Mulligan Season 1 Review – Netflix’s struggles to make a decent adult animation continue

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -|Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -|Review Score – 2./5
Episode 4 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 -|Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 -|Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -|Review Score – 2.5/5

 

Netflix seems to have completely lost the plot with its adult animated offerings lately. Ever since BoJack ended, the streaming giants have been searching for the next big thing. Farzar, Paradise PD, and now Mulligan show how their desperation has clouded their judgment.

Mulligan comes from the minds who made shows like 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but lacks any of their creative hallmarks. It is a contrived attempt to fashion satire and find humour in the aftermath of an alien invasion that leaves a smart-looking nincompoop from Boston as the puppet President in the hands of a wily, seasoned senator.

Matty Mulligan is the hero who saved the world from decimation. He blew up the mother ship and brought about the downfall of the aliens. Along with him, Lucy Suwan, his romantic interest who has just met Matty, enter the White House as the main couple.

Senator Cartwright LaMarr uses this opportunity to springboard his own idea of America and wield the supreme power to manifest his reality. In the aftermath of the invasion, Mulligan’s cabinet, including the prodigal Dr Farrah Braun and Professor Prioleau, guide the president in his bid to win over the people and start afresh.

The main conceit of Mulligan’s storytelling is that it has no direction. You do not get a grounded plot progression that is engaging and easy to follow. Instead, you get frosty, derivative, and unimaginative musings that are more miss than hit. The writers and creators do not stay closer to creating and maintaining the ethos for Mulligan, which drains it of any appeal. We are left to navigate disjointed settings in each different episode with no overarching destination to arrive at.

The thought process to characterize the cinematic universe is not helped by uneven execution. Some parts of Mulligan, like the final few episodes, have surprising depth and personality. They even come with motifs that can be used to extrapolate to create an overarching narrative theme. But in the first half of the season, you hardly get any of that.

It seemed like the creators wanted to do a lot with Mulligan. They touch upon different aspects of the aftermath of the invasion that could have potentially been expanded upon. But what happens is that none of these is worked on with a singular focus.

An attempt is made to carry all the ideas together and that leaves the end result very muddled. In the hopes of carving a refreshing, cutting-edge sitcom, the makers of Mulligan are left with trying to compensate for the gaping creative hole with cliches and stereotypes. Every now and then, you’d go, “Where have I watched this before?” You might not know the exact source – such is the copious amounts of “borrowed conviction” these days – but you will have a feeling of having seen it before.

The voice cast does a stellar job though. Dana Carvey is the pick of the bunch. Carvey’s immaculate grasp of a traditional, straight-thinking senator from the South results in a memorable character sketch. Cartwright LaMarr single-handedly pushes the gauntlet all by himself to make something of Mulligan. The accent, tenor of the voice, and Southern idiosyncrasies are “lilac,” in LaMarr’s own words. Tina Fey and Chrissy Teigan bring their usual appeal to Braun and Lucy, respectively.

Daniel Radcliffe isn’t used enough as King Jeremy though. And that alludes to the poor planning of the creators. Things like TOD’s past and Axtarax’s fear of facing his people were big misses as well. The show’s think tank should have followed up on the seedlings of ideas like these to make Mulligan more original.

One can certainly find appreciation for the observant references to pop culture in the background. Al Yankovic, Zhao, and Prophet Dave encapsulated famous events in recent memory through hilarious portrayals. There are more subtle easter eggs to “egg on” those with a penchant for details. The satire and social commentary about traditional political values of America’s GOP was somewhat pushy but overall tastefully done. Even this part of Mulligan seemed ticked off the creative mantle of shows before it.

Mulligan just about qualifies as a serviceable Netflix show but don’t go in with high expectations.


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  • Verdict - 5.5/10
    5.5/10
5.5/10

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