Series / The Heart She Holler
From PFFR, the creators of Wonder Showzen
and Xavier: Renegade Angel
, The Heart She Holler
is a live-action Series
on [adult swim]
, which started as a 2011 miniseries (though it only totaled 66 minutes). Described as a "Southern Gothic
drama," the show chronicles the machinations of the Heartshe family after the death of their patriarch, the mayor of the town of HeartShe Holler ("holler" being a southern colloquial version of "hollow"). A second season came out in 2013, and a third the following year; this third season has an overarching plot about an approaching event called the Comening,
which could destroy the Holler, and maybe the world
Think William Faulkner
+ Dark Shadows
+ Twin Peaks
+ Tim & Eric
The Heartshe scions:
- Hurshe (played by Kristen Schaal in season 1 and Amy Sedaris in season 2 onward), an amoral slut
- Hambrosia (played by Heather Lawless), a psychokinetic prude in the vein of Carrie
- Hurlan (played by Patton Oswalt), a feral man released from his underground dwelling to take his father's place as mayor
This show contains examples of:
- Age Without Youth: The Heartshe matriarch, Meemaw. Her condition is apparently the "curse of Heartshe Holler," though it is unclear how her decrepit undying state is connected to the town's misfortunes.
- Alliterative Name: All the Heartshes: Hoss, Hambrosia, Hershe and Hurlan Heartshe. The exception is Meemaw who isn't a Heartshe and perhaps "Callyou", but then, Hurlan named him, and Hurlan's an idiot.
- Alternate Universe / The Multiverse: Introduced as a concept in Season 2, and more thoroughly explained in Season 3. The show surprisingly makes a lot more sense once you realize this is in effect. Well, it's still absurd, but what initially seems like random cartoon-ish non-logic coalesces into something resembling a pattern.
- The show moves on from the climactic events of Season 1 by having Hurlan walk through a space between worlds until he enters into an alternate universe where the finale didn't happen - and where his sister Hurshe now looks like Amy Sedaris instead of Kristen Schaal.
- The Season 2 finale even implies that the entire town is the psychic creation of Meemaw, who willed Heartshe Holler into existence for her own amusement.
- In the Season 3 premiere, Meemaw goes so far as to (loosely) explain to her granddaughter Hambrosia (who inherited her psychic powers) what it means to create a new reality: it is possible to create another reality in which impossible things are possible - provided that the reality that the creator is in, is itself already an impossible reality. This conversation starts intercutting and overlapping between two doppelganger sets of Meemaws and Hambrosias, neither of which is the "original" - the Meemaw in Universe A created Universe B...which she has the power to do, because the Meemaw in Universe B herself created Universe A! (An infinity paradox: each created the other, and created them with reality warping powers).
- Word of God from Scott Adsit seems to confirm the Multiverse effect. Adsit was recast in the role of the Sheriff, and speaking in an interview along with Amy Sedaris (who was recast as Hurshe in Season 2), he said: "I also like the idea that each new season is in a different realm of reality and so in the new realm that Patton’s character (Hurlan) has wandered into, Kristen now looks like Amy." [http://splitsider.com/2014/12/getting-dark-and-weird-with-amy-sedaris-and-scott-adsit/ (link)] That is, this is not a case where the audience is supposed to pretend that Hurshe always looked like Amy Sedaris. Season 1, set in Universe 1, contained a Hurshe who looks like Kristen Schaal. Season 2 is set in Universe 2, where Hurshe looks like Amy Sedaris. They're two separate but similar characters.
- "Congroined Hearts" reveals that there is yet another one inside of Hambrosia's mirror, where Hambrosia has lady parts, and The Sheriff again looks different.
- Anyone Can Die: It's just easier to list everyone who hasn't died yet: Meemaw. Maybe. However, some characters who died in one parallel universe can be alive in another universe.
- Anything That Moves: Hurshe will do anything, including animals. She also gets turned on by nearly everything, including the prospect of Afterlife revenge on her father (right before hanging herself, she shouts "I'm coming for you, Daddy!" Then, in a more seductive voice after putting the noose around her neck, "I'm comin', Daddy) and even the non-existence of God.
- Arc Words: "I'll slobber your dingus!" "No deal."
- "He's cursed with innocence."
- As Himself: President James Carter
- The Atoner: Hambrosia in "Congroined Hearts."
- Back-Alley Doctor: "Doc", who uses all sorts of slipshod medical "techniques" to fix the ailments of the townsfolk. He believes he's a good doctor, though, since nobody in town knows any better. They even share a taboo against the evils of dentistry.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: It is most certainly not considered depraved in the town of Heartshe, where there's a "high-quality, classy" dog prostitution house in service. Anyone watching though, should find this guffaw-inducingly sick.
- Body Horror: Numerous scenes include disgorged organs and bloated body parts.
- Catchphrase: "Hot dog!" for Hurlan.
- Cerebus Rollercoaster: The whole Comening storyline.
- Cliffhanger: "Oralboros" ends with Meemaw disconnected from her life support. The promo for "Congroined Hearts" shows that she survived.
- Creepy Doll: Hurlan fashioned a crude, voodoo-doll-like effigy of a human form while living inside the cave without outside contact; not only is it much more intelligent and articulate than himself, but it can only speak to others using Hurlan's own voice, as a lonely Cutter discovers too late. Later, he manages to somehow pull a female version out of his own body.
- Driven to Suicide: Quite possibly Hurlan. Notice he's carrying a gun with him when he crawls back in his hole.
- He didn't, as the second season reveals
- Hurlan's mother, apparently. Later Hoss and Hurlan trick her into doing it again by faking it themselves.
- Hurshe attempts to hang herself in the first episode in order to take revenge against Hoss personally in the afterlife.
- Expy: Hambrosia's character is not only reminiscent of Carrie, but Heather Lawless even resembles Sissy Spacek who played Carrie in the 1970s film.
- Fantastic Drug: Hambrosia slows down time by snorting the sand in Meemaw's hourglass, allowing her to euthanize many of the townsfolk before the Comening.
- Gainax Ending: Hurlan's father tricks Hambrosia's husband into opening his booby-trapped casket, killing him. Heartshe is sentenced to 're-death' by electric chair, which reanimates his corpse, allowing him to take back control of the town. Meemaw passes away but seems to have taken over Hambrosia's body. Hurlan tearfully crawls back into the hole in the wall from where he came. Although this ending is not that bizarre given the general atmosphere of the show.
- The second season manages to explain the ending of the first, then ends on an even more absurd note. Almost the entire population of the holler manages to escape, Hurlan included, by entering a portal into the city through Meemaw's hoo-ha. They all move into a large apartment together, but when Hurlan walks into a room, he finds another television set of his father's, a massive pile of new video tapes, and his father himself on the TV screen pouring a can of "Fate" out of the VCR drive...
- And the third season, after spending the entire season foreshadowing a mass apocalyptic event? 11 whole minutes of the Sheriff and his alternate universe counterpart, as well as a bunch of other characters never seen before and their alternate universe counterparts, watching President Carter's State of the Union address on two different TV screens, one a couple seconds later than the other. And that's the most sane way of describing it.
- Grand Theft Me: Heartshe's initial plan is to trick Hurlan into switching brains, but his plan is easily foiled.
- It Makes Sense in Context: As mentioned above, "holler" is a term for 'hollow' or 'valley' and Heartshe is the name of the ruling family who founded the town.
- Leitmotif: "Cemetery Waltz" by Two Steps from Hell shows up often in the first season as the default theme for particularly strange or off-kilter moments, such as Hoss's corpse getting shoved into a jury box to represent himself.
- Manchild: Though that doesn't even begin to describe Hurlan. To lesser degrees, Doc, the Reverend, the Sheriff, etc., all qualify.
- Mind Screw: It's from the makers of Wonder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel, and Delocated so this trope is a given.
- Mixed Metaphor: "My words are coming back to bite off more of my ass than they can chew!"
- Negative Continuity: Thanks to all the alternate realities don't expect much that happens to have a long-term effect. Even within the same realities people can shoot themselves and be just fine by the next episode. Considering the amount of death on this show, that's probably a good thing for the characters.
- Our Werecreatures Are Different: In "Werelan", the town is plagued by a wolf that turns out to be a manifestation of a curse placed on the holler by a native tribe that once lived there. Whoever is bitten by the wolf undergoes a permanent transformation into...Hurlan (gaining his hairstyle, bad teeth, and "Hot dog!" catchphrase).
- Parental Incest: Played for laughs
- Redemption Equals Death: Hambrosia
- Surreal Humor / Surreal Horror
- Take That!: Vernon Chatman hates The Deep South. And it shows.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Taken up to a thousand. Not only do Boss Hoss's video's manage to hold lengthy conversations with people, but he even responds to knowledge and events that he couldn't possibly have known about before death, but reacts to them with appropriate surprise. He seems to know when people have left the room, or if someone has entered the room while he's speaking to Hurlan, including who the person is and what they're saying. At one point he chides his daughters for leaving the room without turning off the TV, and holds up his own remote that somehow turns the TV off. He also makes alternate video tapes in case his various plans are foiled, and somehow receives oral sex despite being a face on a TV screen.
- Video Will: Hurlan's father has left him a series of these to help Hurlan cope with the real world, and even manages to hold lengthy conversations from within the TV monitor
- When he fires a gun pointed at the ceiling in the video, it emerges from the top of the TV.
- Your Cheating Heart: The Sheriff, who is in an adulterous relationship with Hurshe, and generally loathes his wife Hambrosia. Meanwhile, Hambrosia gets ridiculously close to finding out about this, but she can't ever put the facts together. When she finally does, she goes Axe-Crazy.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: "Proper Dental Care Is Murder" uses dentistry as an allegory for abortion. The punchline: our taboo is the holler's normal, too. In the episode's climax, Doc "pop[s] off a quick abortion" without batting an eye.
- Word Salad Title