“Poorly Drawn Lines,” a webcomic created by Reza Farazmand (“City Monster”), typically features short-form humor with a variety of random characters, from bears to skeletons to humans. With its purposely crude art style, as the title suggests, the webcomic drives itself with its silly scenarios and quippy, relatable dialogue rather than its visual prowess. But that’s no problem for its two million Instagram followers.
This makes its rather unexpected seamless transition to TV all the more impressive. “Poorly Drawn Lines” is precisely the type of content overworked people scour YouTube for — comfortably-sized comedy skits that actually make you laugh. The show’s comedy is thankfully still rooted in its dialogue and the ridiculousness of its concepts, while also grounded by its relatability and an accessible brand of humor. It is reminiscent of the popular “Smosh” videos with their outlandish plots. The series is also distinctive for coupling its outlandishness with a jarringly laid-back attitude. This can easily be seen in the very first episode, as the emergence of a sea monster from the toilet is less alarming to the characters than the fact that they’ll have to use their apartment’s half bathroom instead of the full.
The show’s relaxed attitude is at the core of why it’s a successful piece of media. The characters are all distinct and yet have similar radical acceptance of the chaos that unfolds around them. As Kevin (Ron Funches, “Harley Quinn”) accidentally digs up the Devil on one of his archaeological digs, his roommates worry more about the Devil drinking one of the nice beers in the fridge than the physical rampage it causes by throwing cars at buildings and leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Despite the insanity of the situation, such priorities are relatable: Life can often feel like it’s imploding around us, like the only thing keeping us together is trivial comforts like our favorite drink or using the best bathroom in the house.
Another great part of the series is that, while the content is long-form compared to the single-page webcomic, the episodes are only about 10 minutes long, making them just as digestible as the comic. Each episode has a standalone plot, making it bingeable and perfect for playing in the background while you do your laundry or make a meal. It’s easy to laugh at the one-liners, and you won’t have to worry if you zone out for a minute.
The only note that can be made is that its animation could be improved, with some choppy transitions from different frames at times. But we’re talking about “Poorly Drawn Lines” here, so it comes with the territory. It’s clear that the show is still finding its footing artistically as it transitions from webcomic to video. Despite being new to the format, the series is still ambitious with what it depicts — you can expect plenty of explosions and monsters and burning buildings.
Ultimately, longtime fans and new viewers will find themselves pleased with the series so far. Its successful start bodes well for other internet content-turned-TV shows in the future. If a comic that provides a single punchline three times a week can become a TV show, there’s no reason others can’t do the same.
Daily Arts Writer Sarah Rahman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.