thoughtlessly and lazily it repackages tired tropes and idly flails at low-hanging comedic fruit like a desperate, starving drifter in Seth MacFarlane’s orchard. Any brief flashes or inspiration are short-lived, and the overall effect is faintly pathetic; the upside is that in an age when adult animation isn’t exactly in vogue, culturally, Paradise PD can’t help but make you look back favourably on all the shows it so flagrantly steals from.