Written and directed by Adam Pava (whose pervious credits include the sorta similarly-themed Clone High), Vast Food Nation gives us the exploits of such celebrity animated mascots as Green Giant, Mindy, Monsieur Peanut, and iterations of the Hamburger Helper Glove Guy (with cigarette in hand), Tony the Tiger, Ronald McDonald, Tootsie Roll Owl, and many, many others from the world of TV spokesperson nostalgia.
The result is a riff on Entourage and TMZ trash celebrity television (changed to TMI) as the faux paparazzi channel covers such scandals and sensational stories as celebrity mascots getting out of limos exposing their all-beef-patties, Beefer King being kidnapped, or hackneyed Red Carpet scenes with the question “What are you wearing?”
In episode one, the Green Giant is found dead in his hotel room surrounded by pesticides. Mindy (an uncanny ringer for the Wendy’s mascot, which leaves me thinking they couldn’t get the legal rights to call her or any of the other characters by their real names, which doesn’t make sense because you can do anything you want on the internet) denies any romantic involvement in a TV exclusive interview…until a green leaf falls out of her hair.
It’s a sitcom, so there’s a common story arc linking all the 3-minute webisodes, which weave into the Green Giant’s funeral (“The hot celebrity ticket in town!”) and nighttime debauchery.
Though the animation style looks great (courtesy of the Cartoon Network’s Casey Leonard and Dave Stone‘s character designs) and the premise seems solid (who wouldn’t want to see animated old and new TV commercial icons living it up in some alternate world?), there’s something really annoying about this series. As pop culture references fly through the air (I’m surprised they don’t blot out the sun), to say the folks at Vast Food Nation are trying a little too hard would be as understated as a missile launch.
Most jokes aren’t really jokes but instead referential parodies of the celebrity mascot’s catch-phrases. It’s a hyper-easy comedy formula. Show your favorite childhood icons swearing or in lewd situations and it’s funny. Except it isn’t.
Like Brangelina Bunch, you can almost hear the high-fives in the Vast Food Nation brainstorming meeting when the came up with all these elements that they think would make a really viral web series.
If you think you’d laugh at seeing a Colonel Sanders-likeness acting like a rapper, and saying things like “Word Up!” then maybe you’ll find Vast Food Nation Grrrrrreat instead of Grrrrrrrrrading.