The aging "Simpsons" franchise has been in the news as of late due to salary disputes between the voice actors and executives at the Fox network. It's rare these days, however, for the once cutting-edge show to generate real controversy.
That's not the case with "Good Vibes," a new animated series from MTV. "Good Vibes" contains its fair share of dirty jokes, sexy characters and two young protagonists who are obsessed with the female anatomy.
"Good Vibes" is an intelligent, raunchy comedy
The fall 2011 TV season is seeing an influx of animated comedies that would make Homer Simpson blush, in particular Fox's "Allen Gregory" and Cartoon Networks' "China, Il." While these shows may appear to pander to the audience, there's a brain behind all the madness.
"Good Vibes" is the latest of these intelligent, raunchy comedies. Screening before an enthusiastic audience at the 2011 New York Comic-Con, the show focuses on Mondo, an overweight kid from Jersey who ends up in a beach community in Southern California.
Sitting down for a roundtable interview, Josh Gad, star of the Broadway hit "Book of Mormon," said the tradition of edginess in animation still exists in shows like "South Park." Gad supplies the voice of the good-hearted and hormonal Mondo.
"People have been pushing the boundaries for a very long time to the point where 'South Park' opened itself up to death threats," Gad said. "Yes, it ('Good Vibes') goes far, but I don't think it goes so drastically far that it is breaking any new major ground."
Joining Gad at the table was Adam Brody, one of the stars of the late, lamented series "The O.C." Brody provides the voice of Woodie, a young surfer dude who becomes Mondo's new best friend. While Brody agrees that "Good Vibes" is raunch, it is good-natured raunch.
"It gets graphic, certainly, but it is never glamorizing despicable people. The main characters all really do have a good heart and the best intentions. With that to sort of fall back on, you can get away with a little more," Brody said. "Most of it is clever, but there's the occasional stray boner."
Debi Mazar is the queen of the double entendres
Character actress Debi Mazar brings an East Coast sensibility to most of her roles, no matter if it's "L.A. Law" or a memorable role in Jackie Chan's "The Tuxedo"
For "Good Vibes," Mazar lends her voice to Babs, Mondo's sexy single mom. In the pilot episode, Babs has a tendency to say one thing but mean another, such as her recollections of working on her knees. The accompanying animation, though, makes what Babs intended to say crystal clear.
"When you are reading them (the lines) on the paper, we don't see the animation in advance or even sketches," Mazar said. "They are brilliant. They are very good writers; they are very smart and witty and you have to put your trust in them."
When she learned to trust her producers, Mazar said, she was able to free herself to do funny, physical things with just her voice. "With voice-over, you have to be so big and I am not accustomed to doing that; it feels like bad acting. In turn, I ended up feeling free and having so much fun."
"Good Vibes" premieres on MTV on Thursday, October 26 at 10:30 ET, following the return of "Beavis & Butt-Head."
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