'Napoleon Dynamite' loses something in TV translation
January 16th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

'Napoleon Dynamite' loses something in TV translation

Sunday night brought the debut of anticipated series "Napoleon Dynamite" with a two episode premiere on Fox.

Needless to say, if the original 2004 movie wasn't your cup of tea, you won't like this much either. So what did it offer for fans?

One thing the movie had going for it was an original comic voice. There simply wasn't anything like "Napoleon Dynamite" or its characters, all of whom are back and, for the most part, voiced by the same actors in this series.

Napoleon's trademark mannerisms are here too, and some characters, like Diedrich Bader's Rex, have larger roles. In the first episode, Rex ran something of a fight club, which Napoleon joined because some acne cream made him impervious to pain.

The problem, especially with the first episode, was that the shorter running time and animated format appear to have made for a faster pace than we saw in the movies, which took away some of the charm that was in the film. This show has the polish of a Fox primetime animation, and it was that lack of polish that made the original movie so, well, "sweet."

My fear that this might be just another Seth MacFarlane series clone (minus the pop culture references) was somewhat alleviated with the second episode, thanks to its pairing of various characters by the "Scanatronica" love computer. That one had a little more heart to it.

Here's hoping the show moves even more in the direction of that second episode, and recaptures more of the tone that made the movie so special.

What did you think of the first two episodes? Share your view on iReport, or comment below. Also, check out an interview with the cast from Comic-Con 2011:

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. hotels booking

    Generally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very great article.

    September 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zach

    1st ep was not that great but the 2nd one was really funny.So hopefully as it goes on it will correct the wrongs

    January 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. billy suton

    It was o.k. but please bring back BOB'S Freakin BURGER!

    January 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. andrew

    ITS A CARTOON.....CNN must be hurtin for something to talk about....CNN the cartoon critics

    January 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |

    I have watched the movie literaly about 30 times since 2004, it's just so damn warm and fuzzy, kinda like a dorkey non Christmas version of A Christmas Story,... yea because Ralphie uses illegal ninja moves from the government to beat up that bully right?. OK, it's nothing like A Christmas Story. My point is, there is just somthing about the movie that makes you feel good. The cartoon isn't warm and fuzzy like the movie, but it does make you laugh yor ass off! It is faster paced because it only has about 20 minuts (without commercials) to tell a story. I love all of the jokes and movie quotes and it looks like we are going to get to see new charicters like Don's family to. No, the cartoon isn't like the movie. it is what it is, a fast, bite sized version of the origial. Kinda like pizza rolls are to pizza. So, if you like pizza rolls you should like this cartoon.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mr. Fake Name

    Fox is pathetic. The SImpsons were the best for 20 yrs. Great job! Now its all about FG and AD. The Johah Hill thing a few weeks back was also another Fox turd bomb. Fox is such a lousy network. Even pro NFL games with Joe Buck are ruined by his silly butt kissing of this campy network and its dopey line up. I hope a bus load of heroin addicts with guns storm the fox studios HQ and "occupy" their spaces for a while... Then they can make an animated show about that too...

    January 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RAllen

    Fox keeps lobbing one inane cartoon after another in their Sunday evening "Animation Domination" block. Family Guy and the Simpsons are the long established "kings" of the night perhaps they think that by placing these duds next to the successful programs some magic will happen to make one of them a hit... While I enjoy the Cleveland Show and American Dad... pieces of dreck like Bobs Burgers, Allen Gregory (totally unwatchable) and now Napoleon Dynamite... A ND cartoon might have been great after the success of the original movie... but years later it's just plain stupid. Fox go back to your relatively stable and successful lineup of the Simpsons, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad and stop with wannabes.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. C

    It couldn't have been worse than the crap that MacFarlane puts out.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrismarie

    I loved the movie; and love animation domination night; but was not fond of this cartoon. I watched the first episode and it grossed me out and the story line was almost identical to the movie. The animation was definitely similar to Recess; maybe the same animators? It was a huge letdown for me. Please hurry Bob's Burgers!!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ElKai0

    This show is a garbage, lets make a clueless Cartoon next or is there a 7 year Movie to Cartoon limit? Bob's Burgers needs to come back, and anyone that says different is a mouth breather.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • lefty14

      are you crazy, Bobs burgers is one of the most trbl shows of all time, I don't know how you can get worse then that show, it's a big load!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pete

    loved it i hope it kicked off allen gregory and bobs burgers

    January 17, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. jay

    Hated the movie. It was boring as watching paint dry as a past time. The cartoon was EVEN WORSE. Please cancel this debacle immediately. My family could only stomach the first ten minutes before kids started to complain.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. rotfl

    I luv napoleon dynamite the first time i saw the movie was on new years and its my fav movie..the first episode was funny funny funny looooooovvvveee it

    January 17, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tattood Dad

    i thought i was right on what i expected it to be.......it was good. i just hope it last long enough to see what else they can do with the movie made into a cartoon. i think they need to add some references to the movie into the series. it could be a good show. ill definatly watch it again, me and my 10yr old daughter laughed are butts off. i cant wait to see a Liger in cartoon form, that was Napolean's favorite animal.LOL!!

    January 17, 2012 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Roger

    The series has a very different pace than the movie, but with all the original creators and cast there the chemistry remains in-tact. My friend and I really enjoyed the show. I felt like I could just keep watching episodes all night. I hope it lasts a long time. Bob's Burgers was awful. Allen Gregory was cruel. American Dad is my favorite Seth McFarlane. My ideal Sunday lineup, including shows cancelled would be SImpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad and now Napoleon Dynamite.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  16. kassy

    The fast-pace is EXACTLY what bothered me. I said it out loud too when i saw the premiere "this is too fast-paced and lacks the slow and dry humor that original movie had" that's why the movie was funny! SLOW it down, obscure the jokes, and plot, then BINGO. The characters emote too much too. Rex=highly emotional, Kip=totally blah, Deb=sweet and totally blah, Summer=emotes like a valley-girl, Napoleon=totally blah, Pedro=totally blah never smiles. They all do the opposite in the show. not cool.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  17. Jane

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    January 17, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  18. JC

    all these fill-in shows for fox sunday nights are just that. its all build up to next year (or this fall i cant remember) when seth tries to save sunday night with his remake of the flintstones.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  19. Heather

    I love the movie and the animated series so far! I DVR'd it though so I missed the last 12 minutes of each episode since it started late! 🙁 I laughed out loud at the parts I did see. I'm hoping FOX will air them again or put them online so i can see the rest of the episodes. I hope the show lasts a while and HOPEFULLY they'll make another movie!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  20. lefty14

    For all those people who actually think that Bob's burgers is a better and funnier show then Napolean Dynomite, you must be a lunatic. Mainley, when have you seen a show that has a comebak from a movie and expect it to be good, and at least the girl characters are played by girls. yes ,the girls in Bob's burgers are played by men, where are we, Greek play time, there are good women actors, and that the show lacks anything that a good show would have on animation domination. It has a terrible plot, characters, place setting, animation, and at least should have comedy, i couldnt last 5 minutes without changing the channel to something funnier like whats on, on Fox News. So for those who can't wait for your burger show to come back on, watch some good comedy for once.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Henry Hanks

    @mike – According to the producers the show (for now, anyway) takes place before LaFawnduh came on the scene.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Dom.E.

    Hated the movie, watched the last 30 seconds waiting for a real comedy (Family Guy) to come on since FOX and the NFL still haven't figured out that a 4PM playoff game telecast won't finish up until after 8 and everything was messed up for 10 minutes. I really wanted that 30 seconds back but Transformers or whatever else I was watching in between Simpsons & Family Guy was on commerical.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Benjie

    I thought the show was good. It's an animated show not the movie so there has to be some differences. I don't want to see an animated version of the movie, what would be the point?It had some funny moments and with time they could really build storylines and characters. Much better than the recent attempts at animated comedies. Allan Gregory and Bobs Burgers are just awful awful shows in my opinion.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  24. bart

    Watched this last night, funny, i liked it...

    January 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Steven Stutchman

    I hated the movie, but the cartoon was actually amusing. Stop saying it's another copy of Seth MacFarlane because that is generalizing that form of comedy. That's like saying STEPHEN COLBERT IS JUST JON STEWART! herp derp.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Brandon Harvey

    Just like the movie...A waste of time, time just like Bean.....F****** Stupid!

    January 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Sandra Bullock

    It was just painful to watch. After 3 mins I had to change the channel. It sucks cause I was so excited about it =(

    January 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  28. nikki

    Unfortunately i only got part of each show because the football game ran over, but i thought it was funny. not the greatest thing on tv but it had its moments. ill prob watch it again and hope that i get to watch all the show not parts due to a game

    January 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Cosmo

    Bring back Bob's Burgers! Napoleon sucks.

    January 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Auelia Darcy

    Were they on OkChica.com?

    January 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  31. bill

    Movie was amazing but this is pretty bad. I was crying during the movie and could barely watch the cartoon. It is another copy cat of Seth MacFarlane. I watched the new Family Guy right after and I was almost crying laughing.

    January 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  32. You suck..


    January 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  33. WRS013

    I absolutely loved ND the movie. Still to this day if I'm channel surfing and the movie appears I automatically stop to watch. Speaking of stopping watching, I could only take 10 minutes of the first episode before I had to turn it. It was painful. BUT...I wanted it to work so bad, I tuned back in after FG to watch the second episode. IMO, no better. This show is just plain bad. I don't think it wuld have worked in 2004, let alone 2012.

    January 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  34. AAron

    I like the movie and the cartoons were good as well. I laughed several times... more than family guys' jokes. The second episode was alittle boring but the first was hilarious.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  35. richww2

    An animated show might have been good when the movie hit cult status back in the day. This show is about 7 years too late. Now it just seems old and redundant.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Napoleon Dickamite

    Hey, Fox... If you want a show about a loser, make an animated show about Bin Laden or Dick Cheney. Dynamite Napoleon NOW and put this POS out of it's misery QUICKLY as you all can.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  37. ToonPirate54

    Genuinely BAD theater. I would even watch Bob's Burgers over this show, and I DESPISE Bob's Burgers. Thank GOD Fox Network is used to shows that get cancelled after 2 or 3 showings. DUMP THIS QUICK, FOX!!!

    January 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Grandpa RD

    This show was so bad it could suck the Rock of Gibraltar through a thousand mile long garden hose.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  39. audrey

    I agree with marquee, the first episode was boring but the second episode had more substance and kept me entertained. They should have done the same with the first episode. But i'll be tuning in next week if they kept bringing the stories.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  40. mike

    did NOT translate ,they where people who acted cartoonish now there cartoons being cartoonish. SUCKED dreadfull, i was counting the days to see this and now regreting i did, wont watch,tape ,or recommend this ..............ugh sad!

    January 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  41. TWD

    Loved it. I, too, enjoyed being able to share it with my whole family.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Toemas

    Archer looks to be premiering soon , Jon Benjamin , and that show is FUNNY, but super rude, Netflix it. Napoleon was pretty ok, could watch it with the kids no problem, had some funny parts chucky cheez was nice, would regularly miss most of this but be in time for the Simpsons. But "Bobs Burger" will hopefully fill the bill

    January 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Kaseyneiggemann

    What are you people talking about Napoleon Dynamite Cartoon series is a really great hillarious show so what if its different and has new characters but it still has the same Actors Same Characters

    January 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Joe

    Loved the org movie, really liked the cartoon versions last night. I am looking forward to see how the series evolves.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Josh

    It has potential, but the writing needs to be stepped up. It is quirky, but yet really bad. It's okay though "Family Guy" got off to a slow start too, I believe.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  46. AngryGirl

    I loved it! I hope it stays on forever and all the cast members make plenty of sweet moolah!

    January 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Puggiemommie


    January 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Barry

    It sucked.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Mark

    Seemed to be hastily put together and not terribly well thought out. Part of his charm was his silent frustration that became verbalized to the point of becoming annoying. Not really feeling that this was the best live action to cartoon choice they could have made. If they keep sandwiching it in between good toons though I will probably give it a few more chances. Overall I thought it was dreadful and I hope this doesn't mean the end of Bob's Burgers.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Janna

    The movie SUCKED.. Liked the cartoon much better, it actually made me laugh. Double for my Hubby.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  51. STEVE

    1 word......HORRIBLE !!!

    January 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Krewesader Rabbit

    Totally bogus. The epitome of bogosity. Bogue-ness unchained. An hour long pasture filled with bogue patties. I had to set the tv outside to air out the stench. There's still some putrifying green puddle where the tv leaked some indicator that the bogue-ometer had blown itself up. Napeleon wipe this up please.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Dave

    It was about as bad as that other cartoon they've been running for a few weeks (with the kid in school), I don't even know the name (it sucked bigtime). After the Simpsons & Family Guy are over, I change the channel. Bring back Bob's Burgers, and all will be fine in the world.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  54. mxyzptlyk

    Fox should just admit defeat and bring back "King of the Hill"

    January 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Bismark

    Wow.....what a load of crap....

    good: Simpsons, Family guy, American Dad, Hank Hill, Futurama(now on Comedy C.)

    Bad: This crud, the Cleveland show, Allen Gregory (a real turd burger).

    January 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Kelly

    I loved the movie and thought the TV show was very cute. It was clean and goofy so the kids would like it. I think it's a breath of fresh air to all of the dark, vampy shows out there.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  57. 2 Kids Mom

    there were some funny parts during the show, but it felt like something was missing. i really liked the movie better. i don't think there will be another season...

    January 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  58. ernie

    Loved the movie but only got past the first ten minutes of cartoon. However, I hear some people saying the second premiere was better and I wish I had watched.

    January 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  59. mike

    What happened to LaFawnda???

    January 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      I was thinking the exact same thing actually.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Indianiel

      i was wondering where the bully was, the guy that smashed Napoleon's tots and tried to steal ol' dude's bike.

      January 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  60. ella

    I thought the show was hilarious! it had me laughing out loud over and over. i like that i can let my little kids watch it with me and i don't have to worry about something offensive being shown. we actually watched both episodes twice because they were so funny!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  61. testes

    The movie and the cartoon use the same type of humor: unintelligent humor.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Tiffany

    Love the movie and the cartoon. Really have to know the characters.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  63. desk calendar

    I thought it was much better than FRINGE and other FOX shows. Parks and Rec also stinks.

    January 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Ben

    I thought it was pretty good. Had me laughing.
    HAHAHAHA! "All that she wants is another Pizza" LOL!

    January 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  65. rico

    movie was lame and unfunny for most people. trying to put a cartoon on the air 8 years later is an even dumber idea than "&#* My Dad Says."

    January 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  66. shesta

    The movie grew on me because my boyfriend loves it. we watched it last night and I thought it was better than I expected. I thought that the original voices was needed to pull it off.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Joe

    Um, lose what? The movie was painfully boring....

    January 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  68. clavinball

    Fox needs to give this show an honest chance so people who think it should just be the MOVIE stop watching it, and people who want great entertainment start watching it... needs to be on at least 3 seasons to get a good base.... THIS SHOW IS FAR BETTER than the other cartoons they have tried out!

    January 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  69. michelle

    Terrible. I loved the movie,but the cartoon just felt weird.
    Uncle Rico's pronouncing Napoleon was just "off".
    It felt forced, and, just UNFUNNY.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  70. calvinball


    January 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Sokman

    It was much better than Bob's Burgers, but still not great. It reminded me a lot of Disney's Recess

    January 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Madtown

    I thought it sucked. Loved the movie, but didn't laugh once at the tv show. Just wasn't that funny. I predict it will be very short-lived. Too bad, I looked forward to it.

    January 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

      So are you saying that it was pretty mutch the worst video ever made?

      January 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Wickster

    Thought it was brilliant! Much better than the crap other cartoons offer. I used to watch Family Guy but its now too crude for my liking. Will definately make an effort to watch every new episode and the re-runs. I hope it succeeds.

    January 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Russ

    I thought it was funny, and it wasn't crass. I don't think people will enjoy it if they attempt to compare it to the movie. The format is different, there will be different story lines, etc... I'd watch it regularly.

    January 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Vicks

    Only a true teenager would put tatter tots in his pocket to snack later...and those egg sandwiches were hilarous...

    January 16, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  76. Observer

    Conventional Hollywood thinking:
    "Hey, let's take a really stupid movie, that nobody really liked, and make an animated series out of it. People will watch it because, hey, there's not much on."

    Another example of Hollywood promoting liberal garbage.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • rico

      what does politics have to do with this? not everything needs to be viewed thru a conservative vs. liberal prism. go back to foxnews.

      January 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      "All that you want is another pizza!!!!!!!!"

      January 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henny

      What a Punk.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |

      Liberal,....realy?... oh yea, like in the movie when the farmer shoots the cow in the face with a 12 gauge at point blank range. DAMN HIPPIE FARMERS!!!

      January 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Ali

    It was terribly boring. I like the regular line up much better. Worst Sunday night animation domination night this year. I am ready for Bob's burgers to come back in march.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      That's funny...I was actually hoping that this would take the place of Bob's Burgers...lol I can't stand that show...

      January 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  78. TinaTheLlama

    I thought it was great... a nice extension of the Napoleon universe. Sure, it's not identical in it's pace and tone to the movie, but it was still dang funny!

    January 16, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  79. Guest

    Havent seen it yet.Im certain there is no way the cartoon will be as good as the movie.Not even sure if the cartoon will be any good.But Ill watch it,because its a cartoon.
    Thats just who I am.No matter how bad it is,If you animate it,I will watch it.
    If its awesome,Ill watch it over and over.
    Bonus Recommendation:Sgt Frog(Keroro Gunso)If you like Shin Chan

    January 16, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  80. @Bubblegum

    I liked when he had tater tots in his pocket. Them and fishsticks is the lunch of champions.

    January 16, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  81. Ralph

    I didn't really care much for the movie, it was too slow and just not relatable but my girlfriend loved it so we watched the cartoon last night. The TV show was very funny and reminded me of King of the Hill where it was funny without having to be disgusting like American Dad, Cleveland and Family Guy. Laughed out loud a couple of times and found myself quoting parts already. I hope it sticks around to give people who don't care for the Seth Macfarlane crap a break...

    January 16, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  82. Jerdupal Mageet

    I enjoyed the movie when it was released; and I thoroughly enjoyed the cartoons last night. I watched them with my entire family of eight people. My wife and youngest daughter didn't seem to appreciate it; but the rest of us were laughing out loud and did our own version of the "thundercone" in our living room. We will watch this every week it is on!

    January 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  83. Jeff

    Had to watch the first 10 minutes then turned the channel. Loved the movie, dreadful cartoon. Desperate attempt to capitalize on a fluke indie movie. Whats next, cartoon of Juno? This will be a very lived cartoon. The movie was off beat that's what made it special. It needs to stay that way. Just goes to show the true lack of writing in holly-wood when they just constantly regurgitate older movies or attempt to "Update" something from 20,30,40 years ago. That's the one thing about nostalgia , nothing can ever compare the the original.

    January 16, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |

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