The late 70's to early 80's were a golden age for a certain species of testosterone-laced fantasy. Part Americana, part Sam Peckinpah, part Jack Kerouac, part NASCAR, detective shows of the era celebrated buddies, buds, and Buds, blow, boobs, hot muscle cars and cold steel, in a low-rent fantasy LA just a heartbeat away from glitz, glitter, and the mean streets. The Cartoon Network's Adult Swim has decided to recall these days, in a new series, running (at the time of this writing) every Sunday.
Stroker (a clone of Burt Reynolds, with much body hair and gold chain) is a man with a mid-life crisis still trying to learn the craft of detection, lock-picking, car hood sliding, and keeping his gun in his pants, along with Hoop (a weasely, chinless blond with a fanny pack and amazing hair) who does a lot of local theater, works at a local fast-food chain, and claims to be a master of disguise. Their aggregate intelligence is eclipsed by C.A.R.R., a sapient orange hatchback with a mind of its own that represents the "Car of Tomorrow", with an onboard computer system. Unfortunately, other than the Turing-test-perfect voice of the car, the system resembles nothing more or less than an antique 8-bit computer (its creators say it's "the best that 80's technology has to offer". Pardon me, but it's not an Apple IIe, much less a Mac 128k.) Neither one of these fellows is the requisite babe magnet -- Stroker is still trying to get over his marriage to Angel and be a father to Keith, his wuss son who plays hopscotch with himself having struck out at teeball. Hoop's a little luckier: although he lives with his mother, he seems to have a fairly good relationship with his waitress girlfriend. Although they don't always solve the case, everything works out...well enough.
I enjoy this show a lot, because (or perhaps even) I had little interest in the shows on which it's based. The freehand, loosely drawn animations are reminiscent of Schoolhouse Rock, teenage-boy doodling, and other period graphics, and the low-rent Pulp Fiction-like backgrounds are sun-drenched, smoggy, and feel slightly hung-over, as if it were an eternal Saturday morning. Whatever the pretensions of the characters, you feel as if their dreams will never, ever, come true.
Which is all to the best. Success would only cut into the lazy tenor of their lives. So, mix yourself a Harvey Wallbanger, break out the Bud or buds, or buddies, kick back and watch this show.
Maybe you'll like it too.