Hello, Spongey here
I love a good jerk. Oh sure, real life jerks suck, but you got to love the fictional ones. But much like idiots, you have to do them right.
I mean, I’m glad I didn’t have to review Dinner for jerks. But most of the time, jerks are done right. That’s why Daffy Duck has lasted so long. He’s a jerk, but he manages to very funny and likable at the same time.
Hell, shows like Blackadder exist due to how funny jerks are. It’s just fun to see a jerk be a jerk, even if they don’t get comeuppance. Note, this is different from my jerk spiel in the headless Halloween review.
I’m talking comedy jerks. Jerks meant to be funny, instead of…well a real jerk. Though they can interchange. But today, we are lacking in true jerks, due to this weird policy that “good characters are better”. Wouldn’t Phineas and Ferb be better with a jerk?
…Wait, they have Albert.
Anyway, The hub came to the rescue with a cartoon…aimed…at adults mostly…with dirty-ish jokes…and a character that frequently commits horrible acts, including murder.
…This channel also airs My Litttle Pony, right? Anyway, this is a show that has one of the best jerks of all time. On top of that, the show itself is great too!
This, is A Trib-
Oh, you want me to do it right? Okay..
A TRIBUTE TO DAAAAAAAN VSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Dan Vs is a cartoon that currently airs on the hub. It was created by Dan Mendel and Chris pearson, and it first started in 2011…January first, no less.
Dan vs is…well, an adult cartoon for kids. That’s really the best way to sum it up, I mean, it has all the hallmarks of an adult cartoon, with some odd subject matter, and jokes that kids will not get. Yet, it has little bad language, little death (a lot of implied ones though), and kids seem to like it.
So I guess it’s the worlds first all ages show. Not a kid’s show with adult appeal…but an adult show with kid appeal! Hell, it’s one of the Hub’s most popular shows, with re-runs everyday and ads and everything!
Which is impressive given the nature of it. Heck, it’s the only Hub show not tied to any franchise at all. Even the Haunting Hour banks on the popularity of goosebumps
Speaking of the haunting hour…remember how in my 2nd screw up list, I mentioned that Dan Vs was on the haunting hour?
That happened. YES.
Anyway, let’s actually talk about the plot. We have an angry man named Dan, voiced by Curtis Armstrong. He is a borderline sociopath with anger management issues who thinks the world is against him and goes on revenge missions to destroy whom or whatever has wronged him
And oddly enough. He’s usually in the right! Sometimes the thing he is going against is normal (The Beach, Baseball, golf..) but sometimes he’ll go against something, that frankly, needs a beatdown. It can range from something that was bad to start with (Burgerphille, DMV, Reality TV) to ones that turn out to be really bad (Dentist, gym, fancy restaurant..)
Half of the time, you are rooting for him! Granted, his methods…are rather extreme, but whatever
Accompanying him in his revenge missions is his put-upon friend, Chris, Voiced by Dave Foley, who can’t help but go along with Dan’s wild plots to get even despite how ridiculous they may seem.
However, Vhris’ wife Elise, voiced by Paget Brewster, objects to Chris’ participation in Dan’s revenge quests but doesn’t really interfere due to being distracted with her secret operative work for the government.
Oh,…we’ll get to that later
As you would expect, Dan is the character who holds the show together. Yes, the main character is the best…well sort of, but we’ll get to her in a second.
Curtis Armstrong is excellent as Dan. He brings out so much anger, yet so much likability at the same time. You never hear a guy at a mic, you hear DAN. The same goes for every other voice actor, even Dave and Paget, who more or less use their normal voices
Dan is an angry little misfit, who regularly commits arson, and equally horrible crimes. Granted, he rarely seems to kill people, but he clearly has anger issues
“WHO’S ANGRY?! I’M NOT ANGRY!”
They’ve only hinted at exactly why he is this way, but fans can piece it together. In one episode, Dan is taken to a physiologist that has broken down many hard spies and criminals. But…after talking with Dan, he runs screaming
“if you didn’t want to know about my childhood,. You shouldn’t have asked”
Even worse, in “Dan Vs the high school reunion ” he says his teen years were awful…and it got worse at school. YIKES.
Dan is the king of jerkass woobies when you get down to it. But he’s still a trouble making scamp either way. I mean, he’s been tear gassed so many times that he’s USED TO IT.
Oh, and he may be gay forCchris
“i’m so clean you can eat off me!” “I’m not going to do that”
“This is why our children are getting dumber” “..We don’t have children”
““Seriously, if this doesn’t work, I’m leaving you…I would never leave you”:
Don’t buy that? Check out when chris takes out a locket with Elise’s picture in it.
“That’s not me!”
Yes, the tumblr tag is full of dan/chris porn, why do you ask? Well anyway, Dan Vs. Summer Camp does explore his backstory a bit, as well as why Chris and he are friends, but I dare not spoil it for you.
Oh, I forgot to mention, every episode is called “Dan Vs __” and instead of an intro, there’s a prologue, and then Dan yells the episode title, and we get the title card. For example…
See? It’s pretty cool, and they also come with unique title cards. And yes, they do mix things up a bit for some episodes like having him do the scream a different way, or even referencing it in the end.
For example, in “Dan Vs The Gym” he is so hurt, he can’t even scream, so he quietly yells it. He even keeps moaning after the title card shows up. In another, ELISE joins in, and in yet another, the “villain” of the week,. Yells “DAN!” to the sky.
.. Oh, and now we get to the real best character…
In “Dan Vs The Animal Shelter”, Dan ends up finding a cat, who actually melts his angry heart. Long story short he adopts the cat, and of course, the cat actually ends up helping him in his schemes. The Cat’s name is Mr Mumbles and she is..
THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER!
Oh, yes, it’s a girl. Dan didn’t know this (nor did we) til a hobo…checks it, if you know what I mean, in a later episode. Moving on..
Dan appears to be able to understand her meows and engage in meaningful conversation with her and she often manages to subdue his fits of rage with her cuteness. But don’t worry, like I said, Dan is still his angry self even with this adorable thing.
But she does become the only thing Dan truly cares about. In one episode, Dan pretty much gives up but he is reminded if he doesn’t escape, he won’t be able to feed Mr. Mumbles, so he perks up. D’awwww.
Okay, let’s move on from Dan, as this post will go on forever if we just talk about him. I could write a novel talking about his character and why he’s angry and stuff. So let’s move on to Elise, as Chris is the one I have the least to say about, thus he is last.
Elise is the character who puts up with Dan’s shit the least…sort of. In Season 1, she mostly shrugs him off as much as she bitches at him, and she rarely tries to stop her husband whenever he goes off to help Dan. Heck, She will occasionally help Dan herself if she believes it to be necessary or advantageous. Example: New Mexico, and the Magician where she thinks both have wronged her in the past as well.
Heck, she almost becomes a sort of mother figure to Dan at some point. Though she always comes back to hating him. Starting with season 2, her Dan hate got even more extreme, so the point where she and Dan fight over Chris. Chris is not happy.
“I am a human being!”
Not that they care. Anyway, Elise puts Dan through quite a bit of hell in the 2nd and 3rd seasons, though again, they team up when the time is right. But man, it’s season 3 where they fight like an old, angry married couple. Pretty much every time Dan show up, Elise gives him much deserved hell.
It’s pretty interesting I could write an essay about the implications of their relationship and how this feeds into Elise’s character and what not. But we don’t have all day. I will mention that in the last half of season 3, they are forced to get along more, like how they get stuck in a cabin in “Dan vs The ski Trip”.
In “Dan Vs. the family Cruise” he is even forced to get along with her parents…oh yeah, I forgot about them. Her parents are Elsie and Don. Oh, shewas named after her mom, I forgot that.
They are first seen in “Dan Vs. The Wolfman” but are properly introduce in “Dan Vs. Elise’s parents”. They are voiced by Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter. Yes, from Family Ties. I love an actor allusion. Well anyway, like any parents, they aren’t happy with Elise’s life…nor do they like Chris. Mom is the more level headed one, but she does snark at Chris the most. Don’s Chris hate is…less subtle. Oh, and Mom works for a mafia family….more on that later.
Though Mom is more competent at…well everything. Also, Dan hates them both, but I’ll discuss the family cruise in a future list.
If you know the show, you may be waiting for me to mention that fact that Elise is the top spy for a quasi-governmental organization. Yes, really. it’s revealed early on, and as the series goes on, it becomes more important to the plot, and we see it more often.
At first it seems like a cheap way to make Elsie more interesting, but it becomes one of the most interesting parts of the show, and it does give Elise quite a few dilemmas. While the “hiding secret life from lover” thing has been done, i did buy into it here, and it really shines in the aforementioned ski trip episode, as Elise connects with Dan over this.
They also do a good job of making Chris/Elise plausible, since Chris isn’t /too/ fat or ugly and the way they interact is nice without being too sweet. Hell, usually she snarks at Chris for his dumb choices, especially when he hangs with Dan.
Also, I like how they can work Spy!Elise into the plot without it being forced. And if it is, it’s still good. Sometimes it drives the plot, like in “Dan Vs the dinosaur” where the government clones a dinosaur, and Elise has to get it before people see. Of course it reaches Dan’s car before that happens…
The same episode has her unnamed boss given her instructions to kill the dino…that she later doesn’t want to carry out. It shows she has her limits, even as a top spy. So that’s pretty neat.
Anyway, there’s more to Elise/Chris, but I’ll discuss this…while talking about Chris! They could have easily made him the dull straight man who objects to Dan’s plans and nothing else. Thankfully, he’s pretty quirky too, and ends up joining Dan anyway.
He eats a lot, and thankfully he’s not grossly fat, nor is it a huge part of his personality. You also don’t question why he and Dan are friends, as Chris is shown to be the kind of guy who could only snag a friend like Dan. And “Dan Vs. summer camp” shows how the two genuinely bonded.
Chris loves to talk about how much of a dick Dan is, and vice versa, but really, they can’t live without each other. They don’t show it much, but they seem to like being together, and Chris does end up having fun with him at times. Though Chris is always happy when Dan changes his attitude, he always seems to go with Dan on his crazy schemes.
This isn’t a case where at the end of a lot of episodes, he admits to having fun with dan. Really, sometimes you DO question why he hangs out with Dan, but at the same time, you see they have a true friendship. I don’t know how the writers did it, but they work well.
But like I said, Chris would like nothing more than to have Dan become a good person. They fight a lot, which all comes to a head in…Dan Vs Chris. Oh yeah, Chris did it big time. Dan went up against Chris, and it was amazing. Of course at the end, they made up and it was sweet.
But Chris does have limits, of course. At times he CAN reject Dan. Like in “Dan Vs. the barber” when Dan goes to far, and he cuts off all ties with Dan Or, my personal fave, in “Dan Vs. the monster under the bed”
Dan finds a monster under his bed, and long story short, Chris gives him info on where to go to stop him and what to do. See, all through the episode, Chris and Elise were trying to have a Dan free week, but this stopped them from that. Then, when Dan is forced to go to Canada (don’t ask) to do some embarrassing thing, and he reads a note from Chris…that says Chris was “, engaging in a convoluted plot to trick Dan into believing in a monster under his bed, believing it to be a demon Dan accidentally summoned, then doing a bunch of favors for Chris under the guise of banishing the creature, all leading up to Dan making a fool out of himself in the middle of nowhere… just so Chris and Elise could have a vacation
DAMN. Even Elise is impressed!
So yeah, Chris/Dan is always fascinating even on a straight level. But let’s talk about Chris/Elise, from Chris’s POV. Elise is a hot badass chick while Chris is…well Chris. So as you can imagine, Chris feels inferior. In one episode, he uses his eating skills to use in a contest in order to prove he can be good at something. The funny thing is, Elise doesn’t want him competing in that, and as you can guess she tells him at the end he likes him as he is. Don’t worry, that’s only a small part of the episode, but it is sweet.
Chris otherwise is a loving husband who sticks by Elise’s side. Though he does frequently question how she came to get a lot of her tech or fighting skills. Their relationship isn’t the deepest, but when they show some nice moments like the above, it works pretty well.
So yeah, Chris is awesome, on his own, and with others.
And…that’s it! Yeah, I’ve discussed everything. Why the show works, why the characters are good, the relationships, the humor…everything! There aren’t that many other characters to mention, besides this hippie named crunchy (fulfilling the Tom Kenny quota).
Normally, I’d discuss certain episodes at length, but I’m short on time, and I don’t want to do a full top 11 blog, so here’s a short list of my faves in no order:
Dan Vs The Wolfman
Dan Vs Canada
Dan Vs The Family Cruise
Dan Vs Summer Camp
Dan Vs Stupidity
Dan Vs Chris
Dan Vs The Catburglar
Dan Vs Burgerphile
Dan Vs Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre
Dan Vs George Washngton
Dan Vs Dan
You know, George Washington may actually be my fave episodes. The concept is stupid, but not only is it funny, but it sums up the show in a nutshell. Nothing special, but it’s so much fun and on of that, we get some Dan/Chris/Elise bonding time, and that’s always nice.
Dan Vs Dan is also excellent, by really testing Dan’s likability, Summer Camp shows us how Dan/Chris started (ALSO ERNIE HUDSON IS IN IT), and Family cruise has a big terker at the end…no spoilers.
But fun fact: That episode aired after I did the wimpy kid 3 review. After that wreck, I wanted to watch something fun…episode turned out to be a tear jerker. I swear, the universe hates me.
So yeah, that’s Dan Vs. The show is currently 3 seasons in. We have no idea if there will be a 4th, the hub Is being really vague about out. You can watch the first season on DVD, but if you want the other 2, just download it.
I hope we get a 4th season. I rarely want shows to go past Season 3, but this is a show that can do so much more. If it ends here though, I’ll be okay. But if you hear someone scream “HUUUUUUB’ to the heavens…don’t blame me.
Dan Vs is a great show with very funny comedy, interesting plots, good characters, and a really great jerk. Wish I had more to say but…nope.
Dan Vs is easily the best cartoon on the hub,
READERS: BUT WHAT ABOUT MY LITTLE-
Very Good, but not the best.
If you excuse me, I think I hear angry people running to my house. Also, I think I see Torches and pitchforks..