16 votes

The Midnight Gospel is not an adult Adventure Time, except it totally is

14 comments

  1. [5]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I watched three episodes. They followed the same formula: Duncan Trussell visits a trippy world where he engages in "deep" conversations with a plethora of characters while nonsensical stuff...

    I watched three episodes. They followed the same formula: Duncan Trussell visits a trippy world where he engages in "deep" conversations with a plethora of characters while nonsensical stuff happens all around in a form of dream logic

    The down to earth voice acting reminds me a lot of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, and, just like in the 90s classic, creates a nice contrast with the abstract animation.

    I don't know if that is the goal, but, from a philosophical standpoint, the dialogues themselves are kinda predictable and mundane, like overextended /r/Showerthoughts.

    One of the main issues, I think, is the clear pretension to produce actionable meaning. The mismatch between animation and content is not enough to erase the impression that this is dense with rhetorical (as in persuasive) discourse. It wants to teach me something in a heavy-handed fashion, and I don't take that lightly.

    I do like absurd/loose/dream-like stories such as Waking Life, Waiting for Godot and the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, which explore the boundaries of logic and perception to a greater degree, with engaging characters and interesting dialogue. Midnight Gospel sounds like a copy and paste from self-help and Wikipedia philosophy articles. Maybe it makes sense if you use drugs or is part of stoner culture. IDK.

    14 votes
    1. [2]
      Farun
      Link Parent
      I have to agree. I tried watching the first episode and about 5 minutes in all I could think was “Well, another show you need to be stoned for to enjoy. Great.” Wish there were more animated shows...

      I have to agree. I tried watching the first episode and about 5 minutes in all I could think was “Well, another show you need to be stoned for to enjoy. Great.”

      Wish there were more animated shows that aren’t crass comedies or stoner shows. Animation holds so much promise for story development.

      7 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        It’s a shame, especially because you can definitely make trippy stuff that can be enjoyed without being part of stoner culture (even though they might be enhanced if you’re on something).

        It’s a shame, especially because you can definitely make trippy stuff that can be enjoyed without being part of stoner culture (even though they might be enhanced if you’re on something).

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      I think this is the intended audience, but even then the content is so densely packed it's difficult to follow. This feels moreso like it was haphazardly thrown together, increasing the mental...

      Maybe it makes sense if you use drugs or is part of stoner culture.

      I think this is the intended audience, but even then the content is so densely packed it's difficult to follow. This feels moreso like it was haphazardly thrown together, increasing the mental processing necessary to follow the conversation while reconciling it with the animated plot going on screen. It's pseudo-intellectual, which may be all it needs for the intended audience to feel content that they got their "fix".

      6 votes
      1. Iliketoast
        Link Parent
        It's a Duncan Trussell project so I wouldn't expect anything better.

        It's pseudo-intellectual

        It's a Duncan Trussell project so I wouldn't expect anything better.

  2. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I may be the only person on Earth that don’t like Adventure Time. It has some good ideas but the stories are like incomplete drafts. One could say the loose structure was part of the act, but I...

    I may be the only person on Earth that don’t like Adventure Time. It has some good ideas but the stories are like incomplete drafts. One could say the loose structure was part of the act, but I like good satisfying stories that work all the way to the end. Many episodes are like jokes without punchlines. They sound better when someone tells me than when I actually watch them.

    The article gives me the impression this new show is even more loose and abstract. I’ll take a look, but it’s probably a pass for me.

    5 votes
  3. [7]
    UniquelyGeneric
    Link
    I alluded to it in a comment in the TV Tuesday’s weekly post, but the off-putting animation in the show does seem a little gratuitous, as the article suggests. Perhaps it’s because I was primed...

    I alluded to it in a comment in the TV Tuesday’s weekly post, but the off-putting animation in the show does seem a little gratuitous, as the article suggests. Perhaps it’s because I was primed going into the series knowing that it would be coming from Pendleton Ward, but the show does not attempt to paint a pretty picture, even if the subject of the conversation is in an elevated tone.

    While many of the topics covered are similar to the ones shared in psychedelic circles, I could not suggest someone actually on psychedelics to watch the show. For one, it’s overwhelming to take in the loose connection between the conversation and the absurd animation on screen. More importantly, however, is that the animation is a mixture of the explicit and the macabre, which could lead someone into a negative headspace if they reconcile conversations about death with entrails pooled out on screen.

    It’s a shame, really, because there’s clearly skilled animators working on the show, but perhaps by attempting to buck mainstream audiences with a visual style akin to Superjail, they lose some accessibility of their intended audience. I, for one, hesitate to recommend it to friends for fear it might rub them the wrong way.

    3 votes
    1. [6]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      What is there to fear? Worst case they don't like it and forget about it. Best case, they have their mind opened up to a wonderful experience! And potentially a rabbit hole for further...

      I, for one, hesitate to recommend it to friends for fear it might rub them the wrong way.

      What is there to fear? Worst case they don't like it and forget about it. Best case, they have their mind opened up to a wonderful experience! And potentially a rabbit hole for further exploration.

      I would never fear enriching others lives with what the general public considers "weird". Nothing interesting or worth our attention in art and culture is ever popular.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        UniquelyGeneric
        Link Parent
        To be fair, I have told certain friends about it already, but they are already "in the know", so to speak. I wouldn't suggest it to someone whose mind I'm trying to open because the imagery can...

        To be fair, I have told certain friends about it already, but they are already "in the know", so to speak. I wouldn't suggest it to someone whose mind I'm trying to open because the imagery can potentially be too off-putting and turn them away from the ideas generally.

        This is the same mentality I have with psychedelics. I don't think everyone is mentally prepared to handle them, and so I don't suggest they dive into the deep end via tripping in the hopes that they overcome the "weird" for the sake of opening up their mind. While it could have good intentions, the potential negative outcomes could outweigh the positives.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          mrbig
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          What's so absurd about the animation that would shock an adult in 2020? Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired in 1969, South Park is 23 years old and Rick & Mort is a mass culture phenomenon. I...

          What's so absurd about the animation that would shock an adult in 2020? Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired in 1969, South Park is 23 years old and Rick & Mort is a mass culture phenomenon.

          I actually liked the animation, but the dialogues are just boring lectures full of truisms, uninspired pop-philosophy, and self-help.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            UniquelyGeneric
            Link Parent
            I don't feel like the animation would be shocking to an adult, especially one who would seek out an adult oriented cartoon to begin with. I just don't think the imagery of shoving bodies into a...

            I don't feel like the animation would be shocking to an adult, especially one who would seek out an adult oriented cartoon to begin with. I just don't think the imagery of shoving bodies into a meat grinder, for example, is all that pleasant to look at. Superjail (made by the same animation studio) has a similar mixture of the sexual and the grotesque, and it's not exactly a cultural touchstone.

            That being said, I think certain scenes are absolutely stunning, just typically followed up with something crude. Perhaps it's intentional that the childlike main character with simple, "cute" features is juxtaposed with heavier content, both in dialogue and presentation.

            It seems the psychobabble is somewhat inevitable whenever talking about psychedelic experience, as I'm not sure anyone talk definitively about what happens after you die. It reminds me of Waking Life, which has a similar subject matter, and its own smattering of disorienting animation.

            2 votes
            1. mrbig
              Link Parent
              That’s a common topic in many if not most religious circles. And Waking Life managed to touch on similar topics without preachiness and “psychobable” just fine...

              I'm not sure anyone talk definitively about what happens after you die

              That’s a common topic in many if not most religious circles.

              And Waking Life managed to touch on similar topics without preachiness and “psychobable” just fine...

              1 vote
      2. moocow1452
        Link Parent
        Ahem... The name checks out. I would like to be in your corner with weird being good, but with the "Adult Swim" style cartoon or Anime in general, there is a lot of good stuff out there, but to...

        Ahem... The name checks out.

        I would like to be in your corner with weird being good, but with the "Adult Swim" style cartoon or Anime in general, there is a lot of good stuff out there, but to recommend something to someone who wants to watch "an anime," you have to both keep an eye out for "the anime bullshit" everyone hears about and make sure you haven't remembered around it in your head.

  4. ohyran
    Link
    So started watching the first episode (I'm in a Covid slump today and nothing gets done which sucks so why not?). It's lovingly animated, fun visually - but at the end of the episode I started...

    So started watching the first episode (I'm in a Covid slump today and nothing gets done which sucks so why not?). It's lovingly animated, fun visually - but at the end of the episode I started skipping ahead seeing if they would get out of the conversation and in to something relevant. They kinda did and didn't and then it ended.

    I guess if you are really in to those sorts of discussions and have no one to have them with it's perfect - but personally I found it both predictable and boring like being forced to talk with someone who's high.

    Now I'm on episode two. It's still like a non-scripted podcast on one subject with two stoners that someone animated using a very defined aesthetic.

    1 vote