Adult animation is perhaps more popular than it has ever been before. Following in the footsteps of earlier Goliaths such as The Simpsons and South Park, new cartoons aimed at adults are being produced at an unprecedented rate. There has, however, never been a notable British adult animation. UKTV’s The Bruvs rectifies this issue, for better or for worse.
The web series follows the lives of two brothers, Den and Doug from Essex, trying to turn their backs on their lives of crime. Despite being the premise of the entire show, their past is only referenced in the theme song and once or twice throughout the series.
Speaking of the theme song, it names a number of characters who either fail to appear at all in the series or are relegated to cameos with few to no lines. As a result, there are only three real characters in the show – Den, Doug, and Chanterelle (Doug’s girlfriend). This is not only confusing but also limits the plots that the show can explore.
It is tempting to refer to the humour of the series as hit and miss but there are, unfortunately, rather more misses than hits. The majority of the bits are either lazy and poorly edited slapstick humour or old jokes that most will have likely heard before, and the few potentially amusing gags are hampered by both poor delivery and awkward timing.
Chanterelle is the only character with anything remotely resembling a complex personality but even still, it seems unoriginal and uninspired. One episode seems to suggest that despite appearing vapid and materialistic, she is really smarter than she lets on. Not only is this a character trait that has been done time and time again (and far better than it is done here), but even when seemingly defying audience expectations, the character is still an irritating and borderline sexist stereotype.
Despite these numerous shortcomings, there are perhaps one or two redeeming features to be found. The theme tune is annoyingly catchy and the art is distinctive and surprisingly decent for a low budget web animation. In addition, one only has to give a cursory glance at the many social media pages of The Bruvs to see how much passion and care creator Ian Brown has for the project.
Overall, The Bruvs is a truly baffling series. The humour, characters, and overall story are lacking but it is obvious that the people making it truly are putting their all into it, which is something to be commended. Considering its low budget and obscurity, it is genuinely admirable that the people behind The Bruvs have persisted. Given their strong belief in the show, it may have a brighter future yet.