Wonder Showzen: Season One
Wonder Showzen, a looney-tunes send-up of children’s programming, takes all the familiar elements of kiddie shows (the puppets, the cartoons, the bright-eyed moppets) and instills them with warped life lessons on sex and drugs. It’s a jarring, almost psychedelic half-hour — imagine the Children’s Television Workshop as run by a bunch of meth-heads — and after a while, some of the race and scatological gags strain to be subversive. But the best bits are stupefyingly hilarious, such as when Clarence, an oft-berated puppet interviewer (voiced by series co-creator Vernon Chatman), chases down Central Park joggers just so he can ask, ”What are you running from?! What are you running from?!” Just don’t show it to the wee ones.
EXTRAS The nonsensical commentaries (including a rambling monologue from comedian Dick Gregory, who has nothing to do with the show) are for die-hard, in-on-the-joke fans only, but you can’t go wrong with outtakes of cute kids shooting the breeze with a bunch of cranky puppets.