Most parents naturally squirm at the TV concept of an "adult cartoon." That goes double for shows with simplistic animation or cute cuddly animal characters, which are low-hanging fruit for the littlest children to pick. The first show of this kind was "South Park," which looks like a kindergarten art project but sounds like a bad day at a juvenile delinquency center.
Now NBC has unveiled "Father of the Pride," which looks like "Shrek" but sounds as sad and horny as last year's failed Whoopi Goldberg sitcom. The concept behind the show -- a cartoon about the lions in Siegfried and Roy's Las Vegas lion-tamer act -- could be adorable with a family theme. Just how difficult would that be? For NBC, it's apparently impossible. They've found a way to sewagize even this.
But this show is all about getting what they call "zoom zoom in the boom boom." In this new show's first episode, Larry the Lion heads home to have sex with his wife because she's in heat. He roars, "Hey, Big Daddy's home, and he's ready for loving! It may be 9 o'clock in New York, but right here, it's mountin' time!" When his wife declines, he tries spray-painting a happy face on his nipples and belly with whipped cream.
Later, Larry hears a slurping noise and looks down to find a cat licking his crotch area. The cat, in a male voice, says, "What? Your wife ain't doing it. I'm all you got, sunshine." If that's not enough, Larry's daughter says, "I'm on my way to a party by the reptile house. I probably won't take drugs, but I won't really know until I get there." Still focusing on getting the love life going, Dad dismisses his daughter with: "That's fine. See you later." The first episode's sophisticated dialogue lines included "don't look at my ass" and "I got stuck with this bitch."
NBC's avalanche of ads during the Olympics mentioned that this cartoon was an "adult comedy," and they scheduled it at 9 p.m. Eastern time, which NBC thought would send a message that it was not appropriate for children under 14 (and it was rated TV-14, as if it's appropriate for 14-year-olds). But the avalanche of ads during NBC's weeks of Olympics coverage also mentioned that the show comes from Dreamworks, "the same guys who brought you 'Shrek.'" That's no idle message. "Shrek 2" was the monster box-office smash of the summer, seen by millions upon millions of American children. Unsurprisingly, "Father of the Pride" came in second for the week -- among children aged 2 to 11.