DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
'Cake' Offers New Content – with Animation
July 9, 2020  | By Mike Hughes
 


Cartoon characters have always been a breeze to work with.

They don't age or ache or retire, and now they don't get COVID. That helped rescue a show: Cake opens its third season at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday (July 9) on FXX, then reaches Hulu the next day.

The FX networks have been hit hard by virus shutdowns. Their original productions take a boutique approach – low quantity, high quality. Now two of the best – Fargo and Pose – are on hold.

In that scorched landscape, we're glad to see anything new. Cake will do.

In the past, it's been a collection of short-take bits, live-action and animated. As the new season starts, however, the animation has taken over almost entirely.

There is one brief sketch in the second episode – a clever therapist scene – with two live actors, thoroughly distanced. Beyond that, we have animated characters who are free to mix and mingle.

Most sketch-comedy shows are wildly inconsistent. (When was the last time everything on Saturday Night Live worked?) And that's particularly true of Cake.

Many of its shorter bits cross the line between "abstract" and "obtuse." The longer ones are also inconsistent; oddly, Thursday's second episode is quite a bit better than the first.

Both are dominated by "Dicktown," with John Hodgman and David Rees as producers and stars. They play detectives in Richardsville (that's Dicktown to cynics), thoroughly mismatched. One, Hodgman, pours out empty facts. The other, Rees, is muscular and dense; he uses "PBS" as a pejorative.

Their first story – finding out who's been saying nasty things on the Internet about a black female Aquaman – is fairly funny; the second is much better. In story #2, a teenager is worried that she and a guy might be dating. (She prefers being "strangers with benefits.") But she can't ask him, for fear that would make him think she wants to date.

Several of the Cake bits are in that mode – mocking the words and the attitudes of a too-hip society. One has an Uber-type driver with a stream of trendy phrases.

Others range from so-so to surprisingly clever. In the second episode, we get one that manages to be lovely and tragic and (briefly) funny while giving us a whole different view of the "miracle on the Hudson" plane landing. That's not something you'd expect on, say, Saturday Night Live. 

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
XTWJG
Type in the verification word shown on the image.