These days, it would be fairly difficult to throw a rock and not hit someone who hasn't heard of 'Family Guy.' The once-canceled show, that got put back on the air due to massive DVD sales, has become somewhat of a juggernaut, dominating cable television slots, spawning numerous other shows ('American Dad' and the 'Family Guy' spinoff 'The Cleveland Show'), making the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, amazingly rich and famous.
While some may feel MacFarlane's shows are now overexposed and far too repetitive (and as 'South Park' pointed out, capable of being written by a manatee), there is still a large enough fan base that will gobble up any bit of inanity MacFarlane throws at them, so why not create a special and cash in on one's good fortunes with 'Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy?'
If the 'Cavalcade' seems halfway familiar to you, there may be a reason for that. Beyond the obvious similarities in character design and animation between this feature and MacFarlane's other shows, a few of the cartoons from the show could be found online on MacFarlane's Youtube channel that shares the show's name. These random (and I mean random) non-sequitors are identical to those found in MacFarlanes 'Family Guy' television series, with the only notable difference being that the Griffin family is nowhere to be seen.
There is no such thing as taboo in 'Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy,' as restraint is not exactly the point of these cartoons, and the content is more foul, as the box art's tag of "uncensored!" isn't kidding. Poor taste jokes are everywhere, from multiple moments of both cannibalism and AIDS jokes, bestiality (a frequent go to), suicide, and piles of excrement that exist for no reason other than to attempt a gross out laugh. Homosexuality is a frequent punching bag, with extreme caricatures that are sure to polarize and generalities that seem stuck in an elementary school level of homophobia.
There is also no such thing as "making sense," as numerous moments are curious to the point that one would have to wonder if the writing staff were on serious hallucinogens. Super Mario is bloody hilarious as he describes his adventure to save the princess, as is Kermit's few seconds of "face" time. The downside to this show is the absolute lack of purpose. We are treated to numerous "innovative, original" ideas (detect the sarcasm), such as "Fred Flintstone Takes a Shit," or, get this, a dog attacking cats, in one of the more dumbfounding sequences, that seem to exist solely as filler, or as some giant in-joke that is never explained. Some moments in the 'Cavalcade' are flat out unfunny, to the point that it was painful.
My biggest complaint with this show is not the fact that it goes too far; rather, the fact that MacFarlane's comic genius is best left where it's pushing the line of acceptability, rather than obliterating it. Just as there are times when an "unrated" cut of a comedy can ruin it's sense of humor, MacFarlane is definitely funnier when he has to work around the censors, on a medium where there truly can be some shock value. Here, we're walking into a donkey show knowing it's a donkey show, rather than a puppet show.
If you want to see Persian guidos, game shows revolving around animal genitalia, or a montage of celebrities (such as Optimus Prime, Dick Cheney, and Gilbert Gottfried) as they would appear during sexual relations, then perhaps 'Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy' is for you, though the matter of replay value is a bit of a tough one. If you want coherent or clean jokes, political correctness, or, heaven forbid, story, plot, or a point, then it's best to avoid the 'Cavalcade' at all costs.
Colors throughout felt a bit dull, as they were never truly bright or vibrant. This may be an aesthetic choice, but it still does not translate well in high def. Background colors can sometimes fluctuate and pulse, drawing the eye to solid blurbs of color rather than the characters that should be the focus of attention. Another detracting color element was the existence of banding. From the opening segment, the first thing that can be noticed is the blatant, obvious banding that is borderline painful. Most diagonal lines are jaggy as all hell, and for the wonderful cherry atop this sundae, some of the cheaper animation gives off what looks like motion blur. Even solid black lines, such as the one that defines the walls in the background of "The Scottsman Who Yells at Movies," do not impress, as they fade, turn grey and blurry at spots, and are fairly soft.
So, here's a hats off to 'Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy,' for getting nearly everything wrong in the video department.
The only audio option for 'Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy' is a lossless DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 that doesn't know what to do with what little is thrown at it. This collection of shorts is for the most part pure dialogue, which is distinct and clear, with no real negative elements detracting from the audio quality of the sound recordings. The surround usage for this collection, though, is beyond minimal. At random (rare) moments, there is some forced atmosphere, and the few moments with music do seem to fill the soundstage, but beyond those ever-so-brief moments, a stereo track would have been more than sufficient here. The bass first pops it's head up to one of the few music pieces, during an inter-species sex act, and is somewhat like the light in your refrigerator. Sure it's there, and it helps out that tiny bit, but all in all, it's just for appearances, and it doesn't help the performance of the equipment that it is attached to one bit.
The immense supplement package from the DVD is included in it's entirety, including:
Fans of MacFarlane's other works are sure to enjoy this misfit of a cartoon, with it's familiar design and comic style, while newcomers may scratch their heads as to why they just paid good money to watch what could be most closely recognized as something their twelve year-old nephew could have thought up. With strikingly unremarkable audio and video qualities, this disc is only preaching to the converted, and the extras package is very flimsy. Why did this collection need to be put on Blu-ray at all? Skip it.