A spinoff of the animated series TripTank, Jeff & Some Aliens will likely draw plenty of comparisons to Rick & Morty with its inventive use of science fiction tropes in service of a raunchy animated comedy. That’s not a bad thing. Rick & Morty is an excellent show that is consistently raucous and fun. Despite the natural comparisons, Jeff & Some Aliens is very much its own show with its own set of absurd humor that travails in sci-fi while pushing the boundaries of taste. Over the two episodes available to critics, Jeff & Some Aliens proves itself an assured comedy series that balances its bizarre scenarios with some hilarious banter.
In the series premiere, “Jeff and Some Honor Killings,” the premise behind the show is given little time, but it doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the show for those, like myself, unaware of its TripTank origins. Jeff (Voiced by Brett Gelman) is an overweight slacker, an all-American everyman, who happens to share his home with three aliens – Jimmy, Ted, and Sammy (all voiced by series co-creator Alessandro Minoli). Everything that makes Jeff unexceptional in his everyday life makes him an exceptional subject of study with his intergalactic housemates, who have travelled across the stars to study an exceptionally average human. Of course, the convergence of different cultural customs and bold new technology are there to aid and complicate Jeff’s life.
The first episode starts off with Jeff lament the various forms of bodily excretions that are appearing on his towels due to his extraterrestrial roomies. While trying to prove a point, Jeff picks up a possession of the aliens which blasts a deadly laser across the stars and kills an alien dignitary. After a contentious discussion with the alien leader (voiced by Malcom McDowell), it is agreed that Jeff must carry out an honor killing in order to settle the score and prevent the aliens from destroying Earth as retribution. Needless to say that the resoundingly average Jeff is met with a series of difficulties and complications in taking a human life in order to maintain peace among the planets.
The second episode, “Jeff and Some Energy Trading,” takes on a much more moralistic sci-fi tone than the series’ introductory episode. With the use of a piece of technology from his alien roommates, Jeff can make any material possession his at the cost of five years off his life. Jeff uses this power to enrich himself so he can woo his ex-girlfriend Linda (voiced by Natalie Smyka). It leads to a situation where Jeff gets the girl of his dreams but at the cost of his own physical youth, and the progressive aging leads to some ghastly forms of comedic body horror.
Through the two episodes I was able to see, Jeff & Some Aliens really stands out as a twisted animated comedy that incorporates various sci-fi elements. The character design and animation is top notch, amplifying the unique personality that comes across in the writing from creators Minoli and Sean Donnelly. The show is sharp in its madcap mixture of visual gags, witty dialogue with layers to its jokes, and some truly funny gross out moments. Each episode provided a strong number of laughs, some of which are quite shocking in their content but don’t rely simply on shock to garner the laugh. Most pleasantly, the comedy of Jeff & Some Aliens operates on so many levels that it’s not a show overtly dependent on pop culture references as its primary form of comedy.
Fans of animated comedy and science fiction alike should find something to laugh at within the multi-faceted jokes of Jeff & Some Aliens. It really seems as if Sean Donnelly and Alessandro Minoli really have a strong grasp of the humor and tone of the series from the start, and the results are right there on the screen. Jeff & Some Aliens will draw comparisons to Rick & Morty, but it really is its own show with its own set of bizarre scenarios and raunchy humor, and proves that there’s more than enough room for two off the wall animated comedies playing with sci-fi tropes. It’ll be fun to see where this slacker and aliens story goes as Jeff & Some Aliens progresses through its first season, but two episodes in and it seems like this might be the next great animated comedy.
Jeff & Some Aliens premieres Wednesday, January 11th at 10:30pm on Comedy Central.