Fresh from the curse-ridden tar pits of Mondo Media comes a new VRV Exclusive series! The first episode of the darkly comedic Gary and His Demons released on Mondo’s channel here on VRV this past Sunday, and it’s a remarkably strong start for the series. The jokes all land perfectly, but what’s truly great about this first episode is the frankly tragic, extremely human drama underlying Gary’s absurd situation. Let’s take a look at what makes this show tick!
Gary and His Demons is about a lot of things–demon slaying, midlife crises, dealing with incompetent and terrifically dumb coworkers, coping with tragedy, living with an utterly bleak outlook on life… but let’s start with the basics. Gary is a middle aged man who is extremely done with demon hunting, a profession he was involuntarily roped into when he was a teen. He’s just finished his last mission and retirement is finally on the horizon. Unfortunately his boss has once again failed to find him a replacement, meaning he needs to stay on indefinitely.
Gary and His Demons is the brainchild of Canadian stand-up comedian Mark Little, known for his work on comedy TV series such as Picnicface, Space Riders: Division Earth, and Mr. D. Little is the head writer, the voice of Gary, and serves as co-director along with animator Lou Solis, who has worked on numerous animated series such as Superjail!, Ugly Americans, and Moonbeam City. Little’s experienced hand at writing and Solis’ inspired animation and shot composition come together and really bring Gary’s world of demonically tinged office drudgery to life.
The show is visually gorgeous, with simple but attractive character designs placed within some absolutely beautiful background art. The characters’ movements are kinetic and fun to watch, from the arc of Gary’s sword as he’s slicing a demon in half to the subtle smirk on his face as he’s forced to interact with his incompetent sidekick. All of this animation is in service of Little’s great character writing, bringing his expertly realized cast to life. Each character in Gary and His Demons, while not always the deepest character study, has their own set of motives and beliefs that cause them to act the way that they do. And this is truest of all with Gary.
The reason Gary’s comedic dialog lands is because there’s a rich emotional framework holding up his cynical worldview. As we learn throughout the first episode, our protagonist has had a pretty objectively terrible life ever since he started demon hunting, and, like Sisyphus pushing his boulder, there doesn’t seem to be any way for him to escape his fate of slaying an endless horde of demons. Fans of shows like the Venture Bros. and Metalocalypse will find a similar sort of narrative alchemy happening here–a show that can spin seemingly dumb, surface level humor into a wonderfully subtle tapestry of character drama. Gary and His Demons is about a lot of things, but it’s ultimately about laughing in the face of one’s own suffering. It’s a show that urges us to find humor in all the terrible things that happen to us, and I’m pretty excited to see where it goes from here.