Superheroes, jokes lounge around in Adult Swim’s ‘SuperMansion’

American stop-motion animated comedy television series dealing with Titanium Rex, an aging superhero, and his team who try to stay relevant in a changing world.

The animation studio Stoopid Buddy Studios is most famous for their work on Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken.” The stop motion comedy series became one of Adult Swim’s quintessential programs, a strange mix of low-brow humor and  incoherent logic. With “SuperMansion,” the team looks to take their talents to a new location with the streaming service Crackle and a more narrow focus: the superhero genre. The jump makes sense, given the highly successful stabs at making DC Comics-centric specials. But it turns out that without the comic book format prominently built in, Adult Swim’s talents don’t quite hit as well, making something less than super.

The show centers on a team of incompetent superheroes who live in the SuperMansion. The team includes a senile superman-type leader, a broody batman type, an overly sexualized female animal character, a drug-addicted giant man, a Captain America “Lost in Time” character and a robot. This is the first missed hurdle, because most of the character jokes are unoriginal. The idea of train-wreck super heroes is a well-worn road, and the individual quirks don’t help. The joke about a slightly racist and antiquated Captain America acting as if he lived in the ’40s has its moments, but doesn’t bring anything new. And though I always enjoy mocking Batman’s vain and weak disposition, “The Lego Movie” did it better.

The two stand outs, however, are performed by Jewbot and Titanium Rex, voiced by Zeb Wells and Bryan Cranston, respectively. Cranston really dives headfirst into the role, and the random bits of mythos given make the character stand out. A subplot about the robot becoming existential and converting to Judaism is oddly humorous.

From there, the jokes are pretty hit-and-miss.The humor oscillates between really bad with its overly obvious superhero commentary and somewhat funny with the show’s random descent into randomness. In terms of the actual story telling, the team still exhibits some chops, creating nothing groundbreaking, but getting the most out of the characters and their stories.

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The result isn’t necessarily the most compelling, but enough that finishing the first three episodes was not a chore. And as always, the highlight of the work of Stoopid Buddy Studios is their arts-and-crafts style Claymation, which looks wonderful in the intense motions and actions they throw their characters into.

As part of the Adult Swim repertoire, “SuperMansion” does have its merits; it’s an entertaining and breezy adventure that’s worth a look for any Adult Swim enthusiast.

Email Carter Glace at [email protected]

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