Drawn Together: Season One

The snake of pop culture continues to eat itself, and so reality television spawns not only its own parodies but an animated series based on them. Drawn Together is a reasonably clever premise that sees a household of cartoon clichés — the Asian Pokemon-style character, the bland hero, the princess, the 1920s pinup, the gay action adventurer, etc. — placed in a camera filled house, à la Big Brother or The Surreal Life. They riff and tiff through familiar reality-TV moments, from roommates who won't do the dishes to conflicts surrounding issues of race and sexuality. It's daring, in a "gasp, they got away with that" kinda way, highlighted by this "Uncensored" two-disc DVD issue. You can explore just what they didn't get past broadcast censors in the "Censored/Uncensored" game, which makes clear how arbitrary such decisions often are; getting enough right answers unlocks a petulant rant on the part of the creators about their share of DVD residuals. Though the concept doesn't have much in the way of legs, Drawn Together pulls it off with quick-hit gags and not dwelling too much on the details. But it also fails to truly mine the reality-TV genre's parody potential. Only the final episode, an Apprentice knock-off, gets ambitious outside of the typical Real World references. It's a slightly left-of-centre distraction, like having a different style of barbeque sauce on the same leftovers. It's enough to convince you it's different, but not enough to be startling. Plus: select episode commentaries, deleted scenes, sing-along. (Comedy Central/Paramount)