John Hunchman & David Purefoy (Dicktown)

Created by John Hodgman & David Rees

John and David prowl the mean streets of Dicktown.

Who says cartoons are for kids?

In the clever and decidedly adult cartoon Dicktown (2000, FXX), maladjusted, socially awkward middle-aged private eye JOHN HUNCHMAN and his slacker sidekick DAVID PUREFOY (voiced by series creators and co-writers John Hodgman and David Rees) aren’t going anywhere.

They’re still living in small North Carolina town Richardsville (hence the vandalized road sign that gives the show its title) , with John trying desperately to move on from his glory days as a celebrated local boy detective, and David, well, drinking and getting stoned like he was still in high school. It isn’t going too well, though–the “boys” just aren’t equipped to deal with adulthood (Never mind REAL! LIVE! GROWN-UP WOMEN!).

Hell, John’s living in a falling apart houseboat mired in a swamp, and David’s still living with his parents, and despite their advancing years, they’re still mostly solving mysteries on behalf of teenage clients.

Arrested development? You’re soaking in it. The “mysteries” here are often pretty lightweight, the animation is pretty static (intentionally reminiscent of Hanna-Barbera, done on the cheap), and some of the jokes may make you cringe in self-recognition (or snort beverages out of your nose), but it does give the writers ample room to riff on everything from teenagers, VHS tapes, growing old, cosplay, pop and “woke” culture (past and present) to the well-worn tropes of teen detectives, crime fiction and even Scooby-Doo.

It’s definitely not for everyone, and plenty of the jokes may soar over the heads of younger (or older) viewers, but that might be why I enjoyed this snarky little mind trinket so much–it’s feels very personal, as if Hodgman and Rees weren’t trying to please everyone–they just wanted to please themselves.

Ricky Nelson might approve.


    (2000, FXX)
    10 episodes
    Created by John Hodgman and David Rees
    Writers:  John Hodgman and David Rees
    Directed by Todd Redner
    Produced by FOX Television Animation
    Starring John Hodgman as JOHN HUNCHMAN
    and David Rees as DAVID PYREFOY
    Also starring Heather Lawless, Ronald Peet, Anna Akana, Obehi Janice, Zach Galifianakis, Jon Glaser, Connett Croghan, Catherine Calloway, Stephen Tobolowsky
    Dicktown is part of FXX’s Cake, an anthology show that features different short comedy films and animation, but I watched it on Hulu.

    • “The Mystery of the Controversial Cosplay” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Maybe  Boyfriend” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Party Pines” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Creepy Piano Teacher” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Mumbling Rapper” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Croquet Meltdown” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Missing Detective” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Moaning Ghost” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Impossible Car” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the President’s Physician” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Controversial Cosplay” (July 9, 2020)
    • “The Mystery of the Controversial Cosplay” (July 9, 2020)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

Leave a Reply