If you died and had the opportunity to start over and do everything right, would you take advantage of it? Not that many people have second chances at life, but Trophy Fantasy (Maria Bamford, “Adventure Time: Distant Lands) in Adult Swim’s “Teenage Euthanasia” does.
The show has the tendency to ruffle a few feathers (in a good way, if you learn to appreciate the comedic timing). It’s not Adult Swim’s greatest creation, but it does its justice at being an adult animation.
After an unplanned teenage pregnancy, Trophy abandons her new daughter Euthanasia “Annie” Fantasy (Jo Firestone, “Joe Pera Talks with You”) to be raised by Grandma Baba (Bebe Neuwirth, “Ultra City Smiths”) and Uncle Pete (Tim Robinson, “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson”). When Trophy dies unexpectedly, her corpse is sent to her family’s funeral home, Tender Endings. However, a Frankenstein-like mixture of Baba’s homemade embalming fluid, Annie’s tears and a freak lightning strike brings her back to life.
Unfortunately, Trophy is still a horrible mom. Emotionally detached and careless toward Annie, Trophy lacks maturity and never really grew up. When reanimated, Trophy focuses on chasing men and getting revenge on old friends and bullies from high school. She completely ignores her second chance at life, never considering making amends with her daughter.
Through all of the disturbing plot points and uncomfortable laughs, at the show’s core is the story about a young woman learning how to navigate the world of motherhood. Unlike any other Adult Swim show, this one’s significant because it relays just how hard being a parent can be for some. It’s realistic enough to relate to and leaves just enough room to feel empathy for both Trophy and Annie.
At the same time, Trophy was just as toxic and disgusting prior to death. She throws her unplanned pregnancy in her daughter’s face, blaming Annie for her own birth. She creates so much chaos by not doing the right thing. The show is a perspective into what it means to not be ready for a child.
The show doesn’t hold back in depicting the messy aspects of parenthood and the feelings that come with it, like frustration and the fear of missing out on living life. If anything, the show forces viewers to think long and hard about parenthood, as you would no longer have just yourself to worry about. It gives an insight into what a healthy parent should and shouldn’t be, and because of this, it may have viewers second-guessing their relationship with their own parents.
A parent’s main priority is to make sure they are putting their child’s happiness and needs before their own. But when Annie develops a crush on Trophy’s old high school bully’s son, Joey Bennett (John Gemberling, “Mixed-ish”), Trophy tells Annie lies about him and their family because of her paranoia about Sophie trying to “get back at her.” Trophy wasn’t thinking about how Joey made her daughter happy because she is still completely obsessed over past wrongs.
Even though the show as a whole may not be everyone’s cup of tea, “Teenage Euthanasia” successfully illustrates the woes, struggles and surprises of parenthood and perhaps why some individuals just shouldn’t have children in the first place. Overall, the opportunity to get a second chance at life would make more than a difference — but in Trophy’s case, not so much.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.