TV News

Comedy Central Cancels Ugly Americans aka Wait, That Hadn’t Been Canceled Yet?

From the department of “holy crap, they hadn’t done that already?”, Comedy Central has officially canceled the animated series Ugly Americans, a show whose last original episode aired on the network 13 months ago.  The Ugly Americans producers announced the news through a following a statement posted to the show’s Facebook page:

“As you might have gathered by now, Comedy Central did not renew us for a 3rd season. The reason this notice is coming so late is that, in spite of lukewarm ratings, the network did everything in their power to keep the show alive by trying to find outside financing. We came very close but unfortunately some legal technicalities kept any deals from going through. We are exploring our options, even ones that don’t include traditional TV episodes, such as original web shorts or even a graphic novel. We love this universe and the characters and we want to keep them alive (or undead) for you in any way we can. We the producers would continue to make the show without a paycheck to ourselves, but unfortunately animation and all the aspects of TV production are rather expensive. “

It is worth noting that Ugly Americans actually began its life as a webseries, or, more accurately, was directly inspired by a webseries entitled 5-On with Alan Whiter.  As such, the mention on the part of the producers of the possibility of future web shorts is possibly not quite the delusional “”tis but a flesh found; we’re not yet dead” plea you might expect if your default setting is cynicism (I know mine is).

UglyAmericans
Top Row: Mark, Randall, Callie
Middle Row: Leonard, Twayne, Grimes
Bottom Row: Callie’s father and two bit characters

For those who don’t know, Ugly Americans is a workplace comedy centered around a beta-male social worker (Mark, voiced by Matt Oberg) who happens to live in an alternate reality version of New York City in which zombies and other such monsters exist and thrive as members of society.  This allowed the show clever spins on familiar set-ups, such as the small-town guy Mark clashing with his obnoxious, big-town roommate (Randall, voiced by Kurt Metzger) except here the roommate is a zombie who is desperate to eat Mark’s brain.  Other clever spins included a washed up colleague of Mark’s who happens to actually be a washed up wizard (Leonard, voiced by Randy Pearlstein) and Mark’s continued misunderstandings of his boss/girlfriend’s (Callie, voiced by Natasha Legger) culture.  In this case, she is a half human/half demon who does things like kill all of her ex-boyfriends and leave them at Mark’s feet.  The workplace portion of the show came from Mark’s job at the Department of Integration, whereat he would be charged with re-integrating various monsters (like King Kong or a riddling troll, to name a few examples) into society.

Ugly Americans first premiered on Comedy Central in March of 2010, and aired a total of 31 episodes across two seasons between 2010 and 2012. It is an absolute shame to see it go.  Though clearly surreal, there was an oddly relatable quality to its view of a big city from a small town kid’s perspective.  And, most importantly, it was usually hilarious.  Luckily, the final episode had an air of finality to it, as if the producers sensed it might be the end.  As such, although there was certainly more stories to be told there was no last minute cliffhanger or dangling plot thread left unresolved.

Ugly Americans now joins Freak Show, The Goode Family, Kid Notorious, and Lil’ Bush as animated shows on Comedy Central which failed to catch on and lasted only a season or two.  There used to be a running joke throughout the 90s about Fox’s inability to launch any of the shows it attempted to pair with The Simpsons, a situation eventually remedied over a decade later by the Seth MacFarlane animation powerhouse and most recently the quietly brilliant Bob’s Burgers.  Well, just as notable in their failure at this point is Comedy Central, a network which struck gold with South Park in 1997 but outside of Drawn Together (which ran for 3 seasons) has yet to produce another long-running animated series.

An example of how the show would often treat topical pop culture, in this case Justin Bieber:

One of Mark’s poor motivation speeches:

An evil clone takes over Mark’s life:

And, just because this is another canceled Comedy Central animated show I miss, here is a clip from Kid Notorious:

According to CanIStream.it, Ugly Americans is currently available to stream through Hulu Plus, and individual episodes are available to purchase through Amazon and iTunes.  What do you think?  Had you already kind of assumed the show had been canceled?  If so/not, still sad to see it go?  Let us know in the comments.

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7 comments

  1. Wow… I’m so bummed about this. I stumbled upon ugly americans after about a year of passing it by on netflix. This show is by far one of my favorite shows ever created. It has everything! It’s hilarious to boot. Characters are beyond well thought out and constantly change and develope as the season goes on. I really can’t put it in to words how truly amazing this show is and how much it needs to stay on the air. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE COME BACK!!!!!!

    1. Trust me, it gave me no joy to write about Ugly Americans being canceled. I loved that show. I have watched the episode where Leonard gets split up into multiple little Leonards that Mark then has to kill more times than I can count. The moment where Mark has to let one of the Leonards go away with a creepy man in a van, with the Leonard crying, “I immediately regret this decision” as soon as he gets in the van never fails to amuse me.

      However, most Comedy Central shows bring with them an instant short shelf-life as the station tends to only stick with shows for a couple of seasons. In the animated realm, you’ve got just as many South Parks and Drawn Togethers as you do short-lived entries like Kid Notorious and Lil’ Bush. So, I try to look on the bright side and be happy that we got as many as 31 episodes, and that the final episode at least managed to provide a little closure on the Mark/Callie relationship since they clearly didn’t know if the show was coming back or not. It’s just a shame that more people aren’t aware of the existing Ugly Americans because it’s freakin’ hilarious.

  2. This is probably the latest reply ever, but years later I still can’t believe they canceled this show. I watch it in complete awe wondering how anybody could cancel this gem. Its so creative and hilarious. The writers really outdid themselves. I think everything down to the side characters & background events are so creative and clever. I’m kind of in shock that they canceled and even more that it didn’t catch on. I think it’s more creative than the Simpson’s impo. I hope they renew it for another season soon. I loved this show & I never once assumed it was doomed to be canceled. It’s so genuinely weird & good. I guess it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea… But it’s definitely mine!

    1. I remember that one of the early Simpson’s Halloween specials included a moment in a graveyard where all of the headstones bore the names of then-recently canceled prime time animated series, like Capital Critters. The joke being that at that point no one else had yet pulled off another Simpsons, i.e., a prime time animated series that people actually liked and watched.

      Well, South Park could do a joke like that and line the headstones with the names of all of Comedy Central’s short-lived animated shows. Ugly Americans would be on there. So would Kid Notorious. Maybe even Brickleberry, although it at least lasted 3 seasons. Simply put, I don’t know how committed CC is to animation outside of South Park. It wasn’t too longer after they canceled Ugly Americans that they put an end to their Futurama revival.

      I’m with you, though. If they wanted to keep making more Ugly Americans I would have been (or would be, should it ever come back) all for it. I loved that show. Perhaps it would have been better off on Adult Swim. But, hey, we got 2 full seasons and 31 total episodes. That’s at least better than some other canceled CC shows.

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