Tooncrap #7 - Allen Gregory

Jonah Hell
FOX: 2011

Written by: Raymond Gallant

I don't want to do this one.

Right off the top, this was an induction I straight up avoided doing simply on the grounds of I know what I'm getting into. And for a person who sat through the idiocy of Bubsy, had a strong willed gag reflex for Dunce Bucket, and flat out SURVIVED Madballs: Gross Jokes, I can say without hyperobole that Allen Gregory is just something I do not want to watch. I've seen bits and pieces, and other reviews of the show, so right off the bat, I know I'm going to be quite pissed following this review. But since you fine folks enjoy reading my merry misadventures into the realm of animated inanity, I'll do it for you.

So, what is Allen Gregory, and why does it give me the highest level of Douche Chills? Well, following the cancellation of King of the Hill, Fox was looking to shuffle around their animation block with more shows. Among these would be Bob's Burgers, a show I hated initially, but eventually found to be a surprisingly brilliant cartoon. There was also an animated adaptation of Napoleon Dynamite, which didn't catch on as the classic film did. Oh, and Sit Down, Shut Up, which I have reviewed in the past.

And then there's Allen Gregory. The brainchild of actor Jonah Hill, Andrew Mogel, and Jarrad Paul. The show made its debut on October 30th, 2011, and was cancelled mere weeks later due to a wave negative reviews, and low ratings. So, clearly, this is a Tooncrap induction years in the making.

So, I think I'm ready for the drudgery that is Allen Gregory. We'll look at the pilot episode, and get out hopefully alive. Let's review this thing.

We open the first episode at a party hosted by a man named Richard De Longpre. He introduces his life partner, Jeremy, who tries to kindly say hi, only for Richard to snap at him, calling him an unemployed housewife. This is then changed as Richard starts kissing Jeremy, humiliating him intentionally. he also makes mention that he recently adopted a Cambodian girl named Julie, who will be mostly ignored and scrutinized by Richard throughout the course of the series.

And we're one minute in, and I'm already mentally done. I mean, Jesus H. Macy. I've seen some outright horrible characters in my travels, but one minute in to this cartoon, Richard De Longpre may have just taken Dr. Crumb's spot as the almighty douche. You could make the argument that Richard's mindset comes from a pampered, rich gay man who has never been told he's wrong, but even if you want to use that excuse, it hardly makes the character worth watching. Especially when you know that this is going to be a character who hardly ever will get comeuppance for his actions. And trust me, we're far from talking about Richard's outright horrendous behavior

Also, good god, what the hell is wrong with Julie's design?

It's a few inches away from being on par with "The Head".

So, Richard plays up how he was so charitable to bring Julie to America, and she should be grateful for his big heart. Julie, like the audience, sees right through Richard's crap. But hey, at least it's just Richard who's clearly the show's jerk. It's not like there's a smaller, more prickish version of Richard in this show? Oh wait, we haven't even met the title character yet!

In fact it is time to meet the main character, Allen Gregory De Longprie, voiced by Jonah Hill. Allen is a child prodigy, who has been successful in damn near everything. Oh goody, so we have a Gary Stu of sorts. But maybe he's far more humble than...

No, wait. He's telling Julie to get back in the crowd, and calling her the worst person ever. When will I learn not to have optimism?

He also talks about how he won the Tony award, and how he almost passed it up, but since it would deprive the people of seeing him succeed, he went for it. Whoopee. Oh, and we learn that the whole Tony nod was a lie, so that makes things better.

We finally get to the meat of the premise of the series. Since Richard is, let's be honest, forcing Jeremy to get a job, Allen can't be home schooled, so he has to go to elementary school. Allen reacts, as expected, by throwing a tantrum, and blaming Jeremy for it.

Later that night, we still get no answer as to why Jeremy has to get a job. He asks Richard if it's money problems, but Richard disregards Jeremy's opinion. This is followed by Allen blaming Jeremy for getting a job, which Richard also blames him for. And I look at the timer on this video, and realize I'm at the five minute mark with over 15 minutes to go, and I'm almost ready to tap out.

And this is the part where we're suddenly supposed to feel bad for Allen, as he worries that maybe the kids at school won't like him. I can't imagine why they wouldn't, I mean, he has such an open and friendly personality.

So, after five minutes of this little jackass treating people like garbage, and being a smug little shit, the writers of this show actually wants us to sympathize with him? Congrats show, you've given me the first and only laugh I've had so far.

The next day arrives, and Julie isn't particularly happy about Allen going to elementary school, since it clearly means his ass will be kissed. But Allen already makes a grand entrance, getting pissed at his teacher for not addressing him as Allen Gregory, and by being difficult. His pretentious behavior continues at lunch, as he berates another kid named Patrick over lunch scheduling. Allen's dickery does get the better of him when his attempts to kiss up to class president Joel Zadak get him laughed at. Turns out that hey, the smart ass is the biggest loser in school.

Allen's enjoyment of a little alcohol gets him sent to the principal's office, where he instantly falls in love with the principal, the elderly and overweight Mrs. Gottlieb, voiced by Roseanne Barr. And hoo boy, if you thought the jokes so far have been winners, we get a "hilarious" montage of Allen and Mrs. Gottlieb on the beach, on a roller coaster, and I wish to god I was kidding, them having sex. Because the thought of an elderly woman having sex with a minor is a laugh a minute. More unfunny love jokes, and we hit the comedy climax of the episode with Allen crapping his pants and crying as he leaves the school.

And again, I ask, are we supposed to feel bad for Allen? Are we, the viewer, supposed to look at this and feel sympathy because his brash behavior is being thrown in his face? It's not funny. Not even in a "little jerk gets what he deserves" way at least. It's just annoying, and emitting waves of powerful douche chills. You can make a jerk character sympathetic, but there has to be this feeling that he has some sort of heart underneath his cold exterior. In Allen Gregory's case, there is no heart. Or if there is, it's been so clogged with jackassery that it's hard to feel sorry for anything that befalls him, or want to cheer him on when he succeeds. He's a smug, arrogant little worm that is beyond sympathy. And I don't think the next 10 minutes I have to drudge through in this episode will change any of that.

You know what we haven't had in a while? More of Richard being manipulative, Julie being intentionally ignored by Richard, and Jeremy, while just as sympathetic as Julie, being Richard's bitch. And I haven't even mentioned how these two got together yet, have I? Well, we'll get into that shortly, don't you worry none. I'm sure it'll make you just love Richard so much more.

Allen runs into his room crying. And when Jeremy shows concern, he gets yelled at, so all that sympathy the viewer is supposed to feel is whoosh! Out the window! As Jeremy and Richard go to the school to settle the situation with Allen and Mrs. Gottlieb, Julie tells Allen to go back to the school, mainly because this means she's not the biggest loser in school. At the school, we get more of Jeremy being berated, as the superintendent tries to force Mrs. Gottlieb to be more respectful of Allen, since, you know, he's rich.

And since this show is not filled with enough stereotypes and bad characters, here's our magic black man by the name of Carl Trent D'Avis, aka Cole Train for some reason. Allen asks him for advice on fitting in at school, but since he's as much of a smug dickhole as the rest of these stars, he gives him some nonsensical advice. Jeremy asks to talk to Allen, and we learn of his past. And I hope to god you're sitting down for this.

5 years ago, Jeremy was a straight man with a wife, two kids, and was happy. But when he had a meeting with Richard, and despite a supposed platonic relationship, Richard wouldn't take no for an answer, and began to stalk him until Jeremy finally gave in and became Richard's trophy husband.



So, not only did Jeremy used to be happy, but he gave in, and chose to spend the rest of his days being the bitch to not only a cold-hearted leech who only loves him for his body and treats his opinion like absolute garbage, but also the cruel hell spawn of that leech?


Dammit, nobody is sympathetic in this! Nobody! I get that Richard is an entitled ass, but for the love of god, get a restraining order. If it means protecting the family life you claimed you love to live in eternal servitude to someone who doesn't love you (and it's not love. It's lust from a person who doesn't understand, nor deserves love), then it's worth it. And if it's a case of Jeremy having no self esteem and tapping out to Richard's advances, then the sympathy is lost on him. He didn't fight this, so he deserves what he gets. He gambled away happiness to be the sex toy of a man who by all intents and purposes is setting the gay rights movement back a few centuries.

It's stupid! This show is stupid! There is no sympathy. No likable characters. No one to latch on to because they're all horrible. You feel bad for Julie, but even she's not the nicest character. It's literally 20 minutes of showing the worst in humanity. Even Family Guy in their depths of cruelty and mean-spritedness in recent years does at times have heartwarming moments, and characters that while cold and cruel do have their likable moments. This doesn't! It's like Jonah Hill and the other two dinks he's writing this with wanted to make a show devoid of any compassion whatsoever. where they present the highest levels of pretentiousness and hope it garners a laugh. It doesn't. It just doesn't.

I have four minutes left of the episode, let's plow the everlovin' hell out of this.

So Allen breaks into Patrick's room to tell him that he's going back to the school, because he doesn't want to be formal. He plows into the school and denies his pants crapping, as the superintendent takes the blame. And the episode ends with Allen trying once again to literally kiss up on the principal. And it's about as funny as the first time.

And that's Allen Gregory. That was a chore to sit through. Seriously, I've never come out of any review I've done with this much outright disgust over what I've just watched. The characters were horrible people. Pretty much all of them were beyond the point of sympathy, even Jeremy, who loses that sympathy when you realize his doormat mentality brought this all on himself. Allen is a horrible little troll, Richard is a manipulative monster, and Julie doesn't get enough screen time in the episode for you to even care. It's a non-stop cavalcade of outright dickery that doesn't make you laugh, doesn't make you feel god, and sure as hell doesn't make you want to come back for more.

I don't have an issue with mean spirited humor. But the writing has to be well done, and for it to really work, you have to find a reason to like these characters, or even relate to why their being mean spirited. Unless you're some rich pampered snot who thinks their better than everyone, it's hard to find a relatable aspect to this style of mean humor.

On the animation side, it's an ugly cartoon. It's basic flash animation, which means it doesn't even have that much of a distinctive style to it. It looks like a hundred other bad flash cartoons on television as it is. Say what you will for Bob's Burgers and it's animation, but at least it has a distinctive style. The style of Allen Gregory is just bland with some of the worst character designs of all time.

So, welcome Allen Gregory, your acerbic attempts at wit, and awful character has earned you a spot in the special seat in the Tooncrap hall of shame. May you forever rot.