So I'm watching the new cartoon show Allen Gregory, thinking it might as well have been called The Jonah Hill Show. Centered on the young title character (voiced by actor Jonah Hill) this show was also created and co-written by Hill – and anyone familiar with his work would definitely be able to tell. Hill is an up-and-coming comedic actor who has tended to play roles where he's a kind of an annoying, overbearing, wannabe know-it-all, but who really doesn't know much. More often than not he plays a guy with a mouth on him who talks down to others – but all in a comedic way. His character in Superbad, the hit movie he co-starred in, is how I picture Jonah Hill in real life: loud, rude and saying outrageous things – true or not. Allen Gregory is the world's most precocious, pretentious, adult-like seven-year-old on Earth. So Allen Gregory makes a strong case that Hill is indeed like that – or at least it makes it seem that that is what comes naturally to him as an actor.
All that obnoxious behavior makes Allen Gregory not a very likable character. Usually, the main character of a show is endearing enough to attract viewers and so that the audience roots for him to succeed. But Allen Gregory is so annoying. Continuing a cartoon tradition of children that are intellectually overly-developed for their age with a great sense of entitlement – like Stewie, from Family Guy – Allen Gregory makes for a cringe-worthy protagonist.
But the show does have something else going for it – a very cushy time slot. Nestled cozily between the two most popular prime-time cartoon shows ever, The Simpsons and Family Guy, Allen Gregory has been given a great chance to attract adult cartoon lovers.
Allen Gregory de Longpre – or just Allen Gregory, as he prefers – is a seven-year old boy who is just entering primary public school for the first time, as he'd been home schooled up until that point by one of his two gay dads, Jeremy (the hot one). It's a luxury that the family can no longer afford, as Allen's other dad, Richard (the rich one) has started to feel the effects of the recession, so he's sending his boy-toy to work to bring in some income.
Allen is not excited about the change. His first day of school proves to be trying, as his classmates and his teacher don't worship him like he thought they would. His first encounter with his teacher is funny, ridiculous and typical Hill, as Allen demands to know his teacher's first name and to have a chat in the hall. There he insists that the two won't have a problem getting along, as long as she realizes that they "have the same amount of authority."
The only friend he makes is an innocent, freckly, redhead named Patrick. At lunch, Allen pulls out a bottle of Pinot Grigot, and is immediately sent to the Principal's office, where he promptly falls in love with the older (much, much older – late 60's to 70's) Principal. What follows is an incredibly creepy yet funny montage of Allen imagining the courtship he would have with her. Allen comes on strong, but the Principal thankfully doesn't go for it, and he is so upset that he soils his pants.
Humiliated and defeated, Allen goes home. He has encouraging talks with his adopted Cambodian sister, Julie, and his dads. Jeremy tries to talk to Allen alone, something that Richard, who is overly controlling over Jeremy is suspicious about, but eventually concedes, and Jeremy encourages Allen to not give up by telling him how he ended up with Richard: he was a straight, married man with children, yet was wooed, sent many expensive gifts and pursued so relentlessly, that he eventually gave in (weird). This all encouraged Allen to return to school and succeed.
Is Hill's schtick in weekly installments amusing or will audiences tire quickly of it? I found it shocking and funny, but we'll see what the audiences think. It all depends if their fans of Jonah Hill.
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