robot chicken walking dead

As one of the biggest shows on TV, The Walking Dead has been the subject of tons of parodies and spoofs, from Mad Magazine to Saturday Night Live to standalone features. But we've never seen anything like The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking, which brings together most of the AMC drama's actual cast members to voice their post-apocalyptic characters for a mash-up that's as gory and shockingly hilarious as it is faithful to its zombified source material. All guts, all glory.

In a similar fashion to how Robot Chicken has handled some of its episode-long pop culture spoofs in the past, Look Who's Walking brings the stop-motion madness to an abundance of The Walking Dead's most memorable moments, characters, locations, weapons and more. And the Robot Chicken special does all this in sequential order, more or less, so that we're getting to see the show's events play out largely as they did on the drama itself. It's like a greatest hits supercut, only with more musicals moments, more cringe-inducing jokes, and more Daniel Radcliffe. Or, if you will, think Cliffs Notes, but with perverse doodles all over the margins.

I won't get into the details of Robot Chicken's originally conceived wraparound story that ties the show together, but I'll say that it's a clever concept that allowed creators Matthew Senreich and Seth Green (as well as the rest of the creative team) to throw in even more well-crafted references and background details that are seen for split-seconds at a time. Plus, we get to see, er, hear actor Chandler Riggs giving a ridiculous performance that will make some viewers question if it's actually him or not.

Of course, going into specifics about any of the scenes themselves would also be hazardous to others' enjoyment of the sporadically bizarre sketches and gags. However, everyone should know that Robot Chicken's Walking Dead special does not hold back when it comes to poking fun at anything and everything in the show's history. As referenced just above, there are a few gags involving bug-eyed Glenn that seem like someone at AMC or elsewhere would have had a problem with them; and even Carol's most heartbreaking moment in The Walking Dead gets played for laughs in random ways. It's wonderful to know that everyone signed off on everything Robot Chicken delivered.

The cast was completely on board with everything that went on as well, with Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan and Melissa McBride all doing a splendid job in those titter-worthy scenes. No matter how wild, harsh and ludicrous the moments they're each in, the entire cast gave performances that carried most of the same intensity that they bring to The Walking Dead proper. It makes for such a weirdly enjoyable juxtaposition to hear Andrew Lincoln deliver a firm line like we're used to, and then cartoonishly run off the screen yelling, with his voice quickly fading away, as if he's falling off a cliff in Looney Tunes.

To talk more about the excellent cast, former star Sarah Wayne Callies reprised her role of Lori for it, and one can imagine this show has a hot take on Lori's distorted love triangle with Rick and Shane. The always stellar Michael Rooker returned to give voice to Merle Dixon once more, and what a voice it was, given that he gets to do a short musical part. Music also plays into appearances from Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, who gets attention not for his foul mouth, but for his proud lean-back-holding-a-bat stance. Even Chris Hardwick, Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple make appearances as themselves.

Robot Chicken, which will be back on a regular basis soon for Season 9, has delivered one of the funniest half-hours of TV in 2017 with Look Who's Walking. (That Lucille segment was so hilariously out there.) It's a special that should be watched by anyone who's seen even just one Walking Dead episode, regardless of if they've stopped paying attention at any point during the zombie drama's run. There's something for everyone here, but especially people who want to see weird jokes using Carl's empty eye socket.

9 / 10 stars
Rating: movie reviewed rating

The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking will make its big debut on Adult Swim on Sunday, October 8, at midnight, so those on the East Coast will be technically watching on early, early Monday morning. And if you can't get to sleep after it's over, check out when The Walking Dead and more shows will be back, using our fall TV premiere schedule.

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