Also just a smidge racist.
There’s a beautiful, almost poetic irony to the state of “adult” animated comedies in present day, specifically those that star Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman. It lies in the fact that these shows that are geared toward adults feature content created by people with the brains of juveniles, the writing talent of an edgy pre-teen, and are basically geared toward other socially inept morons. What you end up with is a show that desperately wants to make a point, but ends up with a shallow concept it barely understands drowning beneath sex and drug jokes. It actually functions on a lower intellectual level than many shows meant to be understood by children.
Santa Inc. is an animated comedy on HBO Max created by Alexandra Rushfield and with thirteen executive producers. Holy crap, that’s a lot of hack frauds getting the director coffee. I’m joking. It stars Seth Rogen as Santa Claus who at the start of the show is nearing retirement and looking for a replacement. Sarah Silverman plays Candy Smalls, a Jewish female elf who wants to become the next Santa. The first female, Jewish Santa. There’s a number of b and c plots that go on over the course of the show, but they all generally fall around the same concept that even in Santa’s magical kingdom the glass ceiling for women is still pretty low.
The problem with Santa Inc is that it’s a big piece of shit. The only thing worse than a bad comedy is when aging Hollywood hipsters think they’re being subversive because they said fuck or talk about sex or acknowledge racism is a thing. Sarah Silverman talking about her vagina and Seth Rogen talking about smoking weed stopped being new and edgy at least twenty years ago. It’s a level of shock comedy that stays well within the lines while pretending they’re breaking the rules, and comes around full circle to being a lame, by the numbers, formulaic show that is just as crotchety as an episode of Full House. It’s very obvious from the start that the show wants to present itself as hard, so long as it doesn’t really offend anyone. And then Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman can go on Twitter and pretend that the only people who don’t like it are white supremacists or some stupid nonsense.
Santa Inc is effectively the TV show equivalent of a coloring book whose instructions explicitly tell you to color outside the lines. It’s the TV equivalent of truck nuts. They can’t really be subversive because the crowd they’re pandering to will absolutely string them up for offending someone, so the show has been manufacturing this outrage from white people and odds are nobody will be thinking about Santa Inc. even by the time Christmas rolls about. It’s not that the jokes don’t land, but that there are no jokes. And no, three women standing around saying bitch four dozen times over the course of a three minute conversation while breaking slightly to acknowledge that they’re saying the word bitch a lot doesn’t constitute a joke.
One show I always go back to as an example of subversive adult, progressive comedy is Drawn Together, a parody of reality shows from the mid-2000s and one that in my opinion was far ahead of its time. Drawn Together went so far into the realm of subversive comedy that it inadvertently looped around to being politically correct. The show didn’t have a single straight white male, the leader of the cast was a sex-positive black woman with the other voice of reason coming from the gay man, and they managed to make it work in an absolutely idiotic universe. It’s a show that managed to tackle everything from coming out of the closet to aids in a way that wasn’t preachy and understood the audience. Just ignore the quality of season 3 and the movie. Another example would be Fritz The Cat, a film so on the spot with its criticism of culture at the time that it really pissed people off who saw themselves in the show’s characters.
Santa Inc. isn’t funny mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t deliver any jokes. It offers no insight on the topics it’s trying to present and ultimately it’s an uncreative mess that pins a diarrheic spew of aging narcissistic Hollywood actors desperately shoving each other out of the way to deliver the next line. It’s made even worse when you consider that the people behind it were at one point talented actors willing to step over the line and put some effort into their comedy, but have since “grown up” and now believe that comedy is less about making people laugh and more about preaching topics they’re not intelligent enough to express. It’s a mean-spirited show that offers nothing of value.
There’s also a great irony in the fact that for how “woke” the movie is, the cast has maybe one black character with a speaking role who stabs Santa in the back at the first opportunity and goes to work at Amazon, while most of the rest of the black actors are relegated to roles as animals. For a show that complains about white people getting the spotlight, it seems to heavily distinguish its cast into white people and animals.
The only redeeming value of the show is the animation, and considering they have people from Moral Orel working on this show the quality of that makes sense. If you want to watch a well animated Christmas film with a stupid plot written by a Jewish person, might I suggest Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights.