At first glance Son of Zorn could seem like an awful idea for a television series. However, this odd and quirky live action/animation show is fun and not too far removed from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Of course the punchline here is that no one notices that He-Man look-a-like Zorn is not “real.”
Jason Sudeikis voices Zorn and this is an instance where the casting should be considered serendipitous. The character of this “manly man” who “drinks the blood of my enemies from the skulls of their children” was seemingly tailor made for this comic actor.
What makes the whole thing work is Jason’s straighter than straight delivery. Of course Zorn is less complex than the real people in this world and that makes the show funnier.
The storyline for the show’s premiere episode has Zorn pausing seconds into helping his fellow warriors from Zephyria. It is his son Alan’s (aka Alangulon) birthday and Zorn wants to visit the “fruit of his loins.”
Alan starts out being excited at the prospect of seeing his dad but this turns to dismay when Zorn embarrasses him on the school bus. Zorn’s ex-wife Edie and her fiancé Craig are also not overly thrilled to see Zorn show up.
The warrior decides to stay and spend some time with Alan. He rents an apartment, gets a job and starts trying to make things right with his son.
In some ways the show can be seen as a fish out of water comedy but the writing takes the series further than that simple concept. The lines are crisp, silly and damned funny.
Zorn trying to get Edie to buy off on the giant flying bird is a good example. When his ex emphatically demands that the creature be taken back to “where it came from,” Zorn sneers at Edie. “Oh like you’ve never ridden one before.”
Edie yells back, “I was 19 and coked out of my head. Take it back.”
The hero from Zephyria then stabs the animated bird in the neck, much to the horror of Alan and the waitress he met the night before. Zorn tries to calm everyone by saying that it was painless and he has done this countless times.
As the flying death hawk starts flapping about Zorn begins hacking at the bird to kill it. This was laugh out loud funny. Could this be construed as being in bad taste? Certainly. But… Was it funny?
The entire episode works because most of the jokes are near the boundary of bad taste. (Or at least very close to being non PC.) The lines are delivered straight and all the live action players treat Zorn as if he were just like them.
It works brilliantly.
At the end of Son of Zorn, the giant flying bird has been cut to bits and placed in three garbage cans. (With one leg twitching occasionally.) Edie seeks to reassure her son that he is nothing like his father.
As Alan stands brushing his teeth in the bathroom, he agrees with his mother. The camera pulls back to reveal that from the waist down, Alan’s legs are animated just like his father’s.
Son of Zorn may have problems finding its audience. Although its demographic appears to be older than the norm. The show premiered after football on Sunday, which speaks volumes about who FOX are targeting.
Viewers old enough to remember being enraptured by Who Framed Roger Rabbit will like this one.
Son of Zorn airs Sundays on FOX.