FOX has tried the whole primetime animated sitcom thing so many times. The Simpsons was one of their first big hits, and is the greatest show in the history of time, so they’ve kept trying. Commercially, they’ve had some successes mixed in with a lot of misses. Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers have both been on for a while, and Futurama had a solid run too. Personally, I feel like they’ve only had two good primetime cartoons: The Simpsons and Futurama. Those also happen to be my favorite two shows ever. I don’t expect FOX’s latest animated show, Duncanville, to live up to that, but I’ve been given it a try anyway.
This show was created by Mike Scully, a former Simpsons showrunner, and his wife Julia Thacker Scully. Their daughter Sara is also a writer on the show, making Duncanville a delightful bit of nepotism. However, the Scullys created the show alongside its vocal star, Amy Poehler, which is a big reason why I decided to give it a chance. Poehler voices both Duncan, a 15-year-old teenage boy, and his mom Annie, who is a very broad TV “mom” character. The same goes for his dad Jack, who has spent the first couple episodes mostly talking about being into classic rock and other “dad” stuff. His younger sister Kimberly is a tween girl archetype too. What I’m saying is Duncanville isn’t reinventing the wheel here.
That being said, through two episodes I’m totally content with the show. The pilot was a little rough, but, you know, it was a pilot. It wasn’t really the storytelling and pipe laying that bothered me. It just wanted that funny, with a lot of overwritten jokes and cheesy bits. However, the second episode was a lot stronger to me. I didn’t really groan at anything. Nothing felt as forced. There were more good jokes. It didn’t wow me, but after being lukewarm on the show after the pilot, I know intend to keep watching Duncanville.
Poehler is one of the funniest performers out there, and even just her voice work is funny. There are rough edges that still need to be trimmed down, but if you watched the pilot of Duncanville and then gave up, I would recommend checking out that second episode. Alice Cooper is in it! Just like Wayne’s World! Yeah, this show will never be on the level of The Simpsons and Futurama, but at least it’s better than, say, Allen Gregory or that Napoleon Dynamite cartoon you probably forgot about.