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Review: 'The Freak Brothers' on Tubi

The Freak Brothers: Franklin, Phineas and Freddy (image via Tubi)

The Freak Brothers animated series debuted on the streaming service Tubi in November. Based on The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic strips and characters created by Gilbert Shelton, Paul Mavrides and Dave Sheridan in the early '70s, the eight-episode premiere season features Woody Harrelson, Pete Davidson, John Goodman, Tiffany Haddish, Andrea Savage, La La Anthony, Adam Devine and Blake Anderson.

The scatological nature of the dialogue - lots of fart and poop jokes - proved to be a turn-off factor for viewers. It's a throwback like Cheech & Chong, though where Cheech & Chong have evolved over the years, The Freak Brothers are stuck in another century. 

The first two episodes find the quartet in 2020 after time traveling from 1969. (This was the theme of Rude Awakening starring Cheech Marin, minus Tommy Chong, in 1989.) Harrelson plays the laid back Freewheelin' Franklin Freak with a Kentucky drawl while Davidson's Phineas T. Phreakers gets easily agitated. Meanwhile, Goodman's Fat Freddie Freekowski is the butt of, well, a lot of butt jokes and Haddish's Kitty gets off some of the funniest lines.

Watch the 2020 Episodes Here 

The "Pilot" episode harkens back to Woodstock with appearances by Joe Cocker and Jimi Hendrix. Thanks to a special weed potion, they're able to blast forward 50 years. The goofy guys are fish out of water. To Freddy, a cell phone is a Pop Tart and machines have taken over. Also, weed is legal. But still they manage to get busted in 2020. A young activist attorney Gretchen (La La Anthony) takes their case and also gives them a place to stay in her family's house where they're not welcome by her mother Harper (Savage), who's an uptight Yuppie. They think it's their house anyway. (Time machines don't move, they just go through time.)

The series is contradictory to current trends in cannabis culture. It's a throwback like Cheech & Chong.

Episode 2 ("Squatter's Rights") goes off the rails when Phineas decides to grow the weed Freddy stuffed up his ass during a police search in '69. They need a joint from that plant to transport them back in time. This sets up a number of scatological anatomy jokes that culminates in a several explosions.

Episode 3 ("The Expendables") is a big improvement. The dopey trio look for jobs and end up getting hired  by Jeff Bezos to man a flight to Mars. This sets up a number of Amazon Prime jokes with Jeffrey Tambor as Bezo's assistant and Rachel Brosnahan (Mrs Maisel) as a stand-up Jewish comic. Thankfully, Phineas sniffs out the plot to deposit them on Mars and leave. But Bezos warns, "I'm going to get those Freak Brothers and their little KItty too!"

In Episiode 4 ("Son of a Freak"), Frankin discovers his son is an MMA fighter. Episode 5 ("Bo Freaking Rap Sody"), featuring Schoolboy Q, is better as the rapper hires Franklin and Phineas to be his CROs - chief rollijng officers. 

In Episode 6 ("Gender No Binary"), Phineas and Freddy date female robots and in Episode 7 ("The Candidate"), Freddy runs for mayor of San Francisco. Fart joke alert. 

In final Episode 8 ("Freakcella"), the toasty trio goes to a rockl festival where Franklin meets Taylor Swift and the other guys hang with Jim Morrison's hologram. Schoolboy Q also returns from Episode 4 bent on revenge. Taylor want to improve her songwriting, so Franklin recommends she take a bunch of drugs: coke, Molly and nitrous exide. On stage Taylor freaks out and is taken away in an ambulance. It turns out Morrison time-traveled like the Brothers from 1969 and is going back via a portal but not before he shoots up and notes he almost actually died  when he saw The Doors movie.

It's a fun ending to an uneven first season. It's unclear whether there will be a second.

The final episode on Tubi , available Dec. 26, will be the last of the season. 

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.