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Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell: Season 1

Warner Bros. // Unrated // July 14, 2015
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Tyler Foster | posted July 26, 2015 | E-mail the Author
In October 2014, a fifteen-minute short, referred to by Cartoon Network as an "infomercial", aired on the channel at 4am Eastern time. Despite a naturally tiny audience, "Too Many Cooks" became a viral phenomenon overnight, not just because it was funny, but because it struck just the right balance between clever and bizarre, constantly one-upping its own surreal premise and offering details and in-jokes that made it worth re-watching. Co-creator Casper Kelly was an adult swim veteran with writing credits on "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law", and the unexpected phenomenon of "Too Many Cooks" (which spread far enough to get a surprisingly spot-on parody done at CNN, of all places) helped shine a light on his 2013 collaboration with Dave Willis, another adult swim vet, called "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell." Disappointingly, the show offers almost none of the charm of "Cooks", settling for tired gags about familiar subjects.

The premise of "Face" is that the Devil (Matt Servitto) relies on a workforce of demons to help him claim fresh souls. One of those demons is Gary (Henry Zebrowski), whose numbers are low but whose ego remains inflated, despite a total lack of evidence that he has anything to brag about. In the pilot episode, he welcomes Claude (Craig Rowin) to the job, trying to show him the ropes, but before the day is even over, Claude has proven himself more adept at the job than Gary, for little other reason than Claude is willing to read the employee manual. Gary also spends time "haunting" his former roommate Lucas (Dana Snyder), who seems generally unfazed at the prospect of being visited by a demon.

Despite a first season spanning only six episodes, which only span about 11 and a half minutes each, "Face" is short on inspiration, mining "office drone" territory that Office Space and two iterations of "The Office" have already milked dry, with little on top of that but treating the absurd aspects of Hell as equally mundane (such as a tiny "break room" that looks like a crawlspace and is filled with whirring saw blades, or urinals that the demons have to take shifts in, their heads peering up from the bottom of the bowl). Each episode essentially consists of Gary being given a task, which he fails at, while Claude catches on more quickly, and accomplishes more. Gary and Claude are also often joined by the series' primary damned soul, played by Eddie Pepitone, who remains a generally cheerful demeanor despite being a whipping boy forced to shovel endless amounts of coal.

Still, even flat characters and a familiar story might've been forgivable if the show's jokes landed, but most of them are predictable, stemming from either Gary's selfishness or the desire to play the extreme with a straight face. In one episode, the characters go to a meeting where the "chairs" are flaming spikes that go up each employee's butt, and Claude is later seen walking around with one still jammed in his rectum. Not only is this a fairly lame joke to begin with, the fact that the characters take it in stride doesn't really one-up or add anything to it. In another, Gary discovers The Devil is boning his ex-girlfriend, which predictably causes Gary to both fail his assignment and unsuccessfully attempt to win her back. It doesn't help that all three primary characters (Gary, Claude, and The Devil) project the same smarmy comedic tone, which makes the show feel pretty one-note.

The only bright spots here include a couple of guest stars. In "Take Life By the Horns", Matt Besser plays a hiker with a broken leg who Gary ends up stranded with on a mission to nab the soul of a sleazy senator. With both of them nursing broken legs, unable to escape, Gary starts complaining about his gig, which eventually leads the hiker to create a self-help book spilling a number of the Devil's secrets. Besser's mix of conniving yet weak-willed takes a minor role and elevates it. Later, in "Devil in the Details", Gary convinces a high school drama teacher (Geneva Carr) who is sleeping with one of her students to put on a play glorifying Satan. Her willingness to go along with whatever Gary suggests for another fifteen minutes of fame gives the episode a minor boost of energy.

Those who don't know what "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" is based on the title aren't going to get much help from the packaging on this one-disc release, which shows off the actors' faces (oddly highlighting Servitto over Zebrowski) but contains no plot synopsis or summary, just a list of the episodes and extras on the back. Inside the eco-friendly Amaray case, there is also a half-sized leaflet, which features a burned photocopier on one side, and the exact same information from the back cover on the other.

The Video and Audio
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1, "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" looks and sounds a little better than some of the other Adult Swim shows I've seen on DVD, likely because there's only 68 minutes of it on the disc. The show's vibrant fiery red backgrounds and yellow polo shirts have a nice pop to them, detail is surprisingly strong, and compression artifacts are kept at bay. Most of the show is dialogue-based, but there are plenty of low-budget but aurally spectacular transportations, transformations, and other bits of black magic that give the 5.1 a chance to show off. English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing are also included.

The Extras
Supplements kick off on the menu pages for each episode of the show. For the show's six episodes, ten audio commentaries are included, with two each on episodes 1 and 3, and three on the season finale. Each one includes creators Casper Kelly and Dave Willis, while other participants include Zebrowski, Servitto, Rowin, VC Fuqua, William Tokarsky, and SFX artists Shane Morton and Chris Brown. These are fairly casual commentaries, with the ones featuring the cast leaning more anecdotal, while the ones with the visual effects artists lean more technical. On the actors' commentary, there are also some suspicious gaps suggesting heavy editing.

Each episode also includes its own selection of deleted scenes (9:56, 14:17, 8:30, 1:25, 14:01, 11:03). Many of these are fairly minor extensions, and obviously, those who don't find the series very funny (like myself) aren't going to get much mileage out of the material the creators didn't think was worth including.

Moving over to the special features menu, first up is the original short (12:06), which has the same name and also features the Devil, but is significantly different from the series. It features Dana Snyder (who plays Lucas on the show), Mike Schatz, and Hugh Davidson as three guys who attend a seminar and cut off their heads in order to be transported to a paradise filled with virgins and trees that sprout pizza slices, then discover that even good things become boring after a million years or so. It's actually funnier than the finished show, despite its' aimless quality. The short includes an audio commentary by Kelly and Willis, which is kind of amusing, although the short's soundtrack is mixed too high at times.

Seven promos (2:58) are short, kind of amusing riffs on those famous motivational posters, each one starting with a single word. These are followed by six short behind-the-scenes clips (4:40). The first two are brief opportunities for Casper Kelly and Eddie Pepitone to riff, but some of the other are actually fairly informative for being so brief, touching on costume, production, and prop design. Finally, four screen tests (20:36), for Zebrowski, Rowin, Servitto, and Pepitone.

"Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" has an intriguing title, but it's all downhill from there. An injection of the occult and other-worldly can't cover up that this is a limp tread over territory that other shows and movies have already covered. Skip it.

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