Reviews: Constant Payne

This light-hearted action cartoon aimed at both sexes had a lot of potential

Constant Payne is an anime-influenced, US-produced and Japan-animated action series... or at least it would be if Nickelodeon had produced more than just the 10-minute pilot episode (which is freely available on YouTube).

The idea was to create an action series that would be popular with both sexes and grow the audience for action cartoons, as pretty much only boys normally watched action. This show handles that quite well - Doc Payne kicks a lot of ass directly with brute strength and athleticism, while his teenage daughter Amanda uses mostly athleticism and wit. The personality and banter between the two characters is a lot of fun, like when Amanda asks to fly Doc's plane and Doc keeps insisting she's not old enough to drive yet. Of course, Amanda does get the chance to fly the plane and rescue her dad.

The music is funky and fun to listen to, which is refreshing. With most action cartoons, the music is just "there" and I don't pay attention to it.

The action is well choreographed with Doc's dodges and attacks being surprisingly fun to watch, which is honestly something I can't say about most action cartoons. Usually, what you tend to get is action that's just kinda "there", and the story is the only reason to watch. Here, the action and movement were designed quite well.

Being a Nickelodeon cartoon, the mood is rather upbeat, which I'm not used to from an action series, but I loved it here. The cartoon took itself just seriously enough to not get on my nerves, while its funky music, light-hearted dialog, fun fight choreography and somewhat playful plot make it fit nicely inbetween being a serious action series, and a comedy. It felt mostly like a playful action romp, if that was a thing. Sadly, because this show wasn't picked up, it didn't become a thing.

The gender roles were handled nicely. As I said, the cartoon was intended to appeal to both sexes. On his personal website, the show's creator explicitly said that the focus on Amanda was meant to aim it at girls, while making Doc kick ass was meant for boys. I gotta say, it works. Both characters are fun. While Doc is clearly the physically stronger character, Amanda's support role is great, and she gets to fight using her athleticism. Neither character is undervalued. It works.

A shame the show didn't get picked up. Check it out on YouTube if you can.