The success of the FX TV series Archer proved that there is a market for an adult animated cartoon series on prime time, cable television. Chozen, FX’s new animated series, premiered on January 13, immediately after Archer. Created by Grant Dekernion, Chozen is described by FX (www.fxnetworks.com/chozen) as “an animated comedy about a gay white [and bearish] rapper fresh out of prison. Armed with a new message, Chozen is on a quest for redemption and to claim his rightful position as the world’s top rap artist. His music and lyrics take aim at the stereotypes of machismo and misogyny that is synonymous with rap music. And his new world view has been shaped by his time in prison.”
Voiced by Bobby Moynihan, of SNL fame, Chozen is not the kind of guy you would take home to Mother. He is not gay in the political sense of the word. Though not in the down low, Chozen is a MSM – a man who has sex with men – who does not identify himself as gay and who is not a part of the LGBT community. His homosexuality was shaped by his years in prison: it is brutal and violent; and with well-defined sex roles. Chozen is definitely a top; and he treats other dudes the same way that some straight rappers treat women. Chozen says what he means and means what he says. He is lewd, crude, and often violent. But he is a welcome change from the respectable, responsible, distinguished gay men who usually represent our kind on tee vee. He even looks different from the norm: He is big and bold and intends to stay that way.
Though billed as a comedy, Chozen is often serious and sometimes disturbing. In the pilot episode, we learn that a decade ago a young and naive Chozen was framed for multiple crimes by Phantasm (the voice of Method Man), a former member of his group. Now out of prison, Chozen reunites with his old band mates Ricky (Michael Peña) and Crisco (Hannibal Buress) in order to resurrect his career and give Phantasm his due. Though Chozen does not face Phantasm in this pilot episode, the stage is set for an eventual confrontation. Meanwhile Chozen moves in with his sister Tacy (Kathryn Hahn) and proceeds to embarrass her with his antics. And of course we hear a lot of rap. Though critics who know more about hip hop than I have criticized Chozen’s performances, they seem to be adequate for an artist who strives for rap domination. Chozen’s flash animation is very similar to the one used in Archer, which is no surprise since it was produced by the same team that gave us the older series. All in all, Chozen is sure to offend viewers of all persuasions who expect political correctness but delight those of us who know how to take a joke – and enjoy a darn good animated series.
by Jesse Monteagudo