When it comes to TV shows, I usually know what I will like even before I see it. Gimme a solid concept and good trailer and your show could have me locked down before launch. That is exactly what happened with the Fox show Son of Zorn. Heard the concept before I saw the cast and trailer and was already sold. An animated character named Zorn (think He-Man, literally, with orange hair and more blood lust and libido) has a child with a human woman, and Zorn (greatest warrior in all the land) finds out his son needs him so he travels from his (animated) homeworld of Zephyria to help be a better Dad to his (human) son, Legulon, err, Alan, son of Zorn. Thing is, Zorn is an ultra alpha male and Alan is kind of a nerd. So once Zorn sees what the fruit of his loins has grown into, he takes it upon himself to get an apartment and real job (in our world) so he can better prepare his son for manhood. Son of Zorn takes some of the best tropes from animated fantasy and turns them on their heads (then cuts them off), puts it all in the (already weird-ass) suburbs with an utterly fantastic cast (with a passive Tim Meadows kind of stealing the show, believe it or not). Anyway, if you call yourself a geek and do NOT watch this show, you are missing out on some modern magic I didn’t even think Fox was capable of anymore, Bob’s Burgers aside.
A More Manly He-Man
First things first, we talk about the man himself, Zorn. Conqueror of lands and smasher of pussies, Zorn is He-Man if He-Man never turned back into that pansy Adam and loved to bathe in the blood of his enemies and sleep with their weeping widows. Zorn is everything we WANTED He-Man to be but knew we would never see due to animation limits for kids.
Well, thankfully, this show is for adults, and it is clear these adults grew up on He-Man like a great many of us, because as much as it makes fun of it, it is a love letter to that era and what went along with it. Also, let it be stated that Zorn is voice acted by SNL alumni Jason Sudeikis and if this dude was ever born for a role, this is it. He bellows like a man with an extra testicle, and you can tell he is having a blast with the Zorn character (then again, who wouldn’t?).
But Zorn himself is only half of what makes this show work so well. The rest of…..
The Cast Kills It
First off, you have Curb Your Enthusiasm alum Cheryl Hines as Edie, Zorn’s former (badass and apparently quite promiscuous) lover, Edie. The best part is, you can see it all as an allegory for women who go nuts in college then settle down and turn into instant mother mode. Zorn will bring up some of the “stuff” him and Edie did together and you will just see her husband cringe. threesomes with mountain trolls and whatnot. Fantastically absurd and a blast to see them play it all straight.
Speaking of Edie’s hubby, Craig, he is played with naive likeability by the formerly mentioned Tim Meadows, and as stated, almost steals the show. An online professor who pretty much has the most quotable lines in the show outside Zorn, there is something kind-hearted yet so stupid about him that makes him inherently likeable. Hell, even Zorn starts taking to him after a while (as womanly as Craig may be at times).
Last up to bat, you have Johnny Pemberton playing the titular character, the son of Zorn. I had never seen this dude’s work before, but honestly, dude plays pensive and insecure and unsure as well as I have ever seen it portrayed. Think Michael Cera in superbad to get a solid idea. You feel bad for the kid, but you can slowly see that Zorn’s presence is actually helping him out of his shell. Yeah, it is funny. The show may be an R-rated version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit with He-Man instead of Roger, but damn if it doesn’t have some genuine heart, too. Though he may kill and mutilate more than he means to, Zorn’s heart is in the right place and he just wants to help raise his boy right.
But man, his struggles in executing that are a fucking riot to watch. Just seeing zorn trying to adjust to his 40 hour work week and job could have been its own show, yet it is only one of many great aspects of what make Son of Zorn so funny (and needed right now when TV is at its most bleakest and depressing). Another great aspect to the show is the simple fact it is…..
Not Politically Correct (Which Makes It Kick Ass)
The problem we have with society now is that everyone gets so offended about everything that the world (and comedy) have become watered down, recycled trash that is safe and boring so as to not catch any heat. Son of Zorn cannot be bothered to follow such human standards of pussy-ification of the world. For a couple prime examples of this we will take Zorn’s boss, who is clearly female but somewhat burly and Zorn just always calls her sir because no woman could run an office. Yeah, bound to piss off some tight wadded feminists but guess what? When you hear stupid, sexist shit come out of a cartoon character’s mouth, it tends to be pretty hilarious and a lot easier to swallow than real people treating one another that way.
The other example is when Zorn gets his son a massive Falcon he can ride to school but his Mom says no. They ask Zorn to get rid of it, so what happens next? In the driveway, in front of them all, he cuts its head with his sword, but keep in mind, this is a BIG falcon. It takes quite a bit of work, and then they cut to the trash cans on the sidewalk at the end credits of the episode and the thing is all chopped up in different trash cans, falcon talons twitching. Dark shit but undeniably hilarious and original as far as adult animation goes.
So no, it is not politically correct, but that is why it shines. It is not trying to wipe your ass, it is trying to whoop it, and it works.
Something For (Almost) Everyone
So watch Son of Zorn on Fox or be smited. Wait, that sounds too Zorn-esque. Let me try a more Craig approach here: Son of Zorn has something for everyone, as long as everyone is into threesomes with mountain trolls and guns that ejaculate lava that light children on fire.
In other words, Son of Zorn has something for….