The Cycle of Life
The Flight Stuff
Eat Prey, Live
Flights, Camera, Action!
We’re All the Same
Absurd is the Word
Absurd Planet is absurdly unfunny and while there are sprinklings of genius dotted through its 12 episodes, these are oftentimes sidelined in favour of toilet humour and adult-orientated jokes. For a show that’s rated as PG and prominently showing on the Netflix Kids channel, there’s a lot of taboo humour right the way through and the episodes sporadically jump around so much between the different animals that there’s never time to actually digest the facts learned. With options like Planet Earth and Our Planet which are accessible to all ages, Absurd Planet may have some entertaining moments but it’s a show that can’t quite decide who it wants to tailor its material too.
After an opening segment that impersonates David Attenborough and pokes fun at his unique voice, Absurd Planet introduces us to Mother Nature, our wise-cracking narrator that joins us along this wild ride as we learn about a whole host of weird and wonderful creatures. As a nature lover, there are some amazing creatures chosen and they are truly bizarre.
Unfortunately Absurd Planet throws in skits and jokes – all geared toward Americans – in the hope of keeping the entertainment factor up rather than letting the animals themselves do the talking. While some of the sing-alongs are a nice musical touch, these are oftentimes counteracted by distracting accents ranging from slugs talking about mating in a posh British accent or Goats speaking French.
If this show was primarily geared toward kids then perhaps it wouldn’t be too much of an issue but hearing “Hey ladies, check out my scrotum neck,” in the first episode and a separate segment involving Narwhals where you shouldn’t “sit on its horn, unless you’re into that sort of thing of course,” aren’t exactly kid-friendly jokes. The references to pop culture including Edward Scissorhands, Jersey Shore and even Adrien Brody will be lost on most kids and it only further accentuates the issues this show has tailoring its material for a specific audience.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be a crowd that love this and I’m sure they’ll enjoy the abundance of toilet humour and those different reference. There are some interesting facts sprinkled through each episode and the 20 minute run-time is smart, playing off that 20 minute attention-span most of us have before it wanes slightly. It’s frustrating that Absurd Planet doesn’t capitalize on that more, with bare bone facts given about one animal before moving to the next.
It’s just difficult to recommend this show when so much of the good material is bogged down by needless comedy skits with no rhyme or reason – especially given their American slant.
In terms of the camera work and shots of the animals themselves, there’s lots to like with this one and some of the creatures and locations explored are truly unique and interesting. There’s a conscious effort to squeeze in as many animals as possible into the run-time but in doing so, the show runs into that aforementioned issue about the facts. It’s the documentary equivalent of sprinting through a zoo, whipping your head from side to side to see all the different animals before stopping at the gift shop and laughing at a silly postcard.
If you watch Absurd Planet and enjoy what’s on offer then that’s absolutely fine and I’m happy that the show has found an audience. Compared to other shows of its kind though, Absurd Planet is lacking in educational material, the tone of the piece feels conflicted between tailoring for kids and adults while the abundance of sex, poop and genitalia jokes dotted right the way through this one make it more taboo and outrageous than it has any right to be.
If you enjoy a 3 minute song about poo and enjoy the style of humour on offer then Absurd Planet is definitely the show for you. It’s a simple concept executed with as much comedy as possible which oftentimes pushes the information aside in favour of getting another laugh from the audience. As light, breezy entertainment in the background some will find this enjoyable but an educational resource for kids? Best to steer clear of this one and throw on Our Planet instead.