Smiling Friends: A Review

The new cartoon series “Smiling Friends” that came out recently (January 9, 2022) was now renewed for a second season by Adult Swim. Within the few months that it aired, it had a huge impact on the adult animation industry, as the show came from indie filmmakers who are full of creativity and passion.

The premise of “Smiling Friends” follows two main characters, Pim and Charlie, who work at a small company named Smiling Friends. Inc. The main purpose is to help their clients smile. They go on silly adventures and touch on the relevant topics ranging from things such as cancel culture, mid-life crises, and murder mysteries to their commentary on nihilism. 

If you are a fan of the dark, surrealist humor of comedies like “Family Guy”, “South Park,” “Rick and Morty,” or are simply a fan of internet humor, then “Smiling Friends” will be your cup of tea. The director and creator of the show, Zach Hadel and Michael Cusack attracted the audience with their quirky art style and dry humor that makes everyday relatable things funny. Remember the time when you tried to show your friend a funny video, but they don’t nearly find it as interesting? Remember the awkward little conversation with your Uber Eats delivery man? They turn all these everyday scenarios into cartoons with a clever delivery.

Additionally, it included multiple animation media such as stop animation as well as 2D animation on top of their colorful and weird character designs: There are characters in the story who are humans, humanoid-like creatures or they can be in a different art style. The creators made the show highly rewatchable, despite being only 10 to 15 minutes long for each episode. They hide little details in the backgrounds and add pop-culture references, making the background as interesting as the main plot that is happening on screen. 

The absurd internet style of humor was caused by the fact that the creators spent most of their animation career on social media, YouTube. One of the main writers, voice actor, and storyboard artist of the show, Zach Hadel, has a youtube channel with a subscriber count of 1.49 million, he is known for his most viewed video, “get out of my car”, with a whopping 55 million view count. Needless to say, their YouTube career played a big part in the hype surrounding smiling friends, as the creators has an already established fan base from their YouTube channels. Furthermore, I think a lot of people can agree with me when is say that the creation of the show counts as a big win in for YouTubers and other internet creators, as it is really awesome to see all these notable youtube personalities people grew up watching being able to conquer the old world of cable television.

Overall, the creation of Smiling Friends is definitely something unique and indifferent to what has come before. It brought more new opportunities for indie filmmakers, and I am certainly excited to see where this show is going.