Saturday, January 31, 2015

Meet ‘Chozen,’ rowdy gay rapper

(Jan. 9, PDI Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

The titular misbehaving character in the animated comedy series “Chozen” used to be a law-abiding, aspiring hip-hop artist. His dream is hindered, however, by many years in the slammer; he served time for crimes he didn’t commit.

Making a comeback, hardened ex-con Phillip Cullen, aka Chozen (voiced by “Saturday Night Live’s” Bobby Moynihan), hopes to reclaim his rightful place in the artistic firmament, where his rapper foe Phantasm (voiced by Method Man), who sent him to prison, now reigns supreme.

The thuggish Chozen is determined to be a rap star, and he won’t let his being both white and gay stop him.

The riotous 10-episode series is developed by the creators of comedy shows “Eastbound & Down” and “Archer.” There is swaggering, countless adult situations and unpredictable shenanigans—but they are balanced out by accessible humor and heart.

Though slightly toned down for local cable, it retains its edge and charm. It’s hard to not enjoy the half-hour underdog misadventures of the big, burly “bear” (in gay lingo, this refers to a certain body type and/or hirsute quality), whose crazy dealings include relentless partying (often involving illegal activities).

The struggling, openly gay protagonist is flanked by other misfits, like his more focused sister Tracy (Kathryn Hahn) and childhood friends Crisco and Ricky (Hannibal Buress and Michael Peña), who now perform at kids’ parties.

The amusing, sometimes baffling, dysfunctional dynamic that Chozen has with them and new pals such as his frat boy-boy toy Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) and the straight nerdy kid Troy (Nick Swardson), keeps the series watchable. This, despite the main character being quite unlikeable because of his gruff demeanor or unbearable attitude malfunctions!

Nonetheless, “Chozen” consistently delivers with cleanly animated visuals, sheer audacity and unapologetic irreverence. It’s quite addictive, for all the right reasons.

More importantly, the gay empowerment messages aren’t lost in the blustering, boisterous revelries.

(“Chozen” recently aired on Jack TV. Visit the channel’s Facebook page for re-airing dates.)

No comments: