Add to the list of animated programs aimed at the lad mag set — already highlighted by Pamela Anderson, foul-mouthed tots and an anthropomorphic rat attorney — the unlikely figure of septuagenarian producer Robert Evans. While not without its (very) crude charms, it’s hard to imagine the kitschy cult status Evans earned with the entertaining book-turned-docu “The Kid Stays in the Picture” staking “Kid Notorious” to much appeal beyond the very narrow confines of Hollywood. That’s probably enough street cred, though, to satisfy the desperate-to-be-noticed gang at Comedy Central.
Featuring the kind of limited animation that has come to characterize primetime cable fare, some of “Kid’s” showbiz satire should fly over the heads of Comedy’s “The Man Show” crowd, though plenty of the gags talk their lowbrow lingo.
A joke about Sharon Stone starring in a one-woman version of “The Vagina Monologues,” for example, possesses a germ of inspiration before it’s pretty much pummeled into the ground.
The same largely goes for the show in general, which portrays Evans as a wild superheroic producer who will do anything to get his projects made. In the premiere, he enlists a cadre of black rappers he meets in prison to star in a hip-hop version of “The Godfather.”
Subsequent episodes occupy the same surreal, can-I-try-what-the-writing-staff-is-smoking terrain, with Evans losing his Woodland estate to French President Jacques Chirac in a poker game and journeying to Nepal for yak milk — the key ingredient in former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s to-die-for soup.
When the credits warn that the show “may contain coarse language and/or adult situations and/or childish situations,” they’re not kidding.
Flanked by loyal manservant English (voiced by real-life butler Alan Selka); jive-talking, horny housekeeper Tollie Mae (Niecy Nash); and cat Puss Puss, Evans unflappably saunters through life in a world full of Botox injections, self-absorbed backstabbing and casual sexual conquests.
Political correctness isn’t part of the equation, as made clear by the opening scene, which finds Evans in bed with a young Asian woman who speaks a brand of Pidgin English last heard in “Flower Drum Song.” It’s also not every day you see a cartoon use “bitch” or a variation thereof 21 times in that many minutes of actual content.
Although some of this is sparingly amusing in an “Austin Powers”-ish way, including the swingin’ musical score, this “Kid” simply tries too hard.
Sure, it’s kind of funny to hear Stone (not her voice, by the way) proclaim, “I’m an actress, goddammit. I’ve won a Golden Globe!” or spot a guy in prison who looks unerringly like writer Joe Eszterhas, Evans’ collaborator on “Jade” and “Sliver.”
For the most part, though, it plays like a Hollywood insider’s video Christmas card, more a novelty than a real-life series for public consumption.
Beyond production execs, Maxim subscribers or frat boys who’ve downed too many cold ones, Comedy Central is doubtless looking to reclaim the adult animation audience that “South Park” corralled.
Other networks have begun tilling that field — including Spike’s equally marginal “Stripperella” (Anderson’s aforementioned showcase) and “Gary the Rat” — but so far, the current wave amounts to a raunchy limbo contest that no one really benefits from winning.