Son of Zorn!
So, if you ever watched He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundarr the Barbarian, or Conan the Barbarian, or The Herculoids you probably remember the archetype: A nearly-superhuman, musclebound warrior in a fantasy world, who’s a little crude and rough around the edges, but usually means well and battles villains in a loincloth, and has barbarian princesses throwing themselves at him. This is Zorn. What makes this show different? Zorn is placed in a completely different setting than Eternia or the post-apocalyptic 3994 from Thundarr, the faraway land of Fullerton, California.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fullerton, I’m not. It’s about 15-30 minutes (California traffic, yay) from my hometown somewhere in Orange County that I won’t reveal. It’s conservative in that Orange County way: people grow their own vegetables in a garden, lawns are well-kept, and the suburbias are full of happy families who usually have white-collar jobs. This is where Edie, Zorn’s ex-wife, played by Cheryl Hines from Curb Your Enthusiasm, lives with her fiance, Craig, who’s an online college professor of psychology, who’s played by Tim Meadows of SNL fame. If you’re too young to remember when Tim Meadows was on SNL, he was also the principal in Mean Girls, and he was the manager in Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping.
Zorn, who’s voiced by SNL and 30 Rock star Jason Sudeikis, attempts to bond more with his titular son, Alangulon, or Alan for short (played by Johnny Pemberton), who is a high school teenager who is at that stage where either he hasn’t gone full hipster because he lives at home, or he’ll just become a typical Orange County type who’s conservative yet liberal enough to be pro-choice and pro-legalization. Trust me, I’ve spent my life here, and that’s how plenty of guys like Alan ended up after graduation.
According to my friend Michael, Alangulon’s only trying to be trendy to get laid. Which could be the case, I tried that in high school too. It didn’t work, but it gave me some newfound experiences in life, like being more in tune with my writing side before going off to college.Enough about me. Alan, as he prefers, spends most of his time trying to win over Nancy (Ellen Wong), a fellow high schooler who he bonds with over their love of ginger, and eventually, using the stone of sight, is able to discover a band she likes and get tickets to it. Most of the dynamic of the show revolves around Alan’s tension with his father Zorn, and how he’s been affected by a father who hasn’t spent enough time with him, and who seemingly doesn’t understand him.
Enough about me. Alan, as he prefers, spends most of his time trying to win over Nancy (Ellen Wong), a fellow high schooler who he bonds with over their love of ginger, and eventually, using the stone of sight, is able to discover a band she likes and get tickets to it. Most of the dynamic of the show revolves around Alan’s tension with his father Zorn, and how he’s been affected by a father who hasn’t spent enough time with him, and who seemingly doesn’t understand him.
For example, Zorn is a killing machine who loves his meat raw and carries around a sword, Alan is a vegetarian who wants to get better at guitar. What they do have in common, is their troubles with women. Zorn can’t seem to wrap his head around the fact that his ex-wife Edie has moved on and is going to marry Craig. In my mind, anyone who was married to Zorn would probably need a little therapy, so it’s great that she’s marrying a therapist who’s calm and understanding. And a great source of comedy. Tim Meadows plays a hilarious straight man once again, with an unbelievable amount of calm, yet still obviously uncomfortable, as he did in Mean Girls.
Jason’s portrayal of Zorn had plenty of funny moments in the pilot episode, but the show has really raised the bar in the second episode after establishing the basics. It has great and fantastical elements thrown into an everyday world outside your window (literally outside the windows of me and Neil Bui), and that makes for an original comedy that just happens to also be relatable: Who hasn’t been embarrassed by your parents at some point during high school? As a child of divorce who grew up spending most of my time with my mom, I can relate to the story of a distant dad who’s trying to connect to his son; my dad went to San Diego Comic-Con with me one year, and never again (he had knee problems which he’s gotten fixed). Or having the mom who wants you to know that you should come to her for advice on girls and not your father, but ultimately wants to make sure your father has a place in your life, even when it’s not the best situation for her.
Enough about me again. Honestly, even if it wasn’t for the extremely relatable situations on Son of Zorn, I’d still love it. The cast is all hilarious in their own ways, trying their hardest to “act natural” despite the strange, animated warrior of Zephyria who’s trying to acclimate to the real world the best he can.
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