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Western Animation / M.O.D.O.K. (2021)

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The Mental Organism himself.

Time to change the world...BY BRINGING IT TO ITS KNEES!

M.O.D.O.K. (also called Marvel's M.O.D.O.K.) is a 2021 Hulu Stop Motion adult animated show that premiered on May 21, 2021. It was created by Jordan Blum (American Dad!) and Patton Oswalt and stars Oswalt as the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. The show is a collaboration between Marvel Studios, Marvel Television, Marvel Animation, and Stoopid Buddy Studios.

George Tarleton / M.O.D.O.K. has been the head of A.I.M. for a while now and things aren't going so well. In fact, they are bankrupt and have to be sold off to G.R.U.M.B.L. Challenged for leadership of A.I.M. by Monica Rappaccini (Wendi McLendon-Covey), things aren't looking any better at home either: M.O.D.O.K.'s wife Jodie (Aimee Garcia) is questioning whether her husband even needs to be a supervillain, while their children Lou (Ben Schwartz) and Melissa (Melissa Fumero) struggle with being a supervillain's children as well as normal high school problems.

But M.O.D.O.K. can fix all of that. He can fix everything. Except...probably not a mid-life crisis.

Also starring Beck Bennett as Austin Van Der Sleet, Jon Daly as the Super-Adaptoid, Sam Richardson as Gary (a loyal henchman), Jon Hamm as Iron Man, Nathan Fillion as Wonder Man, Whoopi Goldberg as Poundcakes, and Bill Hader as Angar the Screamer and the Leader.

The first teaser trailer. The first, second, and third sneak peaks.

On May 13, 2022, the series was cancelled by Hulu months after its first season concluded.

Tropes in Marvel's M.O.D.O.K.

  • Actually a Doombot: Anomaly is revealed to have survived his apparent death by actually being a robot.
  • Bad Boss: When M.O.D.O.K. was in charge of A.I.M. he'd often vaporize his employees and also never allowed them to take vacations.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the first episode, M.O.D.O.K.'s daughter Melissa complains that she catfished her rival and leaked their texts, but now everyone in school thinks she's the bad guy. In response, M.O.D.O.K. says, "Melli, we've talked about this. You can’t catfish people...without using a VPN to disguise your IP address."
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Most of the problems of the show are caused by two villains. One, the Board of GRUMBL which acquires A.I.M. and turns out to be Hexus, the living corporation, a Hive Mind of Planet Looters. Second is Anomaly, a time displaced version of a college-aged M.O.D.O.K. who seeks to fulfill his lifelong ambition of taking over the world by killing his older self's family.
  • Black Comedy: A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K. do fairly horrible things...but they are also hilarious.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Asgardians are perfectly fine with having child eating creatures for neighbors because they only eat unwanted children, using it as form of birth control.
  • Body Horror: The experiment Monica makes in the first episode:
    M.O.D.O.K.: What the hell is that?
    Monica: An experiment. Now, it's time you -
    M.O.D.O.K.: Jesus! It just pissed out of what I thought was its mouth!
    Monica: It's fine. But A.I.M. is not because you have failed -
    M.O.D.O.K.: Okay, it just scratched "Kill me!" into the linoleum.
    Monica: I SAID IT'S FINE! (hits M.O.D.O.K. with the creature)
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: M.O.D.O.K. is a genuine tech genius, but he gets bogged down with evil schemes and world domination. When finally confronted with the fact that GRUMBL has taken over A.I.M., he builds the tablet they wanted within seconds and trades it to Austin Van Der Sleet in order for his minions to be rehired.
  • Buffy Speak: When operating the time machine, M.O.D.O.K. slips into this:
    Jodie: Are you sure we should be messing with time travel?
    M.O.D.O.K.: I know how time travel works! Now go through the doory-door thing before the wavy stuff closes.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Gary the Henchman. In the first episode, M.O.D.O.K. accidentally blows his arm off and then, later on, uses it as an explosive device to kill Monica's experiment.
    • Also Super-Adaptoid, who gets no respect from anyone.
  • The Cameo:
    • At one point, MODOK attempts to enter a high-class supervillain club but is turned away and ridiculed by The Leader, Mister Sinister, and Madame Masque.
    • Wolverine and The Thing's hands make a brief appearance in a beer commercial. Similarly, the montage of M.O.D.O.K.'s defeats at the hands of the Avengers are shown only via their weapons: Captain America's shield, Thor's hammer, Black Widow's gauntlets (actually showing her arm in this case), and Hawkeye's arrows.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Censored for Comedy: Despite its TV-MA rating, all nudity & profanity stronger than "shit" is pixelated and censored respectively, with the mild blood-induced violence featured throughout the series being the default reason for said mature rating.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Melissa wants to impress her father with her own supervillain skills. It helps that she looks more like him than her mother.
  • Downer Ending: Due to M.O.D.O.K.'s selfish and self-destructive nature, many episodes end with him in even worse straits than he started in. The most notable example would be the season finale. After the final three episodes have M.O.D.O.K. finally on the path to winning back his family and starting a new A.I.M., Anomaly reveals that he's seen every possible version of M.O.D.O.K.'s future and the only way M.O.D.O.K. will ever rule the world is after his family is killed. Despite all of his character development over the season, the present-day M.O.D.O.K. gives in to temptation and allows Anomaly to kill his family. The last scene cuts to the future where M.O.D.O.K. has killed the Avengers and conquered the world, only to feel utterly hollow at the cost of his victory. He's now obsessed with bringing his family into the Bad Future where he rules with him, and when his latest attempt fails with Anomaly's death, M.O.D.O.K. swears he'll find a way and "have it all." And since the series was Cut Short, the audience will never see him finding a way to bring his family back.
  • The Dragon: Austin serves as this to the enigmatic Board of GRUMBL, which turns out to be Hexus, the living corporation, which plans on destroying humanity and stealing all earth's resources.
  • Either/Or Offspring: Lou seems to be a normal human like his mother while Melissa has a body and hover chair similar to their father.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Hexus, the Living Corporation.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The first scene of the show is M.O.D.O.K. as a child being comforted by his mother after having been bullied at school, and her words that he'll "change the world" drive his ambition.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • M.O.D.O.K. may be an egotistical, wantonly murderous, insensitive megalomaniac, but he does love his wife and kids.
    • Gary, an evil minion for A.I.M., has a loving husband, though his devotion to M.O.D.O.K. causes a strain on their marriage.
  • Evil, Inc.: The Board that runs GRUMBL, which bought out AIM and is barely prohibiting their evil super science, is an extension of Hexus the Living Corporation. They are plotting to destroy humanity and loot all of Earth's resources.
  • Evil Minions: A.I.M. employs tons of them, all wearing the classic A.I.M. beekeeper outfit. Part of the plot of the first episode is that when GRUMBL takes over, a bunch of them are fired, which M.O.D.O.K. won't let stand — only he fires his minions. He eventually gets Austin Van Der Sleet to rehire them after his initial plan fails.
  • Excited Episode Title!: Each episode has an overwrought Silver Age style title that begs to be read out loud in the hammiest voice possible.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In the first episode, M.O.D.O.K.'s plan to stop Austin Van Der Sleet from signing the the contracts giving him power over A.I.M. involves ingesting some chewable Pym Particles and injecting himself into Austin and then taking over his body. Except he accidentally ends up inside his wife instead.
  • Fictional Counterpart: GRUMBL is a Google stand in.
  • Foreshadowing: In episode 5, M.O.D.O.K.'s attempt to secure approval for a Black Hole Gun from GRUMBL's operations committee consists of a sappy speech about using one's inner pain and suffering to fuel their goals, accompanied by an equally manipulative slideshow with pictures of his family. In the finale, Anomaly's premise for attacking his present self's family hinges on the same realization: the loss of his wife and children is what drives him to build the utopia he craved for all his life.
    M.O.D.O.K.: Every one of us is born missing something. Something important. We couldn't begin to describe its shape or its weight. But the hole it left behind is always there with us. It's a hole so deep it cannot be filled. Work, liquor, religion... love. The hole swallows them all. It's a black hole. A supermassive collapse in the fabric of our souls. There is nothing more powerful. So why not use it?
  • Foregone Conclusion: In the finale, M.O.D.O.K. sees a future where his Utopia is a reality (and thanks to Anomaly's intervention, the events that led to it unfold accordingly), but there is no trace of Hexus' invasion efforts in sight, despite them being a looming threat with an axe to grind against M.O.D.O.K. in the present. Either Stark's purchase of A.I.M. got him close to dismantling GRUMBL from inside like he wanted, crippling Hexus indefinitely; or M.O.D.O.K. singlehandedly thwarted their invasion plans on his quest for the utopia.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The first episode opens on a scene of M.O.D.O.K. as a sad, bullied child who was picked on for his unusually large head and nerdiness. His mother comforts him by reassuring him that some day he'll change the world. It smash cuts to M.O.D.O.K. saying he'll change the world by bringing it to its knees.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Along with MODOK and AIM, MODOK's kids both made acronyms for their first names.
    • Melissa says she was named "Mental Entity Living to Induce Seriously Sinister Anarchy." M.O.D.O.K. says she was named after Melissa Etheridge.
    • Louis says his name stands for "Lanky Organism Undeniably Irresistible and Syphilitic." He does not know what that last word means and does not want anyone to tell him.
  • The Ghost: The Avengers are frequently mentioned, but, with the exception of Iron Man, never appear in-person. Even in the season finale, where M.O.D.O.K. is shown various alternate timelines where he is killed by the individual members of the Avengers, the heroes are always offscreen.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Jodie kills Anomaly by literally ripping him in half. Vertically. She credits it to pilates. Unfortunately it was Actually a Doombot.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After being at odds with M.O.D.O.K. for most of the first season, Austin Van Der Sleet tries to warn M.O.D.O.K. about the evil plot going on behind his back. Then Gary, thinking Austin is the cause of all of M.O.D.O.K.'s suffering, kills him by running him over, leaving M.O.D.O.K. oblivious to the existence of Hexus or how he's become their target.
  • Hero Antagonist: Naturally, with a supervillain serving as the show's protagonist, the superheroes serve as antagonists in the show. While M.O.D.O.K. targets the Avengers in general, he considers Iron Man his nemesis and clashes with him the most. Later on, he gains a grudge against Wonder Man as well when the latter starts dating Jodie.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Due to A.I.M.'s bankruptcy, M.O.D.O.K. starts going through a mid-life crisis. In the first episode, when his wife tells him that he doesn't have to be in charge of A.I.M. anymore since she makes enough money for the both of them, he says, "A.I.M. is M.O.D.O.K. M.O.D.O.K. is A.I.M. Without it, I...I wouldn't even know who I am."
  • Interspecies Romance: It does not take long for someone to discover that they can have sex with the Ciegrimites.
  • It's All About Me: M.O.D.O.K.'s biggest problem is that he's always making everything about himself. That's why his wife, Jodie, is divorcing him.
  • Large Ham: M.O.D.O.K. tends to alternate between talking regularly and SHOUTING SUPERVILLAIN SPEECHES.
  • Kick the Dog: Bonus points for having an actual dog. When Austin asks if he can keep his pet dog Sherlock, who he had bonded with, once Hexus takes over the world so he won't be lonely they inform him that they will not only kill him, but wipe out his entire breed. Then later they change there mind, wanting to kill and eat the dog now rather than waiting for when they take over the world.
  • Medium-Shift Gag
    • In one episode, M.O.D.O.K. and Monica fight each other with a "2-D gun", which turns them into pixelated Street Fighter II-style versions of each other.
    • The final episode has Melissa demonstrating a "puppet filter" on her phone to her dad, which makes the stop-motion M.O.D.O.K. look like Patton Oswalt.
      "Uhhh! Utterly macabre!"
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: After being regularly disrespected and abused by M.O.D.O.K. and his family, Super-Adaptoid has no problem joining forces with Anomaly to get revenge. When their plan fails and Super-Adaptoid tries to apologize for betraying them, Melissa nonchalantly reveals Super-Adaptoid always betrays them and every time they just reset him afterwards. Which she then immediately does. When he comes back online, M.O.D.O.K. asks him if he has any intention of betraying him and Super-Adaptoid says of course he doesn't... until M.O.D.O.K. doesn't let him order chicken-fingers.
  • Mundanger: While given a sci-fi spin, a major conflict is M.O.D.O.K. facing is his business going bankrupt and the loss of purpose in his life if it goes under, as well as a failing marriage.
  • Mythology Gag: The show is filled with them.
    • The first episode, "If This Be... M.O.D.O.K.!", has Austin Van Der Sleet take M.O.D.O.K. out to wine-and-dine him. These places include "Fin Fang Farm to Table", a Lila Cheney "Steal This Planet" concert, and Arcade's Arcade. Jodie also gets an influencer sponsorship with the Roxxon Corporation.
    • In the second episode, "The M.O.D.O.K. That Time Forgot", it turns out that M.O.D.O.K. and Jodie went to Kirby University. When M.O.D.O.K. goes to get his time machine from S.H.I.E.L.D., he rummages through a box of junk, tossing away Cerebro and the Ultimate Nullifier, before finding Doctor Strange's prescription pad.
    • In the third episode, "Beware from What Portal Comes!", Jodie goes on the talk show "Morning with Master Pandemonium." And, like the comic, Master Pandemonium has demon babies for hands. Later on, M.O.D.O.K. figures he needs to start a crisis and open a portal to create an alien invasion — he quickly discards Skrulls ("too slimy"), the Shi'ar ("too sexy"), and the Watcher (his big head conflicts with M.O.D.O.K.'s), before choosing the Brood. However, the aliens in the episode end up being the Ciegrimites.
    • Also from the third episode, M.O.D.O.K. clarifies for the hotel concierge that his name is spelled with a K instead of a C, which his name has been Bowdlerized to often in kid-friendly media, such as in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, where it stood for "Conquest". M.O.D.O.C. was also the original name of the experiment in the early comics, a super computer, the C standing for "Computing" before George went rogue and took over, renaming himself.
    • In the fourth episode, Monica's daughter Carmilla always wears a Scorpion t-shirt, a reference to her codename in the comics. Additionally, items seen in the pawn shop include Ant-Man's helmet, a Bamf doll, a Hellfire Club guard's mask, Attuma's helmet, Magik's Soulsword and Dazzler's roller skates. The place where the D-list villains hang out is the Bar with No Name, a recurring fixture of the supervillain scene in the comics.
    • After recruiting the D-List villains for a heist, MODOK suggests the name MODOK's Six as the team name, a reference to the comic MODOK's 11 which was also about MODOK recruiting D-List villains for a heist and Armadillo was a member of that team too.
    • The seventh episode shows a poster of Wonder Man starring in a Brute Force movie.
    • The season finale is titled "Days of Future M.O.D.O.K.s!" Whirlwind later tells Jodie that he used to stalk The Wasp (which is indeed part of his comic book backstory), She-Hulk, She-Thing and Storm. Additionally, The future M.O.D.O.K.'s trophy room contains Iron Man's Mark I helmet, Captain America's shield, Thor's hammer, Hawkeye's bow and Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet.
  • Never My Fault: As part of his self-absorption, MODOK rejects all blame for the consequences of his own actions.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Wonder Man calls Jodie on the fact that just like MODOK she tends to use and manipulate people for her own goals. This is after having dated Simon and manipulating him into a fight with MODOK for publicity.
  • Odd Friendship: Lou, the constantly upbeat and energetic son of M.O.D.O.K., is drawn to Carmilla, the apathetic, goth daughter of M.O.D.O.K.'s workplace nemesis, Monica. By the first season finale it's ambiguous whether they're just friends or dating.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Monica Rappaccini created a male clone of herself to inseminate her, resulting in the birth of their daughter, Carmilla. He's kept in a tube in Monica's lab, nonchalantly asking Carmilla to kill him. His name is Manica.
  • Pet the Dog: Austin is a smug, corporate douchebag who has no problem selling out humanity to Hexus, but he also rescues a puppy named Sherlock and genuinely loves him. So much so that when Hexus refuses to let Sherlock be spared when they destroy the planet, that Austin sells them out.
    • In the past, M.O.D.O.K. apologized to Monica for stealing the credit for killing an (unspecified) Avenger, complimented her for the weapon design and even promised that she will be able to invent whatever she wants with no oversight.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: M.O.D.O.K. As the CPA Supreme starts telling him about all of the insane expenses of their last mission, M.O.D.O.K. points to one tiny expense and says to get rid of it and then asks, "Am I...good businessman?" The CPA Supreme has to then tell him they are bankrupt.
  • The Pollyanna: No matter the situation, Lou is constantly upbeat and enthusiastic about everything, even his mother giving him a peanut allergy after she lied about it in her book.
  • Psycho for Hire: Arcade, who's a mercenary that creates death traps in the form of "games" for his victims to navigate and has immense fun doing it. He's hired by Anomaly to create a convoluted one for M.O.D.O.K. and his family.
  • Robot Me: A scheme from MODOK's younger self and Arcade forces his family to each fight to the death with two robot doubles. Everyone manages to kill all their double except Lou, who quickly develops a rapport with his remaining one. The family finds that they're uncannily accepting of two Lous, and their food budget is fine since they're willing to split one meal.
  • Shared Universe: Despite having a different animation style, this show officially shares a setting with Hit-Monkey which is designated as Earth-1226.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: A.I.M. also makes money from "bootleg Avengers toys." As M.O.D.O.K. puts it: "Some kids prefer Spooder-Man." This is indeed a nod to the actual Spoderman.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: In the first episode, when Melissa complains about how one of the A.I.M. goons spilled acid on her boyfriend, M.O.D.O.K.'s only concern is that acid is expensive.
  • The Starscream: Monica Rappaccini to M.O.D.O.K. She tries to usurp his leadership time and time again. She eventually succeeds in replacing him as Scientist Supreme of A.I.M. only for it to wind up a Pyrrhic Victory with her being assigned busy work that keeps her from pursuing her true scientific passions.
  • Stone Wall: Ciegrimites shells are strong enough to be able to stop M.O.D.O.K. mind blast.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In-universe as M.O.D.O.K. noted that a favorite food for the patrons of the 'Bar With No Name' being the Meatloaf from Nightloaf.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: In the second episode, M.O.D.O.K. uses a time machine to try and fix his marriage by bringing himself and his wife Jodie to a Third Eye Blind concert that happened seventeen years ago. Unfortunately, things go wrong and his younger self is also caught in the mix and ends up in the present day, where he wants to kill his older self. M.O.D.O.K. is also is responsible for Monica Rappaccini's Start of Darkness when they find her in the past to try and recreate the time machine, but M.O.D.O.K. ends up destroying her science project. Finally, after the time machine is destroyed, M.O.D.O.K. and Jodie are stuck in the past and live their lives watching their younger selves in love...and then live all the way to the present, where they prevent themselves from going back in time, thereby erasing themselves from existence. Except, due to the crystals of the time machine embedding in his head, the younger M.O.D.O.K. still exists in the present.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Jodie is a normal-looking human woman, while M.O.D.O.K. is, well, M.O.D.O.K.
  • Undying Loyalty: Despite the frequent abuse and lack of respect he receives from his superior, Gary has this for M.O.D.O.K., being the one A.I.M. employee to stick by him no matter what changes GRUMBL makes to the organization.
  • Villain Protagonist: M.O.D.O.K., who tells one S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the first episode that he's a mental organism designed only for killing.
  • The Un-Reveal: Apparently, on her first day at A.I.M. Monica managed to kill an A-list Avenger (which MODOK took credit for). However, the show is deliberately glib about dancing around who it actually was. The only thing we see of them is a charred skull with no real visual indicators as to who it is.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: MODOK's daughter Melissa is desperate for her father's attention and approval and never gets it, while also hating herself for wanting it so badly.
  • Wizard Duel: Played with — in one of the episodes, M.O.D.O.K. and Monica Rappaccini have a mad scientist duel for the leadership of A.I.M. Complete with him turning her into a pre-teen and her turning him into a monkey.
  • You Have Failed Me: In the first episode, M.O.D.O.K. tries this on the CPA Supreme when he learns they are bankrupt, but the CPA Supreme reminds him that he still has to do M.O.D.O.K.'s personal taxes. Instead, M.O.D.O.K. shoots Gary's arm off.