Lately several of my sentences, when speaking to my wife, have started with “So there was this one part of Disenchantment that was really funny,” and have turned into “So there was a part of Disenchantment… no, wait, it’s really funny!” So I thought it would be a perfect subject to talk about. It was just released the Friday before last on the 17th and I could tell it was an adult-focused cartoon made by the same people who make The Simpsons and made Futurama, but I was hesitant to watch it because it seemed like it wouldn’t be appropriate for kids. I had no idea…
This show, as Matt Groening described it, is inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and things like that. He also said, in another interview, “If you like The Simpsons, you’ll like this show, and if you hate The Simpsons, you’ll like this show.”
In the same interview he also made a point to say, “We tell an overreaching arch, because that’s what you do with epic fantasy. And things are not what they seem. If I can get anything across in this interview, it’s that things are not what they seem to be. If you don’t pay close attention, it’s fine, you’ll have an entertaining experience, but if you watch carefully, there are secrets and clues and puzzles, and hidden treasures.”
And he’s absolutely telling the truth, if you pay attention, they have multiple hints at things to come, foreshadowing, and hidden clues, and this makes the show worth re-watching even more. In addition to that, it has many references to popular fantasy, for example there’s a throne made of swords in one scene, and we see many other nods to fantasy books, movies, and shows. Don’t let this throw you off though, there’s jokes everywhere, but they chose to focus on the overarching plot and shape the jokes around it, rather than shaping the plot around the jokes. I won’t be going over the full details of the show, and I’ll keep this somewhat short, because I don’t want to spoil any plot points or ruin too many of the jokes. For now, I’d just like to introduce some of the main characters.
First we have the princess of Dreamland, Teabeanie Mariabeanie De La Rochambeaux Drunkowitz, or for short…
I’m not sure if that’s her real full name though, because she was drunk at the time. She’s actually drunk a decent amount of the time. Or sometimes she’s on drugs, or just doing something dumb and irresponsible, like stealing carriages and going for a joy ride, or throwing parties while her father, the king, is away.
But she’s a teenager and going through a very rebellious phase, so a lot of the time she’s carousing and finding new ways of embarrassing the kingdom. If you haven’t noticed yet, she’s got white hair (like a Targaryen), wears clothes that aren’t your typical princess garb, and has buck teeth, which, while she does occasionally use to her advantage, she’s still pretty self-conscious about it.
Bean is voiced by Abbi Jacobson, known for her role as Abbi Abrams in Broad City, and Nya, the silver Ninja of Water in the Lego Ninjago Movie.
Lucille (or Luci for short), a demon bound to Bean through a curse. He’s like the opposite of her conscience, or as he put it, “You know that voice in your head that tells you to do the right thing? I’m the guy yelling over it.”
She was already misbehaving and sneaking out of her tower at night to get drunk in pubs, but now Luci encourages it, all the while being a sarcastic d*ck to everyone, including her, and pretending to be her talking cat around other people.
Luci is voiced by Eric Andre, known for The Eric Andre Show and will be playing Azizi in the 2019 version of The Lion King. Most of the time he’s encouraging Bean to drink and do drugs, mess with people, or he’ll just verbally and/or physically torment…
Elfo is, you guessed it, an elf, from Elfwood, who’s very naive and innocent most of the time, and takes pretty much however much abuse is thrown at him. Usually by Luci.
He develops a crush on Bean pretty much as soon as he meets her, and becomes more mischievous as the season goes on, imploring Bean to be good and protesting Luci’s influence, but still going out drinking and doing drugs with them both, and occasionally whining about how he doesn’t want to do whatever bad or scary thing they’re about to do.
Despite his naivety and innocence, he’s still clearly passively pursuing Bean and wants her badly, but is too timid to do anything about it. At the beginning of the first episode, before he leaves Elfwood, he’s shown trying to sleep with another, promiscuous elf named Kissy, before her father intervenes. It seems like the elves are similar to Smurfs, they’re named for their trait, and I think Disenchantment was actively parodying this… so Elfo is just an elf.
In his attempts to woo Bean, she can’t take him seriously because he’s too cute to her, and it probably makes it worse when he demands she take him seriously. She doesn’t. Elfo is voiced by Nat Faxon, known for his role as Ben in Ben and Kate, and Russ Bowman in Married.
Zøg is the king of Dreamland, and Bean’s father. He tries to be a good parent…
For all the anger and bluster he blows around, he’s actually a really funny character, and is at his wit’s end with Bean, but does have some sweet moments with her. Most of the time though, he’s making crude comments or saying stupid things.
He tries to be a good father, but has no idea what he’s doing, and female emotions scare him so he tries to avoid them.
Zøg is voiced by John DiMaggio, probably best known for his role as Bender in Futurama, as well as his role as Jake the Dog in Adventure Time.
Lastly, there’s Bean’s stepmother, who’s… odd.
And also not human, but Dankmirian, a race of reptile-like humanoids (despite Oona claiming she’s not a reptile) who live in a swamp area called Dankmire. She’s far from normal, and makes no attempts to act like it.
She doesn’t get a lot of lines, but when she does it’s usually something weird like that, and in a few scenes she’s shown crawling on walls or sleeping on the rafters. I actually thought she was making a bad attempt at posing as human and everyone paid so little attention to her they hadn’t noticed she was actually some sort of monster, but everyone knows she’s not human and just glosses over it.
Oona is voiced by Tress MacNeille, known for her role as Dot Warner in Animaniacs and Babs Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures.
One thing I did notice was there’s an… opinionated view expressed about Christianity, and there’s a small handful of parts where they talk about things like “the invisible God we think is up there to watch over us, if he, she, or it is even capable of watching over us.”
Things like this are some of the show’s few flaws, and thankfully it’s limited to a few occasions, the largest quantity of religious commentary is when Bean becomes a nun, but things like this are still somewhat off-putting. Despite this, however, it’s still a really enjoyable show and definitely worth watching if you like things like The Simpsons or Futurama. I’ve watched and enjoyed every episode, and I’m really looking forward to when it returns for season 2.
My next post, which will hopefully be around next weekend, time permitting, will be about the season finale and all the events leading up to the final episode. Be sure to get caught up on the episodes so we can delve into theories about what the future will bring!