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Series: Moral Orel


When it comes to delicate subjects, religion is probably at the top of the list. So, when treading ground which may be seen as possibly offensive to someone else’s belief system you’ll usually find that the matter is handled with kid gloves. The game Assassins Creed opens with a disclaimer, noting that the game was created by a diverse group of people, with a variety of religious beliefs. I’ve often wondered if such disclaimers are designed to dissipate potential offences caused by the subject matter that they precede, or if they’re just an attempt by the creators to avoid retribution from the people whom their work is lampooning/exposing. While that’s a debate for another time — and an entirely different website — what is perfectly clear, is that the creators of the Adult Swim series Moral Orel appear to be concerned about neither of those things. Moral Orel is merciless, in both its take on Christianity (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants mostly, but it paints with broad strokes) and its delivery of off beat, satirical, humour.

Just to be clear, if you’re the kind of person who is offended by the lampooning of any belief system, then you’re probably not going to find too much humour in this show. Sadly your placards will be a couple of years too late, the series has already ended. That said, if you’re open minded enough, you may just have a new perspective on things… *IF* you make it through a whole episode.

The Stop-Frame animated series sees the world through the eyes of Orel Puppington, a twelve year old boy growing up in the town of Moralton. Orel’s personal hero is Jesus. And who can blame him? But even in the town of Moralton, Orel’s devotion to the moral code of Christianity is seen as extreme. For guidance Orel often relies on his own interpretation of the sermons given by the town’s pastor, Reverend Putty. The problem’s usually start when Orel takes things too literally or blindly follows a path without really understanding the ramifications of his actions. Fortunately his father, Clay Puppington — and his belt — is usually there to set Orel right. Mind you, often Orel’s father’s interpretation of the morel code is a little skewed also, and often refers to ‘secret’ commandments (11 and above) to support his views.

In the first episode of Morel Orel Reverend Putty delivers a sermon imploring his parishioners to make the most of life, expounding that God hates those who aren’t appreciating life. Orel’s take on this is that dead people are an affront to God. With the aid of his pal Doughy Latchkey, Orel sets about digging up corpses from the local graveyard and reanimating them with the help of a book he snatches from the school’s “books to burn” pile. So, the scene is set for the series, which lasted three seasons (only the first two of which are available on DVD).

Like an onion, the town of Moralton has many layers, and the more you peal them away, the more your eyes burn. With each episode Orel’s misadventures expose more of the town-folk’s hypocrisy and self-serving interpretations of what morality actually is.

Equal parts confronting and hysterical, Orel’s search for a true moral path — which is always paved with the best of intensions — spirals out of control. As the two seasons [that I’ve seen] progress Orel explores all manner of moral dilemmas and commandment breaking conundrums. And around him, the ‘good’ people of Moralton suffer for their sins. Hilariously suffer. [source]

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