Outer Space Astronauts
"There's a mess to clean up."
"What kind of mess?"
"The brown kind!"
Those lines and a long series of others of equal or lesser value are now being presented by the SyFy Channel to you as comedy, which is the only humorous thing about creator Russell Barrett's new brain fart Outer Space Astronauts. Setting out to satirize TV science fiction mainstays such as Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica it feels like nothing more than unusually unsuccessful sketch comedy. To give the show something of an original look creator Russell Barrett elected to place the actor's real heads on top of animated bodies. . .and by animated we mean moving paper cutouts. It's a quirky little gimmick that leaves you feeling as though you are watching the next generation of Jib Jab videos. It is uglier than all sin but also the most interesting thing happening here.
The comedy (and I cringe while typing that word in relation with this show) is derived mainly by having the actors make silly faces while saying things that are possibly funny to themselves but in absolutely no way funny to the audience. One character, just for the hell of it, informs his fellow shipmates that "I brush my teeth so they don't smell." Well thank you for sharing. Later on a debate arises out of not knowing the difference between a metaphorical hat and a real hat (our sides!).
Sadly Barrett and his crew never got the memo which says that just flinging characters on screen who happen to have negative IQs does not automatically make a comedy. In this case it will leave you wondering about Barrett's IQ, not to mention what was going on in the heads of those who greenlit this atrocity. In their defense they have thus far only ordered five episodes, and so have an out should they, God willing, elect to end this nightmare after that.
The pilot episode involves the crew of the U.S.S Oklahoma having a few friends over for a pizza dinner party. But fate is not on the crew's side as these friends turn out to be aliens who are there to take over the ship. And they plan to do that by using their red (literally) hot bodies to seduce the horny males on board, thus subjecting us to some nearly unwatchable sexual politics played out in outer space. By the time the episode draws to a close the ship has been saved (whew!) and the writers have managed to take one meaningful swipe at the sci-fi establishment (it is time to get rid of the short cut that says that a foreign alien must speak in grammatically incorrect English).
Everything else looks like Barrett invited all of his unfunny friends over, gathered them in his mom's basement and challenged them to make him laugh. It is a depressing, confusing piece of work that will leave one wondering just how little talent you need to have your pet project show up on national TV these days.
Scanning through the blogosphere chatter surrounding this show you will quickly stumble upon a big to-do over whether or not this show is a complete and total rip off of an internet show called ClipCritic. We recommend that you take a trip over to Youtube to decide for yourself but there is certainly a case to be made. A less obvious debt of gratitude is owed to Tom Goes to the Mayor, the former Adult Swim show that also marketed ultra low grade animation and sophomoric humor only they did it right because they knew the difference between a joke and a useless non sequitur.
Looking over the cast list there are no household names, which is a good thing because something like this could end a career in an instant. It's embarrassing enough just to be writing about it. Then again maybe I'm looking at it all wrong. Maybe the show is just so meta that it exists on a plain miles above my head, out there for people far smarter than me. . .or maybe the only way to truly get it is to be on some industrial strength recreational drugs.