Created by Jon Link and Mick Bunnage
Premiering Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Showing on IFC
MODERN TOSS was originally created by Jon Link and Mick Bunnage as a comic book back in 2003. The success of the comic eventually led to a pilot episode of an animated series for British TV, eventually spawning six wickedly odd episodes. And now the series is making its American debut as part of IFC’s “Automat” block of programming.
I suppose the best way to describe MODERN TOSS to an American audience would be to call it sort of a variety show meets SOUTH PARK. Each 22-minute episode is jam-packed with over ten cartoons and live-action shorts. They feature a variety of recurring characters and bits, including: Mr. Tourette (he paints signs that have just a bit too much truth in them); Alan (a misanthropic blob who hates his brother so much that he actively tries to destroy his property)’; Drive-by Abuser (who… well, he drives by things and people and verbally abuses them); Sneezeman (whose sneezes are so violent as to disrupt his life, set his girlfriend on fire, and more); and Barney (a man with anger issues that turn him into a large, red, rampaging monster. There are many others as well. But what catches your eye as you watch MODERN TOSS isn’t just the snark-heavy humor that Link and Bunnage have invested into their cartoon. It’s the underlying theme at most of the bits’ heart.
And that theme is: “People are complete assholes.”
I can’t remember watching anything in recent memory that evoked a more loathing response about humanity. Mr. Tourette’s signs strip away the veneer of polite society and label items bluntly. Hired to created a sign for a ski resort for wealthy drug addicts that need rehab, he chops down a forest and builds an edifice at the front displaying the words “Alpine Cunt Cabin.” (Just in time for an animated Pete Doherty to arrive, which was brilliant.) Alan is so disenfranchised by his family and friends that he lays a trap for them that causes their own work to collapse a telephone pole on their car. In a recurring segment called “Help Desk” (shot with live actors but dubbed voices), a stream if ignorant people call and visit help desks at the hospital emergency room and the local legal advice office asking for ways to assist in their own stupid slide into self-destruction. In “Illegal Alphabet”, letters roam the countryside trying to form naughty words, trying to do so one step ahead of a legal crackdown. Because after all, the phrase “git stack” could kill, right?
MODERN TOSS is about humor fueled by, and paying homage to, hate. On the surface, it’s good for laughs, and the writing and dialogue are wonderfully clever. It’s also amazing that they have accomplished what they did what a budget that looks to be about twelve dollars short of thirteen bucks. However, it isn’t for the faint of heart, easily offended, or those who have a strong belief in the goodness of humanity. Because its creators certainly make it clear that they don’t. I was good with that. Will you be?
Got a region-free DVD player? Buy it at Amazon: