Patton Oswalt Isn't The Hero Fox's "Animation Domination" Deserves, He's The One It Needs Right Now
When he isn't performing live stand-up comedy or starring in potentially Oscar-nominated films, Patton Oswalt is one of the nerdiest nerds who ever nerded. That's just one reason why he's beloved by those who still stop by their local comic book shop every week and can reference episodes of both new and old "Battlestar Galactica" with ease. He's appeared in cameos on "Reno 9-1-1" as a LARPer who takes role-playing far too seriously and on "Community" as a male Nurse Jackie, proving that he can speak the language of Pop Culture in all of its divergent tongues. In the last fourteen months he wrote the book (and the article) on what it means to be a 21st century geek, while reminding everyone that "geek" was once said only sneeringly. He wrote a comic book prequel to everyone's favorite Alan Tudyk character, Wash from "Firefly" and Serenity.
In short, Patton Oswalt is exactly the type of person you want to produce and star in your animated superhero TV sitcom.
After his break-out success in Ratatouille, and not to mention making the audio version of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland a thousand times better than the printed copies, it's a bit of a no-brainer that Oswalt has signed on to Fox's "Working Class Hero." The brand spankin' new cartoon is co-created by a writer (Mike Barker), an animator (Brent Woods), and a writer's assistant (Jordan Blum) who all hail from the only half-way decent Seth MacFarlane show, "American Dad," which one can't help but notice is similarly titled to their new project. Oswalt will be onboard to voice the main character, and perhaps just as importantly offer creative input in a producerial role, while the other three handle the daily grind of making a network animated series.
"Working Class Hero" is described by Deadline as being:
"[S]et in a world where superheroing is just another low-paid government job and centers on a dad whose powers are no match for his misfit superhero co-workers and his demanding family."
That sounds somewhat derivative of "American Dad," but what would a show with Seth MacFarlane DNA be if it weren't, in some way, derivative of something else -- especially something else the creator(s) have worked on before. But it also sounds like the criminally underrated and under-seen Comedy Central show "Ugly Americans" if you replace the superpowered office environment with one filled by demons, wizards, sexy lady demons, and lazy zombified roommates. Besides "Bob's Burgers," Fox's recent animated output has been met with disdain, derision, and disinterest. That isn't unexpected when the only "marketable" draws were a cult film that lost it's cultural cache five years ago and skinny, off-screen Jonah Hill. But a superhero comedy featuring a beloved star and shepherded by people who, more or less, know what they're doing might hit the audience Fox is targeting and make "animation domination" actually mean something.
Okay, probably not, but it could still be pretty frakkin' watchable.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you're into that sort of thing). He's not sure he agreed with Oswalt's Wired article, but he thinks that may have been the point.