Review: Legends of Chamberlain Heights

“Legends of Chamberlain Heights” is an attempt at another adult animated series from Comedy Central. The series chronicles the lives of three inner-city high school students trying to make it big enough to one day play professional basketball. Their names are Jamal (Quinn Hawking), Grover and Milk (Josiah Johnson). While not a bad idea on paper, the series is rife with the clichés of other shows of its type and lacks the wit that makes “South Park” so entertaining.

The show attempts to address issues that many students face every day, but the execution is woefully inept and thoroughly trivializes its subject matter. On top of that, virtually every aspect of the series is abysmal.

The animation style resembles a series of notebook drawings made by a middle-schooler on downtime, and the plotlines of the initial three episodes have been done far better by other cartoons of its kind. Virtually every character portrayed onscreen are unsympathetic and unlikable imbeciles. The sole exception seems to be a duo of campus police officers, who are portrayed as competent at their jobs, instead of many cartoon cops being similar to Chief Wiggum from “The Simpsons.”

Throughout the course of the first three crudely-drawn episodes, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” tries to address topics such as designer drugs, child care and status symbols like overpriced basketball shoes. Unfortunately, the creators have openly admitted to not caring about what others think about their material. As a result, the potential for the series to be a truly funny and insightful series is wasted on an endless barrage of bad writing, cut-rate animation, and voice acting that’s some of the most grating ever committed to late-night TV.

While some viewers have compared the series to early seasons of “South Park,” that series can still be enjoyed on its own merit for the often surreal and bizarre nature of the earlier episodes. However, with “South Park” now having grown into an allegory for current events, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” comes off as too one-note in its approach to be entertaining or insightful.

In obvious fact, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” is an even worse attempt at adult animation for Comedy Central than last year’s failed “Moonbeam City.” Even though the network has already greenlit a second season before the first even started airing, the initial three episodes have pulled ratings that are barely a fraction of what a typical episode of “South Park” can. As social commentary on high school life, it doesn’t do anything better than other shows of its type. As a sitcom, it’s lowbrow at best. As a potential new series, it’s definitely not recommended. Unless the creators are actually willing to put effort into their product, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights” is guaranteed to be a footnote in Comedy Central’s history.

Review by Steven Pryor

Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m.
Rated TV-MA
Rating: ½ out of 5 stars
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