A messy new outing still boasts the same sense of humour and penchant for truly bonkers storytelling, but it’s a step down from a more coherent second season.
This review of Paradise PD season 3 is spoiler-free.
Paradise PD is built from the ground up to cause offense. There isn’t a single protected class or controversial topic that the show won’t enthusiastically take aim at, and the freedom of airing on Netflix as opposed to network TV allows it to be weird, savage, and at times disgusting in a way that other animated sitcoms might aspire to but would never be allowed to pull off. The unfortunate consequence of that freedom is that it comes at the expense of cleverness. Because the show can get away with anything, it doesn’t have to try and find sneaky ways to make its points.
This impulse led me to write off the first-season as empty, try-hard controversy-bait, but I admit I misjudged it. I spent more time with the second outing and enjoyed it a lot more, especially thanks to its efforts with serialized storytelling and a couple of truly scathing bits. Paradise PD Season 3 exists, I think, somewhere in the middle in terms of quality; it isn’t all low-brow humour all the time at the expense of any thought whatsoever, but the fact it lacks a coherent narrative throughline like the Kingpin arc can make it feel a bit like it is.
Speaking of which, this latest batch of twelve episodes picks up after the cliffhanger ending of Season 2, with the town on the road to recovery after Dobby’s heroic sacrifice and the whole place being turned into a giant pizza. This allows most of the characters to grapple with their post-pizza headspace, and it’s these character-centric narratives that drive the season. Randall decides he wants to have another child, Kevin continues to be in love with Gina who continues to only be attracted to massively overweight men, Fitz is suddenly married to a dolphin, and Delbert and Robby have formed their own country. It’s a lot.
It’s arguably too much, really, and Paradise PD leaps around a lot, developing these threads here and there but mostly killing time with extended bits designed to offend everyone — one episode, in particular, will send NRA supporters into meltdown, exposing the show as more left-leaning than it might appear given how relentlessly it goes after race, body image, sexuality, gender, and virtually every other contentious topic imaginable. There’s nothing wrong with any of this, per se, but without an overarching plot, it feels more aimless than it perhaps should. Established fans, though, will be right at home.