Nothing Quite Like It
*Totally contains spoilers. Maybe.*
12 Oz Mouse is a very peculiar article of media, no matter how you look at it. Matt Maiellaro had a vision, I'm sure, and boy howdy did he make something out of it.
Compared to other shows, especially the ones one could find on Adult Swim (I'm talking about YOU, Mr. Pickles), the content of 12 Oz Mouse itself is nothing to start a holocaust over. Sure, they say some fairly minor curse words (hell, ass, damn, bitch), but, I have noticed that they strictly avoid going any farther than that in the salty tongue department. Opting instead for some fairly amusing workarounds. For example, Mouse often would say "Holy Chi" instead of the obvious word (using a hard E sound at the end), Shark utters the phrase "Fother-mucker", and so on.
One thing that is praised by almost all Oz Mo. fans is the almost hidden storyline that really only becomes noticeable to first-time viewers during the second season. Considering the fact that the show was originally intended to be shallow, dumb fun with little other redeeming qualities, the fact that Matt pulled off a plot that managed to be so engaging for this type of cartoon mid-series is rather impressive. I am still not sure why Matt chose THE most crude animation style you will ever find in an actual television show, but for me, it works. The world of the show is intended to be incredibly bizarre with a somewhat dream-like quality associated with it, making the spastic preschooler drawings depict the true nature of the cardboard city and its inhabitants far better than, say, detailed Disney-style drawn animation.
I can definitely see how Fitz could be seen as a role model to young, impressionable audiences as to kids an alcoholic, gun-toting, electric guitar playing, passively violent animal that doesn't care about any form of law, order, or basic common sense and does whatever he wants whenever he wants could seem kind of cool. That's how I felt about him when I was 14. Obviously, though, even dumb kids know living life in such a manner is beyond unrealistic, so I don't really see much fuss about Mouse (Butch?) being a bad role model. Not every character can be Hank Hill, you know.
The show has a fairly violent theme to it. Mouse conducts some zany, GTA style mayhem and often shoots down those who get in his way or annoy him. I think the worst gory moment is Shark getting his head blown off. However, I'll say this. Most kids have always liked violence. There are individuals as young as 6 who have played the Manhunt games, for god's sake. Condemning 12 Oz Mouse for what it portrays just seems silly to me.
The biggest vice portrayed in 12 Oz Mouse is the depiction of alcoholism and pot smoking. The show's world literally revolves around it. Everybody is always either drunk and/or high all the time. It's an integral part of 12 Oz Mouse itself. An interesting choice, I must say. I can see how THIS part might be a problem for some parents, as kids who fall in love with the show might see it as an incentive to start drinking, but once again, this goes back to the age-old retort to any parent's outrage over a crazy show, comic book, game, or movie: If you can actually do your job as a parent and make your child understand why acting out the things they see in media is a horrible idea, you wouldn't need to ban them from these things, now would you?
There are some small sexual aspects of the show that are mainly suggestive in nature, like the She-Wolf in the webisode, the porno that Mouse fails at creating in the first episode, and Skillet being ball-gagged and tied up, but that is probably the most tame adult thing in the show. Plus, I think those are the only examples that actually exist in 12 Oz Mouse.
All in all, I may be slightly biased. I love 12 Oz Mouse. Its characters are interesting and funny, the dialogue is cleverly written, the action scenes aren't bad for an animated show hand-drawn on copy paper, the plot is engaging and adds some humanizing qualities to the protagonist, the storytelling methods that are used create a huge feeling of mystery throughout the show, the characters are pretty charming (Golden Joe and The Peanut Cop are two of my favorite characters for sure), the soundtrack is good, and the unreal atmosphere totally pulls me in and keeps me fascinated. 12 Oz Mouse is one of the most unique shows I have ever seen and anyone who says there is nothing more to it than a mouse screwing around, doing whatever is just wrong. It's not even a matter of opinion, you're factually wrong. Don't believe me? Watch the whole series for yourself. Every episode, if you can sit through it all. It's all on Adult Swim's website.
This title contains:
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking