"The Midnight Gospel:" A Review

Many of you are probably familiar with "Adventure Time," a discontinued show on cartoon network soon to be re-continued on HBOMax. It was probably one of my favorite shows on Cartoon Network when I was growing up. I loved the randomness and visuals. However, you may not know that the creator of "Adventure Time" has created a new show on Netflix. I was extremely excited to hear about "The Midnight Gospel," Pendleton Ward's newest animation, which talks about life, death, spirituality and religion. I binged the entire show in a day because it was so interesting. Basically this entire animation is a podcast, which I found really interesting because I don't think that's ever been done before.

You can view the trailer here

So, in the first episode, we get introduced to the main character, Clancy Gilroy, who is voiced by Duncan Trussell. Trussell is a standup comic and podcast host who survived testicular cancer, which he talks about in the first episode. He is also one of the creators of the show. Clancy has this universe traveling machine, so in the first episode, he goes to this world that is taken over by zombies. During that, he interviews Little President, who is voiced by Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist. During this first episode, the Little President talks about his experience with drugs and life in general. I find this discussion very interesting as the visuals are very psychedelic. 

netflix selection page Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The second episode goes on with Annie, voiced by Anne Lamott, and she talks about her struggles with addiction. She opens up the spirituality and religious element of the whole show as she introduces Christianity being a key factor in her sobriety. In the third episode, this theme is continued as Clancy interviews Darryl the Fish, who is voiced by Damien Echols of The West Memphis Three. This was probably one of my favorite episodes because Damien talked about how his wrongful conviction and time in prison caused him to discover Buddhism. In the fourth episode, Clancy interviews Trudy, who is voiced by Trudy Goodman. This episode focuses on deeper connections with your loved ones and forgiveness. Another one of my favorites is the fifth episode, which Clancy goes to a spiritual prison. Basically, he accompanies a man named Bob and his soul bird, Jason (Jason Louv), and he must reach goodness before being able to live. Each time he dies in this episode, his heart is weighed. This episode teaches self-awareness. My least favorite episode was the sixth, which basically is Clancy trying to fix his machine. 

However, the last two episodes are probably my favorites. In the seventh episode, Clancy converses with Death, which is voiced by Caitlin Doughty. She talks about how we don't really experience death as it is influenced by capitalism and institutionalism. She talks about healthier ways to deal with it in general. It's really helped me a lot as I've been going through death recently with pets and my great-grandma being sick. The last episode is about the circle of life. Duncan Trussell's mom is interviewed, which I thought was very heartwarming. Both Clancy and his mom die in this episode, in which they are joined at the end on a train by everyone that was in the previous episodes. Clancy then asks if they are dead, to which another passenger (spiritual scholar Ram Dass) replies, "Just be here now." It was probably one of the most emotional scenes I have ever seen in a cartoon.

But, all-in-all, I highly recommend watching this as it gives wonderful life advice and prompts interesting conversations.