Doom Patrol season 4 review – polarizing superhero series plagued by toilet humor

By Adam Lock
Published: December 5, 2022 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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2.5

Summary

Doom Patrol is bogged down by toilet humor and a distracting, quirky tone, although there are some moments of heart hidden underneath all the butt jokes.

We review the HBO Max DC series Doom Patrol season 4, which does not contain spoilers.

The teaser trailer for season 4 of HBO Max’s Doom Patrol includes a dance number in which bopping butt monsters dressed up in old-timey costumes sing along to a show tune called Shipoopi. This is by no means a summation of the series on the whole, but it does give you a strong indication of whether or not you are going to enjoy this DC Comics adaptation. Your tolerance for butt jokes (or love of them, I’m not judging) really will gauge your fondness for this polarizing series. Think of an even more debauched and bizarre version of The Umbrella Academy, and you might come close to understanding what this series is all about.

In the fourth season, the Doom Patrol must fend off many supervillains, including the Codpiece, a man with a ray gun positioned over his groin, and a pack of weaponized butts, who are highly intelligent beasts that can recreate a fifties musical number with ample training. The apocalypse is coming, and our dysfunctional family of misfits is ill-prepared for the abominations that await them. They are far too busy squabbling over their job roles, codenames, and who exactly should be the motley crew’s next fearless leader.

Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez) has now joined the team, having transferred from shapeshifting supervillain to fragile superhero with apparent ease. She finds refuge with the other team players at the manor. Rouge is right at home alongside the other Doom Patrol members, including Robotman Cliff Steele (voiced by Brendan Fraser), the bandaged pilot Larry Trainor aka Negative Man (voiced by Matt Bomer), and Elasti-Woman Rita Farr (April Bowlby). There’s also Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) with her numerous personas and Victor Stone (Joivan Wade), who was the Cyborg crime fighter but is now reduced to just being the IT guy.

These bickering superheroes face off against fresh foes in each new installment with their usual sarcastic indifference, concentrating on finishing the job at hand. While battling magical entities and sociable were-butts, the creators intercut more character-driven drama as the flawed fighters re-evaluate their own lives and overall purposes. Unfortunately, the heartfelt moments in the show are outweighed by the immature ones, as schoolboy humor takes center stage in the earlier episodes.

It’s hard to take anything seriously when the heroes are talking about fighting killer butts or meeting with butt-hunters. How do the actors actually say these lines with a straight face? Littering a script with profanity and references to funny body parts doesn’t constitute comedy in my book, and I struggled to get behind the overall tone of the series. On top of this, Doom Patrol combines this toilet humor with whimsical creatures, odd artificial realities, and strange superpowers that never feel grounded in any form of reality, not even within the show’s own worldview. In summary, it just feels weird, for weirdness’s sake.

The irreverent humor can’t help but distract from the overall narrative, which is a shame, as there is a lot to enjoy from this unique series when you ignore the sillier aspects. Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner have crafted some truly iconic tracks here, with the theme tune working perfectly in the atmospheric opening credits. Some of the special effects shots are fantastic within the budget’s obvious limitations, and there are many emotional character arcs that are worthy of your time. There’s a decent story hiding beneath the obvious theatrics too, but this style of comic book adaptation has been done many times before to a much higher quality.

What did you think of The HBO Max DC series  Doom Patrol season 4? Comment below.

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