Voices of Michael Douglas, Adam Devine, Patricia Clarkson, Ilana Glazer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jillian Bell, Diane Keaton, Darren Criss, Hector Elizondo, Rita Moreno.
The world of Dr. Seuss has had quite a fascinating history regarding its adaptations. After various television specials and a few feature films, Netflix and Warner Bros. Animation decided to band together to make a 13-episode series based on Green Eggs and Ham.
The result was a delightful show. It expanded on the basic story of two men: one who loves the titular breakfast dish, and one who refuses to try it, by creating a buddy comedy where the duo travels the world, get caught in high-stakes adventure and learn to try new things. The success of the show was enough for Netflix to green light a second season of 10 episodes, which dropped in April. It expands on the relationships between the characters, as well as the world that the first season introduced.
“The Second Serving” utilizes another Seuss story, The Butter Battle Book, an allegory on the pointlessness of war, to expand the world. The feuding nations of Yookia and Zookia are divided by whether to spread butter atop or below their bread. This allows the writers to touch on themes of propaganda, as each nation believes the other is a menace, and it takes people from each side meeting for them to realize the truth.
The whole season is clearly inspired by various spy movies. Several episode titles are puns based on James Bond films (“Goldenguy,” “On Her Dookess’ Secret Service,” among others), and other contemporary espionage thrillers (“Tinker Tailor Mother Spy”). There is plenty of action and intrigue to witness as the war between the nations comes to a head. The opening theme song even reminds one of a Bond song.
The relationships between the characters are also properly expanded on and developed too. The begrudging friendship between Michael Douglas’s grumpy inventor Guy-Am-I and Adam Devine’s overeager Sam-I-Am turns into the former wanting to look out for the latter, as Sam’s mother, international spy Pam-I-Am (voiced by Patricia Clarkson) comes back into his life.
Pam, intent on completing her mission for Yookia, does not immediately embrace her son’s re-entry into her life. Guy being hired to build contraptions for the Zooks further leads to him distrusting Pam and her intentions, also driving a wedge between him and Sam. The actors all do excellent work in showing the changes in their relationships.
Netflix and Warner Bros. invested a lot of money in the creation of both seasons, allowing not only for the aforementioned big names to take on these roles, but for some gorgeous traditional animation to be produced by the team at the latter’s animation division. The visuals are on par with a theatrical release, being incredibly fluid and expressive. The score, by David Newman is also excellent.
“Green Eggs and Ham: The Second Serving” works as a solid continuation of the story. It ups the stakes of the first season, turning a buddy road trip into a spy thriller about two feuding countries. The characters and their relationships grow throughout the course of the adventure. The high budget of the first season remains, as the cast give excellent performances, the animation continues to impress, and the music is great too.
All 23 episodes of “Green Eggs and Ham” can be streamed on Netflix. The first season can also be purchased digitally or on DVD.