Adult animation is a struggling genre that never quite hits its mark in recent months, with the cancellation of “Inside Job” by Netflix and the disaster that was HBO’s “Velma”. However, one show that was released in January of 2022, made by Adult Swim, was able to stand out compared to all of the other entries of its category, the show being “Smiling Friends.”
“Smiling Friends” is a dark comedy cartoon that centres around the lives of two employees of the company called “Smiling Friends”, a business that is built entirely around making people happy. These employees are Charlie, the yellow one, who is lazy, cynical and always attempts to take the easy way out of everything, and Pim, the pink one, who is a happy and optimistic character that drives Charlie to keep doing his job. There are many other characters that have their own quirks and personalities but what brings enjoyment to this show isn't just the characters; it comes more from the idea that they live in a surreal world where people are these shapes of different colours, or sometimes even objects, but are just like normal people on the inside. They react to things that are very “cartoony” and weird in a normal way that most of us would also do. It tackles real struggles that are very serious like insecurity and depression without making it feel lighthearted. Instead, it makes jokes about the state of the individual that most people presented to the situation would think but not say, and that is the beauty of it. The jokes almost always land because they are either unexpected and hilarious or because the viewer thought the exact same thing: the type that are thought but not spoken of due to not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. It might also be something immoral, and since Charlie is found to be lacking in the morality department, he can drop dark remarks or comments that we as the viewer just do not expect to be said in a goofy looking cartoon.
There are many more things that make this show an absolute gem like the animation style, side characters and the plot of the episodes that are iconic by themselves - but I feel like it is simpler to just watch it and understand exactly what I am saying. This show is difficult to explain due to it not resembling almost no other piece of media out there. It's available on HBO Max and it is highly recommended if you have been wanting to watch something that really gets you to laugh. All of the episodes are around 10-15 minutes long and there are 8 of them out, currently with a second season already on its way so there is no better time to get into it then now.