TV Show Review: Disenchantment


Last month, Netflix released the first season of “Disenchantment,” a show by Matt Groening. The story follows the fairytale world of Dreamland and the hijinks of its sole princess, Bean (Abbi Jacobson). She is joined by her personal demon, Luci (Eric Andre), and an elf, Elfo (Nat Faxon). The three work together to undermine the king through teenage rebelliousness and possibly save the kingdom in the process.

I was excited. I’ve been a diehard Matt Groening fan since I can remember. “The Simpsons” is the show that pulled me out of the cradle, and “Futurama” is the series that kicked me into adolescence. Who knew what “Disenchantment” would do to me? With the show’s plot revolving around a fantasy medieval setting, the potential of Groening’s comedic genius seemed endless. Or so it seemed.

The show’s episodes have this unrelenting formula. Princess Tiabeanie is a rowdy alcoholic with daddy issues. Luci is a cheeky demon who solely exists to cause trouble. And Elfo’s basically a six year old lost in New York. It’s not bad to have static characters, but in this series where the majority of jokes come from the contrasts between the characters – “Disenchantment” becomes a bore.

I feel like nothing in the season’s nearly 200 minutes actually impacted me. Nothing in it took me off guard, and nothing made me laugh more than a polite giggle. In truth, the majority of time “Disenchantment” was on my screen I was busy asking my friend why its jokes were so awful. At the start to every episode was the hope that Groening’s classic humor would finally come into swing, but episodes would pass and nothing would change. This show’s greatest sin is that it never takes a risk for a punchline, and the end result is a barrage of jokes that fall flat.

It’s really disappointing to think that this might be what mainstream comedy has devolved to. My problem isn’t that this show was truly awful, because I could certainly stand it as evidenced by my long binge sessions. My issue is the sheer fact that 12-time Grammy winner Matt Groening was the brain behind this collage of physical humor.

It’s easy to accept this show as one of the less quality Netflix Originals, following far behind the ranks of shows like “Big Mouth,” but it’s a hard pill to swallow, seeing my favorite writer attached to this mediocrity. Let this be a warning to all other fans: if there’s an entertainment creator out there whose work you completely love and resonate with, their Netflix series might not be everything you hoped for.