Hapless survivors are mankind’s last hope in funny Netflix series ‘Mulligan’

Nat Faxon, Tina Fey, Dana Carvey and Chrissy Teigen provide voices in animated satire about rebuilding after a worldwide disaster.

SHARE Hapless survivors are mankind’s last hope in funny Netflix series ‘Mulligan’
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The not particularly bright new president (voice of Nat Faxon) is one of the few survivors of an unsuccessful alien invasion, as is one of the invaders (Phil LaMarr), on “Mulligan.”

NETFLIX

We’ve all seen those alien-invasion disaster movies that end with the hopelessly outmatched humans somehow defeating those bug-like creatures in their futuristic spaceships, after which the good guys and gals stand amidst the rubble and destruction, pledge allegiance to the flag and talk about the long and tough rebuild ahead.

Yeah, but what if the only Earthlings remaining are a bunch of goofballs who are wildly unequipped to take on such a monumental task? That’s much the setup for the Netflix animated comedy series “Mulligan,” a light and breezy and wicked-smart antidote to all those heavy, dark, live-action dystopian dramas.

This is a brightly colored, cheerfully warped, consistently funny satire where the cartoon violence is played for laughs, the story arcs are absurd yet filled with sly social commentary and there’s a steady barrage of pop culture jokes, many of the fantastically obscure variety. I mean, when was the last time you heard anyone cite the 1996 orangutan comedy “Dunston Checks In,” the plot intricacies of “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” or 1980s wrestler Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase?

‘Mulligan’

Untitled

An animated series with 10 episodes available now on Netflix.

Nat Faxon voices Matty Mulligan, a likable but not particularly bright working-class Boston lug who teams up with Miss America Lucy Suwan (Chrissy Teigen) to destroy the aliens’ mothership and finally put a stop to the carnage—but by then, there are a mere 1,132 people on the planet. “Now, we rebuild, or whatever,” says Matty, who agrees to become president of the United States, with Lucy as his de facto First Lady. What could possibly go wrong?

Cut to the next day, with Matty sitting in the bombed-out Oval Office, clueless as to how he’ll tackle problems such as the lack of electricity, gas and water, a shortage of food, no Internet, no schools, etc., not to mention a horrible and unavoidable stench and the question of how to restart the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

Dana Carvey does scene-stealing work as the old-school Southern politician Sen. Cartwright LaMarr, who talks his way into becoming Matt’s vice-president with an eye on taking the top job. Tina Fey is Dr. Farrah Braun, a military scientist and single mother, while Sam Richardson is the historian Simon Prioleau, an uber-nerd with a huge crush on Dr. Braun. (Simon’s anecdotes about presidents ranging from Millard Filmore to Andrew Jackson to JFK to Reagan to Clinton to G.W. Bush always ring true and hilarious, even if they’re historically dubious.)

The all-star voice cast also includes Ayo Edebiri from “The Bear” as a 12-year-old boy who convinces everyone he’s a general in his 50s simply by wearing the melted general’s uniform; Daniel Radcliffe as an English party boy who appoints himself king because he’s the last surviving British citizen, and Phil LaMarr as Gen. Axatrax, the only alien survivor of the invasion, who can’t believe these are the idiots who captured him. (Cue the interlude where Dr. Braun bonds with the horrific appearing but intelligent and sensitive Axatrax, and yes, there’s a “Shape of Water” reference.)

With each episode clocking in around 25 minutes, “Mulligan” is a breezy chronicle of the wacky misadventures of this hapless bunch, who often manage to make things worse when that didn’t even seem possible. It’s relatively slight but reliably funny.

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