Animated shows aimed at adults have been around since animation was created. Now, as someone born in 1992, my biggest frame of reference will always be The Simpsons when I gauge animated shows. It follows the format of a sitcom with abnormal storylines that follow a normal family that many viewers can relate to. As time progressed, shows like Family Guy and Rick and Morty have taken the throne in daily conversations about adult animation. But what those shows clearly lack is a family that actually loves one another at the center. We needed a hero to return this feeling to the realm of animation, and good thing we got Koala Man, who is here to save the day with kindness.
Koala Man follows…well, uhm, Koala Man (Michael Cusack) as he works to keep his town of Dapto, Australia, safe from petty crime and large-than-life threats that are often distinct to its setting. Koala Man is the barely secret identity of the show’s main character, Kevin. Most of the stories revolve around his adventures and his family’s daily life. But even when he’s battling a giant Poppy plant, an intergalactic Galactus allusion who is DTF, and more, Koala Man is always leading with his heart to make his community safe and better.
After years of shows cashing in on cynicism and nihilism, it is hard to not be worried that every show is going to have a tinge of that. It’s an easy way to get a very certain group of people into your show. But that is so boring. Believing that nothing can ever change or get better isn’t what I am looking for in a show anymore. The world is bleak enough. I want to escape into something fun and hopeful, which Koala Man is perfect for. Creator Michael Cusack and showrunners/developers Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez, with their superb writer’s room, deliver a show that still dips into the absurd comedy of other shows but never steers too far from the show’s main thesis of hope.
Koala Man doesn’t have superpowers. He doesn’t have fancy gear or a super secret cave lair. He’s a goofy dad who hangs out in his shed. But what he does do is try to teach people valuable life lessons, even if they are just bits or jokes. Koala Man strives to make things better in any way he can. He knows he can’t fly, so instead, he can remind people to take their bins to the curb for trash day. It’s not stopping a world-ending threat, but it’s him being a good neighbor. For me, it’s such a successful portrayal of a character I want to root for. Even in the finale, when he is faced with absolute destruction, he chooses to be kind no matter the consequences.
But the rest of the family gets their own storylines and development through the series as well to bring a well-balanced family that you root for until the final credits. Sarah Snook plays the mother of the family who is dealing with the antics of her husband. Demi Lardner plays the daughter Alison who is trying to be popular because, to her, that’s what will validate her identity for a while. The son Liam, also played by Cusack, has an absolutely wild turn of events for a character arc. The show doesn’t disappoint with an incredibly stacked voice cast with names like Jermaine Clement, Hugo Weaving, and more. Each has a very memorable role throughout the season. But I do have to add one thing about the voice cast…
Hugh Fucking Jackman
That’s all I got. Hugh Jackman has some of the wildest scenes starting with a youtube clip in the first episode that I had to rewind multiple times to watch because I was laughing too hard.
The show is beautifully scored by Brendan Caulfield, who brings the thunder. The show jumps between some very distinct set pieces which require certain musical motifs, which Caulfield delivers with a great score. The theme song also shreds, which is important for a show like this.
Koala Man never loses heart or the idea of optimism through the first season. It proves that our lead character in adult animation can just be a goofy chubby dad who loves his family even when sometimes he doesn’t know the best way to show it. It’s a return to form that I have missed in recent years. It’s definitely worth your time to check out.
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[…] may know Michael Cusack from his other shows such as Koala Man which is available to watch now on Hulu. Or his other extremely popular show Smiling Friends also […]