First Look: Fox’s “Allen Gregory”

Fox is premiering another new series this fall: Allen Gregory, created by actor Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek, Superbad), and Yes Man screenwriters Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul. The seven-episode order for the series is being produced by Burbank-based Bento Box Entertainment, which was started a couple years ago by three Film Roman executives.


  • http://youtube.com/user/drexelboi1991 tedzey

    well… it isn’t modeled after a dysfunctional nuclear family which seems to be a first for fox in a long time… and that’s it.

    • M.B. Thomas

      And that’s the problem. Show’s like this only last about one season.

      • http://youtube.com/user.drexelboi1991 tedzey

        Well that’s good! I’m really getting sick of Jonah Hill! Tell you the truth, I got sick of him during “Superbad.”

  • Karl Hungus

    Gosh, looks like the sky is the limit for possibly the most UNlikeable character ever placed in a prime time show.

    The question is, when this thing bombs is Fox going to fire any executives like they did in the fallout from “Sit Down Shut Up”?

  • Trevor

    Am I supposed to like this character?

  • Conor

    The concept is interesting enough, and the writing seems to be alright. I really like the design of the main characterl, but a lot of the supporting cast has the look of uninspired ignorance from something like ‘God, The Devil, and Bob’. Overall, I’m just kind of tired of seeing animated shows created by writers rather than animators.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    At first I thought the kid was supposed to be Harlan Ellison.

    A “kid in school” series, except on FOX prime-time instead of in the afternoon on a Disney channel or a Nick channel?

    It’s difficult to work up any enthusiasm for this.

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      He’s the right size for Ellison, at least.

      • TheBandSnapsBack

        Actually what he looks like is the little people in AKIRA.

  • http://www.damianosketchblog.com DamianoD

    Eh, the animation has a “nice” illustrative quality I guess, not really my thing, I’ve seen worse. The character design though is rather dull. Writing is pretty typical of what I’d expect a sitcom to be, at least nowadays. I really don’t see this getting past those seven episodes.

    • Funkybat

      It’s nice to see an animated show on Fox that doesn’t have a “rough/amateur” look to it. Not exactly “traditional 2D animation” design, more like a spiffy Flash toon, but a nice change of pace visually.

      I think there’s a lot of potential in the overall premise, but I can’t say I’m thrilled with the characterization of Allen Gregory himself. I understand that the kid is supposed to be an arrogant “adult in a child’s body” but even if he were and adult among other adults, the guy would be about as popular as pond scum with those adults. He’s really playing up the “Hollywood D-bag” angle rather than just being a smart-ass “I’m ahead of the rest of you” kid. There are ways to make him have a superior attitude and speaking style, but also by someone you empathize with.

  • AaronSch

    Nothing funny or likable about this character and frankly, it comes across as a pale version of Family Guy’s Stewie. Jonah Hill’s voice acting is painfully dull.

    • Paul K

      Agreed.

      Not to be mean with ‘internet anonymity’, but Jonah Hill should take acting lessons, a course on writing, read up on comedy, and perhaps go on a diet (yay fat joke).

      Seriously, Jonah Hill ruins every scene he’s in. Super Bad, Megamind, whatever– he has no range or timing.

    • Funkybat

      Stewie actually is less of a jerk most of the time than this kid. Also, I can say from personal experience that school-age kids who think they’re “the King S__t” talk and act a lot more like Stewie than Allen Gregory. They are parodies of themselves without knowing it.

  • davidbfain

    It almost makes the “Napoleon Dynamite” series look better by comparison.

  • Emm

    Huh. I kept thinking that the kid’s name was “Alien Gregory” and he was some alien forced to come live with mortal humans (which would explain why he was so much smarter than everyone).

    Anyway, there is nothing in this clip that makes me want to watch this.

  • Ian

    I think the show looks very promising. it looks innocent and lighthearted enough. the only thing we can do is wait for it to premiere, I hate when i see people comment on how terrible something is before they even give it a chance.

    • http://Juanmanimation.blogspot.com J.m

      What?? !!!
      Did you see that part in which the kid and the old lady have a sexual moment?,and then they show a grotesque close up of her amrs?, If did then You have a twisted definition of Innocence ,and a wrong concept of lighthearted “my friend”

      And about people commenting before it’s out….well that is why they post It here in the first place.

    • Shannon LeClerc

      You have to realize that trailers are supposed to appeal to people, to make them want to watch it.

      So far, a lot of people here do not find the show appealing, the art is meh, the animation is not very good and none of the characters seem interesting.

      If it appealed enough to you to watch it, by all means go on ahead but just because someone doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean they have something against it.

  • Michel Van

    that is made for FOX ?
    FOX home of the “dysfunctional nuclear cartoonfamily”
    Allen Gregory is more for Comedy Central or Adult Swim !
    let wait and see if FOX fire any executives…

  • http://www.imabloggerdottie.com Donnie

    so, this is like Billy Madison backwards?

    • Sarah (with an h)

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • snip2354

    Bento Box also animates Bob’s Burgers if my memory serves correct. If not, someone correct me.

    7 episodes? That sounds like a really random number for an episode order!

    • http://woweh.com Kelly

      Bardel Entertainment animated Bob’s Burgers.
      Corrected. :) ♥

      • amid

        Kelly – I believe Bento Box does pre-production on Bob’s Burgers so they are involved.

        snip2354 – Somebody can correct me if I’m wrong, but Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite received a combined pickup of 13 episodes – 7 for one and 6 for the other.

      • http://woweh.com Kelly

        Ah, alright. Well, I know for a fact that -some- of BB was done at Bardel, as my close friend worked on it. But good to know for Bento Box. :>

  • Christopher Smigliano

    And today’s lesson is: If you’re smart you’ll be snotty and unlikable and will have to humilated and broken.

    In other words, Crap.

  • Scott B.

    Whew. Glad to see I’m not the only one who finds this poorly designed, poorly animated, unfunny and charmless.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ teodor

    again that ugly production design

  • The Flea

    I think after seeing this, no one can complain about Bob’s Burger’s being an awful show. . . because it isn’t. . .Bob’s Burgers is AWESOME!

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com Gagaman

    Wow that was….boring. Absolutely nothing redeemable about it, even when compared to that Napoleon Dynamite cartoon they’ve also just revealed. Looks like it would put me to sleep if I’m honest.

    It’s so utterly meh i can’t even think of bad things to say about it, it’s just so…nothing. Ugh.

  • http://llumpychildren.tumblr.com/ Charlie Judkins

    Maybe Fox should consider buying a cartoon that’s actually created by a CARTOONIST for a change.

  • C. Stulz

    I’m a little surprised (note the “little”). Here’s an ORIGINAL, creator driven show, that isn’t a clone and has it’s own look, yet most of the comments are negative. Isn’t this type if show exactly what everyone here at should be rooting for?? Just because it’s not from the brain of animator it’s automatically, NOT a creator driven show?

    I was skeptical of this show based on the description, but after watching that I’m in! The problem with “Sit Down Shut Up” was while it was visually appealing it wasn’t written that way. I’d like to see where this show goes.

    • The Gee

      Creator Driven…maybe…but it is creator driven right off a cliff.

      “The right tools for the right job” cliche comes to mind. Animation and various forms of cartoons are this weird amalgamation of most of the arts; the possibility is you could put almost anything into animation and whether it is good or not it might add to what is there. That’s why you can have funny animation or Romantic Comedy based Fairy Tales or “Heavy Metal” or the diversity of what studios around the world make.

      You could base the cartoon on a very limited restriction of a play, it could be science fiction, it could be all about impressionist painters done in an impressionist style, it could be absurd and rooted in movies, vaudeville, mime or the Catskills.

      But, there’s wrong approaches, too. And, probably just as importantly, when it comes to animation, that doesn’t mean every funny guy or gal is suddenly a renaissance person. How many stand up comedians does it take to screw up a light bulb? From start to finish being able to conceive of the cartoon in visual terms is paramount.

  • Justin

    the main concept is that of an anime a genius child who is either placed with kids that are the same age, or with older kids.

    I am going to see it because it does interest me to how it will be executed.

    However

    I think that there isn’t going to be enough conflict story wise to last longer then a season.

    either the main character is going to change to be more accepted.

    or is just going to be hated.

    I think this would have been better suited as a movie or as mini series. And not a full fledged series.

    But I wish it the best of luck

  • Sarah (with an h)

    Oh wow, a show where theres a child who sounds and acts like an adult and is smarter than everyone else. Gee THATS never been done before.

    But seriously, even though the concept is a bit rehashed maybe the writing will save it, it doesn’t look terrible, but everything is out of context so a full episode might not be so bad. Or it might suck, I guess we’ll see.

  • Jimr

    Do we really need Jonah Hill as an animated character now?

  • http://www.bruandboegie.co.za Mike

    I really liked this! Maybe it reminded me of Calvin & Hobbes. All in all, one of the stronger premises for an animated show I’ve seen. Little bit surprised at the comments, I find myself normally amongst others with similar opinions. I really liked this, I think it’ll be received well. Wasn’t too concerned with the animation here, I think the writing is good, perhaps its just the way the editing for the clip has been done but it runs like a movie. If anything I find the slightly flat style to be a rather nice understated compliment to the writing and voice acting of the main character that took centre stage for me. Not such a fan of the wacky-wacky-crazy-cartoon-networky stuff any more where all the characters seem to have done 10 lines of coke in each scene. Watched it a second time to make sure I can stick by these comments, and yes, still find it charming. Animation is nothing to write home about, but I really like the whole premise – its just clear, characters seem to not be clones of each other and unique … nice.

    • The Gee

      “Maybe it reminded me of Calvin & Hobbes.”

      Instead of just commenting, I’ll ask how it reminds you of that.
      If I were to consider C&H, I’d think of what it is and what this isn’t.

      For instance, this AG cartoon seems like a Little Person in a Big Persons’ world.

      C&H allowed the Little Person to also make a world which was even bigger than that yet it was one in which he fit in perfectly.

  • http://Juxtaminute.tumblr,com Juxtaminute

    I’m actually excited to see this show. The music, narrating and editing in this preview blows but the content of the show looks pretty good. The animation is limited and the style isn’t amazing but I think it’s just odd and pleasing enough to get by. I’m already anxious to see what will happen to this kid and that’s a good sign. Contrary to popular belief you don’t HAVE to like the main character to tell a good story. If anything the bland goody good everyman hero is really getting old. I don’t see how the writing will stretch into more than one season as others have stated but I’m interested to see if it does.

  • http://woweh.com Kelly

    A trailer is just that – a trailer. I won’t say a thing until I see the first episode. No sense in complaining, eh?

  • Cameron Mc

    It’s good that this show is a change of pace from cartoon family, but who roots for the jerk, much less the rich snobby jerk?!

    • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

      Looks like a show that’s been deliberately greenlit to fail—so one exec can hold up “evidence” that only the cartoon family genre can succeed.

  • Kevin H.

    Did we not learn from Sit Down, Shut Up?

  • Steven M.

    I find this rather dull. The main character isn’t really funny or likable, and Jonah Hill’s voice acting is non-existant.

  • Anthony D.

    I’ll be honest, it looks good. Not great, but good.

  • Azz

    Well there goes my hope that they were one day going to make a Barry Ween animated show.

  • tonma

    watching the napoleon dinamyte thingie and then this, I see that both have that ugly part when they edit various characters repeating the name of the tittle character over and over, boy I hate that…

  • http://www.allanlorde.com Allan Lorde

    They had me until the principal fantasy sequence. That was…a tad uncomfortable to watch.

  • The Gee

    Maybe it is just my browser but on the front page it says there are 37 comments.
    When I come to this page, it says there are only 9 comments. And, that seems to be the number on the page. An odd glitch…

    As for the trailer, I saw it elsewhere and for the love of God I can’t bring myself to raise the volume to clearly listen to the chattiness that is in it. I do it for other stuff, but, there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to do more than look at it and try to make out what little I can understand.

    First, the design is way too much like a project I saw some years back. (You wouldn’t believe how horrible it was; just miserable)

    This cartoon looks like something that a non-designer and a non-cartoonist who is afraid of even attempting to try and draw a cartoon character would do.

    In short, it is a crappy attempt at making interesting characters and it must be the anti-thesis of Joy Da Vie for animators to make those little body parts move and look functional and interesting.
    But, that’s not the point is it?
    As long as the mouths will move and the eyes will blink occasionally, to someone IT ROCKS! And, it rocks because there’s funny stuff being said.

    Okay, that was neither short nor sweet.
    To cut this short, I’m gonna put a twist on something that was short and sweet:

    How many bonghits does it take to get to the center of a good creative idea? I’ll ask Mr. Owl.

  • Keegan

    Terrible art style and designs.

    Dialogue was kinda funny though.

  • http://steve-hogan.com Steve Hogan

    Jonah Hill’s a funny guy, and I thought the dialogue worked, but I think the show would’ve been better as live action with some kid who can do a good line read of Hill’s writing. As it stands, the generic animation with the dead eyes and vaguely pained expressions is off putting.

  • http://www.clownalley.net Pat Cashin

    That was the exact opposite of fun.

  • peter bangs

    Am I the only one seeing “Darla” when I look at the still.

    • David Breneman

      If you meant “Daria”, yeah; I was thinking the same thing.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    not easy to miss the mark on composition, colour, animation and humour… the law of random happenstance suggests at one stage something ‘not so bad’ will occur

  • Randy Koger

    Oh, and don’t forget that ANNOYING voiceover guy that ALWAYS sounds the same and has that annoying voice.
    GAK!
    Why does EVERYONE these days have that same delivery pattern for voiceovers???

    • snip2354

      That announcer does movies, TV commercials and bumps, and not just for one network or channel either. I wonder why he’s so in demand.

  • AnthonyA

    Yah, I’m afraid that this trailer doesn’t catch my interest. I think the concept is just a little too absurd. If Allen were perhaps in ninth grade or so, it might be a bit less over-the-top, but would be more believable. Especially the ‘romance-with-the-principal’ part. Eww. Not because of the principal’s character, just the over-the-top romanticising. Squicked me immediately.

  • http://steishapintado.wordpress.com Steisha Pintado

    The characters are absolutely expressionless. Pair that with Jonah Hill’s flat voice acting… I’m not convinced.

  • http://los-utopicos.blogspot.com allari

    So tasteless. How can these studio execs be so brainless?

    • http://www.sibsy.blogspot.com Sabrina

      They’re not brainless (despite what most of us think), they’re simply approving cartoons that will “appeal to a mass adult audience” and not our animation world. With The Simpsons somehow still running a fairly good force, along with shows like Family Guy and American Dad STILL on the air – SOMEBODY must be watching them.

      It’s an easy cash grab…and they just keep following their same guidelines. Limited animated sitcoms with quick and “witty” dialogue sells. And unfortunately, the numbers and ratings must be adding up somewhere. :\

      • Funkybat

        Problem is, most of the cartoons that execs have approved for primetime over the years have done very poorly in ratings. Perhaps what they think a mainstream audience wants to see isn’t actually that at all.

        Family Guy was pretty popular from the start, and it was stupid of them to cancel it (after giving it the “Critic Treatment” and shuffling it around the schedule so much even devoted fans lost track of it.) It came back, and rejuvenated MacFarlane’s career, because it was funny enough to build a mass/cult popular uprising on DVD and Adult Swim. The last really original animated series to be a success in primetime was King of the Hill.

        I’m not saying something like Metalocalypse, Venture Bros., or Aqua Teen Hunger Force would work in major network primetime, but it seems like what is viewed as “safe bets” for adult-targeted animation have mostly proven to be losing bets. Maybe it’s time to try something rather different. The Simpsons and The MacFarlane block pretty much covers the market for “sitcommy” family cartoons.

        At least Allen Gregory and Bob’s Burgers are somewhat different than what came before, but would it kill them to try putting something like “Archer” in prime time?

  • Clint H

    This was a huge yawn-fest. I know we’re supposed to encourage new Fox cartoons that don’t follow the “dysfunctional family” formula, but why do they have to make those kind of shows with boring designs, unlikable characters, and plain unfunny dialogue?

  • Dr.Truth

    I think for a fox animated show that is not based around a nuclear family, Allen Gregory is “pretty cool”.
    Not great, but down the middle “it’s alright”.

    I have to confess that I find Jonah Hill kinda funny.
    So I’ll give it a shot on that basis.

    It’s not Dexter’s Lab, but I’ll check it out.

  • derpderp

    I thought the sound was pretty okay for a contemporary talky-type sitcommy show, but good lord, it’s just so all-around ugly. There is no excuse for bad design and color choices. It does not cost that much more money to have a sensible design scheme to the show. There are a lot of incredibly talented designers out there who would be ecstatic to work on a show, so I can only assume it was conservative to the point of tastelessness by committee or executive decisions.

    Ugly ugly ugly!

  • http://michaelvdb.shawwebspace.ca Michael van den Bos

    Yap, yap, yap, yap. More illustrated radio on television.

    • http://deaniac.deviantart.com Deaniac

      Uh, yeah, isn’t that essentially what Rocky and Bullwinkle was?

      • The Gee

        Ah.

        But, the way that orange was different from this apple is at least two-fold:

        R&B had a lot of funny elements put together: funny voices, funny cartoon concepts, character designs, Cartoon Characters, was animated taking advantage of everything from the seas to the skies using pans that made it worth animating and was smartly produced even though the animation was limited and the designs weren’t fully fleshed ones.

        This AllenGregory cartoon doesn’t seem to have those considerations; from what was shown, those things aren’t there. For this, it is Situation First, the Premise. That premise is one which could have led to the question of HOW DO WE DO THIS, LIVE ACTION, ANIMATION or Live Action with a main character that’s a puppet? It definitely seems like the title character (undoubtedly referred to at least once as the “Li’l Guy” ) was conceived as a cartoon element but one in a more real world. It seems that way to me, at least.

      • http://deaniac.deviantart.com Deaniac

        I guess what I’m most frustrated with is the fact that Michael uses the phrase “illustrated radio” like it’s a bad thing, when it’s definitely not. Like I posted earlier, Rocky and Bullwinkle was a prime example of this.

        I mean, not EVERY animated show has to be a machine gun paced, slapstick-ridden smorgasboard, now does it?

      • The Gee

        No, not every animated Cartoon needs to be non-stop slapstick either.

        But, obviously there was a pacing to the timing of the R&B show that did it up the right way. It was good for the format of the cartoons within the show and allowed the humor to work extremely well.

        This is more of a sitcom and seems to be one story per episode which runs the length of its timeslot…just like most network comedy cartoon shows these days.

        I guess no harm, no foul on it being what it is but that still doesn’t mean it was a great idea for a cartoon or that it will be a good approach for a cartoon.

  • http://BausReo.DeviantArt.com Reo

    Dead in the Water. Calling it already.

  • Rick R.

    The looks of the character remind me of Kokubunji from Chobits, except that Kokubunji was actually a very cool character, what with his knowledge of all things mechanical and wisdom to go with his smarts.

    Of course, this being Fox, and me thinking its useless (like The Cleveland Show or Bob’s Burgers), I congratulate the show’s producers because that particular combo means the show will now be on Fox for the next 20 years.

  • Tom

    I’ll give it a try. It’s a new idea (fuck Stewie “One Note” Griffin) and it looks engaging.

    Of course, I’m not one of those haters you see on Cartoon Brew.

  • http://www.coffeeroll.com JPDJ

    Dear lord–animators will never be happy. No it’s not an original idea (what sitcom is?), but it’s executed well.

    I actually think Jonah Hill’s voice works here. The kid is supposed to be a little unlikable. (Archie Bunker, George Costanza, Patti and Selma, etc, etc.)

    I’m looking forward to seeing a full episode. It’s definitely more anticipated (for me anyway) than Napoleon Dynamite.

    Cheers, all.

    • The Gee

      “Dear lord–animators will never be happy. No it’s not an original idea (what sitcom is?), but it’s executed well.”

      On the last clause: the trailer doesn’t support that from what I can see. And believe me, animation a lot about seeing, and it is a heckuva lot about performance.

      Anyways, for the first sentence, in fewer words than I would write:

      http://observersroom.designobserver.com/oblog/post/seven-things-designers-can-learn-from-stand-up-comics/27038/

      via one of them tweet things (wardomatic–>beastofburden)

      Oy. it is too close to the rapture for clarifying….

  • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com mrscriblam

    i think this could be kind of funny but naturally fox is awful at advertising so i can’t really tell if its clever or ‘the stewie griffin show’

  • VertMB

    I kinda liked it, slightly quirky (for Fox anyway) and the fact the main character is a bit of a douche actually appealed to me, why must the main character always be likeable? Yeah it’s just another fish out of water story which isn’t particularly original and it’s not a masterpiece but I certainly think it will be a nice bit of entertainment.

  • Mike Russo

    This isn’t even going to last 4 episodes before FOX cans it.

  • http://kicreativestudio.blogspot.com/ Ki Innis

    The ultimate in precocious child TV characters.

    Folks be honest, has anyone ever really liked precocious kids?

    I think the interest is somewhat finite depending on someone’s tolerance level before it turns to being irritating.

    (it’s just a commercial though…Bart Simpson had to develop some redeemable character traits otherwise it just wouldn’t have worked.)

  • julian chaney

    So Frasier is back on the air. Good for Fox .

  • ScottG

    I realy hate how people are calling the charictars boring and the show unfunny!

    How could you tell in a 2 minute trailer?!?!