Chozen – 1×02 “Love & Bottlerockets”

Photo Credit: fansided.com

Photo Credit: fansided.com

“Just wanna say – I’m not cool with this.”

I don’t think I’ll devote too much space here for Chozen – at least for the time being. A show like this is bound to have its issues early on, and I would like to see at least half the season before determining how I really feel about it.

Currently? I’m feeling an exact 50/50 split between enjoying and despising this show.

That’s not to say that I find it to be uninteresting in any way whatsoever. In fact, one of the reasons I haven’t already ditched Chozen is because I’m fairly hard-pressed to think of many other shows out there like it. Yeah yeah, FX’s marketing has touted the program as a masterful fusion of comedic starpower from the creators of Archer and Eastbound & Down, but this hardly feels like either of the aforementioned shows, and feels like it may belong more in the wheelhouse of Adult Swim or Comedy Central.

The comedic sensibilities of Chozen do seem to share a little bit of DNA with Eastbound & Down’s early days, but this somehow already feels like a much stranger beast. And while the show’s hype leading up to the premiere largely focused on Chozen’s unconventional profile –being a large, gay, white rapper – that currently appears to be far from the strangest part.

Instead, Chozen is an earnest show that simply has too much to juggle right now. Copious amounts of gross humor are thrown into every scene, and long after it has already gone too far, the writers seem to remember that they want to inject a tiny amount of humanity and sweetness. It seldom works, but there’s enough of an effort for me to see what they’re going for (I think).

Add into that a jaw-droppingly solid cast, and it becomes even clearer that the writers are spreading themselves far too thin. Kathryn Hahn, Hannibal Burress, and Danny McBride (in a surprisingly fun and understated, yet still creepy, performance) are among my favorite actors in comedy right now, and the three of them have been a delight so far. The same can’t quite be said about star Bobby Moynihan, or costars Nick Swardson and Michael Peña. Small doses of Moynihan and Swardson have always gone a long way (I’ve never taken to Swardson’s sense of humor), and already, the performances are far too broad for me to pretend they’re not the voices behind the characters onscreen. I’m disappointed to say the same of Peña, who over the years has proven himself to be incredibly well-rounded and capable with both comedy (Eastbound) and drama (The Shield). His performance in Chozen so far has simply been a grating exercise in overplaying every stereotype of a Hispanic accent, and I hope he gets a chance to tone it down as the show moves forward.

In the end, I don’t really find myself laughing out loud throughout Chozen – instead, I continue to nod at everything Burress’ Crisco character mutters under his breath. I’m sure the writers have enjoyed using him as an understated mouthpiece to comment on the ridiculousness of his cohorts’ actions, but at the moment, he seems to be speaking for me. Let’s hope they give him something funnier and more admirable to do soon.

 

*And yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t say much about this one… It’s not that I hate it – I just really believe and hope they can turn this show in the right direction and make it a worthy companion to the other fantastic animated comedy that airs before it.

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