5 out of 5
Created by: Will Carsola and Dave Stewart
Over the course of three seasons, Mr. Pickles leveraged its somewhat limited scope into something escalatingly, hilariously ridiculous. The entire cast – Pickles the devil dog, his naive owner Tommy, Tommy’s grandfather, the town sheriff – were all (excepting the plotting Pickles) variations on idiocy, but as the ‘mythology’ surrounding the dog expanded and Grandpa’s anti-Pickles plans became more convoluted, the surrounding bits and pieces of the show also had opportunities to become more amusing beyond one-beat gags. I’m not suggesting supreme depth of anything, but the series essentially learned not to rely on its main premise for all its humor once it defined that premise a bit more clearly, and that was to its benefit, and my continued viewing pleasure.
And then: season four turned out to be a surprise series conclusion, morphing the show into the sheriff-centered Momma Named Me Sheriff. Now, the creators have learned all the lessons from their “previous” show, but are also set free from having to continually touche base with Pickles and grandpa and their beef; Sheriff can be applied any ol’ where, meaning we get the most supremely oddball storylines, about invisible hats and time-traveling hair and it’s glorious. For those that enjoyed Mr. Pickles’ descent into gore, that stuff is here as well, but it’s also freed up to come at us from any direction, not just due to doggy machinations.
Momma Named Me Sheriff is a wonderfully wise decision: recognize when a gag has run its course, then take all the good parts and make them even better. If you’re not a fan of the bumbling, violence-prone humor of their previous concoction, this show won’t change your mind. But if you were already on board, Momma – though I do miss me some Pickles, as a character – improves on its predecessor and offers infinitely more opportunities for insanity for, hopefully, at least a few seasons more… until we morph into something else.