Dirty Cartoons: Viewer Discretion Advised

If the recent past and present are any kind of guide, there won’t be much of anything in TV comedy for principled adults to look forward to. Each season sees a little more depravity and immaturity, to the point where juvenile sex humor is almost ubiquitous.

Comedy Central is prepping a new animated series for release this fall. Titled “Brickleberry”, it appears to have one purpose in mind -- to be as offensive as possible. Critically lauded, incredibly vulgar animated shows like South Park and Family Guy provide some indication of what to expect. 

Brickleberry looks to be in the same vein as Seth McFarlane’s lineup of animated muck on FOX, but according to the CNN blog Geekout, the network passed on the opportunity to add it to the schedule.

The promo consisted almost entirely of animals in human-like and sexually explicit couplings. A traumatized Boy Scout troop is told by their leader to keep watching. “This is nature in all its majesty,” he said.

The storyline revolves around a group of dysfunctional forest rangers at a national park facing closure. Comedy Central placed a ten episode order for a series that one of the voice actors Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) described as “really sick and twisted.” The supposedly raucous pilot is “actually pretty tame compared to what comes after,” he said.

Another voice actor is the controversial comedian Daniel Tosh. Tosh promoted “Brickleberry”  throughout the fourth season of his clip show “Tosh.O,” In which he and his staff regularly make fun of others for hurting and embarrassing themselves, and even film their own awkward and compromising situations. He also serves as an executive producer for Brickleberry.

Tosh faced public criticism recently for directing a joke about gang-rape towards an anonymous female audience member at the Hollywood Laugh Factory in early July. She detailed her story online, and it went viral. Tosh then apologized via Twitter, but followed with a defiant statement, “The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies.”

Several stand up comedians rushed to Tosh’s defense. Dane Cook tweeted that if you took offense to what he said that “it's best for everyone if you just kill yourself.” Doug Stanhope took to the same site to express his opinion on the matter. “If you ever apologize to a heckler again, I will rape you. #F---ThatPig,” he said to Tosh. Anthony Jeselnik also chimed in, “This Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy really has me second guessing some of my rapes.”

Now according to a RumorFix report, the Brickleberry pilot was stripped of several rape jokes before premiering at Comic Con in mid-July. This also included the removal of a graphic scene involving the rape of a talking bear. Other joke topics that are still “fair game” include gender non-conformity, PTSD, overt racism, and amputee children.

Co-creator Waco O’Guin and other panel participants refused to comment on it, but they don’t seem to think this controversy will affect the predicted success of the show.

In a culture that has been desensitized relatively quickly to objectionable material, a show with the level of offensiveness of Brickleberry is no small feat. Animation has allowed for more leeway in order to shock audiences with mature-rated content. From the looks of things, it’s only going to get worse.