Now foxes regularly maul twin babies like they were leftover kebabs it’s probably not stellar timing to kick off your vulpine puppet fronted show with the stars devouring a pensioner. She’s already dead, right enough, but still. You’re probably best off thinking of Mongrels as The Muppets with distemper. The feathered and furry droogs congregate behind the bins of The Lord Nelson pub behaving like the feckless, feral, ne’er-do-wells they are. Away from prying human eyes, they swap stories, offer counsel and lick their aching nuts. How we envy their freedom.
So, the runners and riders in the Lord Nelson bins stakes are: Nelson, a well-spoken sophisto-fox, destined, in his own mind at least, for greater things than rummaging through bins; Vince, a raggedy-ass fox’s fox , red in tooth and claw, foulmouthed at heart and violent on top; Destiny, a beautiful but shallow Afghan she-hound who Nelson wants to put his cock in; Marion, a dense, and recently castrated alleycat who isn’t putting his cock in anyone any time soon and Kali, an antisocial pigeon who talks like a cunt (voiced, coincidentally, by Katy Brand).
Like Spaced, Mongrels is heavy with pop culture shout outs and spoofs (Trainspotting, Anne Frank, Only Fools and Horses are all referenced). They throw in a song and dance routine in each episode and so far it’s paying off. Spitting Image found quality control a big issue with their songs after time but What Kind of God and Everybody Loves a Lesbian are holding their own for now.
“Crucially, the puppets are likeable. You can imagine the pong that would kick out if they were as bad as the animation on Headcases (which, incidentally, also had a shitcake bake of a script).”
Naw papi, I wasn’t really waiting for an adult puppet show but now one is here, I’m wondering what took them so long. Mongrels put a smile on my face like a good pet should – it’s got a heart, even if it is a heart of darkness. And yeah, it can get a little self-consciously twisted (David Carradine and Harold Shipman jokes clink noisily) but all things considered its not the biggest failing in the world. Crucially, the puppets are likeable. You can imagine the pong that would kick out if they were as bad as the animation on Headcases (which, incidentally, also had a shitcake bake of a script).
Given what most British shitcoms do with their first season, this is shaping up very nicely. As long as we feel the need to anthropomorphise the animal kingdom and project all our venal longings onto them there will be space for a castrated cat, profane fox, slutty she-dog and shitbird pigeon to play out the dramas that look oh so much like ours. They may actually have something here.
The verdict on Mongrels: Best of breed.
Marks out of 10: 7.5
Imagined: Wednesday, July 07, 2010