Comedy writers have gotten wise about pushing boundaries involving minors — recognizing that animation lets them be as nasty as they wanna be. Enter “Unsupervised,” the latest variation on sex-obsessed teenage losers, conceptually easy to confuse with MTV’s “Good Vibes” or, for that matter, “Beavis and Butt-head.” Produced by the team behind “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (featuring older doofuses), the new half-hour benefits from a sprightly, low-brow tone that should mesh well enough with “Archer” and find a modest following on FX, which has made recent comedy inroads after owing most of its success to drama.
“Unsupervised” draws its title from the absentee parents or step-parents who allow teen numbskulls Gary (voiced by Justin Long) and pal Joel (David James Hornsby, recently of “How to Be a Gentleman,” and one of the co-creators) to pretty much run amok. Not surprisingly, their main preoccupation is girls, and in the premiere, they host a raucous party in their feeble pursuit of them.
While there are outside adults in the picture, most of them are complete screw-ups, if not outright loons. In the second half-hour, the boys are so desperate for dental work they even try to hook up Gary’s waterpipe-hitting stepmom (“It’s Always Sunny’s” Kaitlin Olson) with a classmate’s dad because he’s dentist.
Raunchy and rude, “Unsupervised” is redeemed slightly by the chipper outlook of its protagonists, flanked by a circle of misfits that includes an overweight friend (Romany Malco) and goody-two-shoes (Kristen Bell) whose efforts to steer kids away from sex and drugs never quite pan out. Mostly, it’s the perverse version of Charlie Brown, leveraging today’s shattered nuclear families to riff on what young boys would do if left completely to their own devices.
Although light on laughs, with its spare design and limited animation “Unsupervised” does create a reasonably cohesive, grimy little world, made tolerable by the absence of actual kids. (Fox did much the same, less effectively, with “Allen Gregory,” which suggests there is a cut-off point at which precocious animated kids graduate from crude to creepy.)
In a sense, FX appears to be narrowing its comedy aspirations in a way the channel hasn’t with its dramas, which are gritty and male-skewing but not as exclusionary as these half-hours, whose sweet spot is limited to a young-male demo, much like Gary and Joel, hypnotized by boobs and bodily functions.
Then again, that’s perhaps primarily a commentary on the niche-oriented world in which we live today, kids. Just don’t tell you parents.