Review: Numb Chucks is mind-numbingly awesome

B +

Part of my launch series, Rediscovering YTV

When I came across a promo for Numb Chucks online, I immediately thought: Oh my God, it’s The Angry Beavers 2.0 and I got a bit excited. Now that I’ve watched the show, I can safely say that my gut reaction was right. Numb Chucks is very much like the old Nicktoon The Angry Beavers, and it even shares some similarities (although to a slightly lesser degree) to another famous Nicktoon, SpongeBob SquarePants.

Numb Chucks’ main characters Dilweed and Fungus are a lot like Angry Beaver’s Daggett and Norbert or SpongeBob and Patrick from SpongeBob Squarepants, but they seem to have even more screws loose if you can even believe. For example, when I tuned in, Dilweed wore a colander with pencils sticking out of it over his head, and Fungus, on the other hand, went with a patch of tin foil on the old noggin with a bent out of shape hanger sticking out of it. I shouldn’t fail to mention that Fungus’ eyeballs were looking in opposite directions, and he had a power cord tied around his waist to mimic his hero Space Woodchuck Morris (a reoccurring character obviously based on Chuck Norris).

In the Squidward role, you have a sheep named Buford. He’s condescending, entitled and seemingly hates Dilweed and Fungus. He also thinks he’s smarter than them. Personally, I doubt he is, or if he is, he’s probably not that much smarter than Dilweed and Fungus. Buford at times takes advantage of Dilweed and Fungus to only wind up looking ridiculous in the end.

Numb Chucks is complete with those classic, cartoon slapstick moments like when Dilweed and Fungus counted down “5,4,10, blueberry…blast off” to release two shaken up two litre pop bottles attached to their wagon that shoots them all over the sky. One of the characters actually falls out of the wagon, lands right in front of a moose having tea. He immediately grabs a cup to drink for himself, and engages in an intelligent conversation with the moose. The Numb Chuck somehow ends up back in the wagon only to crash forcefully into Buford. Poor Buford is crashed into the tree so hard that he melds into it as if the tree is a memory foam mattress. When Buford eventually falls off the tree, you’ll notice an imprint of his body on it. Unfortunately, that isn’t all for Buford, the tree falls right on his head afterward. Ouch. Curiously in the following scene, however, Buford’s leg was the only thing that he seemingly had broken. With Dilweed and Fungus being complete idiots, however, Fungus mistook the cast as some sort of “magical wizard sock.”

Numb Chucks can be wildly imaginative and reminiscent of those days as a kid where your imagination could take you pretty much anywhere. However, a lot like kids, while it can be rather creative, it seems to randomly lose its imagination at time. Examples being naming a pillow store simply “Pillow Store”, a game store Gamies or having the Numb Chucks stop in their tracks, giggle and make up the name “Mr. Sillyface” for a dancing character with eyeballs moving all over. (His name is actually the almost equally uninspired Ding-a-Ling.) Granted, most young kids randomly come up with uninspired names for things as well.

You may also notice periodic pop culture references like the aforementioned Chuck Norris caricature Space Woodchuck Morris. The video game store Gamies also holds quite a few Easter eggs. For example, older viewers, or younger video game fans might notice that Gamies’ sign is reminiscent of the old SNES controller. Inside, the same eagle-eyed viewer may also spot a controller that looks a lot like the N64’s. Even the video game that the Numb Chucks pick up in the store is in a lime green case that looks a lot like the ones that Xbox 360 games ship in.

Despite the few pop culture references and the refreshing child-like imagination, if you’re an old dinosaur you might be turned off by Dilweed and Fungus being so down right stupid. The show can easily at times hit Fanboy and Chum Chum territory, or perhaps even worse, Toopy and Binoo territory making it feel like it is more targeted towards preschoolers rather than the preteen demo YTV targets in The Zone where Numb Chucks has its first-run episodes.

Case in point the build up to the finale of the first segment where the Numb Chucks count: “five, four, ten, peanut, seven, blast off” and use two other pop bottles to race their wagon down a street with moving cars. They nonchalantly play goldfish while their wagon somehow crashes through a 1 million dollar painting up for auction, (humorously causing the auctioneer to start the bidding at a nickel once he notices the giant gaping hole caused by the wagon). Then suddenly the Numb Chucks end up back on the street and out of nowhere the classic windowpane during a car chase gag shows up. Numb Chucks approaches it by having the wagon go down a man-hole and up another one, but the pane still breaks as the two characters carrying it drop it. The Numb Chucks survive the ordeal, somehow, but Buford partially crashes through a wall leaving him entirely in a cast for the next scene. If that’s not enough, in the second segment a can lands on Fungus’ head causing it to become cylindrical and Ding-A-Ling chases a donut down a street causing a huge automobile pile up.

For someone like me who grew up with Angry Beavers and the first two or three seasons of SpongeBob, I can look past the mind numbing stupidity and take it as a blast from the past. Numb Chucks is the type of show I used to watch when life was a lot simpler (or at least seems simpler in retrospect) and for that it easily earns my respect and well wishes.

Episode reviewed: Driving Mr. Buford/Who Put the Ding in Ding-A-Ling

Numb Chucks airs Tuesdays at 4:30 PM on YTV in The Zone