Angry Beavers: The Complete Series

Angry Beavers: The Complete Series
3
As noted in the title, all four seasons of this provocatively named Nickelodeon series, Angry Beavers, are included in this supplement-free DVD box set. It's roughly 22 hours of erratic, illogical and incomprehensible noise presented in an ersatz Ren & Stimpy capacity, wherein two very different beaver brothers alienate the hell out of each other amidst a backdrop of completely random, yet generic plotlines. In the first season, the breakdown is at its most coherent, with the central plight being defined by the rapid, premature evacuation of the boys from their parents' dam. Left to their own devices, Daggett (the uptight one) and Norbert (the suave one) struggle to build a dam of their own, chewing down trees that are promptly stolen by other critters or blown to kingdom come by erratic geysers. Morally, Angry Beavers is about as ambiguous as a youth show can get, repeatedly purporting the frivolity of hard work, doting on Daggett's constant failures in trying to do the right thing, while championing the consistently effective laziness demonstrated by Norbert. As a text, the series suggests to its audience that hard work is for suckers and humourless drones in a world where good things come to those who are effortlessly cool. Whether or not this is an accurate assessment of Western culture is debatable, but it's a weirdly subversive and bizarrely inappropriate message to project, even within the context of an animated series featuring aggressive beavers with phallic noses. As the seasons trudge on, the storylines become increasingly strained and desultory, starting out with a logical, albeit far-fetched, premise (such as the beavers being granted the power to create their perfect world) that goes absolutely nowhere (instead of creating a different realm, they turn into various objects and attack each other incessantly while screaming non-stop). It's as though social anarchy is the intention, embracing a template of wildly unstructured loudness and abrasiveness for the sake of. The assumption is that the presumed stoner audience — it's hard to imagine this appealing to the proposed Nickelodeon demographic — is able to read something meta into surrealist soccer games and a preoccupation with low grade sci-fi films, finding humour in the sheer inanity of it all. As an aggressive, obscene gesture to the standard, morally sanctimonious tropes of animation, Angry Beavers is moderately commendable, but it's also quite painful to endure. (Shout! Factory)