Monday, August 5, 2013

High School USA!

High School USA!
Episode 1: Bullies
Episode 2: Sexting
By: Carlos Uribe

High School USA! is about a group of high school students.

Spoilers Ahoy!

What to say about this show? It's a good thing that it's only a ten minutes long because it was a torture to get through both episodes. This so-called satire of the modern high school experience is never funny. I don't know, it's possible that FOX's new Animation Domination HD block simply isn't for me. I can at least see the appeal for Axe Cop if it was done right. I don't see why anybody would like High School USA! The jokes never work, the characters are all frustratingly annoying, and the satire never rings true. This doesn't feel like a parody of the actual modern high school experience but rather a writer's misconception of what it is. A writer who hasn't attended high school in decades but who hears stories and crafted this show based on them. It creates a mess of a series that ultimately becomes mind-numbingly dull. It's not a smart or dumb show but it is one that is so boring that you're not really going to care. What's worse is that there seems to be no point behind it all. Take the plot of Bullies. It's basically trying to deal with the bullying situation in our schools but it goes all over the place. It tries to compare bullying with homosexuality, tries to claim everyone is bullying, and that fighting bullying is being a bully. That's so many points to try to make that they all get lost within the ten minutes the episode has. When you add the plot the show has and the multiple characters, the satire is reduced to a bunch of noise. The other episode isn't any better. Sexting's plot goes from one place to another without actually saying anything about sexting. Is it bad? Is it good? A good satire doesn't have to be funny but it has to be making a point. The reason High School USA! is a big waste of time is because it has zero point. It's not trying to actually say anything about these issues or what the modern day experience is. It's just a weak excuse to put in lame jokes.

The show only has ten minutes so it's no surprise all of the characters are one-dimensional stereotypes. The aggressive jock who acts like a bully, the two dumb girls, and a protagonist who is clearly modeled after Archie Andrews. The show also a black geeky looking kid. Each and every single on of them got on my nerves by the time I finished watching both episodes. The bully was just too aggressive in the first episode, the two dumb girls just too eye-rolling, the geeky kid too low self esteem, and the Archie clone too separated from the rest of the show. There is a difference between having stereotypes as an effective humor tool and simply overusing them to the point where they quickly wear out their welcome. That's the kind of show High School USA! is: it has little restraint to how it uses it's character's personalities in an attempt to force humor. It's also the kind of show that makes fun of how everything is generic. The school is actually named High School USA! and the students cheer on a band called “That One Band” (or something). It's supposed to remove place from the show but it simply makes it feel forced. It's not like High School USA! actually sells itself as a satire of any actual high school experience that it's refusal to do any worldbuilding is justified. In other words, the characters and the setting both fail this show.

I can recommend Axe Cop for it's novelty. I can't recommend High School USA! because there is literally nothing redeeming about it. It's not clever, it's pointless, and it's very much off-base. It's short time-frame stops it from actually having anything to say and ultimately it's generic characters and setting doom it to actually grating on the viewer's nerves.

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