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"This Just In" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 07/21/2004

Spike TV’s “This Just In” kind of took me by surprise.  There isn’t a lot of conservative humor out there, and it especially isn’t animated.  While I didn’t agree with all of the politics of the show, it was refreshing to get a peak into the other side, outside of talk shows and the FOX News Channel.  Too bad it didn’t last.


The show centered on a newspaper journalist named Brian Newport (voiced by show creator Steve Marmel) and his two buddies, house-husband Craig Tindle (voiced by Peter MacNichol) and teacher Jimmy Townhouse (voiced by Phil Morris.)  Brian is a politically conservative single guy who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions, even at the expense of getting lucky with hot female liberals.  Jimmy is a moderate democrat who constantly has to bring Brian off his high horse.  Craig is a guy who was fun at one point, but when he married his wife Hu (voiced by Gwendoline Yeo), a Korean neoconservative, he became completely whipped.  They hang out at a bar together owned by Henry Cabrerra (voiced by Rudy Moreno) where they comment on the week’s topics, which usually flash across the screen on the bar TV.  Sami Ruiz (voiced by Alex Meneses), is an attractive 23-year-old Latina who serves drinks at the bar.  She is studying poly sci at a nearby college and her leftist beliefs clash with Brian’s right-wing stance, though he’d still sleep with her (her support of Ralph Nader holds him back though.) 


The show had Brian and his friends coming across several celebrities and public figures that were in the news.  They came across Wayne Brady trying to become President, Tom Ridge, Ted Kennedy (who was drunk in the bar), and George Bush, whose “good ol’ boy” shtick is just an act apparently.


Traditional animation requires months of production, but this show used Flash, an entirely digital animation process that allowed the show to be written and produced the same week it aired.  I thought at first that they were trying too hard to bring up “current topics,” but I realized that social commentary was the main point of the show, and the fictional story was secondary.  It was like VH1’s hilarious weekly show “Best Week Ever,” only animated and with somewhat of a story.  I began to enjoy it a great deal once I accepted that fact.

You say that you’ve never heard of “This Just In?”  Well, unfortunately, you may have missed out.  It wasn’t promoted heavily, and I’m guessing that its conservative bent probably turned off most fans of animation.  Spike TV has no plans to renew it for a second season, and I seriously doubt we’ll see the existing episodes land on DVD.  That’s a shame, because I found myself laughing at it every week, even when I didn’t always agree with it.  It didn’t have the slickest animation due to its use of Flash, but it was tolerable (I liked it better than the animation on fellow Spike TV toon “Gary the Rat”), and it was nice to see another topical animated series other than “South Park.”


Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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