Marvel’s MODOK Season 1 explodes onto the scene as the mobile organism designed for killing attempts to balance his family and a life of villainy. The off the wall claymation series is created by Patton Oswalt (who also voices the show’s titular character) and Jordan Blum. The HULU exclusive tells the story of the peculiar oddity that is known as MODOK, as he attempts to manage a corporation and balancing time to spend with his family. MODOK is the leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics, aka A.I.M., while also being the head of the household to his wife Jodie, daughter Melissa, and son Lou. Very quickly into episode one, it’s discovered that being a mad scientist super villain costs a lot of money, and the A.I.M. CPA supreme announces they are bankrupt. While MODOK suffers a panic attack realizing he’d be lost without his beloved evil technology corporation, Jodie announced she’s done with their marriage and plans to leave her husband.
As darkness looms over the title character and all seems lost, tech giant GRUMBL swoops in to save the day. Now MODOK must bow to his new corporate overlords and adapt Silicon Valley way of life by dealing with purchase orders, and conference calls while dealing with his divorce, and attempting to restore normalcy for his kids. While the overall through-line of MODOK appears quite normal, the show is far from anything you’d expect. The claymation style of show douses itself in gratuitous violence and chocked full hysterical obscenities. Each episode is as outrageous as the last.
One episode, in particular, episode 2 “The MODOK That Time Forgot” sees our mechanical lead attempt to woo his soon-to-be ex-wife by taking her back in time to a Third Eye Blind concert that they missed when they were dating. The episode is crammed full of glorious nineties references, music, and Easter eggs galore. Which leads nicely into my next high point of the show, almost like I’d cleverly segued from topic to topic. Jordan Blum has taken an inordinate amount of pleasure in burying a gargantuan amount of easter eggs throughout the entire series. Fans of hunting for Marvel nods, and references will have a lot of fun digging everything out. It’s not just Marvel references either, as the show lends from pop culture references to deliver home the brilliantly written comedy plot points.
The written comedy would nothing without the vocal talent that delivers the lines, and Marvel’s MODOK Season 1 boasts a mega voice cast. Leading the line is the accomplished comedian, and actor Patton Oswalt. Oswalt revels in the role of MODOK, and he absolutely understands the assignment. Joining him throughout the season is Jon Hamm, Nathan Fillion, Ben Schwartz, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Hader, and Beck Bennett.
Bennet serves as MODOK’s antagonist in the guise of Austin Van Der Sleet, the GRUMBL corporate executive who has acquired A.I.M. and is intent on redistributing the assets to shadowy forces. The character itself though is a witty take on the embodiment of corporate culture. The plot point is mocked mercilessly throughout the majority of the season. This lends itself to other successful mockumentary style shows the absurdity of modern lifestyles we lead such as the Office, and Parks and Rec.
The tension between Sleet’s positive pro-corporate stance and MODOK’s anarchism really lands in a hilarious fashion when the former overwhelms the latter. Highlighting the power dynamics really drives home how far MODOK has fallen.
The comedy won’t work for everyone naturally, and as a 30 something Marvel fan I recognize I am right in the middle of this show’s crosshair as the target audience. Ben Schwartz’s character is one that the show feels it could do without, or be played by someone else. This simply comes down to the fact that this massively derivative of every role the actor has take, chaotically acceptive of the frenzied event he’s found himself in. All that being said, the show continues to overthrow any sense of logic, and powers forward, and indiscriminately tackles the most bizarre topics in each episode that concludes in a brilliantly combined show.
Overall, while the show might not everyone’s cup of tea, it will score highly amongst its target audience. The claymation style of animation feels like a nostalgic throwback to the popular, and violent shows of the late nineties. Paring this, with the powerhouse of voice talent, headlined by Oswalt, MODOK is set to destroy its competition! Oswalt is a delight, and MODOK’s off-the-wall comedic antics are a welcome addition to the HULU platform. It’s deviously good.
Marvel’s MODOK Season 1 is available exclusively on HULU now.
- Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
Overall, while the show might not everyone’s cup of tea, it will score highly amongst its target audience. The claymation style of animation feels like a nostalgic throwback to the popular, and violent shows of the late nineties. Paring this, with the powerhouse of voice talent, headlined by Oswalt, MODOK is set to destroy its competition! Oswalt is a delight, and MODOK’s off the wall comedic antics are a welcome addition to the HULU platform. It’s deviously good.
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.