The opening title sequence
Dramedy (Season 3)
|Created by||Dino Stamatopoulos|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||43 (and 1 special) (List of episodes)|
|Running time||11–12 minutes|
|Production company(s)||ShadowMachine Films
Starburns Industries ("Beforel Orel" only)
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original channel||Adult Swim|
|Picture format||4:3 SDTV
16:9 HDTV ("Beforel Orel" only)
|Original airing||December 13, 2005
December 18, 2008
"Beforel Orel" special:
November 19, 2012
Moral Orel is an American stop-motion animated television show, which originally aired a sneak peek on Adult Swim on December 13, 2005, before it officially aired on January 23, 2006 to December 18, 2008. It has been described as "Davey and Goliath...meets South Park". However, Dino Stamatopoulos, the show's creator, is wary of the comparison with Davey and Goliath, telling the New York Times that Moral Orel grew out of a concept for a send-up of a Leave It to Beaver-style 1950s sitcom that would star Iggy Pop.
At the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, Stamatopoulos announced that the show would not be renewed for a fourth season. The final season was aired interspersed with repeats from the first two seasons, since many of the episodes took place in parallel with events of past episodes. The event, which was called "44 Nights of Orel", was hosted by Stamatopoulos and others and started on October 6, 2008, running through December 18, when the series finale premiered. In 2011, three years after its cancellation, it was announced that a new special titled Beforel Orel would be made. It aired on Adult Swim on November 19, 2012.
The program takes place in the fictional capital city of Moralton, in the fictional Bible Belt state "Statesota." According to the globe shown in the opening credits, Moralton is in the exact center of the United States, with the town's church at the exact center of the town.
The main character is Orel Puppington, a student at Alfred G. Diorama Elementary School, who tries to live by the fundamentalist Protestant Christian moral code as articulated in church or by his father, Clay. Orel naïvely follows this code to illogical extremes, with disastrous results. The series is a satire of the archetypes of Middle American suburban life, modern-day WASP culture, and religious fundamentalism.
- Orel Puppington is a 12-year-old boy and the protagonist of the show. Orel is a devout Christian boy who cheerfully and naïvely deals with an alcoholic and abusive father, an emotionally distant/starving and cleaning-obsessed mother, and the hypocrisy of the religious adults whom he encounters.
- Clay Puppington is Orel's father. He is a cynical alcoholic who hates his dead end job and his wife.
- Bloberta Puppington is Orel's mother. Seemingly cheerful, she tends to ignore all conflict or problems.
- Shapey Puppington, Orel's seven-year-old half-brother, is a misbehaving, spoiled, emotionally stunted little boy who does nothing but yell (usually wordlessly) and act out.
- Rev. Putty, the town's resident pastor of the church, a laid-back, caring yet lonely and sexually frustrated man whom Orel looks up to for advice. He (later on) shares a healthy relationship with his formerly unknown daughter Stephanie (whom he originally hit on) a punk-rock lesbian who owns a sex shop.
The first season of the show followed a standard formula: Orel would hear a sermon in church on Sunday, then proceed to have some sort of misadventure based on his attempts to live by his (usually warped) interpretation of the lesson. At the end of each episode, his father would sternly put a halt to the proceedings and "correct" Orel (by means of corporal punishment) — only to offer an even more warped interpretation (in the first season this would be one of the "Lost Commandments"). Before the end titles, Clay Puppington's trousers would fall down as a running gag, because he had removed his belt to "correct" Orel beforehand. Throughout the season, the series' primary characters were introduced and various subplots were established, such as Orel's father being a closeted bisexual in love with Orel's gym teacher, and Orel's mother being an unhappily married housewife feeling trapped in her marriage.
The second season of the show broke the first season format and began to build upon the subplots introduced in the first season, making them the primary focus of the show. Although still the primary character, Orel became less a catalyst for each episode's events than an unwitting bystander often left confused and dejected at the end of an episode, who found himself unable to reconcile his optimistic nature and faith with the corruption and cynicism of the adults around him, in particular his father. The season culminated in a two-part episode dealing with a camping trip, during which Orel lost all faith in his father. The finale – "Nature" – marked a darker turn in the series' tone, de-emphasizing the cynical parody of the previous two seasons in favor of exploring darker, more disturbing themes and character behavior.
The third and final season of the show was structured as a massive, interconnecting, thirteen-part story dealing with the events leading up to and during the camping trip, and their long-reaching implications. It is revealed that during the trip, Orel's father gets drunk and shoots Orel in the leg, only to express a complete lack of remorse or sense of responsibility afterward. The series culminates in the ultimate dissolution of Clay's relationship with Orel's coach, and the revelation that Orel will one day be able to put his unhappy childhood behind him to raise a better family than the one in which he grew up.
The series was troubled throughout its run. Against the wishes of creator Stamatopoulos, the Christmas-themed first season finale, "The Best Christmas Ever," was aired as the series premiere. Adult Swim wanted to debut the show in December as part of a holiday-themed programming block. The episode—which featured the culmination of numerous story arcs developed throughout the first season, and ended with a cliffhanger—confused viewers and prompted some questions on Adult Swim's message boards as to whether or not the episode was a one-off practical joke. When the series eventually premiered, three episodes were held back because Cartoon Network's Standards & Practices Department found them to be too dark and sexually explicit, even for a late night program aimed at adults. All were eventually approved; two aired in May 2006, and the third aired on July 31, 2006. The series would ultimately be canceled with seven scripts left unproduced, cutting the third season down from the intended twenty episodes to thirteen.
After the 2011 Halloween mini-marathon for Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, Orel himself announced the upcoming Moral Orel special and its release "sometime in the near future". "Beforel Orel" was officially announced on Dino's official Twitter page. The special was described in a press release by Adult Swim as, "A Moral Orel special that sheds light on the origin of Orel's religious nature and the birth of his brother, Shapey." It premiered on Monday, November 19, 2012.
Madman Entertainment released the second volume of Moral Orel on DVD in Region 4 on August 18, 2010. It was the world's first and so far the only release of the second season on DVD. Madman Entertainment also released the third and final volume of Moral Orel on April 20, 2011, again on Region 4 DVD. Neither Volume 2 nor Volume 3 have been released elsewhere, and it is currently unknown if the US will get R1 releases. All seasons of Moral Orel as well as the special are available for purchase from iTunes and the Sony PSP marketplace.
|DVD name||Release date||Ep #||Additional information|
|Volume One||April 24, 2007||15||This 2-disc boxed set contains the first 15 episodes of the series, uncensored, and in production order ("The Lord's Greatest Gift" through Season 2's "Offensiveness", and includes the entirety of Season 1 along with additional Season 2 episodes "God's Image", "Satan", "Elemental Orel", and "Love"). Special features include a director's cut version of "God's Chef", deleted scenes, audio commentary, and a "behind the scenes" featurette|
|Volume Two||2010||15||This one-disc set contains the next 15 episodes of the series, which are the latter half of season two, uncensored, and in production order ("God's Blunders" through "Nature, Part Two"). Special features include character profiles, easter eggs, and trailers
NOTE: ONLY RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA
|Volume Three||2011||13||This one-disc set contains the final 13 episodes of the series, which are the entire third season, uncensored, and in production order ("Numb" through "Honor"). Special features include video commentary with series creator Dino Stamatopolous, easter eggs, and trailers
NOTE: ONLY RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA
|Complete Lessons Collection||2012||43||This 4-disc compilation set contains the entire series, uncensored and in production order ("The Lord's Greatest Gift" through "Honor"). Special features include audio commentary, video commentary, The Awkward 2007 Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes, easter eggs, directors cut episodes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes
NOTE: ONLY RELEASED IN AUSTRALIA
- Bozell, L. Brent. "Shower after 'Adult Swim'". Retrieved 2007-03-09.
- Crane, Dan (2007-05-20). "Holy Satire! Faith-Based Mockery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Dino Stamatopoulos: The TV Squad Interview". Oct 27, 2006. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- "Adult Swim in a Box". Retrieved 2010-02-14.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Moral Orel|
- Official website
- Moral Orel at the Internet Movie Database
- Moral Orel at TV.com
- Panel from Comic-Con 2006
- Moral Orel at the Voice Chasers Database
- Dino Stamatopoulos Interviewed by Jesse Thorn at Sounds of Young America
- Moral Orel at TVSquad.com
- Morel Orel family viewing review at Common Sense Media Review.