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‘Bordertown’ fails to keep out bad animation, lame jokes

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Fox’s new failed attempt at humor, “Bordertown,” is like what would happen if one took every failed joke in “Family Guy” and cut them into a 22 minute sitcom.

In the fictional border town of Mexifornia, a border guard named Bud Buckwald (Hank Azaria) deals with the supposedly endlessly frustrating fact that he lives next door to a family of immigrants.

“Bordertown” feels like someone threw every show Seth McFarlane has produced so far into a blender and called it a new show. Bud’s wife Becky (“MadTV” alum Alex Borstein) is equal parts Lois Griffin (“Family Guy”) and Francine Smith (“American Dad”). A flawed straight character whose main joke is to say something as a voice of reason, then after a pause  say something outrageous to undercut their moral high ground.

The animation style is the same style as I would imagine a show would look if you hired a “Simpsons” animator and asked them to draw in the “Family Guy” art style.

In short: it’s a hot mess that’s hard to look at occasionally.

Bud is a basic idiot-who-wants-power character with a dead-end job. I genuinely can’t figure out who this show is supposed to appeal to.

Reading an NPR preview of the series published back in February, when the show still thought it had a chance in hell of getting good ratings, it seems as if the show’s writers feel “Bordertown” is a hilarious show lampooning the systemic racism of America and our attitudes toward illegal immigrants.

I get the impression the show was originally pitched as this edgy comedy that takes politically incorrect shots at both the left and the right, something to make someone laugh at the other side then reconsider their own views when criticized by the same show.

When fed through Seth McFarlane’s Fuzzy Door production company, we get this final product.

One can get whiplash from scenes that in the same shot jump between poking fun at conservatives to making fun of liberals. In any given scene in which Bud is at home saying something conservative, it’s likely his daughter Gert (Missi Pyle), a misshapen overweight social justice warrior with a speech impediment, enters the frame and shouts something vaguely liberal.

There is a potential for comedy, but each joke is such a cheap shot or relies on such leaps of logic that when it’s making fun of something I identify with, I’m just confused.

When it’s making fun of something I dislike, I’m pissed at the show for going with a cheap shot that could’ve been written in five minutes.

That, and most of the show’s supposed jokes are simply a reference to a thing, and the show relies on you letting out a quick one-hah laugh in recognition of you getting the reference.

String enough of these jokes together and there’s a chance the viewer will think they’ve been laughing for several minutes.

It’s as if I’m watching an episode of “South Park” that cut away to a parody of a bad cartoon, but they fail to cut back to the “South Park” world and let it run for 13 episodes.

This show is nothing if not an abject failure. Someone owes the gods of animation and comedy apologies.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
‘Bordertown’ fails to keep out bad animation, lame jokes