Shaking up Fox’s Animation Domination block this Sunday night is the premiere of Jonah Hill’s animated comedy series Allen Gregory. The series gets off to a decent start, especially if you’re already a fan of Jonah Hill’s style of humor, and there are definitely places to go with the story.
Created by Jonah Hill, Andrew Mogel, and Jarrad Paul, Allen Gregory has Hill voicing the title character, a 7-year-old boy who’s been home-schooled all his life and raised in a wealthy household by parents (two fathers) who have spoiled him enough to warp the child's perspective on himself and his place in the world. When his father Richard DeLongpre (French Stewart) tells Allen he can no longer be home schooled because his other father Jeremy (Nat Faxon), wants (or technically needs) to get a job, Allen must learn to adapt to being around normal children who won’t think much of his pretentious attitude and name-dropping.
A big part of the series’ humor relies on an appreciation for Hill’s fast-talking condescending tone. Allen’s attitude, which has him talking down to just about everyone he encounters, is reminiscent of David Spade in the ’90’s. With certain characters (some of his best), Spade’s shtick was to put people down in an obnoxiously polite tone, and lace everything he said with sarcasm and pretentiousness. It made him unlikable to just about everyone who had to put up with it, but it was hilarious to witness. Allen Gregory isn’t all that different, except instead of a small blonde man with too much attitude, he’s a little kid who isn’t nearly as amazing as he thinks he is. By contrast to the public school in which he now attends, we should be seeing plenty of attitude from Allen as he begins to adapt to life among the commoners.
Another character that comes into play is Allen’s adopted Cambodian sister Julie (Joy Osmanski). She’s treated more like an accessory among the DeLongpre household, though, much like Jeremy, who is also sort of on the outside, she seems to have the wisest perspective on everything that’s going on around her, whether it be at school or at home. She reminds me of a combination of Lisa Simpson and Daria that way.
Leslie Mann voices Gina Winthrop, Allen’s teacher, whom Allen talks down to regularly. And then there’s Principal Gottlieb, an older woman whom Allen becomes instantly fixated on, developing a strange crush on the woman.
Allen Gregory‘s pilot episode is funny and the animation style is pleasing to look at, but different, which will make it stand out among the otherwise nearly Seth MacFarlane-dominated Sunday night line-up on Fox. I’ve found Jonah Hill to be hilarious since he appeared in The 40-Year-old Virgin, however it’s hard to predict how well Allen Gregory will settle in as a show, and whether or not Hill’s character will remain funny beyond the first few episodes. With that said, fans of animated comedies and Jonah Hill alike will want to check out Allen Gregory when it premieres on Fox this Sunday night (October 30th at 8:30/7:30c).