- Moral Orel
The opening title for the show, showing Orel waving at God/the viewer.
Format Clay animation
Dramedy (season 3)
Created by Dino Stamatopoulos Starring Scott Adsit
Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 3 No. of episodes 43 (List of episodes) Production Producer(s) Dino Stamatopoulos Running time 11 minutes Production company(s) ShadowMachine Films
Broadcast Original channel Adult Swim Picture format 4:3 SDTV Original run December 13, 2005– Present External links Website
It has been described as "Davey and Goliath...meets South Park." However, Dino Stamatopoulos, the show's creator, is wary of the comparison with Davey and Goliath, telling the New York Times that Moral Orel grew out of a concept for a send-up of a Leave It to Beaver-style 1950s sitcom that would star Iggy Pop.
At the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, Stamatopoulos announced that the show would not be renewed for a fourth season. The final season was aired interspersed with repeats of the first two in an event named "44 Nights of Orel" hosted by Stamatopoulos and others since many of the episodes took place in parallel with events of past episodes. The event started on October 6, 2008, and ran through December 18, 2008 when the series finale premiered.
The program takes place in the fictional capital city of Moralton, in the fictional Bible Belt state "Statesota," which appears to be made up of some of Kansas, much of western Missouri, northern Oklahoma, and a small portion of Arkansas. According to the globe shown in the opening credits, Moralton is in the exact center of the United States, with the town's church at the exact center of the town (and therefore the country).
The main character is Orel Puppington, a student at Alfred G. Diorama Elementary School, who constantly tries to live by the Protestant Christian moral code as articulated in church or by his father, Clay. Orel naïvely follows this "code" to illogical extremes, with consistently disastrous results. The series acts as a parody of the archetypes of 1950s American suburban life as presented by the contemporary media, and of modern-day WASP culture and mainstream Christianity.
The first season of the show followed a standard formula: Orel would hear a sermon in church on Sunday, then proceed to have some sort of misadventure based on his attempts to live by his (usually warped) interpretation of the lesson. At the end of each episode, his father would sternly put a halt to the proceedings and "correct" Orel — only to offer an even more warped interpretation (in the first season this would be one of the "Lost Commandments"). Before the end titles, Clay Puppington's trousers would fall down as a running gag, because he had removed his belt to "correct" Orel beforehand. Throughout the season, the series' primary characters were introduced and various subplots were established, such as Orel's father being a closeted bisexual in love with Orel's gym teacher, and Orel's mother being an unhappily married housewife feeling trapped in her marriage.
The second season of the show broke the first season format and began to build upon the subplots introduced in the first season, making them the primary focus of the show. Although still the primary character, Orel became less a catalyst for each episode's events than an unwitting bystander often left confused and dejected at the end of an episode who found himself unable to reconcile his optimistic nature and faith with the corruption and cynicism of the adults around him and his father in particular. The season culminated in a two-part episode dealing with a camping trip, during which Orel lost all faith in his father. The finale-- "Nature"-- marked a a darker turn in the series' tone, de-emphasizing the cynical parody of the previous two seasons in favor of exploring darker, more disturbing themes and character behavior.
The third and final season of the show was structured as a massive, interconnecting, thirteen-part story dealing with the events leading up to and during the camping trip, and their long-reaching implications. It is revealed that during the trip, Orel's father gets drunk and shoots Orel in the leg, only to express a complete lack of remorse or sense of responsibility afterward. The season's narrative structure was significantly more complex than is common in network television programming, with the events of multiple episodes happening concurrently, and not always in chronological order. The series culminates in the ultimate dissolution of Clay's relationship with Orel's coach, and the revelation that Orel will one day be able to put his unhappy childhood behind him to raise a better family than the one he grew up in.
The series was troubled throughout its run. Against the wishes of creator Stamatopoulos, the Christmas-themed first season finale, "The Best Christmas Ever," was aired as the series premier. Adult Swim wanted to debut the show in December as part of a holiday-themed programming block. The episode-- which featured the culmination of numerous story arcs developed throughout the first season, and ended with a cliffhanger-- confused viewers and prompted some questions on Adult Swim's message boards as to whether or not the episode was a one-off practical joke. When the series eventually premiered, three episodes were held back because Cartoon Network's Standards & Practices Department found them to be too dark and sexually explicit, even for a late night program aimed at adults. All were eventually approved; two aired in May 2006, and the third aired on July 31, 2006. The series would ultimately be canceled with seven scripts left unproduced, cutting the third season down from the intended twenty episodes to thirteen.
After the 2011 Halloween mini-marathon for Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, Orel himself announced the upcoming Morel Orel special and that it's release would be "sometime in the near future". This special was originally offered to Dino Stamatopoulos when Cartoon Network cut the final season from 20 episodes to 13. The special will detail Orel's maturity including his relationships with both Clay's Father and his future wife Christina. The special will also show Bloberta Puppington's new husband Roger Papermouth. As well as Rod Putty relationship with Florence Papermouth, Roger's ex wife.
- Orel Puppington is a 12-year-old boy and the main character of the show. Orel is a devout Christian boy who cheerfully and naïvely deals with an alcoholic and abusive father, an emotionally distant/starving and cleaning-obsessed mother and the hypocrisy of the religious adults he encounters.
- Clay Puppington is Orel's father. He is a cynical alcoholic who hates his job as mayor of Moralton, and his wife.
- Bloberta Puppington is Orel's mother. Seemingly cheerful, she tends to ignore all conflict or problems.
- Shapey Puppington, Orel's seven-year-old half-brother, is a misbehaving, spoiled, emotionally stunted little boy who does nothing but yell (usually wordlessly) and act out.
- Rev. Putty, the town's resident pastor of the church. A laid-back, caring yet lonely and sexually frustrated man whom Orel looks up to for advice. He shares a healthy relationship with his daughter Stephanie, a punk-rock lesbian who owns a sex shop.
- Volume releases
Volume One April 24, 2007 15 This 2 disc boxset contains the first 15 episodes of the series, uncensored, and in production order (The Lord's Greatest Gift through Season 2's Offensiveness, and includes the entirety of Season 1 along with additional Season 2 episodes God's Image, Satan, Elemental Orel, and Love.). Special features include a director's cut version of God's Chef, deleted scenes, a "behind the scenes" featurette
Volume 1 was also included in an Adult Swim box set called "Adult Swim in a Box," with a release date of October 27, 2009.
Madman Entertainment released the second volume of Moral Orel on DVD in Region 4 on August 18, 2010. It was the world's first and so far the only release of the second season on DVD. Madman Entertainment also released the third and final volume of Moral Orel on April 20, 2011, again on Region 4 DVD. Neither volume 2 or 3 have yet been released elsewhere, and it is currently unknown if the US will get R1 releases.
All seasons of Moral Orel are available for purchase from the Sony PSP marketplace as well as the "Build Your Own DVD" feature on the Adult Swim website.
- ^ Bozell, L. Brent. "Shower after 'Adult Swim'". http://www.nationalledger.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=8&num=10790&printer=1. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- ^ Crane, Dan (2007-05-20). "Holy Satire! Faith-Based Mockery". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/arts/television/20cran.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- ^ "Dino Stamatopoulos: The TV Squad Interview". http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/10/27/dino-stamatopoulos-the-tv-squad-interview/. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- ^ http://www.bumpworthy.com/bumps/4318
- ^ "Adult Swim in a Box". http://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Season-Chicken-Metalocalypse-Sealab/dp/B002JTMNYQ/ref=pd_cp_d_2. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- ^ https://www.madman.com.au/actions/catalogue.do?releaseId=13547&method=view&webChannelId=11
- ^ http://b2b.madman.com.au/actions/catalogue.do?method=view&releaseId=13890
- Official website
- Moral Orel at the Internet Movie Database
- Moral Orel at TV.com
- Panel from Comic-Con 2006
- Moral Orel at the Voice Chasers Database
- Dino Stamatopoulos Interviewed by Jesse Thorn at Sounds of Young America
- Moral Orel at TVSquad.com
- Morel Orel family viewing review at Common Sense Media Review.
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