Since Hollywood is heavily populated with grown-up teenagers, you’d think children’s TV would be smarter than it often is. Why can’t the same offbeat sensibility that goes into cartoon shows for adults, like “South Park” and “Family Guy,” work in a show for kids?
The answer is that it can, as Nickelodeon’s terrific new animated half-hour “Sanjay and Craig” will prove when it premieres at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The show, about a 12-year-old kid and his pet talking snake, was created by three guys who grew up watching Nickelodeon: Jim Dirschberger, Jay Howell and Andreas Trolf, and it shows. Unlike so many Saturday morning shows for kids, “Sanjay and Craig” gets that kids are kids, but also that they are often more sophisticated than children’s TV gives them credit for.
Sanjay, voiced by Maulik Pancholy (“30 Rock”), is a normal kid whose curiosity knows no bounds. His pal Craig, voiced by “The Talking Dead’s” Chris Hardwick, somehow gets away with disguising himself as a human as he and Sanjay sneak into the hospital where Sanjay’s mom works because they want to watch the world’s first butt transplant.
Yep, you heard it. Turns out Sanjay’s neighbor, Mr. Noodman (voiced by Tony Hale, “Arrested Development”), has no butt, so the hospital is going to transplant one whose size seems to be from the J-Lo or Kim Kardashian shelf. When the butt doctor gets an emergency call from the President, Sanjay and Craig pretend to be butt doctors, with Craig becoming Dr. Brett Venom.
Yes, it’s juvenile, but also smart and very, very funny.
In the second part of Saturday’s episode, Sanjay and Craig are told they have wimpy styles of laughing, so they listen to how other people laugh and try to imitate them, only to find out in the end, there’s no laugh like your own.