â€˜Hot Streetsâ€™ is a bizarre, mediocre outing from Adult Swim
â€œHot Streets,â€? the brand new animated comedy from Adult Swim, appears true to the Adult Swim ethos of being jarringly weird and uncomfortably graphic with a fundamentalist fervor. However, unlike the network mainstays â€œRick & Mortyâ€? and â€œThe Eric Andre Show,â€? there does not appear to be much happening underneath the showâ€™s bizarre exterior that makes for a worthwhile television show.
â€œHot Streetsâ€? revolves around two unlikely detectives in their precinctâ€™s investigative division known as the â€˜hot streetsâ€™ department. The incompetent detectives Mark Branski and Donald French are assigned the paranormal cases in an unnamed cartoon city. Branski is a parody of the stereotypical curt, macho veteran detective, while French is his ridiculously naive and ambitious younger counterpart. The show also prominently features Branskiâ€™s niece, Jen, who lives with Branski alongside her dog Chubbie Webbers (voiced by Justin Roiland.)
The animation on â€œHot Streetsâ€? is strikingly simplistic. The showâ€˜s style is reminiscent of the animation on Robert Smigelâ€™s old â€œSaturday Night Liveâ€? â€˜TV Funhouseâ€™ shorts. The animation in â€œHot Streets,â€? however, far exceeds the SNL shorts in its quantity of uncanny, surreal moments. It is also an incredibly violent show. Of course, a late-night cartoon about cops that hunt and kill monsters is bound to have some gore, but â€œHot Streetsâ€? is absolutely excessive. Each episode seems to be about as gory as the infamous â€œPickle Rickâ€? episode of â€œRick & Morty,â€? but in far more gratuitous way.
The fundamental problem with â€œHot Streets,â€? however, is the seriesâ€™ lack of ambition. For every clever thing that an episode gets right, it mishandles three for no good reason. The show may be an animated comedy on Adult Swim featuring the voice talent of Justin Roiland, but it explicitly lacks â€œRick and Mortyâ€™sâ€? most prized elements. Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon together created one of the most successful animated comedies ever by imbuing â€œRick & Mortyâ€? with remarkably complex jokes, compelling character development, detailed animation, sight gags and a tantalizing series arc. In many ways, â€œHot Streetsâ€? could not be further from the ethos of â€œRick & Morty.â€?
Nonetheless, there are some definite bright spots in the show. For example, the bluntly moronic character of Branski can be absolutely hilarious at times; the show manages to pack in some surprisingly funny sight gags, like Branski and French both intently driving their squad car with two separate steering wheels. Roilandâ€™s goofy talking dog character is surprisingly funny at times, but does not have much to work with much. Chubbie Webbers, while not entirely devoid of originality, feels like a Morty rip-off nonchalantly tossed into the series to generate buzz.
â€œHot Streetsâ€? is perhaps the most uncomfortable thing Iâ€™ve ever watched from Adult Swim. I have to give the network credit, airing a cartoon that is this bizarre represents aÂ real commitment to their artistic mission. But â€œHot Streetsâ€? will undoubtedly be too much for many, even loyal fans of past notoriously weird Adult Swim programs like â€œTim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!â€? The show will find its niche audience in the sliver of comedy fans who derive their greatest pleasure from being offended and made to feel uncomfortable sheer weirdness and eccentricity. â€œHot Streetsâ€? is by no means the worst thing on television, or even on Adult Swim, but it is too nihilistic, underdeveloped and strange to be a part of Adult Swimâ€™s impressive oeuvre.