Developed and produced by Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Larry Charles (“Seinfeld,” “Mad About You”), Dilbert, the series follows the “every man” as he copes with daily life at The Company. Daniel Stern (“The Wonder Years,” Home Alone, City Slickers) stars as the voice of Dilbert, while Chris Elliott voices his roommate Dogbert, who views the entire world as existing for his personal entertainment. Joining Dilbert in the office are his fellow engineers: the no-nonsense, caffeinated Alice (Kathy Griffin) and selfish, slothful Wally (Gordon Hunt).
Follow Dilbert and his co-workers as they try to make sense of corporate culture through witty banter and silly slapstick. Guest voice talent includes Jason Alexander, Andy Dick, Eugene Levy, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Tom Green and more!
In recent months, I chipped away at a Dilbert collection, ‘Fugitive from the Cubicle Police‘ and discovered that I was enjoying quite a lot; even though I’ve never been cubicled, I totally understood the office dynamics on display.
So I decided to try to the TV version of the beloved comic strip. I had seen it around many, many times before but always hesitated, not remembering just how much I enjoyed the newspaper staple. With my appreciation now confirmed, I picked it up really cheap at a second hand store.
Sure, the main characters return here, and sure, some of the dynamics are the same, but, what works in a three-panel strip over the course of one or two weeks absolutely does not translate over a 20-minutes show. Realizing this, the writers decided to expand a little bit, to make the show more three-dimensional.
On paper, the situations may have been funny, but I find that the direction that the writers took often fell flat. For the most part, the problem is that the humour became more conventional, and more slap-sticky than the strip ever could be in the hands of Scott Adams.
What really doesn’t help is that the voice acting is quite horrible. Pathetic, even. I found all the characters except the boss (voiced by Larry Miller) so dull – and even he had the wrong inflections and lacked life from time to time. The voices are so bland that you can barely distinguish one from the other, and I even got the impression that it didn’t match the animation (I can’t actually confirm this because it’s hard being alert when you’re bored ).
Speaking of which, I haven’t seen such poor animation in what seems like forever – but, particularly, in the last twenty years or so. Even the dodgy animation on ‘The Tick’ is better than this. And that’s pretty bad. Frankly, I find it unbelievable just how robotic and lifeless the animation is here. I don’t know where this was made, but they didn’t waste their best animators on this project. AND it was done on the cheap, doing as little animation as possible work to get the job done. Urgh.
All in all, it makes for a very unimpressive experience. I’m hoping that the second season is at least slightly better than this, because I had to plod through these thirteen episodes with only willpower as fuel. I can’t even begin to imagine a similar experience over 17 episodes (as opposed to “only” 13). This version of Dilbert isn’t dreadful or agonizing, but, to me, it’s more soul-sucking than working in a cubicle.