If you’ve been reading any of my previous SON OF ZORN reviews, it’s no secret I love the show. I think it’s strange, unique, stupid, and dry, all at the same time. So when I say that the fourth episode of the series neither improves nor declines in quality from previous episodes, it’s certainly not a criticism. “The Weekend Warrior” is still contains the excellent combination of strange, unique, stupid, and dry humor that the series is becoming known for. However, the show’s trend towards maintaining this type of humor raises questions about whether it will ever achieve large mainstream popularity at this rate and if not, whether the current audience will be enough to keep it on the air.
First, let me get through my regular rounds of praise. “The Weekend Warrior” has everything Son of Zorn is becoming known for: dumb but self aware jokes, old school animation mixed into the real world to create and embellish already absurd scenes, clever punchlines, and weirder jokes and lines that often rely on the actors’ careful delivery and tone. The cast does an excellent job pulling jokes off the script and into reality. Even Cheryl Hines (who came across as almost bored in previous episodes) finally seemed into it, putting forth a much more energetic performance this time around. This episode also spends more time showing Edie and Craig interacting more, giving their relationship more of a dynamic and eliminating most of the awkwardness between them. My only criticism of this episode is with one scene in which Edie and Craig have another couple over and Edie fakes being dead as a prank. The following scene implies the it was all to show how Edie couldn’t stop worrying about Alan and Zorn alone together, but the entire sequence came across as completely superfluous and disruptive. But other than that brief hiccup, I was constantly laughing at almost every weird and stupid moment.
As enjoyable as it was, however, I couldn’t help but think about where Son of Zorn plans to go and make its home in the TV universe. Sure, I like the show, and there are some moments I am confident everybody would enjoy, but it’s still a niche offering with a very unique tone. I have no doubt the creative forces behind the show are fully aware of this, and so the question becomes whether they will try to broaden the show’s appeal with a more traditional sitcom approach, or they will hold fast, allowing the premise and characters to stand on their own and maintain the weird and outlandish tone they’ve created thus far. Based on this latest episode, it appears they are staying true to the strange and absurd nature of the show. After last week’s episode cranked up the silly, I was expecting this week to continue the trend, while possibly phasing out the characters’ weird behavior or Zorn’s offensive lines in exchange for safer and broad silliness.
Fortunately, I was wrong. As I’m sure many other fans of the show will agree, there’s enough broad, safe humor out there for those who prefer it. For those of us who prefer the strange, it’s refreshing to see it on a mainstream network. However, while we may appreciate it, the network may not. So the question remains: will the show’s current audience be enough for Fox? Or will they leave Son of Zorn behind in pursuit of something with broader appeal? Only time will tell. So for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the show like Craig enjoys his lip balm.
Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
Son of Zorn airs Sundays at 830PM on Fox
Max Ouweleen | Contributor