“The Jack and Triumph Show” premiered Friday, Feb. 20 on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
The episode was good, one of the best Adult Swim premieres in recent memory, yet it was missing the usual punch that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is known to bring to comedy. The first episode had around 1.7 million viewers, and featured a great guest appearance by Michael Winslow (“Police Academy”).
The show is about a former child star (Jack McBrayer, “30 Rock”) and Triumph, voiced by comedy writer Robert Smigel (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) and the dark turn Jack’s life took after the show was canceled. After his grandmother June, played by the hilarious June Squibb (“Nebraska”), abandons Triumph in the woods, she is able to turn Jack’s life around. However, 15 years later he returns to their lives to try and get him and Jack back on top.
The show is different than what Adult Swim usually airs. Unlike the 40 cartoons that were too iffy to air on other channels, every Seth MacFarlane creation and their former live action shows “The Jack and Triumph Show” takes a different path. First off, the majority of it is filmed in front of a live-studio audience.
This element gives the show a different feel from the other live action shows that have run. Also, the offensiveness of the real people, and a dog puppet, is great. The cartoons try too hard to be like the bigger names (Family Guy, South Park, etc.) and it makes them lose their own unique voice. “The Jack and Triumph Show” has a voice it could definitely try to expand on, but it has it.
On top of the live element, there are also parts of the show where Jack and Triumph go out and talk to/insult real people. These moments are the show’s gems. Triumph really gets to have the moments he is known for, insulting everyone and everything in his sight. For example, when he is talking to hipsters he says, “Rich like your parents, and dark like the people you pushed out of this neighborhood.” Paired with the lovable and always smiling Jack, you get either a good “Ohhhh” moment or a huge laugh, depending on your own sense of humor.
The acting on the show is decent. In the live sections, Jack and June are fantastic. Triumph gets a good insult in at the start of the episode off an unshaven audience member: “The Jack and Triumph Show is brought to you by the world’s largest neck beard.” Other than this initial insult, Triumph’s jokes fail to live up to the usual sting his jokes have and when paired up to the insults seen in the live section, it is apparent which section is better.
If you love Jack and Triumph, or jokes at the expense of others (both famous and non-famous), this is something you have to watch. The show has a strong voice, good writing and the comedy is on point when the characters are true to who they are. Hopefully the show will incorporate more of Triumph’s insults as it develops, but either way “The Jack and Triumph Show” is an Adult Swim great.