Western Animation / Xavier: Renegade Angel


"Unload your troubles unto me, even if it's tough to swallow. I'm used to swallowing huge loads."

"I'm going to help you, even if it kills us both!"

Describe Xavier: Renegade Angel here?

Oh boy...

Created by PFFR (the minds behind Wonder Showzen) for [adult swim], Xavier: Renegade Angel is, on its surface, about an angel defected from Heaven; good luck finding out what it's really about, though. The eponymous Xavier is either an actual fallen angel or just some sort of cosmic abomination that was abandoned at birth. Forced to Walk the Earth because everyone hates him, Xavier tries to help people—but at worst, he invents problems where none exist and causes tons of carnage, and at best, he somehow gets everyone to put aside their differences...towards the common goal of beating him senseless.

Probably the weirdest show [adult swim] has ever produced (and that's saying a lot), the show was largely one huge Mind Screw, with Xavier speaking in a near-continuous, stream-of-consciousness...well, stream of narrative/conversation/wisdom/puns/portmanteaux/"unintentional" double-entendre/callbacks. The show's only real narrative story is a ongoing subplot involving Xavier's incredibly screwed-up childhood and the death of his adoptive mother. Xavier was able to talk to himself as a child via a tear in the fabric of space-time, and this meeting caused Xavier's younger self to become a clingy freak of nature towards his apathetic adoptive mother, which drove her to drink and take pills to cope with life. Xavier convinces his younger self to switch his mother's pills with placebos, but just a few years later, Xavier tells his mom what he did. This causes her to think that she is hallucinating Xavier's existence. At this point, Xavier causes a fire to spread from the present into the past, which ends up killing his mother (since she believed the flames, like Xavier, were a mental hallucination).

Xavier is uniquely abstract, showing concepts in a way that—instead of using thematic devices such as plot—creates connections in various patterns to prove a point. A good example is the episode "Signs From Godrilla": This episode explores the aspects of choice and free will by using various themes, including recursion and mind/body dualism, to aid in its expression.

The show was animated in 3D with (some) motion-capture all done in CGI, which allowed for a vast range of strangeness; it's all pretty damn trippy, in any event. Do not take this as license to Watch It Stoned: it might make more sense, but it's just as likely you'll be utterly terrified from the sensory overload.

What Doth Tropes?

  • Abusive Parents: Xavier had these. In "Vibracaust", he tells his mother that his pet parakeet feeds her children every day, and then asks why she doesn't do the same thing. Xavier himself acts this way to a giant sperm in "Escape from Squatopian Freedom", though he learns to love it just before it kills itself.
  • A God Am I: The kid from "Weapons Grade Life" eventually declares after creating life (life, life) in a petri dish that he does believe in God after all, because he believes in himself.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: The AI running the information kiosk in the first episode after Xavier asked it "What doth life?"
  • Ambiguously Gay: Xavier's frequent Double Entendre and Accidental Innuendo (as well as having sex with a coworker while crossdressed as a gigantic black woman in the same episode where he marries the widow of a man he kills) leaves it entirely unclear what his true sexual orientation could be. His snake hand, however, is decidedly straight.
  • Bedlam House: Xavier sends the poor kid in a dolphin costume there, and ends up meeting his long lost mother. It just descends into Brain Bleach territory from there. It's heavily implied that Xavier has actually been in one the whole time and the entire series was actually his hallucinations.
  • Black Comedy: Tons.
  • Bloody Murder: One episode ends with an army of killer indians made out of blood when a rich old man tries to mine an indian burial ground for blood to inject into himself so he can legally own an indian casino.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Fate. Destiny. Fatestiny. People throw these words around like tennis balls. But I eat balls for breakfast."
  • Break the Haughty: Xavier does this to the spoiled child of the above mentioned rich old man to teach him humility and charity.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In "Bloodcorn", a farmer fires a gun into the sky and hits God. The resultant blood rain causes the crops in the city to come alive and take vengeance on humanity.
  • Captain Obvious: "This sign is some sort of sign".
  • Cartwright Curse: Woe to anyone who befriends Xavier. Dying horribly would be the best possible outcome of their situation, considering that Xavier could easily destroy the entire planet or collapse reality as a whole as a result of finding a friend.
  • Catch Phrase: Xavier has "Frutata".
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Several characters from past episodes return near the end of "Signs of Godrilla".
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: In "World of Hurt, BC", Xavier reasons that, since every cigarette you smoke takes 4 minutes off your life and every slice of bacon you eat takes 2 minutes off your life, smoking and eating bacon really quickly would allow you to go back in time. It works.
  • Deranged Animation: Cranked Up to Eleven and damaging the knob with "Damnesia You", the episode where the winners of a contest get their films shown in an Excuse Plot where Xavier goes to different dimensions to figure out his identity. Styles shown in the episode include:
    • Puppetry with Green Screening
    • Atari 2600-esque Graphics
    • Garry's Mod
    • Live-Action
    • 60's Style Animation like Yellow Submarine
    • Squigglevision done with paper and pencil.
  • Doom Magnet: If Xavier tries to help you (whether you need it or not), you will die horribly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Many, many characters, often caused by Xavier himself.
  • Eats Babies: There's an entire episode dedicated to this.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Including tobacco pipes.
  • Evolving Credits: During season 2, the first vanity plate in the credits has a sound added to it each episode. By the end, it's just a cluster of random noises from all the episodes.
  • Eye Scream: One episode features a vulture ripping out a dying man's eye and then flying away. The camera then briefly switches to perspective of the eye as the crow flies away.
  • False Dichotomy: When a guy with a barcode for a head holds a gun to Xavier and asks him "Do you believe in God?" he demands Xavier answer yes or no. This doesn't stop him from philosophizing the barcode man to pulling the gun on himself.
  • Foreshadowing: Lampshaded in the first episode, where Xavier warns a group harassing him that they may some day need his help. Cue the camera focusing on a truck driving by with 'FORESHADOW' written on the side.
    • Lampshaded again in "Weapons Grade Life" (bolding where the camera suddenly zooms in on the character's lips)
    Christian Doctor: "I'd swim through a lake of water for these cakes! That's the only way to quell the raging fire in my belly for these cakes."
    Cake Shop Owner: "That's an odd thing to say."
    • It turns out to be a Red Herring, though, as when Xavier tries to lure the Doctor after he becomes a sentient explosion though a lake with some cake, nothing happens.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You
    • "Going Normal": The company Xavier works for makes a hot dog chain to the Moon and back, which stops the rotation of the Earth, causing the Earth to freeze over. The show ends with Xavier informing you that your TV screen has frozen solid just before it cracks.
    • "Kharmarabionic Lotion": The town of Lotion, New Mexico makes so much money off of oil that they buy the network which makes the show, then sell it to Arabs at a profit. As a result, for the last minute or so of the show, all the dialogue is in Arabic.
  • Gainax Ending: Every episode has one. Yes, every episode. Perhaps the weirdest was "Bloodcorn", in which the Earth spawns a giant eye, which then starts bleeding profusely.
  • Grand Finale: Xavier's human....and everyone else is Xavier apparently.
  • Grossout Show: Oh yeah.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Sort of. The residents of one town eventually end up individually trapped in extremely short (like a second or two at most) loops after being infected by a computer virus in the water supply.
  • Hold My Glasses: It starts with someone who's about to fight Xavier having his friend hold his pile of books. By the time they get to the actual beating, his friend is also holding his wallet, sunglasses, contact lenses, shirt, prosthetic leg, dentures, tattoo, and robotic arm.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Weapons Grade Life" has Xavier encounter a boy in a wheelchair and his friends. He immediately accuses said friends of picking on the boy, while at the same time making as many backhanded insults towards him as possible.
    • In "Shakashuri Blowdown": "You look so superficial, you probably judge things by their appearances."
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Xavier speaks this as a primary language. And he believes every word of it. And he has an obsession with actual ice cream cones on top of that.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Repeated over and over like a Madness Mantra after he causes the deaths of a group of cryogenically frozen people by shattering their partially frozen bodies.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The crushing loneliness Xavier experiences leads him into most of the bizarre adventures he experiences in the desperate search for even a single friend.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Xavier runs on this.
    Xavier: I'm not violent at all, look! (Blasts a laser and kills a group of people playing volleyball)
    Ink Blot: But you killed those people!
    Xavier: Did I? (Aside Glance) What he doesn't know is that I'm using reverse psychology on him.
    Ink Blot: I can tell you're trying to use reverse psychology on me.
    Xavier: That proves he doesn't know!
  • Kangaroo Court: After being framed for killing a mayor and going to trial (for being on trial), Xavier is faced with a jury of his mental peers. Xavier is proven guilty of being on trial, and then sentenced to three glimpses into his own soul, which is immediately extended to seven when he scoffs at how easy it is.
  • Left Hanging: the Season 1 finale.
  • Magical Native American‎: Chief Master Guru parodies this, and also has Asian Indian traits (A Bindi and a Vishnu Statue on top of his Totem Pole)
  • The Mentor: In flashbacks, Xavier is frequently seen with an old Native American shaman-type character who acts as his abusive spiritual guide before dying and sending him off into the world (though he was really just playing dead to get him to go away.)
  • Mike Nelson Destroyerof Worlds / Person of Mass Destruction: Xavier is this in spades. Among the damage he's caused either directly or indirectly: burning down his own house and killing both his parents, turning an entire town into an infected computer in "What Life D-d-d-Doth", creating a massive living explosion which cannot dissipate in "Weapons Grade Life", wounding God causing a rain of blood in "Bloodcorn", blowing up the Burning Person effigy and killing all but 2 of the people at the festival in "Escape from Squatopian Freedom", turning the Earth into one homogenous mass and then destroying it in "Vibracaust", making a massive tornado in "El Tornadador", literally tearing a hole in the fabric of space time in "Haunted Tonk", and stopping the rotation of the Earth thus causing the entire world to freeze over in "Going Normal".
  • Mind Screw: The entire point of the show. If you are sober (or drunk on plain ol' liquor), prepare to be confused. If you have taken any other kind of mind-altering substance, prepare to be wowed, terrified, or both.
    • It's almost a parody of Mind Screws, while it may seem completely nonsensical, each episode can be attributed to different philosophical themes, but in the end of pretty much every situation, the moral of the story is, "Don't read too deeply into things or fucked up shit like this happens!" Seriously, every problem he creates can be attributed to him trying TOO HARD to be philosophical and spiritual.
    • Word of God half-jokingly claims that the show was meant to warn viewers about the dangers of spirituality.
  • Mirror Match: Two Xavier's engage in an insult battle and a "Shakashuri Blowdown" during the season 1 finale. Its ultimately judged a tie.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: In Damnesia Vu, Xavier ends up being given a gun in order to protect a new mayor, a donkey, only for the mayor to be shot by the guy who gave Xavier the gun, who then says that Xavier did it. When he goes to court to plea for his innocence, he learns that he is actually on trial for being on trial, and that by saying he's innocent, it proves that he is on trial.
    Xavier: What sort of law is this?
    Judge: Laws? Laws are illegal here! Guilty!
  • Mismatched Eyes: Xavier has a brown eye and a blue eye.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Xavier is covered in thick fur, has six nipples, a beak, backwards bending legs, and a snake for an arm. Not even Wikipedia's sure what he's supposed to be.
    • When he gets a finger cut off, it grows back. As a snake. While that may account for his snake arm, it entirely fails to address why it happens.
  • The Movie: According to the [adult swim] message boards.
  • News Travels Fast: When a man blows himself up and turns into a sentient explosion that doesn't dissipate, within seconds bystanders are already setting up tourist traps around the "Eversplosion" (and when the Eversplosion goes berserk, an army tank is already there to try and shoot at it.)
  • Noodle Incident: When a man takes off most of his own body in preparation to beat down Xavier, his friend remarks:
    "I han't never seen him this heated since The Incident!"
  • Once per Episode: See Gainax Ending.
  • Organ Autonomy / Evil Hand: Xavier's left hand is a snake with a mind of its own - and a taste for eating babies.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: In "Weapons Grade Life", Xavier makes a lot of ableist comments towards the unnamed kid in a wheelchair. He's also made some politically incorrect remarks about Arabs and women.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While it's fairly clear Xavier's intentions are usually noble, he is a freaking lunatic. There's not a problem he's come across that he hasn't just made worse.
  • Quarter Hour Short
  • Running Gag: Every time someone says "life", the word echoes three times. Every single time, no matter who says it.
    • Xavier also uses "ramble" in place of "wander".
    • "Take that!" "Taste the pain!" in the same voice every time Xavier gets beaten up for "being a freak", regardless of the character saying it.
    • The occasional mentions of Grinders in season 2.
  • Schmuck Bait: "You don't want to drink that."
  • Stylistic Suck: Invoked, as it adds to the weird and uncanniness of the show.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "World of Hurt, B. C.", Xavier sees a news broadcast on the discovery of the oldest known cave painting, which depicts a being that looks very similar to him, and goes back in time to find out how it got there. Xavier tries to ask a caveman if he's seen it, but isn't sure how to describe it, so he makes a drawing of it on the cave wall. It turns out that drawing he made was the painting that was just discovered.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: One episode ends in a car chase with a sentient explosion. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Xavier has a penchant for this.
  • Token Nonhuman: Xavier is a Fallen Angel in a world of humans. Even his parents are humans.
  • Tragic Hero: Despite all the wacky stuff that happens, you have to feel sorry for Xavier. His entire goal is to find out what he is, who killed his father, and to help people. And no matter what happens, it fails horribly.
  • Vertigo Effect: Played with when a man points at Xavier from far away. After the zoom effect is done, we get a side view showing that the camera didn't zoom out, and the guy's arm just stretched so his hand is right in Xavier's face.
  • Vocal Evolution: Xavier's voice is more of a direct parody of a Magical Native American in the earlier episodes, but steadily becomes more lilting and atonal to fit with the ever-increasing Mind Screw of the series.
  • Walking the Earth: A parody of these kinds of shows, specifically Kung Fu and Walker, Texas Ranger (with a dash of The Incredible Hulk).
  • Who's on First?:
    Xavier: Who did this to you?
    Xavier's father: Our... son...
    Xavier: I know it was arson dad, but who?
  • WHAT Series: The weirdest Adult Swim can ever give you. It makes other Widget Series look tame in comparison.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz DOWN UNDA!
  • You Killed My Father: The series starts out with Xavier looking for the man who killed his parents. He is completely oblivious to the fact that he was the one who did it by accidentally burning his house down.