Plot: In season one, Godlord Golan is sent to earth from his home dimension of Gkrool after a rebellion uprising hurls him through a portal. He lands in the Beekler home where he lives with his acolyte, a goth girl named Dylan, as they wreak havoc across Oak Grove, Minnesota.
In season two, Golan is summoned to earth by Dylan after she finds an ancient demonic tome in the basement of her mother’s workplace. Golan returns to his home dimension shortly after only to find it has been taken over by his acolyte, Kruung, who sends the demons of the dimension after Golan. He returns to earth after fleeing the demons and wishes to take over our world instead in hopes of one day creating an army that can combat Kruung back in his own dimension.
Breakdown: I really didn’t expect to ever like this series based on the premise, but I actually got into it quite a bit. I like dark comedies when they’re not being overly gross or seeming like they’re gunning for pure shock humor, like Mr. Pickles, a show that can die in a the hottest of hell’s fire. Granted, there is a lot of maiming, murder and rape implications, but it’s not usually so in your face about it that it put me off very much.
Dylan really came out being the best character to me through both seasons as they mostly kept her character consistent in how ridiculously ‘evil’ yet still somewhat realistic she really is. I love watching her do pretty much anything as you can guarantee that the contrast between her and her environment will be pretty stark. Plus her dialogue is usually pretty funny in that she’s constantly trying to overly exaggerate her words like she’s a villain. Think Zim from Invader Zim only as a small goth girl and much more violent. She has an unhealthy obsession with demonic forces, gross things and overt violence, and quite a few times she gets in on the maiming and murder.
Golan can also be a lot of fun and pretty funny, but season two kinda butchered him a bit for me. More on that later.
Long story short, I really liked season one a lot more than season two, and not in the usual way that works.
As you can probably tell from the plot synopsis, the second season isn’t really a continuation. It’s a complete reboot. The first season consisted of six ten minute long episodes and when the second season was picked up by FOX, they extended the episodes to 22 minutes and gave the entire series a reboot. From what I’ve heard, the creators deem the second season as the more legit first season while the ‘first season’ is really a series of shorts. Which is a shame because I really believe this series worked best in the first format.
In season one, Golan acts much more like you’d expect a ‘fish out of water’ demonic godlord to act. He makes overly dramatic statements, threatens a lot of people and does a lot of horrible things without thinking any of it is a big deal. Despite the fact that human stuff like watching TV, hanging out with the cool kids and fitting in does appeal to Golan, his first and foremost duty is being the demonic godlord that he is, wreaking havoc and trying to take over the world.
In season two, Golan basically got neutered. Golan is now more ‘human’ though more ‘partier’ human than he has any right to be. Dylan pretty much has to drag him on evil adventures all the time instead of him being proactive in his demonic duties, which is lame. If he is being proactive in that duty, it’s usually for some human-related selfish end.
He’s also gotten a voice change, which does not work for him. Before, he had a very ‘monster’-like voice that was gruff and gurgly, performed by series’ creator Josh Miller. In the second season, he pretty much just has a slightly gruff human voice done by Rob Riggle. When old Golan would get ‘demonic’ he didn’t need to have any audio alterations done to his voice to make him seem any more menacing because his voice was just fine for it. Now they have to give him the stereotypical ‘devil’ filter.
Dylan is mostly the same, but now she is also a bit more human and has a seeming excuse written in for her odd and hateful behavior. Her dad’s either dead or not around. In the first season, Dylan had a dad, Richard, a really conservative somewhat doormat of a dad who served as more or less foil for Golan. In season two, he doesn’t exist. It’s never explained what happened to Dylan’s dad or even if Richard is the dad in this series, but they imply that he either died (of Robot AIDs) or left the family.
Dylan is still the best character in both versions, working off Golan and utilizing her personality pretty well, but the fact that they changed her story in season two kinda makes it less fun. I mean, her becoming a hateful death and demon obsessed sociopathic goth is just a bit sad when it’s partially because she feels lonely and lacks a father figure, which only gets worse in the season two finale. In season one, it’s funnier because you just think she’s a bit of a psycho kid with a legit passion for this stuff.
Carole, Dylan’s mom, stays roughly the same, but she’s crazier and more sexually frustrated somehow despite being a single mother who has no problem offering up her sexuality to people.
Dylan’s older sister, Alexis, is kept the same through versions, but the new animation style basically makes her look crazy. She can’t say a sentence without flipping her head or making big gestures. This might be a play on how overly dramatic some teens are, but it just seems more annoying than anything and this style is eventually applied to basically anyone, especially Carole.
Speaking of the new animation style, while you could argue that there is more detail and fluid animation in season two, I preferred season one’s. It was a bit on the rough jutting side, but it was fine. In the second season, everything’s a bit too animated. People don’t move their bodies that much when they’re just talking. It’s distracting and, like I previously mentioned, sometimes annoying.
Despite the fact that the characters are made slightly more human in the second season, the dark humor also gets amped up a bit. Like MacKenzie B and her friends are all viciously murdered in episode one and a baby is killed by either car crash or being burned alive in episode two. Yeah, Golan killed some people in season one, but for the most part he just maimed lots of people. Not that it really matters anyway since MacKenzie B is miraculously alive and well in episode two.
The finale with Keith’s background is even more confusing. They explain in a flashback that Dylan used to be a perfectly normal sweet pink dress and bow wearing little girl who used to be best buddies with Keith, Alexis’ boyfriend, after her dad ‘went away’ as a way for her to have a male role model. However, Alexis became his girlfriend and he never did stuff with Dylan again, causing her to become the evil and violence-obsessed goth girl she is today. It also explains that the teardrops (season one)/slash marks (season two) on the bottom of her eyes are actually scars as a result of her tearing at her eyelids when Keith was taken away from her.
It was never implied at all that Keith used to be Dylan’s best buddy nor that Keith felt bad about abandoning Dylan back then nor that Dylan had any lasting trauma from it. In fact, he’s made fun of Dylan right to her face several times before this revelation, yet suddenly he’s like ‘Oh…hi Dylan’ after that flashback and she huffs in response. It was nice to give Keith some backstory, but that was one of the sloppiest ways to shoehorn in such a story thread, not that they do much with this anyway in the grand scheme of things.
Not to mention, there have been numerous times where Dylan’s given zero shits about possibly losing Golan, even in similar circumstances, but the concept of such a thing in this episode is inconceivable to her just because it’s matching almost exactly how she lost Keith.
A character named Swingly is introduced in the finale of the first season as an odd little boy that Dylan develops a crush on. In season two, he’s basically the same. He’s pretty entertaining in his own right in both versions, even if they recycle several jokes of his between versions, but in the end of his only part in season two, they make him gay and give him a boyfriend, subsequently crushing Dylan’s first crush. I’m perfectly fine with making him gay, but it just seemed like such a dick move, writing-wise, to Dylan to have him get with someone else and leave. They could’ve done a lot more with that pairing, but they just decided to scrap it. It’s even worse considering there are so few people Dylan actually likes.
Another strike against season two is the fact that the citizens of the town are way crazier than they were before, and some of them even possess supernatural powers. The thing that made season one so funny was the stark contrast between how evil and crazy Dylan and Golan were in comparison to the rest of the normal citizens in the world. Yet they were also pretty much accepting what Golan and Dylan were doing as if it were somewhat normal or, for comparison sake, like it’s a rambunctious child with an imaginary friend, only magnified.
If you make everyone else just as crazy and weird, while also making it so nothing has consequences (like MacKenzie B coming back to life) and other people having supernatural powers (like the doctor being able to time travel; almost certain that’s not a Doctor Who reference) then it makes it much less funny. It’s just a town of crazy people with a demon and an ‘evil’ little girl as the main characters. Added to the fact that Golan is made more human in the second season waters down season two entirely. It still has its moments, but they lost much of what made it funny to begin with.
This also makes Dylan’s issues seem a little moot. Yes, she’s still quite a bit different from the other kids, but since so many people are so crazy and everyone sees them as normal, it makes her problem of feeling alone and misunderstood because she’s so different seem like less of an issue because, really, she’s not so different. Though considering, as of the finale, she has three major ‘tragic backstory’ reasons behind her behavior, I guess even this point is moot.
As a contrasting example, in season one, Dylan and Golan are trying to capture the tooth fairy. Dylan’s dad, the one who’s really been leaving money under her pillow, gets his arm caught in a bear trap that Golan left under the pillow to catch the tooth fairy. As he’s writhing in pain, he decides to keep up the charade of the tooth fairy by saying he was stealing the money she left behind instead of revealing that the tooth fairy isn’t real.
It’s important to note that the parents are the only ones who put value in Dylan’s belief in the tooth fairy, since they believe it’s normal for kids to believe in that stuff, and revealing the truth too soon in their lives might be heartbreaking. Dylan doesn’t really care if she’s real one way or another, and the only reason they’re trying to capture her in the first place is because Golan wants to bone her.
His ridiculous and misguided sacrifice is for the sake of their view of normalcy, and that’s what makes it funny. If this was some crazy character hollering and jumping around then falling down or exploding or something, this whole scene would be boring.
Another good example of this is the running gag in season one where Golan keeps hitting on and making sexual references to Alexis and Carole. It’s funny because Alexis hates Golan and it’s also somewhat offensive considering she’s right on the border of legal age. It’s funny with Carole because she’s married and is obviously sexually frustrated while being attracted to Golan, as evidenced by her spicy Golan fanfiction. However, she can’t bring herself to just do it with Golan because she is loyal to her husband.
In the fourth episode of season two, both Alexis and Carole blurt out that they’ve had sex with Golan, and both times were never mentioned or ‘shown’ on screen. So yeah, they basically just burnt that joke to make a not-really-joke. The reason they said it was because she was comparing the pain of breaking her arm to the pain of having sex with Golan…..Not like it would’ve still been funny with Carole anyway since she seems to be a freer sexual being who is now single.
Season two’s runtime is also a problem for me. The first season’s episodes were all between 10 and 11 minutes long, which I found perfect for this type of formula. This show doesn’t really call for intricate storylines and extended plot elements. 10 to 11 minutes is all it really needed to tell the specific story it wanted to tell while keeping up the pacing just fine.
In the second season, the episodes are extended to 22 minutes, and I can’t say I was a fan of the change. It just seems like, for the stories it presented, except maybe the pilot, 22 minutes was too long. It felt like the stories dragged on for a bit and tried to fill up extra time with sideplots that usually didn’t work very well.
FOX has officially canceled the series after it spent about a year in hiatus hell, which is a shame because I have faith that this series could’ve been something pretty great if it had more of an opportunity to get its footing in the new format.
Is it perfect? No. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say it’s really entirely great, but it has quite a few memorable moments and lines, and you can have a ton of fun with the characters, especially in the first season.
As a final note, here are my favorite and least favorite episodes of both seasons.
Season 1 Favorite: Dylan Crushes Reading – Swingly is a very entertaining character, and his weird mannerisms and personality are perfect alongside Dylan’s. Plus, the plotline with her being unable to read is handled in a very funny fashion.
Season 1 Least Favorite: A Pox on Your Pox – I didn’t like how Golan was treating Dylan during this entire episode. I know that seems like a weird thing to say considering he’s a demonic godlord, but he was just being a dick for most of this episode. Plus, it was kinda light on jokes that really worked.
Season 2 Favorite: Shell Raiser – It involves a bacteria ridden turtle with a sawblade taped to its back getting a magically possessed arm by a stoner that peer pressures Golan into messing up his and Dylan’s latest plot of infecting a huge vat of chili with turtle bacteria by pushing him into smoking weed. I don’t feel I need to say anything else.
Season 2 Least Favorite: On Golan Pond – This was one episode in the entire series that I pretty much hated. Golan sheds his skin and becomes a little chibi version of himself for 24 hours, leaving Dylan to protect him in the middle of the woods while they’re on vacation. He eventually gets taken by a mama wolf who sees him as one of her own. He then proceeds to treat the runt of the litter, a pup he calls ‘Runty’, like garbage.
Runty, starving partially because of Golan taking the last teat, licks up some of Golan’s blood and becomes a monster bent on killing Golan. He is then killed by Dylan and his heart is ripped out and eaten by her. So, yeah, the only two jokes in there are Golan being cute and cuddly and treating a dying wolf pup like crap before viciously killing him.
Oh and there’s a stupid subplot about Carole deciding to let loose with Keith’s partier parents and falling in love with a Party Bot. Reminded me somewhat of that Futurama episode where Bender doesn’t want to get an upgrade.
Recommended Audience: There are rape implications and some sexual content, but no real sex scenes, nudity and so forth. There is swearing slung around, but surprisingly not a whole lot considering the subject matter. People get killed and maimed quite a bit, and there are several instances of animal abuse. 16+
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