The Tragedy Of Monkey Dust

I’ve been rewatching one of my favorite TV shows of all time: Monkey Dust. It’s a British cartoon that aired for just three extremely short seasons. The show is made up of a bunch of little sketches from many different writers and animators. Some of them are one time sketches, others are long running and repeating ones.

Now that might sound interesting enough, but let me say this: Monkey Dust is probably the darkest comedy you will EVER see. It makes fun of suicide, pedophiles, islamic terrorists, and many different sexual perversions. Yet, it never feels like it’s being shocking just for the hell of it. This show should be used as a teaching tool in any course on satire. It’s fucking excellent.

As much as I love this show, it’s not for everyone. A few people I’ve mentioned it to have found it simply too dark for their tastes. Again, it’s not a matter of the show being too shocking, but more the show being too good at what it does. Some people will think the show is too biting to be funny, but it should still get points for being so affecting. Everyone else will find the show absolutely hilarious and suitably incisive.

That’s another thing, the show has some truly tender and true to life moments, you just don’t know when they’re going to come. Not every sketch is put up for the sake of a quick laugh, some of them might actually get through your defenses and hit your emotions for a moment or two. Monkey Dust is constantly changing in tone and feel, but it remains interesting throughout.

There are several animation styles, each one should appeal to a different type of audience. Some of them are very clean and refined, some of them have more of that Ren and Stimpy feel to them. I particularly like the somewhat old school feel of the studio behind the “Daisy Harris Murder Enquiry” sketch. Just to give you a feel of one of their running gags, this one brutally makes fun of the ineptness of law enforcement and the media’s fixation with missing white girls.

Some will say that some of the running gags are a bit too repetitive. This is only true a few times throughout the series, especially in season one. They get much better at mixing things up as the show goes on. Many times, they use the running gags to lure you in, only to go the other direction at the last second… these are often brilliant moments.

Oh, Monkey Dust also features one of the best opening sequences ever on a TV show. It has a bitchin’ soundtrack that heavily features Goldfrapp as well. How are you still not watching this yet?

The title of this post, the “tragedy” of Monkey Dust, is that there will never be a show produced for OUR country that is as funny as this. Also, Monkey Dust has stopped running since the death of one of the show’s creators, the legendary Harry Thompson. There are a few rumors of it returning for a fourth series though… let’s cross our fingers!


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July 2009
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