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By Carl Stoffers · March 17, 2012
Ugly Americans is an animated series airing on Comedy Central that takes place in an alternate reality version of New York City. Despite being developed by former Simpsons writer David M. Stern, Ugly Americans’ only similarity to the longtime Fox classic is that they’re both animated programs.
Ugly Americans revolves around main character Mark Lilly, a social worker in a fictional New York City agency, the “Department of Integration.” Mark is a normal human in a city occupied by monsters and various talking insects, germs, and animals. His co-workers include a zombie named Randall Skeffington (who is susceptible to various body parts falling off), a half human/half devil succubus named Callie Maggotbone, an alcoholic, elderly wizard called Leonard Powers, a demon named Twayne Boneraper, and a fellow human named Frank Grimes.
The season two spring premiere features Grimes, who is the head of the Department of Integration’s Law Enforcement Division, announcing that he apprehended a notorious arsonist, who also happens to be a fire ant. Mark suggests that the arsonist, Jerry, should be offered counseling before his punishment is determined.
The entire cast of characters is predictable, with Randall being the slacker, Callie a sharp and sexy career woman, Leonard a wisecracking old man, Twayne a horny devil, and Grimes a typical dimwitted, aggressive cop-type.
The Mark character is basically a metaphor for liberal do-gooder types, as we see him try to run a group therapy session for several mutants and get urinated on by Jerry while reassuring him that he’s “very important.”
The writers appear to be trying for an updated, more disgusting version of The Munsters, where the monsters aren’t lovable and innocent, but vile and jaded. They have jammed the script with so much bodily fluid interaction that none of it is effective or particularly funny. This includes, at its lowest, Grimes falling in love and marrying a piece of stomach bacteria, named “Princess Chlamydia,” while pursuing an escaped Jerry inside Twayne’s stomach. Again, the writers appear to be simply trying to outdo the previous scene as the show gets more outrageous and disgusting, apparently for no other reason than to shock and disgust. It doesn’t work.
While the characters, as well as their interaction with one another, have potential, the writers appear to take the easy way out. Instead of developing the premise that the show is based on and actually making it funny, they stop short and take the gross-out route at every opportunity. It may appeal to a certain target demographic, but it gets old quickly.