Friday, October 10, 2008

Morel Orel Season 3: "Numb" : An honest depiction of a broken family.

Last night's episode of Morel Orel (titled "Numb") was probably the most brilliant and honest depiction of a broken family I have ever seen on television. It was a continuation of a more serious story arc that was started at the end of last season, dealing with Clay's alcoholism and it's effects on his family, and his psyche.

For those who have not seen the show:

Orel Puppington is a 12-year old boy who lives in the small town of Moralton in the fictional state of Statesota, a macrocosm of the Midwest bible-belt. The episodes have ranged from the absurd to the mundane. The animation style is reminiscent of 'Davey and Goliath', a series produced by the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Art Clokey of 'Gumby' fame. Most of the show's plot lines stem from Orel's overly literal and zealous take on bible lessons. He's so eager to please God and his family that he will do absolutely anything to be good. Orel's dad Clay is an alcoholic, a horrible husband and father, and he hates himself and his life. His mother Bloberta is distant and cold. Many episodes of the first two seasons ended with Clay and Morel in Clay's dungeon-like study, Morel pulling up his pants after a belting, his father doling out warped, pseudo-Christian life lessons while swirling a tumbler of scotch and fingering his leather belt.

Clay's alcoholism was always a running joke in the first two seasons, but it came to a horrifying and brutal head at the end of season two when Clay decided to take Morel on a hunting trip. Clay drank heavily the entire time. This is very much how I remember hunting with my dad. It really wasn't connected to any ancient ritual; it was just a reason for fathers to be away from their wives for a few days in an environment conducive to heavy all-day drinking, and maybe make a few personal revelations and confessions along the way. Of course, all is forgotten after sobering up and heading home.

Last night was the premiere of season 3, the final season since [adult swim] cancelled the show, mainly for this new, more serious story arc. The episode is titled “Numb” and it’s from the perspective of Orel’s mother, and what she went through while Orel and Clay were on their trip. The episode is so outrageous in its honesty, that it’s difficult to lay the plot out in any manner that will get the point across. You just have to see it. It’s absolutely brilliant. The use of The Mountain Goats’ “No Children” was very fitting. I’ve been a fan of the song for a long time, and I think the episode portrayed the bitter loneliness perfectly.

from The Mountain Goats, "No Children"

I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come up with a failsafe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it's already too late
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far

And I never come back to this town
Again in my lifeI hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

Here’s hoping Dino and crew continue to do Morel online, or find another network. And here’s hoping that Morel’s dad gets into a program this season. His son really needs it.

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