|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|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Adult Swim|
|Original release||December 13, 2005 –|
December 18, 2008
January 18, 2009
"Beforel Orel" special:
November 19, 2012
Moral Orel is an American adult stop-motion animated television series, which originally aired on Adult Swim from December 13, 2005 to December 18, 2008. The series 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. A special entitled "Beforel Orel" later aired 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 disastrous extremes. The series is a satire of the archetypes of Middle American suburban life, modern-day WASP culture, alcoholism, and religious fundamentalism with weighty emotional undertones that increase dramatically as the series progresses.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||December 13, 2005||July 31, 2006|
|2||20||November 13, 2006||July 16, 2007|
|3||13||October 9, 2008||December 18, 2008|
|Special||1||November 19, 2012|
- Orel Puppington is a devout 12-year-old 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 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 half-brother, is a misbehaving, spoiled, emotionally-stunted little boy who does nothing but yell/scream bloody-murder (usually wordlessly) and act out like a toddler.
- Rev. Rod Putty, the town's resident pastor of the church, a laid-back, caring yet lonely and sexually frustrated man to whom Orel looks for advice. Later on, he shares a healthy relationship with his formerly-unknown daughter Stephanie (whom he originally hit on), a punk-rocker who owns a sex shop.
- Coach Daniel Stopframe, Orel's school gym teacher who is Satanic and is secretly in love with his father, Clay.
- Doughy, Orel's best friend. Very sensitive, not very bright, and easily frightened, he often worries about Orel as he follows him on adventures.
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, particularly 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 (Part 1)" and "Nature (Part 2)"—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, 13-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 him in the leg, afterward showing a complete lack of remorse or sense of responsibility. 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.
Originally, before being cut down to a 13-episode third season and later cancelled, the show was supposed to have two more seasons and evolve into a show entitled Moralton that would revolve around the life of the residents of Moralton as a whole.
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 the 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.
On April 24, 2007, Volume One: The Unholy Edition was released, which included the first 15 episodes and which covered all of the first season and the first five episodes of the second season. This has been the only release in the US, which was later included as part of the Adult Swim in a Box set in 2009. In October 2007, Madman Entertainment released a similar volume one set in Australia. Starting in 2010, Madman continued releasing the series, starting with a second volume which included the rest of the second season, and then a third volume which included all of the third season. Then, they released the Complete Lessons Collection, which compiled the discs from the previously released volumes.
|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
NOTE: This is the only release of the series in North America
|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
The entire show has been available to buy at various digital video on demand stores.
- Wolinsky, David (28 October 2008). "Scott Adsit". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- Bozell, L. Brent (2007). "Shower after 'Adult Swim'". Creators.com. Archived from the original on 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- Crane, Dan (2007-05-20). "Holy Satire! Faith-Based Mockery". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- "Teletoon skeds 13 new shows for fall". August 1, 2007. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- "Adult Swim Canada schedule (Update: No 5AM for you.)". June 21, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- Finley, Adam (Oct 27, 2006). "Dino Stamatopoulos: The TV Squad Interview". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- "Frankenhole Halloween 2011, 8". Adult Swim. October 31, 2011. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
- Dino Stamatopoulos [@@DinosThirdTwitt] (20 May 2012). "BEFOREL OREL – A Moral Orel special that sheds light on the origin of Orel's religious nature and the birth of Shapey. Coming to [as] soon" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Adult Swim Announces Largest Programming Schedule Ever for 2012-13". The Futon Critic. May 16, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- "Moral Orel, Vol. 1, The Unholy Edition". DVDTalk. April 28, 2007. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
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