Do you roll on the floor laughing when you hear swear words? If you’re under the TV-MA age limit of seventeen-years-old, the answer might be yes. The success of Hulu’s new show, Crossing Swords, will likely be contingent on an underage audience watching it in secret on an iPad with headphones hiding from their parents in order to be successful. For everyone else, it’s practically unwatchable.
This stop-motion animated series looks like vintage Fisher Price Little People toys came to life in a medieval world. Characters have a perfectly round head, a square mid-section, and a smaller connected square base for legs. They don’t have hands, so objects just kind of float near where they would’ve been held. But the innocence of the series abruptly stops there.
The premise follows Patrick, who dreams of becoming a knight in his kingdom with a past that comes back to haunt him. His name was ruined ten years prior when he unintentionally set a dragon on the village, burning it to the ground. Now he will have to prove himself if he’s ever going to make his dream come true.
As a huge fan of animation in any form, something like this should be right up my alley. I was that kid who wasn’t supposed to be watching South Park in middle school but secretly never missed an episode. But the thing about South Park is that it’s funny beyond Cartman saying cuss words. For example, the show sets up jokes and delivers a payoff at some point, a feat that seems impossible for Crossing Swords to even attempt. Sadly, it’s just one excuse to say one naughty word after another, none of them funny to an adult audience. Worst of all, it steals jokes from other shows left and right. Actor Judge Reinhold, for example, played a judge on a show-within-the-show Arrested Development. In episode two of Crossing Swords, there’s a judge with the last name Reinhold… That’s the joke.
Team America: World Police drew big laughs from a sex scene between marionette puppets. Crossing Swords thinks putting preschool toys in compromising sexual positions is hilarious. The queen of the kingdom is into all manner of kinky things, at one point getting out of her robes with an anatomically correct wooden body with carpet that matches the drapes. She even has a “Fun dungeon” full of preschool toys in leather masks with zippable mouths chained to the walls. So not only is the show not funny, it’s also deeply disturbing on many levels.
If that’s not bad enough, the series was somehow able to attract some talented actors with recognizable voices who have previously lent their talents to family-friendly fare, making it potentially attractive to kids who definitely shouldn’t be watching this. A clown with the voice of Forky from Toy Story 4, voiced by Tony Hale, sounds exactly like the innocent talking spork to a child within hearing distance, but drops “F-bombs” every five-seconds.
All ten episodes of Crossing Swords premiere on Hulu on June 12th. From two of the writers of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and the same production company, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, comes this cluster of a show that’s not worth the gigabytes to stream it. After a string of high quality Hulu originals, they’ve finally released a real dud.
I give Crossing Swords 1 out of 5 clowns juggling decapitated heads.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.