“It’s idiotic to put a mental condom over the horse penis that is my mind!”
This is one of my favourite lines from the pilot episode of Hulu’s upcoming M.O.D.O.K., and when I think about it, perfectly encapsulates the crude absurdity of the new show based on the Marvel character.
M.O.D.O.K. (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) first appeared in Marvel comics in 1967, and let’s face it, has never been taken all that seriously as opposed to other Marvel supervillains. Maybe this is due to his appearance, or the fact that his plans for global domination have never really amounted to much. Either way, this particular mental organism has never been the most feared when it comes to Marvel baddies.
Patton Oswalt stars as the voice of M.O.D.O.K., who finds himself in the midst of a family and mid-life crisis after losing control of his company A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) to the tech conglomerate GRUMBL. The series also stars Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Ben Schwartz (Space Force), Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), with guest appearances by Bill Hader (Barry) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men).
The thing I loved most about Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is that it never tries to take its characters too seriously. M.O.D.O.K. is, for the most part, an idiot, who constantly makes selfish decisions and then wonders why he doesn’t get the love and admiration he thinks he deserves. Occasionally, he’ll have a moment where he shines – but it’s too little, too late. It reminded me of one of my favourite shows of all time, Bojack Horseman, but with a comic book twist. I found the writing to be very similar between these two shows, from the humour to the narcissistic self-loathing of their titular characters. Although, M.O.D.O.K. never gets quite as dark and depressing as Bojack Horseman, and I’m honestly thankful for that. I’m not sure I could emotionally recover from another show quite like Bojack.
The other thing I’m going to compare M.O.D.O.K. to might seem out of left field, but hear me out. My favourite comic book hero has always been Batman, and I truly believe The LEGO Batman Movie is one of the best depictions of the character – and yes, I will die on that hill. Director Chris McKay gave us one of the most human portrayals of the caped crusader yet, and he did so by deconstructing everything we’ve been taught by Hollywood to associate Batman with. Behind all the expensive gadgets and ass-kicking is a person that just wants to feel part of a family. M.O.D.O.K.’s whole arc is learning to love his family more than he loves doing evil. It takes a sophisticated understanding of a character to reduce them to the butt of the joke, and I think The LEGO Batman Movie and M.O.D.O.K. both do it well.
LEGO Batman also happens to be voiced by Will Arnett, the voice of Bojack Horseman, and Chris McKay was a long-time director and producer on Robot Chicken, which shares the same animation studio as M.O.D.O.K. Coincidence, you ask? I think not.
Anyways, I hope by this point I’ve gotten my point across thoroughly enough. M.O.D.O.K. has been a highlight of my year so far, and brings one of the Marvel universe’s less established characters into the spotlight – along with a slew of other B-list bad guys you may or may not recognize. M.O.D.O.K.’s first season ends on a dark note, which makes me all the more excited for the future of the show. Catch the first episode of Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu, May 21!