Anytown, USA is the story of “an everyday, All-American, modern family…” with a twist. The pilot introduces us to the Fletchers, a blended family living the American dream.
Okay, so now that that’s out of the way, here’s Anytown, USA‘s big twist… The Fletchers are cannibals. While this isn’t revealed until the end of the pilot, if you watch the introductory video on their homepage they are very open about it. So it’s not exactly a secret. That being said, the pilot does a good job of building up to this instead of just outright saying it. So, if you didn’t watch the introductory video first (like I did), it would still be quite a twist.
Since the twist is saved for the end of the pilot, there’s a lot more to breakdown. The Fletchers are a normal-seeming family: dad, mom, two kids. The dad, Ryan Fletcher, appears to be a real estate agent, as he is seen selling a house to another seemingly-normal human being.
Ryan emphasizes how great his family is, with a loving “supermom” wife, a smarter-than-he-needs-to-be son, and a beautiful teenage daughter. At the same time as he’s describing this, though, the show cuts in with scenes of his family, showing the truth: his wife is overworked and a little zany, his son is a smart-aleck, and his daughter is rebellious and angry.
Ryan is dealing with some stuff at home but puts it aside to sell this house to wholesome, All-American Paul. However, at the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Paul is a Nazi. Ryan resists Paul’s attempts at conversion because the Fletchers are a multi-cultural family.
When Paul gets pushy, Ryan slashes his throat, resulting in a probably-more-than-necessary gratuitous blood splatter. In the end, after arguing once more with his daughter, Ryan settles down to a nice dinner… spearing Paul’s eyeball off a platter.
This show is funny. It’s an outright satire of modern shows, most clearly Modern Family. The Fletchers represent a multicultural image that is downright ridiculous. At one point, Ryan remarks that “[his] wife is Korean, and [his] biological children are Black and Hispanic.”
In another scene, when the Fletchers sit down to dinner, a “market research” exec holds up paint samples next to the family to make sure they’re “covering all [their] demographics.” While arguing with her father, daughter Lacey remarks that “this family is a little too diverse to make sense.” Anytown, USA is not afraid to lampoon modern sitcoms.
Unfortunately, sometimes the satire feels a little overdone. The scene where Paul is revealed as a Nazi is one such case. Paul agrees to buy the house and Ryan is all set to start the paperwork when a Nazi emblem appears on Paul’s arm. Over the course of the scene, Paul becomes more and more ridiculously Nazi-like.
A swastika appears on his face, he grows a Hitler-style mustache and haircut, and he begins speaking in a ridiculous German accent. This just felt tired. Also, although the show premiered back in March, it feels a little too close to home in our current political situation. Granted, they couldn’t have known that come August we would have Nazis marching in the streets. Nevertheless, the audience might feel a little tense at this moment.
I’ve got to be honest, I do not like cannibalism. The whole idea freaks me out. So to see Ryan skewer Paul’s eyeball was a little gross. And the blood splatter in the scene where Ryan slashes Paul’s throat was both gratuitous and a little nausea-inducing.
However, in the current media climate where blood and gore are par for the course, it doesn’t standout too much. The over-the-top nature is just another opportunity for Anytown, USA to mock mainstream TV.
This show is a little ridiculous, but the humor is worth the watch. I’m not sure how creepy the show will get as it moves on since the cannibalism is limited to a very short segment of the pilot.
If they push that angle a lot, I might stop watching; but as it is, the show is funny enough to overcome my hesitancy. Anytown, USA is meant to be ridiculous, funny, and a little thought-provoking (a little). In my opinion, the pilot scores on that front.
Watch more Anytown, USA on their website. There are ten episodes available to watch. We will be reviewing all ten within the next coming weeks, so look forward to our reviews!