The Banal Sci Fi Comedy of Frisky Dingo: Villainy can’t be all Annihilatrixes
The sci-fi comedy series Frisky Dingo was an animated show on Adult Swim depicting the antics of an alien villain known as Killface. Killface is a tall, muscular, bone white humanoid alien who wears no clothing, and appears male, though without any external genitals. Killface speaks with a very proper English accent. Made by the same studio as Adult Swim original Sealab 2021, Frisky Dingo combines absurdist comedy and a shoestring sci-fi plot.
Events in Frisky Dingo are scarcely explained, and the viewer is expected to immediately grasp the gestalt of each episode with minimal prior context. Episodes have continuity with each other and coherent story arcs, but the jokes do not require familiarity with the rest of the series. Witty wordplay, puns, and double-entendres are characteristic comedic tools.
Killface’s main antagonist, superhero/billionaire playboy Awesome X, is very reminiscent of the titular character from Archer. Awesome X spends most of his time kicked back at his corporate headquarters, trying to waste his money. Awesome X and Killface never directly fight, although they do face off against each other as candidates in the election for president of the US. Awesome X owns a team of power-armor clad men known as the Xtacles, who serve as his minions. The Xtacles are remarkably inept, and are frequently depicted messing up the simplest of tasks. Most episodes of Frisky Dingo aren’t about epic clashes, so much as daily corporate or family struggles.
Juggling Parenting and Supervillainy is Tough
One of Killface’s frequent difficulties involves juggling his evil antics and the parenting of his troubled and surly teenage son, Simon. Simon presents as a shorter, fatter white alien, always clad in a sweater vest and bow tie. An overbearing and critical father, Killface frequently berates the perpetually-mumbling Simon for being overweight, homosexual, and messy. Simon rises to the occasion by antagonizing Killface at every opportunity, frequently by throwing his bowl of cereal onto the ground of the kitchen. Simon’s emotional issues are perpetually escalating, and addressed with ineptly by Killface. When Killface is worried about Simon’s sexuality, he decides to “cure” Simon via injections of concentrated soy milk.
Simon’s problems are easy to understand. Despite Simon’s turbulent relationship with Killface, he frequently ham-fistedly helps with Killface’s schemes. A bit too eager to please, Simon is frequently seen toting around a rocket launcher, which he uses to threaten Killface’s enemies.
With Simon an occasional distraction, Killface pursues his plans to destroy the world. Killface’s plan is to use a massive engine to propel the Earth into the coldness of space, where it will be destroyed. Killface constructs the engine in an empty parking lot, and dubs it “the Annihilatrix“. It’s unclear why Killface hates the Earth so much, given that he seems to enjoy his time spent there. Getting enough energy to turn the doomsday device on is Killface’s main preoccupation. Getting energy requires human money to purchase it, however. Killface estimates the cost of activating the Annihilatrix at 12 billion dollars. Thus, Killface resolves to run for public office in order to secure the resources he needs to destroy the world.
Stupid Desires, Stupid Inventions, and Stupid Quarrels
Far from fighting Killface for his desire to end the world, Awesome X and the Xtacles fight Killface in self-defense as a result of a string of minor issues. Awesome X, bored at work, seeks to make a Killface action figure to increase his corporation’s profits. Thus, Awesome X invites Killface to a remote location in Las Vegas in a convoluted scheme to trick Killface into signing his likeness away. Promising Killface the 12 billion dollars he needs, Awesome X ruins his own plan at the last moment, resulting in Killface’s great irritation due to the wasted long drive to Vegas. Killface vows revenge against Awesome X for the inconvenience. And so, their rivalry is born.
Awesome X slights Killface again by cancelling his health insurance policy (owned by Awesome X’s company) when Killface is at the hospital, attempting to get treatment for his injuries. This move ends up backfiring on Awesome X when his power-armor clad minions unionize and demand better health insurance coverage. In typical Frisky Dingo style, the minions had never even heard of health insurance coverage before Awesome X revoked Killface’s. The minions’ demand for health insurance is hampered by their complete lack of understanding about insurance, resulting in awful deductibles and deflated exasperation from their more-savvy comrades.
Not So Super
Over all, neither Killface nor Awesome X have any superpowers. In fact, they’re much more similar than they are different. Both are narcissistic to a fault, and completely oblivious of the needs of those around them, who they rely on very heavily due to their inherent incompetence. Killface and Awesome X are meant for each other, and frequently end up working together as a team despite supposedly being enemies. This irony is not lost on their companions, who are perpetually frustrated by their bosses’ self-sabotaging behaviors.
If anything, they both operate almost exclusively through their various intermediary minions. While many of the characters in Frisky Dingo appear to be bizarre, most are similarly banal. The viewer frequently gets to experience characters in their moments of weakness, ranging from their time in the shower to performing crossword puzzles. It’d be a mistake to say that Frisky Dingo has some sort of “message” or “moral”.
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Though sometimes Frisky Dingo does delve into not-so-subtle political commentary, thankfully the show doesn’t take itself very seriously. The fourth wall is regularly broken, and the characters seem to be acutely aware of their status as cartoon characters. With that being said, Adult Swim’s sci-fi comedy series Frisky Dingo is worth quite a few laughs, if you can keep up with the puns.
Featured Images: Adult Swim