A while back I did a post about how sometimes comedy shows require more than one viewing to get. Xavier: Renegade Angel is one of those shows.
Though the show deliberately targets shallow adoption of new age/native american/eastern spirituality, Xavier is itself a consciousness expander - it demands your attention to get all the little jokes or else they slip by. In twelve minutes, so many ideas get packed in and then tied back together again. The speed it moves and the willingness to appear like nonsense, makes the show seem random to a casual eye.
A collection of bizarre physical traits including backwards legs and a snake for a hand, Xavier wanders the Earth, looking for the arsonist who murdered of his father. As a self-styled mystic and helper of the innocent, he finds people with problems to help along the way. But everyone he meets, he harms - often because he’s as narrow minded as the people who inevitably beat him up for being a freak when he first arrives into town. (Appropriately enough, the killer he’s searching for is himself. He burned the house down while meditating in a room with an insane amount of candles.)
Like the creators previous’ program Wonder Showzen, the creators’ willingness to use ugly imagery and darkness to create humor is bracing. It’s so rare. In this clip, happiness is equated with murder:
And the demented logic of it all. Take last week’s episode. Smoking and eating bacon takes years off your life, therefore if you eat enough of it you can travel backwards in time. How to travel forwards again is predictable…
...but the detail of how Xavier, who can’t touch anything without turning it to shit, strands two other people in the future in the process is pure genius.
This weekend’s episode (available at Adult Swim at 6 PM today) brings together Mother Earth, Darfur, rampant consumerism and some really wonderfully juvenile jokes about tampons all together. If you haven’t had a chance to tune in or have only seen the show once, you owe it to yourself as a comedy nerd to use the Adult Swim generosity of clips to watch a couple of episodes in a row.
The good news for those who have fallen into Xavier’s rhythms. I recently corresponded with Vernon Chatman, one of the series co-creators, who told me that they’ve already received an order for a second season (10 episodes) from Adult Swim. Great News.