Netflix’s latest collaborative animated effort with Nickelodeon is a bit of a mishit. With 28 episodes running at a little over 10 minutes, Pinky Malinky is about a high school hot dog and his two best friends trying to see the positive side of every situation. Except when they don’t, depending on the episode. With an incredibly quick pace and a smattering of different styled jokes throughout, Pinky Malinky is an animation that can’t quite decide what it wants to be and who it wants to appeal to.
The first episode begins with a loud theme song and an opening scene with Pinky sitting with his mouth open while his human pal JJ attempts to throw popcorn into his mouth. This opening scene drags on far too long and ends with a fourth wall break as Pinky declares to the audience “Don’t give up on your dreams”. From here, the episodes fail to establish the characters, their defining characteristics or just what the show is really about. Instead, Pinky Malinky descends into a jumbled mess of different jokes, styles of humour and tonally inconsistent narratives.
There’s little jokes around corporate greed and capitalism here, mixed in with toilet humour and innuendos while trying to appeal to kids with a simple message and loud dialogue layered across each episode. Sometimes this works well, with numerous episodes about technology nailing this concept and feeling like it should be for kids but the crude jokes, innuendos and societal remarks make this feel much more geared toward adults. It’s difficult to tell who this is supposed to be for in truth and because of this, Pinky Malinky is a difficult show to recommend.
The inconsistent art style only further emphasizes this jarring feel too. Pinky himself is a mix of CGI and hand-drawn animated eyes while his two human counterparts, JJ and Babs, are entirely drawn by hand. The backgrounds combine real-life sets with CGI, stop motion and hand-drawn segments that never quite mesh together cohesively. It almost feels like a patchwork of different influences and styles at times where perhaps a more simplistic hand-drawn approach may have been more beneficial.
With any animation, there will inevitably be people who love Pinky and gravitate toward the randomness. As a parent, the inclusion of characters like Sackenquack and political digs make this an animation I’m unlikely to recommend to them whilst the sheer randomness and lack of a cohesive narrative make it one I’m unlikely to watch myself. If you can take to Pinky Malinky’s divisive style then you’re sure to have fun with this and the random humour does, to be fair, breed some pretty humorous situations at times thanks to the pure randomness of it all. Personally though Pinky Malinky feels more miss than hit and given the breadth of animated content on Netflix, is unlikely to be one I return to in a hurry.