Free for All

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  • TV-MA
  • 2003
  • 1 Season
  • 6.5  (306)

Free for All was a half-hour animated television series that aired on Showtime in 2003. The show was created by Brett Merhar and financed by Film Roman, the same studio responsible for shows such as The Simpsons and King of the Hill. The series enjoyed a brief run, with only six episodes being released before it was cancelled. Despite its short run, Free for All was well-received for its sharp writing, humor, and bold animation style.

The show followed the misadventures of Johnny Giamopolous, an underemployed slacker who lives in a rundown apartment complex. Johnny spends most of his time smoking pot, playing video games, and hanging out with his two slacker friends, Sal and Bill. However, Johnny's life takes a turn for the worse when he is laid off from his job as a parking meter attendant. Without steady income to pay his rent, Johnny struggles to find work and avoid eviction. As he navigates the ups and downs of his situation, Johnny encounters a range of eccentric and often absurd characters, including his slumlord landlord, a psychotic cable installer, and an unhinged motel clerk.

Although the show was animated, it tackled mature themes and featured explicit language. Free for All was aimed at an adult audience and took full advantage of its creative freedoms to explore a range of taboo subjects. From sex and violence to drug use and profanity, the show pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for a mainstream animated series. Despite its edginess, Free for All was also highly satirical, often aiming its wit at pop culture and current events.

One of the standout aspects of the show was its animation style. Free for All used a technique called Squigglevision, which involved drawing characters and backgrounds in a constantly wobbling and vibrating style. The effect gave the show a distinct visual flavor and added to its irreverent tone. The animation style also allowed for rapid-fire cuts and sight gags as well as surrealist visual humor.

The show's writing was another strong point. The scripts were packed with sharp one-liners, visual gags, and absurdist humor. The show's satire was often biting, with the writers skewering everything from corporate culture to government incompetence. Despite the show's often crass subject matter, however, it also had a strong emotional core. At its heart, Free for All was a show about friendship and the struggle to find meaning and purpose in an absurd world.

The voice acting on Free for All was also top-notch. The cast included a mix of established voiceover actors and well-known comedians. Johnny was voiced by comedian Brett Merhar, the show's creator and writer. Other notable voices included comedian Eddie Pepitone as Sal, character actor Phil LaMarr as Bill, and cult film actor Jeffrey Combs as Johnny's landlord, Mr. Lavalle. The show also featured guest appearances from celebrities such as Ron Jeremy, Martin Starr, and David Alan Grier.

Despite its strong critical reception, Free for All was ultimately cancelled due to poor ratings. The show's irreverent content and edgy animation style may have been too much for some viewers, while others may simply not have known about it. Nevertheless, the show has developed a cult following in the years since its release. Fans of the show applaud its irreverent humor, inventive animation, and biting satire. For those who missed this raunchy gem during its initial run, Free for All is undoubtedly worth checking out.

Free for All is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (7 episodes). The series first aired on July 11, 2003.

Free for All
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Tall Tails
7. Tall Tails
September 12, 2003
Dad and Clay go into business together by opening their own bar. Meanwhile, Johnny and Omar start their own fraternity. Also, Grandma gives up smoking.
Nude Johnny
6. Nude Johnny
September 5, 2003
Johnny bares it all when he's asked to pose nude for Paula's art class. Later, he and Clay get tossed into jail, where they share a cell with Johnny's dad. Also, Grandma engages in on-line dating.
Scammer Clay
5. Scammer Clay
August 22, 2003
When Clay's finances are seized by the IRS, he enters into a business with Johnny, Omar and Dad to raise some cash.
Hostage Johnny
4. Hostage Johnny
August 15, 2003
To impress Paula, Johnny takes a job as a teacher's assistant, and is promptly held hostage by his students. Also, Grandma finds Dad a date on the Internet.
Sterile Angus
3. Sterile Angus
July 25, 2003
When Grandma decides she wants a new stole, she kidnaps Angus to breed for more pelts; Johnny and Omar believe that the ice-cream social that Paula plans to attend is really a sex party.
2. Tootsie
July 18, 2003
When Johnny dog-sits Paula's pooch, Angus becomes jealous and Johnny loses track of the canine. Also, Grandma tutors Dad on how to become a better salesman.
The Deal
1. The Deal
July 11, 2003
Johnny tries to clean up Clay's drug-addicted pet ferret.
Where to Watch Free for All
Free for All is available for streaming on the Showtime website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Free for All on demand at Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    July 11, 2003
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (306)