Photo: ‘Disenchantment: Season 3’/Netflix
All Style, Little Substance
The Netflix original series ‘Disenchantment’ returned for a third season over the weekend, offering another batch of ten, 30-minute episodes. From the creators of Matt Groening (‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Futurama’) and Josh Weinstein, the Netflix animated, action-adventure comedy first premiered in 2018 to a (somewhat) positive reception—Season 1 holds a “62% Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the series returned for Season 2 in 2019 to a warmer reception.
The show’s so-so success is pretty surprising, considering the series is helmed by Groening and features a genuinely funny and talented cast, including series’ regulars like Abbi Jacobson (‘Broad City,’ who plays Bean), Eric Andre (‘The Eric Andre Show,’ ‘The Lion King,’ who plays Luci), Nat Faxon (Elfo), and John DiMaggio (‘Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet,’ ‘Futurama,’ who plays King Zog). DiMaggio is an especially talented comedic voice actor, having voiced popular animated characters such as Bender from the ‘Futurama’ series, Jake the Dog on ‘Adventure Time,’ as well as iconic video game characters like Marcus Fenix from Xbox’s ‘Gears of War.’
Related article: Hulu Continues it’s Animation Domination with ‘The Mighty Ones’
Suffice to say, all the elements for a truly great show are there—strong writers, talented animators, experienced actors, and laugh-out-loud funny comedians. However, despite Season 3’s dazzling visuals, strong voice acting, and occasionally moving narratives, the show continues to struggle to reach its true potential.
Bean, Elfo, and King Zog Provide Memorable Moments
The show’s main character—Bean, aka Tiabeanie—continues to serve as a charming, non-traditional princess in the kingdom of Dreamland. Abbi Jacobson’s voice acting and comedic timing do a great job in bringing her character to life. Her character motivations—such as finding love, reuniting with her friends and family, and ultimately trying to save her people from ruin—translate well on screen and keep the season’s often hit-and-miss episodes from becoming too monotonous. Bean’s later subplot with a runaway mermaid—whom she quickly befriends (and more)—is one of the show’s best and most captivating plots, doing an excellent job showing Bean’s inner character and surprising vulnerability masked behind her often brash and “confident” demeanor.
Arguably even more so than Bean, Elfo turns out to be the star of the entire new season. The awkward elf’s new adventures—whether through his multiple romances, disguising himself as a member of an elite society, or being chased by angry trolls—Elfo is by far the most interesting and memorable character of Season 3. His romance with a mysterious woman at a literal freak show does a great job exploring his character’s fears and ambitions, and his later over-the-top attraction toward a ship (yes, a ship. It actually kind of makes sense though) showcases both the character’s lust for life and love as well as the show’s (occasional) triumphs at going “full weird” with the story’s narrative.
King Zog—voiced by DiMaggio—continues to be the most versatile character in the show. DiMaggio—a veteran voice actor, specifically for animated comedies—provides a lot of the show’s zany humor. It’s a shame that, toward the latter half of the season, the show suddenly decides to take his character in a very strange direction—without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say his incessant “honking” and random shrieks start to become truly aggravating, causing the viewer to more or less groan whenever the king reappears on screen. Despite Zog’s underwhelming (and honestly random) character arc throughout the season, DiMaggio’s commitment to the character does at least provide some entertainment for the show’s audience.
Click here to read more on Hollywood Insider’s vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world – Hollywood Insider fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy.
The show’s other lead character, Luci, unfortunately, continues to be hit and miss. While Eric Andre has an undeniably unique and hilarious voice, especially in the comedy world (just look at his truly amazing and wild performances on ‘The Eric Andre Show’), Luci, for one reason or another, just never quite finds his mark. Many of his jokes just don’t land, and his actual relationship with Bean—and overall purpose in the show—becomes less and less clear as the season progresses (wasn’t he always supposed to be by Bean’s side, and bring out the bad in her? What happened?) The writers do take his character in a different direction by the end of the season, so hopefully, there’s something more concrete—and entertaining—for Luci to do in the inevitable fourth season.
‘Disenchantment’ Just Doesn’t Know What It Wants to Be
To put it simply, the buildup from the prior two seasons—such as Bean’s relationship with her mom, and with Dreamland as a whole—gets pretty much tossed out the window for large sections of Season 3. Funny enough, Elfo at one point jokes about shows giving too much focus on events that don’t move the plot forward—a truly meta moment that the viewer can’t help but agree with. It’s as though ‘Disenchantment’ writers are aware of the show’s nearly incomprehensible plot (seriously, so many things happen that seemingly do not matter), but are, for some reason, unwilling to provide a more straightforward narrative. The biggest issue is that several events in Season 3—such as Bean’s foray into Steamland, Elfo’s forced subplot with the trolls, and Bean’s confusing relationship with her mom—either doesn’t make sense or feel half-baked. It’s disappointing—and honestly frustrating—to see a show with so much talent, rich storylines, and beautiful animation to be bogged down by a simple lack of focus. Hopefully, Season 4 will learn from prior seasons’ mistakes and evolve into the show it should have been from the start.
In addition to ‘Disenchantment,’ Abbi Jacobson’s future projects include ‘Connected’ (an animated comedy slated for 2021), and ‘A League of Their Own,’ described as a TV “comedy series about the WWII All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” due later this year.
John DiMaggio is currently voicing Uka Uka in the upcoming ‘Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!’ a follow up in the popular ‘Crash Bandicoot’ video game series.
‘Disenchantment: Season 3’ is streaming now on Netflix.
Click here to read Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Black Lives Matter, in which he tackles more than just police reform, press freedom and more – click here.
An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
More Interesting Stories From Hollywood Insider
– Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY
– Compilation: All James Bond 007 Opening Sequences From 1962 Sean Connery to Daniel Craig
– Do you know the hidden messages in ‘Call Me By Your Name’? Find out behind the scenes facts in the full commentary and In-depth analysis of the cinematic masterpiece
– A Tribute To The Academy Awards: All Best Actor/Actress Speeches From The Beginning Of Oscars 1929-2019 | From Rami Malek, Leonardo DiCaprio To Denzel Washington, Halle Berry & Beyond | From Olivia Colman, Meryl Streep To Bette Davis & Beyond
– In the 32nd Year Of His Career, Keanu Reeves’ Face Continues To Reign After Launching Movies Earning Over $4.3 Billion In Total – “John Wick”, “Toy Story 4”, “Matrix”, And Many More
Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment, Disenchantment
Les Almourzaev regularly works as a freelance script reader and screenwriter in Los Angeles. In addition to writing features and reviews for Hollywood Insider, Les provides guidance to up-and-coming writers of all backgrounds, as well as regularly reading for various local and international film festivals. Passionate for diverse and substance-focused writing, Les is excited to work with Hollywood Insider to provide meaningful and in-depth journalism.