When Duncanville debuted on FOX I wrote about it. The first couple of episodes seemed promising, more promising than any FOX animated show added to the Sunday lineup in a while. Well now the first season has concluded. Apparently they decided to only make 11 episodes, perhaps not wanting to invest too much in a new show in case it turned out to be unpopular. Instead, Duncanville got a second season, and hopefully it will be longer. This is the best animated show on FOX to debut since Futurama.
The show was co-created by Amy Poehler, Mike Scully, and Julie Thacker Scully. Mike Scully wrote on The Simpsons and in fact ran the show from season nine through season 12. Granted, in the minds of many that was during the time many people felt like the show went off the rails. Admittedly, I am one of those people. Season nine is great. Season 10 is the first year where The Simpsons started to slip. Season 11 is the first season I don’t think is good. Some of that may just be the march of time, but honestly I feel like Scully’s sensibilities played into that. He let the show get really bonkers and out there. It became a lot sillier and more nonsensical. The characters become more inconsistent. Under Scully, it felt like Simpsons writers were playing in the sandbox and doing what they wanted.
At times, that wasn’t bad. Even seasons 11 and 12 have some good episodes. Duncanville feels like that era of The Simpsons, but not in a bad way. This time, Scully and company were created a new show out of whole cloth. That means the characters never feel off, because we’ve only ever known them like this. When things get really silly or nonsensical, it doesn’t break the reality of the show. It is the reality of the show. Plus, Duncanville never goes all the way into Family Guy territory with its breaks from reality and pop culture riffs. Sure, ALF shows up in one episode, but it’s pretty funny and I don’t mind it…too much.
There are some fun characters on the show, particularly Duncan and Annie, the two voiced by Poehler fittingly enough. A couple of the characters I could do without, Yangzi seems to add nothing in particular, but none of them are primary characters. The entire Harris family is fine with me. I got a lot of laughs from Duncanville over these 11 episodes. None of the episodes were great, but none of them were bad. This is maybe as consistent as a show Scully is running has been. Maybe Poehler plays a part in that. Maybe Scully is just better at this now. Regardless, I look forward to another season spent in Oakdale with the Harris family. For years, I’ve watched The Simpsons on Sunday nights (or the next day on demand) and then was done with FOX’s Sunday lineup. Now, though, there is a second show in the mix for me.