Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Napoleon, Pedro and Deb in the cafeteria

Tonight Fox premiered the first two episodes of the new Napoleon Dynamite TV series. Is this a new hit for Fox’s Animation Domination block or will it go the way of Allen Gregory?

I’m a huge fan of the Napoleon Dynamite movie, so I was both worried and excited at the prospect of a show. Despite the excitement of an animated version of a favourite movie of mine, there’s always the concern that this would turn out to be a piece of garbage that’s an insult to the film, like other animated series based on great movies such as Spaceballs and Strange Brew.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Kip Create and Uncle Rico pretending to be a child

It’s still a bit early to make any final judgements, but I found the show to be pretty funny. Though not as consistently funny as the film, each episode included some pretty solid jokes which made me laugh, which really is all you can ask for from a comedy. The show was reminiscent of the movie, and although some dialogue seemed unnaturally repetitive from what we’ve heard, the general tone seemed pretty consistent, while adding a certain level of cartoon silliness as we can only expect from such a show.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Napoleon and Tina doing sit ups

The first episode centered around Napoleon getting great abilities from his zit cream and stealing Kip’s new girlfriend while joining an underground fighting ring. The second had a computer named Scantronica 3000 pairing up the various characters of the show as it’s electronic wisdom saw fit which naturally lead to some high jynx.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Scantronica 3000

Amazingly, the entire main cast of the movie was able to show up for this show. I guess since the movie mostly featured new and relatively unknown actors at the time, the actors involved weren’t “too good for TV”. Having the original cast certainly lends a good amount of authenticity to the show, and makes sure we have a familiar experience while watching. The original movie’s writing and directing team of Jared and Jerusha Hess are involved, while others such as television veteran Mike Scully are also joining in the effort.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Baby Napoleon and young Kip

One major issue I had is in trying to figure out just when this show is meant to take place. It really doesn’t work as being either before or after the film. Kip is not with Lafawnduh, his online girlfriend turned wife from the film. Napoleon knowns Deb, and is friends with her, but they have no relationship. He also knows Pedro who was new to the school in the movie. Perhaps the entire series takes place during the film, which seems kind of unintuitive given the passage of time that would mean needs to happen in that short time. Uncle Rico is around, but so is Napoleon and Kip’s Grandmother who was out of town for most of the events of the movie.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Napoleon and his half Asian children

The best way to rationalize this seems to be that it’s a bit of a reboot/retelling of the story. All characters seem to start off as they did shortly into the movie, but are progressing through different events, likely ultimately leading to similar outcomes. Trying to get this and the movie into some shared continuity would be more of a headache than trying to fit the Star Wars prequels into the original trilogy’s canon.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Sexy Pedro woos Summer

What did you think of the show? Leave us a comment to let us know. After a solid first two episodes, I’ll certainly be tuning in for more. With Fox’s track record, I figure the show will be canceled before I have a chance to give up on it.

Napoleon Dynamite cartoon - Goof Nutz Pizza Band