Reviews: Penn Zero Part Time Hero

Incredibly Underrated

At the time of writing, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero is halfway through its second and final season. As the series comes to a close, I can confidently say that Penn Zero is one of the funniest shows ever to come out of Disney Television Animation.

Penn Zero makes full use of it's dimension-hopping premise, taking our cast of part-time heroes and villains to literally dozens of different dimensions. Dimensions that are fleshed-out enough to be shows in their own right. From worlds where everyone has superpowers to ones where boats are sentient whale/shark creatures, each episode takes you to somewhere that's fun and that you'll hope to see again sometime down the road. And they do revisit worlds from time-to-time, helping the show's multiverse to feel all the more richer.

Every single episode has managed to make me laugh without fail thanks to incredibly strong character writing, voice acting, and visual gags. There isn't a single episode of Penn Zero that I dislike. It can take a while to get into the groove of this series, I admit. The very first episode, the Christmas episode, didn't impress me too much on first viewing. But after a few more episodes, the show's style of humor suddenly clicked with me. And once it clicked, IT CLICKED, making Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero one of my favourite animated series of the 2010s.

I wholeheartedly recommend this show.

I Honestly Don't Know What To Think

I've watched a few episodes of Penn Zero so far, and... honestly, I'm kind of at a loss.

Sashi is awesome, plain and simple. Penn is kinda flat, but he's had some really nice moments, especially with Sashi, where he's shown some character depth. Boone is a bit of an annoying loadstone, but that's not a terrible thing I suppose...

I guess what bugs me about the show is that the general idea isn't bad - it's neat, in a way that Doctor Who and Sliders have covered pretty much ninety ways to sunday, yet is still okay - but I just... don't understand the conflict.

I get that Rippen and Larry are evil, but... just WHAT is the point of Rippen doing all these evil things across the Multiverse?

Does he get something out of it? Is he working for some Anti Monitor-ish overlord who needs more and more universes to be turned evil so that overlord can take over? Does he use the negative energy for his own purposes? Is he out to conquer the Multiverse?

Kim Possible was a show with a vaguely similar setup - Kim, Ron, and Rufus would be sent on missions by Wade, fighting super-science badguys, mystical monkey magic turned evil, etc. But each villain had their own shtick, and their own motivations (usually "Take Over The World!" but still, it was something - and lampshaded to no end)

Star Versus The Forces Of Evil also has Multiverse-hopping heroes, and the adventures they get into sofar (from the 2 episodes aired and a third teased) seem to vary in content, the antagonists' motivations clear.

Penn Zero has a lot of things going for it visually (I want to punch a moose over it's painfully-obvious Flash style, though the colors and textures are great), and even character-wise.

There's just this nagging issue in the back of my mind of "WHY are these two badguys in here?"

Frankly, I think the show would have been better off without Rippen and Larry. They're just there to be there, instead of Penn & Company doing heroic stuff around the Multiverse and facing villains that're actually there.

Rippen and Larry just break my suspension of disbelief every second they're onscreen, and end up ruining for me what could have been a decent children's show.

Thanks, Disney, but I'll stick to Star Vs. and reruns of Kim Possible.