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Let me first pitch you all the concept of the series, based off the short film under the same name Todd Smith (Alex House) is your everyday Heavy Metal geek, and with his best friend Curtis Weaver, a one armed idiot with the heart of gold, they try and rock out with their band “Barbarian Apocalypse” but are horribly humiliated with the help of the school's clearly evil and emotionally unstable guidance counsellor Atticus (Chris Leavens). Todd is then swooned by the local cold hearted bitch Jenny Kolinsky (Maggie Castle) and becomes determined to become a rock god to impress her. Todd meets up with three stoner metal heads in the school parking lot who foretell a Book of Pure Evil that could grant any wish of his, with a price. Todd of course finds the book and the rest is a blood and guts soaked history. Todd along with Curtis, Jenny, and the last member of their gang, nerdy girl Hannah B. Williams (Melanie Leishman) fight evil spawned by the book whether it be as said before monster penises, fat monsters or cannibal senior citizens and as the tagline for the series says "with mixed results."
Todd is a mixture of a monster of the week series and a “Be Careful what you wish for” series as each episode begins with a new student of Crowley High finding the book and reading off a spell that appears to make their wish come true. Like in the episode “Gay Day” a gay student is picked on by the crowd of typical asshole jocks and uses the book to make “everyone understand him.” The result every guy in the school becomes gay and he becomes straight. However the book also has a tendency to violently and I do mean VIOLENTLLY make the wisher die in the most gloriously cheesy bloody messes.
But the center of this is definitely the characters. Each character is firstly a persona of each stereotype a lot like The Simpsons was. Todd is the Metal dork with ADD, Curtis is the dimwitted pudgy best friend who’s an amputee, Jenny is the cold hard bitch with the silver tongue, and Hannah is the shy nerd. They sound like stereotypes and in many ways they are but they have all been written in ways where they make choices often enough to make them identifiable and in turn relatable/likable. My favorite character is a coin flip between Hannah and Curtis.
It isn’t just teenage characters played by twenty year olds however there are two major adult characters that need to be brought up. Firstly our guru of the show much like Splinter with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles we have Jimmy the Janitor (Jason Mewes), a pot smoking sex demon who is always the voice of reason for Todd and Curtis. Mewes’s portrayal of Jimmy as the “duuuuude” character is nothing but hilarious whenever he is on screen. Sadly due to scheduling he couldn’t play a larger role in the series but what we got is still awesome.
And finally we have fan favorite, Atticus Murphy Junior. Atticus is the guidance counselor for Crowley High but he is definitely not one you would want to go to. Not only does he have REALLY big daddy, and sexuality issues but he is also a Satanist who is after the book too. It’s just sheer comedic gold whenever he is on screen, as he tries and fails to play it hip while around the teens and becoming a total kiss ass whenever he’s around the seniors. He’s just the middle-aged punching bag in the show and thus it’s even more triumphantly hilarious whenever he wins in some way or form.
Now that I rambled on about the characters let’s get to the nitty gritty of why one may like or dislike this series. In a fully uncensored form Todd can have some of the most creative potty humor of all time. This series just goes balls to the wall with all sorts of low brow jokes and making up some of the most incredibly absurd insults and because it goes so balls to the wall what should be incredibly immature for older audience is just laugh out loud insane. This series is iconic for it’s practical gory effects; while sometimes it can look very, VERY fake the fakeness actually has a charm to it. Sure CG extravaganzas like Avatar are nice and all but when practical effects are used, even if you aren’t thinking it, for the audience it looks like a lot more work was put into it and it is visually more appealing. Finally the structure and premise of the series just go hand in hand. Todd has a series structure that perfectly uses “Structured Insanity.”
What is “Structured Insanity?” It’s a writing term that I came up with while researching different animated series for work. Let me explain it with an example in this case Todd. The “structure” is just the rules and limitations of the world, how people act, how people react, and etc. For example, in this universe Crowley High has students murdered by the bus load every day and never are the police called. Why? On the base level it's simply less complicated writing wise without having to deal with that crap, and the writers recognize this and just implemented this thinking into the world. So, now whenever a death occurs in the school it’s treated more as a minor inconvenience rather then a tragic event and that is just consistently funny. This structure allows us to become involved and immersed in the world and these rules show us the guidelines and boundaries to the world because as humans we do like to know where the boundaries lie so that we can either work inside of the boundaries or figure ways to push past it.
Now the “Insanity” part is simply just the writer’s crazy imagination. With the structure in place the writer can do whatever they want and whatever they do will, for the most part, be viable in the world of the story thanks to the now clear boundaries of the world and structure laid out. Like let’s compare two series, Ducktales and Quack Pack. I’ve seen both very recently and quite honestly both are great series but Duck Tales is the far superior show. Why is that? From a structure stand point Quack Pack has no structure for it’s insane world to stand on and the episodes can literally be about anything, which is bad. Being about anything sounds like a nice proposition but when writing ANYTHING for a series it becomes nearly impossible to hold a consistent tone for the world or the story. In quack pack one episode can be about a TV being able to steal priceless art and jewels and then the next episode can be about living statues during a shoot for a news segment. That’s not an issue with Todd it knows exactly what it is and has structured its world to accommodate it perfectly.
I really only have two issue with the series, both of which aren’t technically issues. The first is being that some episodes are harder to watch then others like “Gay Day,” and “The Student Body” because I honestly feel really bad when the book readers of the episode die. Points for making us relate to dead meat but minus points for making me feel bad :( Lastly and this has pissed off fans to no end, the series ends on the BIGGEST cliff hanger possible. After only 2 seasons Todd was discontinued. I know it’s not the writers or the creators fault because my teacher actually told our class their plan for Season 3 of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil and OOOOOOH! It sounded freaking amazing. It was Space Channel, finally kicking Todd out of its frankly awful time slot and out on its ass, leaving fans like me with awful incomplete feeling after watching the Season 2 Finale.
For any of those who haven’t, please check out Todd and The Book of Pure Evil if you’re into this sort of dark brand of immature humour and please, help fight to get Todd a Season 3 by signing this petition and spreading the word of Todd. Like Young Justice, The Green Lantern Animated Series and many other awesome shows they have been cut down in their prime but now we are able to come together through petitions and such to make our voice heard by these producers and distributors. We are the viewer. We have the power.
God, that got all corny all of the sudden. Anyway, Todd and The Book of Pure evil is a fantastically gory and hilarious show and I say if this sounds like your type of show, check it out.
Written by Taylor 'Whyboy' Wyatt
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