One, Two, ‘Mr. Pickles’ Is Coming For You

Mr. Pickles, the demonic offspring of Dexter Morgan and Lassie, arrives tonight at 11:30pm ET/PT on Adult Swim to keep his best pal little Tommy safe from the horrors of Old Town…and go on killing sprees, engage in orgies you will never be able to unsee and terrorize an elderly man who knows the truth about his wicked ways. Mr. Pickles takes the wholesome world of the ’50s era Lassie and gives it a satirical (code for satanic) twist. In truth, Old Town with its adorably unstable cop, drug-addled door-to-door saleswoman and plastic surgery wagon reflects the ugly side of the so-called “quaint” hometown existence that has been idealized on television since the medium’s inception.

Within this hellish hamlet lives the blissfully naive Tommy, a six-year-old whose wide eyed innocence leads him into the kinds of situations that make the audience cringe. Tommy’s family is rounded out by his traditional, emotionally repressed father, his doting, but not entirely satisfied mother, his grandfather who is the only person in town who understands Mr. Pickles is a psychopath and, of course, Mr. Pickles, the little scamp who loves getting pickles when he is a good boy and hiding people in his underground dungeon during his down time.

The premiere episode finds Tommy falling in love with a local farm girl who will only agree to see him if he has a job. Given that Tommy is six his job prospects are limited, but through a cascade of semi-related events Tommy does end up with a “job”…and the results are cringe worthy. What follows is not out of the norm for Adult Swim, but if the premiere episode was the only episode available, I cannot say I would be recommending the series. Mr. Pickles‘ pilot suffers from trying to cram too much shock value into 11 minutes. Breast augmentations for small children, underground orgies combined with mass killing sprees, a woman who cries rape to make friends…it is madness with a smattering of comedy.

There are moments in the premiere when the show stops behaving like it just chugged a case of energy drinks when its potential shines through. The grandfather’s long, insane, but completely true story of how he lost his shoe is the funniest bit from the premiere and it is the perfect introduction to what is an unusual world. The bizarre cast of characters populating the town also give the series a boost, particularly the clearly demented cop, but the real star is Mr. Pickles himself. What is interesting about the character is despite all of the mayhem he causes (including convincing a stable full of goats to do his bidding and doing inappropriate things to Tommy’s mother), Mr. Pickles loves Tommy. His loyalty is genuine, and much like Dexter Morgan, when he whips out butcher knives to dismantle his victims or torture them, they are generally bad people. Or they are standing between him and jumbo sized pickles.

Next week’s outing, “Father’s Day” (airing Sunday, September 28th) is a much stronger episode. Without giving too much away, I will say it involves Big Foot in a way you have never seen him before, the climax is amazing and all of the humor the series cannot quite fit between its introduction to the crazy world it is situated in is on full display. It is wicked and hilarious 11 minutes of television wherein Mr. Pickles finds its voice instead of tossing entire bowls full of depravity at the wall to see what sticks.

A word of warning, Mr. Pickles is not for the easily offended. However, if you have ever pondered over what Lassie was doing when Timmy wasn’t in the well, or what your sweet pup does when no one is looking, then this is the show for you. Just do not be surprised if you start keeping a jar of pickles at the ready just in case you run into a deceptively charming pup roaming the streets.

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