DVDs in Review #111: Mongrels

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Mongrels is a strange beast of a show to try and describe, it was initially recommended to me by my father - a lover of the following categories of shows Science Fiction, British Sitcoms, Documentaries and "sick" comedy (and probably others, but these seem to be the types he recommends to me). There's a fair amount of crossover between the shows we enjoy, so it's always enough for me to check out a show he's recommended.

To quote here's the recommendation I got from him with Mongrels "You've got to see Mongrels, it's this sick show about animal puppets. Really funny, but disgusting as well."

My curiosity was peaked enough to give one episode a try on the BBC iPlayer and I enjoyed it enough to pick up the entire first season on DVD.

I think you can encapsulate the essence of Mongrels with the following description; it's an adult orientated sitcom in the vein of the Muppet Show. It centres around five animals who live in (or near) the back yard of a pub. There's Nelson (voiced by Rufus Jones), a metrosexual fox and the slightly neurotic lead of the show; his best friend Marion (Daniel Tetsell), a stray cat of an indeterminate origion who is best described as being - off the wall and easily persuaded into bizzare acts. Nelson has a crush on Destiny (the beautiful and hilarious Lucy Montgomery -
whos performances here, in The IT Crowd and "The Armstrong and Miller Show" contines the trend of my favourite actresses being called Lucy - she's now in the Lucy Hall of Fame along with alltime favourite Lucy Porter) an beautiful afgan of questionable intelligence; Vince (Paul Kaye) a proper fox and general hard case; and Kali (Katy Brand) who is best described as a chav pidgeon with ideas well above her station. They're joined by Gary (Tony Way), Destiny's owner - who barely interacts with any of them apart from Destiny, existing as the token human in the show, while the animals can talk with each other, they cannot communicate in a meaningful and direct fashion with Gary (though they can communicate with other humans, it depends on the situation).

Visually the show is quite a treat, the puppets are distinctive and well put together, this combined with the superb voice acting and talented puppetering brings the show to life and is quite capable of imersing the viewer to the point that you forget that you're watching puppets. The stories are outlandish and deal with a range of "taboo" subjects including genocide, incest, murder, castration/neutering, forced "bum love", inter-species fornication and much more besides. Mongrels is a show that considers no subject too sensitive to lampoon and it gets away with it thanks to the inhuman appearance of its cast and the obviously "non-serious" intent of the show. It's there to make you laugh, maybe make you feel a little queesy and entertain you at the same time.

Mongrels is not a show to everyone's taste; it's often crude, low-brow and at times downright unpleasant, but it is also - most importantly - exceptionally hilarious and the DVD of the first series represents exceptional value. Two opposable thumbs up!


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