TV Review | Warren the Ape – “Abstinence”

Warren the Ape (MTV2: premiered Saturday, June 19, 2010, 9:00 PM ET) has the misfortune to be on MTV2 in Canada.  You either have to be on MuchMusic or MTV to catch this country’s basic-cable audience.  The Hard Times of RJ Berger is the priority import, so Warren the Ape is shunted to a digital cable channel.

Warren the Ape deserves better.  This is one of the few intelligent shows MTV has greenlit in years.  MTV used to pull this stuff out of its collective butt in the 1990s and early 2000s – Beavis and Butt-head, Liquid Television, The Maxx, Daria, The Sifl and Olly Show, Clone High, even The Head and Undergrads.  I don’t want to know how MTV got from this to Jersey Shore.

Yeah, fuck you, I sound old.  If you haven’t seen The Maxx, you wouldn’t understand.

Greg the Bunny (voice of Dan Milano) appears in the screener I received from CTVglobemedia.  Without revealing too much about “Abstinence,” which aired in America on Monday, June 21, Warren Demontague (Milano) tries to get eternal naïf Greg laid.  Warren is not to have sex for a month as per Dr. Drew Pinsky’s recommendation.  This proves to be the eternal struggle for Warren, so he tries to imprint Greg with a Warren-esque libido.

Greg acts like a typical comic book nerd, which isn’t quite the characterization I remember from the Fox and IFC shows.  Warren is still Warren on this show, all abruptness and lechery.  Greg the Bunny fans should feel right at home with Warren the Ape.

Warren the Ape isn’t as funny as the Fox version of Greg the Bunny, but that’s due more to MTV than anything else.  Greg the Bunny accommodated Eugene Levy and Seth Green.  Warren the Ape has to work in Dr. Drew.  I don’t care who hates Levy and/or Green.  From them to Dr. Drew is a quality drop.

Luckily, Drew is a peripheral figure.  Warren can obviously carry the show, as his personality traits are recognizably human.  Warren has problems, and he deals with them in the worst ways possible.  He’s still an ape puppet wearing a football helmet, so he gets away with his crapulence.

Warren the Ape parodies celebrity rehab shows, yet doesn’t feel like a rehash of past mockumentaries.  This is a good thing.  WtA feels like a rehash of Fox’s Greg the Bunny, which is a better thing.  Somehow, Warren the Ape maintains Greg the Bunny‘s ability to derive great comedy from social mores, which I don’t expect from any post-Clone High MTV show.

I’ll be honest.  I was expecting the worst from Warren the Ape.  Greg the Bunny is so good that a berth on MTV smacks of illogic, especially given that network’s love for cloning jackass and The Real World.  I wasn’t expecting the best possible outcome for WtA.  If MTV can’t kill Greg the Bunny, nothing can.

American ratings for Warren the Ape are anemic so far.  Great.  It’s 2002 all over again.  WtA‘s too well-written for it to go down this way, but MTV is usually where intelligent humour goes to dieHuman Giant notwithstanding.

Here’s a clip from “Abstinence” where Warren attempts to play Dungeons and Dragons.  Not surprisingly, he’s not very good at it.  Watch out for the fat kid summoning the ghouls of…whatever the hell he yells.  He’s summoning ghouls.  That’s all you need to know.

C. Archer
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