Superjail! is one of those titles where you love it or hate it. Love it because of the morbid humor, the absurd situations, and the woefully irresponsible characters as they try to clean up the messes that the Warden somehow cooks up in that brilliant (read: completely and utterly insane) brain of his. Hate it because of its apparently "bad" art work and its little-to-no plot except via a reverse Deus Ex Machina where some little idea is run with in order to get the ball rolling in the first place as well the ruthlessness and apathy of the characters that will make trying to empathize with them a chore and ultimately pointless.
Superjail! is about an alternate universe in which a comically oblivious and fairly psychopathic man-child named The Warden is in charge and the "Father" of his deceptively colorful and exotic project called Superjail, a penitentiary set some millions of miles--or perhaps dimensions--away from the rest of the world (as seen by the various opening sequences). Here prison life is taken up a few dozen dangerous notches with the prisoners attempting to brutally murder each other every chance they get, even during "down time" and the presence of the potentially lethal facilities designed to house and "rehabilitate" the prisoners, if rehabilitate could be the word to use. Really they are just cannon fodder for The Warden's weird and fatally whimsical factories, machines, and various creatures that have no qualms in completely massacring dozens of convicts every few seconds. This is normal and virtually everyone but the main characters are expendable. Even the recurring inmates, such as "The Gays" Jean and Paul; the mute Jacknife; the silent bird-lover are prone to cartoon deaths in which they are not to return to life until the next episode.
The story overall features plots that are surprisingly linear despite the chaos and due to certain forces that are beyond control, or the scheming of inmates, things take a turn for the crazy which results in a calamity that ultimately destroys what could only be assumed as billions worth in infrastructure damage and the loss of hundreds of prisoners in bloody and gruesome fashions. Indeed, the "execution" of these poor bastards is reminiscent of the freak accidents that occur at every Dethklok concert, courtesy of Metalocalypse: Squished, bludgeoned, shanked/shivved, stabbed, pureed, torn apart, eaten alive, stripped of skin, head explosions.. it doesn't matter, there are creative and absurd ways that people are going to be offed in each episode, one way or another.
Despite the seemingly shallow synopsis there are glimmers of humanity that are present within a few select characters, especially the most unlikely ones, and for the most part their emotions are played straight but in a way that would make you question whether to laugh nervously or genuinely feel for them: Jean and Paul, the aforementioned "gays", are together due to the circumstances of being incarcerated for such a long time, but they are a devoted couple and no one harasses them for it. Paul (the feminine half) is snippy with his beau but they make up in the end each time. Ash, a pyromaniac (and it shows since his body is completely covered in burns) with the ability to control fire. In one episode he discovers a little girl while working down at the Incinerator and takes her in, naming her "Sanser" (misreading her wrist band that said CANCER) and decides to throw her a birthday party. Despite the gruffness of the other inmates, they are fairly protective of her for that episode and reveal their vulnerable side while trying to entertain her, something I personally thought was touching.
What is also refreshing is how this story both imitates prison life and parodies it with the unsavory tenants, the brutality of the head prison guard (a trans-gendered woman named Alice), the spidery tattoos that color most of their bodies, their cravings (cigarettes, alcohol, women, and most importantly, freedom), and the bemusing innocent pleasure that The Warden takes in controlling and overseeing this rainbow-filled bloodbath of a prison, oftentimes with amusing "games" or activities that after a few adjustments have become a force to run away from as fast as your feet can carry you. Something also quirky are the presence of The Twins, two identical aliens that have made Superjail! their home, confusingly enough. They are prisoners but have the ability to teleport as well as conjure up objects from thin air; they apparently have their own lab and they are given free reign over Superjail! since it is pretty much impossible to stop them. They are the cause of a handful of disasters that occur in Superjail! but they aren't malicious per se, just mischievous. They also are frequent commentators of the chaos occurring around them and may even speed things along if they're bored.
This show is something that would be best to watch by yourself, then watch with a friend, then watch by yourself again, as you're sure to find something different each time (and your friend may bring something to your attention that you hadn't noticed before). As my review title notes, if you like at least one of those things then I recommend you watch this.
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