As I should have mentioned in my updates post last week, I knew before I even had my future decided that if I came back, it would probably be in early May. I knew that the first anime I’d review would be Berserk, as I did flat out promise it, but I had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head about what my second review should be. For some reason, I was feeling incredibly stupid that day, and I decided to leave my fate up to the internet. I went to the most active Facebook group that I was a part of, and I posted an open poll, asking what title I should hit next.
Now, the option to close out Facebook polls so nobody can troll them is rather recent… I am, at the very least, ONE of the people whose complaints to Facebook lead to this change… But if you’ve dabbled in Facebook polls before, you’d know that the urge to troll open polls has only gotten greater since people were given said option. I knew this, and was fully aware of it, but I didn’t care. I wanted to get trolled. I wanted people to suggest some truly heinous and offensive, or notoriously unwatchable, anime for me to tackle, because I wanted to prove to everyone that I was back and ready for a challenge.
I didn’t add any options myself… I let people add their own options… And thus, I was expecting people to burden me with something like Bible Black, or Twin Angels, or Boku no Pico, or Black Butler… But no, that’s not what happened. I learned a very important lesson that day… Even if you can’t count on people to be assholes, you can always count on them to be stupid. Case in point, the title that won the poll in a landslide, earning at least 4X the votes of the second place option, was Cory in the House. Yeah, if there’s one redeeming quality of the human race, it’s that even when presented with the opportunity to be randomly cruel to someone, they’d still rather be rebelliously idiotic. I don’t know how I wasn’t expecting that.
Don’t worry, my *next* review will be of something heinous.
Now, initially, I was just going to ignore these results, and pretend the poll never happened. The second highest vote-getter was From the New World, a title I actually really like and respect, so I was just going to do that(and I still will, in the future). But then an idea hit me… Fuck it. You guys want me to review Cory in the House, then that’s what I’ll do. It’s an old Disney sitcom that’s only relevant because of a decade-old meme that nobody’s willing to forget about, but doesn’t that, on it’s own, make it part of anime culture? And I’ve reviewed non-anime stuff before, so whatever.
Only, here’s the thing; I’m not going to review it as an anime. I’ve done a little research, and that meta element of the joke has, on it’s own, been beaten into the ground, with nearly all of it’s youtube reviews and Amazon product reviews falling in line, like the very mention of it as an anime is the equivalent of Schwarzenegger impressions… Meaning, it’s a cheap, easy joke that nobody ever laughs at, and it’s rewarding solely for it’s trolling value. Although, I’ve gotta give some credit to the Youtube reviewer who went as far as to connect it to a murder conspiracy. Good effort. No, I decided right then and there that I’d review this title for what it was… An ancient Disney Channel sitcom. Because I hate the human race, and I really don’t think I’ve been showing it enough.
At least, that’s what I thought would happen, but as I would soon find out, this show is really hard to find. There was never a series DVD release, it’s not streaming on Netflix, I don’t have Hulu, and I am NOT resubscribing to TV service just for this. I asked for help online, but of course, all I got in response was trolls naming off anime streaming sites, because you’re all horrible people. I actually checked these sites, too, so I can especially say Fuck you to that.
I eventually found some of the series available on Dailymotion, but in poor quality… Sped up, zoomed in, and all that jazz. I also happened to find one lone DVD that happened to have 4 fan favorite episodes on it, so there, my goal was set. I wasn’t going to watch the full series… I mean, come on, guys, the video quality of that pirated Dailymotion stream is just too painful for me… I was going to watch the pirated first episode, as well as the ones available on the DVD, and hopefully, they’d give me an accurate feel for the series as a whole.
Before we go any further, if there’s anyone still reading at this point who want to make some joke about Cory in the House being an anime, this is where you sod off. Sod right the fuck off. I don’t know why I said sod off when I’m obviously perfectly capable of saying fuck, but whatever. I’m owning it.
Besides, anime is only from Japan, and Cory in the House was animated in America! It doesn’t count!
There, I made a meme joke, and I hope you fucking choke on it.
Anyway, now that I’ve actually watched some of Cory in the House? Well, first of all, you have to take my opinion with a grain of salt, as I only watched the pilot episode and four alleged fan favorites, so if there’s some dark period to the series, I don’t know about it. But from what I did see, honestly, I really like it. I know, right? I’m as surprised as you are. I’ve never seen a Disney sitcom before, outside of the old TGIF line-up, and everything I’d heard about them had prepared me for unlimited cringiness and soulless acting from people who really didn’t want to be there, but I actually enjoyed this.
This is mostly on account of the lead actor, Kyle Massey, who plays the title character, House… Oh wait, that’s Hugh Laurie. Kyle Massey plays Cory, and damn if it if he doesn’t bring his all to the performance. He brings boatloads of energy, charisma and sincerity to the role, so much so that even when the jokes are at their lamest(which, to be fair, happens a lot), he still makes you want to laugh at them. The other main cast members do a hell of a job, too, having a lot of fun with their roles while still putting genuine effort into the material. Some of them were saddled with less than enviable gimmicks, like Jason Dolley, who had to play the stereotypical dumb best friend, but he still came out looking good, mainly due to the fact that his character had the essential benefit of also being laid back and likeable.
I mean, the guy playing Cory’s dad isn’t great, but he’s still way above what I’d normally expect from a Disney sitcom actor.
There are also a few guest stars, particularly in the episodes that I watched, and while they didn’t do anything particularly memorable with George Takei, it’s excusable because their target audience more than likely had no idea who he was. They gave a lot more focus to Raven and The Rock, because of course those names are going to resonate with younger viewers. Rocky had a pleasant reunion with his Game Plan costar Madison Pettis(Who I forgot to mention is also a huge star in this show), and Raven… I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen Raven, but apparently she was psychic? Whatever the case, she put forth just as much effort as Kyle Massey, and the chemistry the two of them together had me rolling.
And despite what I’ve been saying, the writing isn’t all that bad, either. I mean, okay, it’s obviously stupid. Like, dumber than a box of hammers, kind of stupid. But it still kind of works, in it’s own way. One thing I noticed that it’s particularly strong at is the element of planting and pay-off. The Rock episode is probably the best example, as there are almost a dozen things in it that come back later in surprisingly smart ways, but since I don’t want to spoil anything in that episode, I’ll talk about a plot line from the first episode, instead.
Early on, Cory shows us a bobblehead resembling the President, and say he wants to sell them as a product. Now, you might be noticing, this isn’t funny. At all. It just feels kinda weird. Who made that for him, and if he’s that pressed for a get rich quick scheme, how did he pay for it? It’s bad, but due to the show’s strong sense of pace, you quickly forget about it. Or, you would, except that it comes back. While Cory is stuck under the president’s desk(and is forced to lick his hand, pretending to be a dog, which is admittedly painful to watch), his assistant refers to him as “The boy with the bobblehead,” which the president mistakes as meaning that Cory has an actual physically deformed head. That would be funny on it’s own… Congratulations, you saved a bad joke, please teach this art to Mike Myers… But then, at the end of the episode, POTUS gives him a heartfelt speech, detailing his own childhood deformity(just go with it), and without Cory even realizing the mistake, it winds up tying in to the resolution of the episode.
I’m sorry, guys, but I’ve gotta be honest, this show is way too entertaining for it’s legacy to be the fact that a bunch of unimaginative trolls keep dragging it out as a dated meme. I mean yeah, like I said before, I only saw the first episode and a collection of popular episodes, so it goes without saying that I don’t know the series at it’s worst. Hey, for all I know, maybe Donald Trump makes a cameo. It happened in Drew Carrey.
So, to clarify, Cory in the House isn’t quite good enough to justify the hassle you have to go through to watch it, but if you can find a convenient way, go for it. It’s a pretty funny show, and I’d recommend checking it out.
But it’s not a fucking anime.