Digman season 1





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

Quick: What’s the most glamorous job you can think of? Besides being a television reviewer for a Christian, family-oriented website, I mean?

Pop star? Sure, that might have its attraction, but it’s not the end-all, Bey-all. Pro athlete? Nice ’til you sprain your metacarpastular. Astronaut? Man, so much schooling.

No, the real answer is, of course, archeologist. At least, that’s the answer in Rip Digman’s world.

It’s a Dirty Job. No, Literally.

In a world where archaeologists (arkies, for short) have secret lairs, private pilots and are dutifully ranked on nightly newscasts, Rip Digman used to be the LeBron James of the treasure-hunting arky set.

But that was before his wife (Bella) died on a dig after getting bitten by a poisonous plant and his assistant (Zane) betrayed him, cackling maniacally all the while.

A dozen years later, and Rip has gained a few pounds, lost his self-confidence and seems resigned to living the rest of his life in lonely, anonymous misery. “The only dating I’m interested in,” he tells his longsuffering receptionist, Agatha, “is carbon dating.” And truthfully, he’s barely interested in that.

But Saltine, Dig’s new, enthusiastic assistant, means to change that. She has a five-step plan to push Dig back to the top of the arky standings once again. And yes, it involves going after glorious historical artifacts every week.

They’ll be aided on their quests by Dig’s loyal pilot, Swooper; his methamphetamine-addicted loris, Fleety; and—well, Agatha, of course, though she spends most of her time in the office.

But their path to the top of the arky charts won’t go unchallenged. Zane is now the world’s most famous archaeologist, and he has a mysterious, deep-pocketed sponsor named Quail Eegan, who’s hoping to open the world’s greatest museum. (Or so he says.) And let’s not forget that there are others who want these treasures for their very own—or who want them never to see the light of day.

Some might say the same for this animated series.

Cartoons. Why Did It Have to Be Cartoons?

Comic actor Andy Samberg is one of the creators of Digman! and the voice of Rip Digman himself—channeling a sort of breathy Nicolas Cage as the title character. He’s roped in some of his costars as regulars (Rip’s dead wife is voiced by Samberg’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Melissa Fumero, while comic vet Tim Meadows voices Eegan) and enticed a bevy of other big-name guests (Daniel Radcliff, Maya Rudolph Jane Lynch among them).

It shouldn’t surprise us that Digman! has its share of funny moments. And given that it comes across as a sendup of the Indiana Jones franchise—movies that had me using a bathrobe tie as a whip for much of my childhood—it’s bound to have a bit of appeal for those who need more fedoras and buried treasure in their lives.

But viewers don’t need the rest of what Digman! unearths.

As with ever-so-many adult cartoons, Digman! never proffers a clean joke when a foul one will do. While we haven’t seen any animated nudity (yet), the show pushes the envelope as far as it can—depicting its cartoon characters in the throes of sex and firing off double entendres like Indy fired bullets. Violence is always played for laughs, but it can be sickening all the same. Some of the artifacts that Rip and Saltine go after can have religious significance, too, which might dig under the skin of some viewers.

And then there’s the language—an effective canary-in-the-coalmine gauge of the inappropriateness of adult cartoons. The show spews a ton of profanities, including the f- and s-word. And while those f-words were censored in my screening copy (and would be presumably bleeped on basic-cable Comedy Central, too), they’re heard in their full-blown offensiveness elsewhere—including, oddly, the show’s trailer on YouTube.

Digman! Could’ve been better, nicer, cleaner. And oh, how I wish it had been. Alas, our archaeologist gets dirty in more ways than one.

Episode Reviews

Mar. 22, 2023—S1, Ep1: “Pilot”

We’re treated to a flashback of Rip in happier times, where we see how his wife died, how his assistant betrayed him and how he hit rock bottom. But he’s newly energized when a student of his, Saltine, tells him that the Elon Musk-like Quail Eegan is looking for a head archaeologist for his new museum. All Rip needs to do is track down the hat of Hammurabi.

Rip and Saltine eventually find said hat being held by a primitive tribe. When Rip puts on the hat, he’s worshiped as a god, and he’s given a potent drug that makes Rip want to stay. But then, shortly before he’s to be crowned king, he learns that wearing the crown is conditional on having sex with every member of the tribe. And if he doesn’t, Rip will be killed.

We see one tribesman have sex with a makeshift dummy of Rip (complete with a recording of Rip talking raunchily to his “partner”). A news anchor speculates that Rip spends most of his days masturbating. In flashback, Rip and wife Bella exchange ribald sweet nothings. An altered mirror contraption shows Rip sans pants and without any genitals. We also hear some frank sexual dialogue. We hear that Saltine was disowned by her parents for wanting to be an archaeologist; Dig later says that he knows Saltine’s parents didn’t “approve of your lifestyle,” which suggests that the profession of archaeology may become a jokey stand-in for LGBT issues in the episodes to come.

Bella dies, and her corpse is disfigured. A character gets hit in the neck with a poisoned dart. Someone is apparently shot on stage (though the “victim” was only a hologram). A body floats in liquid, apparently in suspended animation. Planes explode. Carnivorous plants are whipped. Threats are made against testicles.

We hear that Fleety is a “fast loris,” instead of the typical slow loris. Why? “A raging addiction to methamphetamines,” Dig says (and he gives the animal drugs as treats). We hear other references to drugs and a few bathroom jokes. Someone drinks wine. An archeologists’ misdeeds (including stealing and lying) are chronicled across the globe.

Characters say the f-word 11 times (censored in our screener), eight s-words and a bevy of other profanities, including “b–ch,” “d–n,” “h—,” “p-ss” and “c-ck.” God’s name is misused seven times.

Mar. 29, 2023—S1, Ep2: “Et Tu”

As Rip tries to return to archaeological prominence, he and Saltine start small, retrieving a bit of historically significant confetti for the Confetti Museum. But turns out the confetti in question is linked to a far greater treasure: the knife used to stab Julius Caesar to death. And the knife, supposedly, is cursed.

We see a flashback to the famous murder, complete with blood. Two other victims are stabbed, one lethally. A man snaps another man’s neck, and the corpse becomes the subject of lingering regret. Rip and his cohorts run through a plaza, expecting the pigeons in it to fly and obscure their escape. They don’t, and instead they’re crunched under foot. (“I can hear their tiny brittle bones underneath my feet!” Saltine sobs.) A shark bloodily chomps on a dolphin, which in turn gets eaten by a much larger dolphin. Meat jerky bleeds.

In a Top Gun-inspired sequence, Swooper (Rip’s pilot) trains to become a Venetian gondolier. The sequence includes a fellow gondolier student perishing in a whirlpool and taking part in a shirtless Bocci ball game. Saltine and an Italian beau make out, and we later hear they had sex seven times.

There’s a reference to heaven and secret Bible verses in Forever 21 bags. Someone drinks grappa. Fleety is still under the influence of methamphetamines. He also eats something in the interior of a bridge, and he resurfaces covered in blood. The f-word is used three times (censored in our screener), and the s-word seven times. We also hear “a–,” “crap,” “d–n” and “h—.”

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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