Thursday, July 21, 2005

Indescribably Delicious: Sci-Fi Channel's Tripping the Rift


In anticipation of the season two premiere of Tripping the Rift on Wednesday, July 27th, the Sci-Fi Channel is running episodes from Season One this week. If you missed this hilarious series the first time around (as I did), this is your chance to catch up.

Tripping the Rift tells the story of a goofy crew of misfits on the starship Jupiter 42. No Star Trek or Battlestar Gallactica seriousness here—this ship's nemesis is the Dark Clown conspiracy. Captain Chode, a squat purple blob with three eyes and prehensile dreadlocks, manages to survive from one adventure to the next with the help of his incredibly pneumatic sex-android science officer, Six, a sarcastic centaur-like (if centaurs were cows instead of horses) mechanic with three breasts named T'Nuk, and a fashion-conscious, terminally ironic, self-absorbed robot named Gus. The ship's computer, Bob, does all the real work of piloting the craft.

Chode is ill-equipped, mentally and temperamentally, for his tasks as captain. In fact, Chode seems suspiciously like the lizard teen-geek ensign Whip, in contributing next to nothing to the life of the ship. (In a recent episode, on the presumed death of Chode, Whip assumed the captain's chair, which perhaps explains the similarity.)

Like The Simpsons and Futurama, which it resembles in tone, Tripping the Rift uses these characters to poke genial fun at all kinds of things: beauty contests, political correctness, child stars, violence as entertainment, even science fiction itself. (Chode is bounced out of his seat by an abrupt stop of the ship, prompting him to grumble, "D'j'ever notice that captain's chairs never have seat belts? What's that about?")

The premise of the title is that Jupiter 42's crew don't belong in either of the hegemonies that adjoin "the Rift"; neither the Dark Clown-ruled worlds nor the conformist Confederation is a desirable place to live. The ship is thus doomed to travel the Rift, avoiding conflicts with either power. Given that the Dark Clowns are willing to do anything to trick Chode into their clutches, and the Confederation have a warrant out for his arrest, "tripping the rift" between them provides plenty of adventure.

If Chode's voice sounds familiar, it should be: Stephen Root (Dodgeball, Office Space) supplies it. Six in Season One was voiced by Gina Gershon (Showgirls, 3-Way), but Season Two will find Carmen Elektra (Baywatch) reading her. Maurice LaMarche, the veteran voice artist who supplies the voice of Gus the robot, is perhaps best known as the voices of Inspector Gadget and Yosemite Sam in recent TV work, but you've also heard him as Orson Welles in Ed Wood and as "additional voices" in dozens of animated shows like Futurama, Kim Possible and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

So if you ever wondered where the aura of brilliance that lay over Futurama went when that show was cancelled, the answer is "it's tripping the rift." It's a hilarous trip, folks. Don't miss the boat!

Tonight: "Nature vs. Nurture," "Aliens, Guns & a Monkey"
Tomorrow: "Emasculating Chode," "Love Conquers All... Almost," "Android Love"

Season Premiere: July 27th, 10 PM/9 Central: "You Wanna Put That Where?" followed by "Cool Whip."

Please join us at BlogCritics to comment on this review.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice :)

I love Tripping The Rift!!
The Season 1, which just came out on dvd, is awesome!! The mix of sci-fi and comedy is very creative.!
This DVD is probably one of the best things that I've bought this year :)

11/11/2005 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So if you ever wondered where the aura of brilliance that lay over Futurama went when that show was cancelled, the answer is "it's tripping the rift." "

You are so right! I recently thought that tripping the rift resembles futurama in many ways. Nice to see that i'm not the only one you realizes that :)

7/15/2006 2:46 AM  
Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 10:46 PM  

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