Reviews: The Problem Solverz

The Problem Solverz is amazing

From the first episode, I was charmed by The Problem Solverz. The writing is smart, funny, and the characters are truly lovable. First we have Horace, a young man just looking to make a difference, Roba, a half-robot boy full of anxiety and self-consciousness, and Alfe, a dog-man who's good intentions often get overshadowed by his impulsive personality. Each of them is their own character, and the show makes that clear, they're fun to watch as a group and full of personality. The same can be said of the animation and background art. Not many shows are as truly fearless as The Problem Solverz, they don't hold back when it comes to art, and they don't worry about convention, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The fact that the art seems so uninhibited gives the show it's own life, and a presence that's completely new and original. The art style used puts character into everything, the buildings, the background characters and even the sky all have distinct personalities, all of which are never boring. This show takes 2D animation to a place it hasn't before, and gives me hope for more 2D creations in the future. Each episode is clever, wacky and downright enjoyable, the plots are always refreshing and unpredictable in a way that makes the viewer crave more. The mix of loveable characters, smart writing and completely original, exciting plots makes you want to see how the characters will react to whatever crazy adventure they stumble into next. All in all, this is fabulous show with a lot of heart. The people who work on this show really care about it, and it shines though, brilliantly.

One Hell of a Niche Show

I fear that The Problem Solverz is doomed to become a cult classic. Everything about it - the characters, the writing, and especially the art direction - is polarizing. Which is a damn shame, because I personally love it.

Let's start with the art: Everything is overly-bright and detailed. Almost everything, even background scenery, is animated, even if it's simply with rotating colors. This is what makes the show so fascinating and so frustrating simultaneously. The show's design philosophy doesn't seem to prioritize focus on a particular character or action in order to move the story along, but rather strives to draw the viewer into the scene as a whole. It's art for art's sake, and whether that's practical or not on television is up for debate. Things unimportant to the story can be easily distracting, but at the same time, it's tempting to just pause the episode and gaze in bewilderment and wonder at everything there is to see. Following and admiring Paper Rad casually for a number of years before The Problem Solverz aired, it's almost a triumph in and of itself to see Ben Jones and the art collective finally gain some widespread attention, even if it comes in the form of sometimes caustic notoriety.

Let's move onto writing: People inevitably compare compare the writing on Problem Solverz to Cartoon Network's wildly successful shows, including Adventure Time and The Regular Show. The writing in the two aforementioned shows is undeniably more nuanced, which is something of feat. But The Problem Solverz just doesn't seem interested in developing its characters or exploring the back story of the world at large: Like a lot of its art, the characters and situations in the show are flat, if outlandish. Problem Solverz isn't clever, but it does employ enough wild gesticulation and utter weirdness to force out a dumb chuckle at least a couple of times during each show. If nothing else, the candor with which everything is delivered is awe-inspiring.

In closing, I feel that each episode of The Problem Solverz is a self-contained experience, rich in visual and auditory stimuli and attached to a bare-bones plot that only aims to be delivered with as much energy as possible. I recommend you check out an episode or some clips. At the very least, you'll likely not be bored!

Problem Solverz so far... a huge problem.

The second that I saw that first preview for this show, my only reaction was "Um... okay?". I stick by that to this day. So the show has recently premiered. Didn't tune in to the premiere, but thanks to "on demand services", I was able to... (puts on sunglasses) SOLVE THIS PROBLEM! YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

15 minutes later, I'm shocked, perplexed, angered, and slightly anticipated, that is, FOR SOMEBODY TO CAN THIS SHOW.

How it got past quality control is beyond me. Here goes nothing.

So we start out, and the Solverz are having some pizza after... something, I don't know. This huge brownie dude called Alfe hogs all the pizza and wants more after it's all gone. So he demands they go get some more, and they find some old people who happened to be kids that were aged through a time-traveling roller coaster. Sending them on the coaster backwards makes them younger, which they do. Problem solved? No. Alfe decides he needs more pizza, so he bothers Horace and Roba, two characters with about as much personality as a weak cup of coffee, around 2 in the morning. He sneaks out to find the roller coaster and go backwards in time to get more pizza. After doing it again and again, he messes up time and space and they end up going forward to the end of time. Alfe uses some cloning... I don't know, I lost interest a long time ago. Bunch of Alfe clones defeat a Time Lord yadda yadda...

This show really has no potential, as it fails as a series, and it has garnered a Hatedom of Squirrel Boy caliber on JUST ITS FIRST EPISODE!. Not a good sign. Or a good prize, for that matter. I hate it.


What kind of crap was this?

I don't know what kind of drug Cartoon Network smoked, but I sure knew one thing: they couldn't find good artwork OR A PLOT to go with it. If Adult Swim thought it was "too cute", then they were wrong. This wasn't cute. This was eye-bleeding. This was something truly abhorrent to the senses and more annihilating to the eyes and ears than Fried Dynamite or the Dudes. This is only my opinion, but considering how much of a tiny fanbase this show had and the little faith Cartoon Network had in it, I can safely say everyone else felt the same way.


Half-Solved Problem

I can half-understand why this show has a Hatedom: first off, the animation. Geez. It was very bright and all, but someone could easily get a seizure from the episodes. Also, the running cycles are an easy target. I could go on, but I didn't come to hate on this series.

The storyline is great for a kid's network. Three guys solving problems in their hometown and getting help from an anthropomorphic dog. It's kind of like the Regular Show in the way they have to fix larger problems (i.e., monsters, robots, the like).

The characters also have their shortcomings. For example, Alfe tends to be a spoiled brat at times, and other times he pulls off what I consider a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Roba's very nerdy and slightly cowardly, but he does have his moments. And Horace, who appears to be the Only Sane Man, breaks up fights between the aforementioned two so we can get a break from the fights.

Sure, this series has its shortcomings and a Hatedom to match, but it does have its good moments.

Not all that bad

When I first saw the preview from the show I gave up and said this would be the worst cartoon ever to grace the airwaves. Then I watched the first two episodes and something about it keeps pulling me in to see more. Its less entertaining than Adventure Time or Regular show but I catch myself trying to see the new episodes instead of those shows. This is one of those things that is grotesque and something that you wouldn't want too look at but you cant help to look away.

The colors burn my eyes, man.

The biggest problem I see with this show, is not because of the personalities of the characters, or the writing, or the way the voices are done, or the music, or the humor. It's the colodrs.

The colors and the way it's presented just clash so horrendously and terribly that you can't take it seriously, at least not without getting an enormous headache. The art style feels very flat and devoid of life, and sometimes the other aspects of the show try too hard to make up for it. I've tried watching the show with my eyes open, and I found that the art style just doesn't feel right, and that there's no depth, the gradients are there for no reason other than they're gradients, and the colors are so saturated and clashing that you can't tell what's in front or in back unless it's obscuring something, and even then it feels more like an article of clothing than something that's supposed to be in front.

But then I tried watching the show with my eyes closed, and things got interesting. When I listened to the show instead of watching, I could tell there was something cool. The problems that they go at are pretty dull at first, but then they start to get really cool and bizarre later on. I've only seen the beginnings to most of the shows, however, so I don't know how many of the episodes end, but I can't say that I don't care about what happens at the end. The first ending I saw, they fight against a monster at the End of Time. I thought that was pretty fun, and not unlike an episode of Regular Show.

But the colors. Just... gah. If only this show had a different art style, then maybe things would work out better for it. If it followed the conventions that other shows used to be appealing to the eye, such as repeating colors and making things that are further away darker or lighter depending on the mood and the lighting, then maybe people would be more willing to give it a chance. I honestly can't fathom why any producer in their right mind would let a show with such terrible colors get produced.

In the end, this show has lots of potential. It's just not something that you would physically enjoy watching.