Xavier: Renegade Angel
Xavier: Renegade Angel is an American computer-animated surrealist dark comedy television series created by Vernon Chatman and John Lee, who are also the creators of Wonder Showzen. The show was produced by PFFR, with animation by Cinematico. It premiered on November 4, 2007 on Adult Swim and November 1, 2007 on the Adult Swim website.
|Xavier: Renegade Angel|
|Created by||Vernon Chatman|
|Written by||Vernon Chatman|
|Directed by||Vernon Chatman|
|Voices of||Vernon Chatman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||20 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||11–12 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Adult Swim|
|Picture format||16:9 HDTV|
4:3 SDTV (episode 19)
|Original release||November 4, 2007 –|
April 16, 2009
Xavier features a style characterized by an elaborate and nonlinear plot following the humorous musings of an itinerant humanoid pseudo-shaman and spiritual seeker named Xavier. The show is known for its ubiquitous use of ideologically critical black comedy, surrealist and absurdist humor presented through a psychedelic and satirically New Age lens.
- Xavier – A self-absorbed and oblivious faun-like shaman wanderer with delusions of grandeur. Xavier is the eponymous main character of the program, often shown to be a deeply insecure, near-sociopathic and childlike individual who can quickly turn against others if interactions with them lead to negative feelings about himself. Xavier often brings total destruction to his environment and those around him in his attempts to right what he sees as wrong or help others with their problems, in many instances going as far as breaking reality itself. His physical appearance is equally absurd. He wears the shell of an isopod-like creature as an armband on his right arm. His left hand is a snake from the elbow downwards. It usually acts like an ordinary hand, but in the episodes "The 6th Teat of Good Intentions" and "El Tornadador", it appears to possess its own consciousness and speaks to Xavier directly. His knees bend at the joints backwards, he is covered in brown fur and has ocular heterochromia, having one brown eye and one blue. Instead of a nose, Xavier has a raptor-like beak, though he also has a mouth. He has six nipples and a giant eye in place of his genitalia. He typically wears tennis shoes and a loin cloth embroidered with varying symbols. Xavier's purpose seems to change slightly with each episode, with the initial plot setting him as a wandering philosopher, aspiring "wise man" or sage of sorts whose intent on hermitism seems to give references to Native American vision quests. Of initial importance seems to be Xavier's drawn-out search for an answer to the abstract question, "What doth life?" Later on in the series, however, the original plot seems to alter slightly into a more personal and less transcendent search: Xavier announces his reasons for roaming the world as the means to which he can help others, his purpose being to improve the quality of human existence and, generally speaking, do good. Much of the first season focuses on his search for the person who killed his father while the second season puts focus on his search for his mother, whom he believes to be alive after digging up her grave. In the series finale, he finds her in a lunatic asylum and has sex with her, which causes Xavier to see himself as the human he apparently always was. When he says "I'm cured," his psychiatrist says "Cured? Who says there was anything wrong with you?"; it is then revealed that the psychiatrist looks and sounds like whatever creature Xavier saw himself as.
- Chief Master Guru – This supposedly Indigenous shaman took Xavier in after he became orphaned, and taught him mystical and spiritual practices (one such teaching being the power to heal others with the use of a fictional instrument called a "shakashuri"). The Shaman features frequently in flashbacks, and—despite Xavier's adulation—is shown to be abusive, sadistic, bullying and cruel. He eventually fakes his own death in order to get rid of Xavier, but it's later revealed that he gave Xavier the loin cloth and the inspiration to help people in order to get rid of him.
- Xavier's father – Being dead, Xavier's father only appears in flashbacks and visions. Xavier says he wants to avenge his father's death, but in one such flashback his father insists that Xavier himself killed him. He asks the viewers to judge the contest in Episode 10. Xavier's father seems to have been far less neglectful and more genuinely loving than his mother. In a flashback, however, (one which Xavier later denies as being true), Xavier's father takes Xavier to a remote location and abandons him as a child, only leaving him with a bicycle as a means of compensation before crashing into a truck and exploding.
- Xavier's mother – Xavier's mother is generally seen in flashbacks as constantly either drunk, drug-addled, or having sex with (often multiple) men or animals. In "Haunted Tonk", it is revealed that Xavier went back in time and told his younger self to give his mother only apple juice and sugar pills instead of alcohol and medication. Xavier's mother seems to have hated him for his appearances, calling him a "demon child", among other names. In "Braingeas Final Cranny", it is revealed that Xavier's mother tried to abort Xavier, though she found out that she was too far along into the pregnancy in order to do so. She instead allowed the abortionist doctor to torture her child while inside her womb with a cattle prod. In several episodes, Xavier is shown searching the world for his lost mother.
- Computer – Computer is a sentient computer used by Xavier for analysis and information. He appears as a jerkily edited live-action actor set in front of a jarring black-and-white background. He is played by John Flansburgh, half of the band They Might Be Giants.
Creation & contentEdit
The computer-generated animation-style of Xavier: Renegade Angel resembles that of PC games such as Second Life and The Sims. The show features ribald wordplay, nonchalant violence and transgressive sexuality, in deeply nested, often recursive plots. These plots are often very nonlinear in their chronology; however, each episode seems to contain similar themes and motifs, as well as a single opening scene that has recurred in every episode of Xavier: a depiction of the titular character wandering through a desert (possibly a reference to the 1970s television program Kung Fu) as he narrates a semi-spontaneous, often nonsensical philosophical thought that many times connects with the episode at hand, whilst the title card of the show itself flies overhead, usually varying in action or position. An opening theme presumed to be played by Xavier on his "shakashuri" is present during these.
Co-creator Vernon Chatman called the show "a warning to children and adults about the dangers of spirituality". The show has been known to show insensitivity and caricatures of Catholicism, Islam, Middle America, redneck stereotypes, and anarcho-punk subcultures.
Xavier often incorporates underlying themes and concepts based outside of, though interconnected with, the plot of each episode. Philosophical or political concepts are often juxtaposed with the surrealistic and aleatory nature of the show. Society and cultural psychology and phenomena, the meaning of life, the existence of sentience and the nature of reality have been examined in one form or another throughout the program's 2 seasons.
Jokes and humor tend to be oriented towards Xavier's own philosophical inquiry and the "deep," "zen-like" diction of wisdom quotes from various spiritual systems (particularly Native American and Hindu or Eastern spirituality) that Xavier seemingly attempts to mimic. These are many times lightly mocked with Xavier's misuse of the phrases, reflecting on contemporary humor and taking the often circular logic of such statements far out of context.
Taboo topics — such as necrophilia, bestiality, homophobia, abortion, irreligion, pedophilia, incest, self-injury, and racism — are used as sources for humor. In this respect, the program can be seen as containing a substantial amount of black comedy.
Season 1 (2007–08)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"What Life D-D-Doth"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||November 4, 2007||101|
|After some rednecks beat up Xavier, they come back loaded with computers with viruses, planning to dump them in a landfill. But when they do so, the viruses from the computers infect the lake and town. When Xavier notices, he tries to find a cure.|
|2||"Chief Beef Loco"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||November 11, 2007||102|
|Xavier steps in to replace a school mascot and in doing so earns the respect of a violent local Mexican gang, whom he hopes to win over with the power of passion and emotional healing.|
|3||"Weapons Grade Life"||Vernon Chatman, John Lee & Marco Bertoldo||November 18, 2007||103|
|Xavier becomes the self-styled guardian angel of a young boy who is trying to impress his father. When the boy's success with science sets off Xavier's insecurities, he decides to become his "guardian enemy" instead.|
|4||"The 6th Teat of Good Intentions"||Vernon Chatman, John Lee & Marco Bertoldo||November 25, 2007||104|
|Xavier offers his mind, soul, and nipples to the care of seven babies that he finds in a park, but his snake hand undermines these ideas. Meanwhile, the police close in on a notorious baby kidnapper.|
|5||"Pet Siouxicide"||Vernon Chatman, John Lee & Marco Bertoldo||December 2, 2007||105|
|After being mistaken for a genetically engineered pet by a spoiled young child, Xavier decides to teach the child a spiritual lesson. Xavier sets out to teach the boy's father too, who mines Indian blood and injects it into himself in order to own an Indian casino. He fails.|
|6||"World of Hurt, BC"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||December 9, 2007||106|
|In the search for himself, Xavier decides to go back in time to investigate a prehistoric mural of one of his ancestors. At the end of the episode, when the sand madness snails' static fills the screen, what appears to be random static is, in fact, an autostereogram of a skull. (Guest: Junior Brown)|
|7||"Bloodcorn"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||December 16, 2007||107|
|Xavier is trying to stop Mother-Earth from being raped, so he shuts down a factory. But that only starts a bigger problem: poor families without a job. Being a good Samaritan, Xavier offers to help a disgraced farmer transform his crap corn into a corn crop, even if that means opening up God's drippy heaven crevice.|
|8||"Escape from Squatopian Freedom"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||December 23, 2007||108|
|Puggler the punk rock juggler steals Xavier's significant necklace after tricking him into entering Squatopia, an anarchist commune. Now Xavier, a giant sperm, the world's oldest slave and an anarchist crying out for chains, travels to the Burning Person festival (a parody of Burning Man) to get it back. (Guest: Timothy Levitch)|
|9||"Signs from Godrilla"||Vernon Chatman, John Lee & Marco Bertoldo||January 6, 2008||109|
|After a gorilla becomes a religious sensation, Xavier follows his mind's heart and finds himself in trouble. (Guests: Junior Brown, Will Oldham)|
|10||"Shakashuri Blowdown"||Vernon Chatman, John Lee & Marco Bertoldo||January 13, 2008||110|
|After Xavier's father reveals that his "killer" is Xavier himself, Xavier splits his personality in denial. A battle ensues between the two, and the episode ends before a victor is determined.|
Season 2 (2009)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date||Prod.|
|11||"Vibracaust"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||February 12, 2009||201|
|Xavier helps out a couple who has just lost their son in a car accident and takes massive amounts of pills to cope. The pills are filled with monks' zen vibrations. He takes a kid from a church, who he assumes is being sexually assaulted (ironically, the kid is a sexual predator), to replace him. Xavier then tries to stop the monks who are producing the pills, only to start a World Wide Vibra(Holo)caust. (Special guest: Bill Hader)|
|12||"Xavier's Maneuver"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||February 19, 2009||202|
|After witnessing and causing the suicide of a window cleaner, Xavier vows to redeem the life of Mr. Squa by becoming the guardian of a mob boss. Through his sly detective work, a reinvention of the Heimlich Maneuver, and an encounter with a depressed hitman-slave, Xavier chokes his past with the gift of life. (Special guest: Bill Hader)|
|13||"El Tornadador"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||February 26, 2009||204|
|Xavier confuses the friendship with the foe boat and ends up entangled in the energy crisis, deceiving a hurricane-driving scientist (Vincent D'Onofrio) and the self-abusing Society in order to simultaneously save the snakes and tame his enemy, the wind. Meanwhile, Snakehand throws up. The title is a play on the words "El toreador" (Spanish for "the bullfighter") and "tornado".|
|14||"Haunted Tonk"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||March 5, 2009||205|
|After Xavier revisits his childhood home (now a strip club for pregnant, lactating women), he reconnects with his youth by simply thinking he was visited by himself in the past. The process repeats, and then the Kuttlecrumbs are released. (The title refers to Honky Tonks, a type of bar with musical entertainment that is common in the Southwestern and Southern United States.) (Special Guests: Judah Friedlander)|
|15||"Free Range Manibalism"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||March 12, 2009||203|
|Upon discovering that the livestock used by a local restaurant are treated better than the glue-huffing hobos outside, Xavier sets off to transform them in order to receive that standard of care, but only because he has to urinate badly. (Special Guests: Heather Lawless and Snoop Dogg)|
|16||"Damnesia Vu"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||March 19, 2009||206|
|When Xavier wakes up with no memories, the power of déjà vu reigns supreme. (Special Guests: Vincent D'Onofrio as "The Judge", Heather Lawless, and Judah Friedlander)|
|17||"Going Normal"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||March 26, 2009||207|
|When Xavier feels a lack of gratitude, he considers abandoning his lifequest and joining the Normal World or the World of Normals. He soon learns that it is better to stay as he is. (Special Guests: Michael Gladis, Kristen Schaal)|
|18||"Kharmarabionic Lotion"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||April 2, 2009||208|
|Xavier comes across the town of Lotion, where a reporter gets his scoop on Xavier after the town tries to raise money for a golden statue of its dead founder and gets into debt.|
|19||"Damnesia You"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||April 9, 2009||209|
|Part two of "Damnesia Vu", the entire episode is a compilation and mixing of the videos that won the "Make your own Xavier" contest.|
|20||"Braingeas Final Cranny"||Vernon Chatman & John Lee||April 16, 2009||210|
|After struggling on a beach with his self-imposed policy of anti-violence, Xavier sneaks into a mental institution with the aim of reuniting with his long-lost mother.|
In Canada, Xavier: Renegade Angel previously aired on Teletoon's Teletoon at Night block and later G4 Canada's ADd block. The series currently airs in Canada on the Canadian version of Adult Swim.
Adult Swim released the series on DVD in America on November 10, 2009, shortly after the series finale originally aired. Madman Entertainment released the series on DVD on Region 4 in Australia on February 10, 2010. In addition to being available on DVD, the entire series is also available on iTunes.
|DVD name||Release date||Ep #||Features|
|Seasons 1 and 2||November 10, 2009||20||"Xaviercise!", fan commentary and contest submissions|
In 2009, DVD Talk's Casey Burchby gave the show three and half stars out of five, noting "Xavier: Renegade Angel is intelligent, entertaining, and very funny. It is also consistent to a fault. The show never develops much beyond its original concept and falls into a repetitious rut. [...] Much like Flight of the Conchords, its small triumphs are better appreciated over time; a concentrated dose of the show reveals its flaws."
Xavier: Renegade Angel was largely ignored on initial release, but garnered a cult following and by 2017 it was highly regarded for its originality, absurd imagery and smart, intricate humor. In that year, Inverse.com placed Xavier 15th on a list of "The 25 Most Iconic Adult Swim Characters of All Time". Also in 2017, Max Carpenter of Vulture said that it "stands out as a puzzlement of form with its Second Life graphical environs and sphinxlike protagonist [...] Even in the context of PFFR’s twisted endeavors, the show's blend of form and content is a brilliant anomaly. [...] Xavier is on one level a comedy-by-assault, an explosion of wordplay, and a ridiculousness of images that the average viewer can only take in piecemeal." Lionel Boyce, creator of The Jellies!, listed it among his favorite cartoons.
In 2020, Xavier returned to give a virtual commencement speech, as part of Adult Swim's Commencement Speaker Series 2020, a response to the cancellation of commencement ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vernon Chatman returned to voice Xavier as part of a six-minute video aired on YouTube Live and the Adult Swim app.
- Modell, Josh (12 February 2009). "Interview Vernon Chatman and John Lee of Xavier: Renegade Angel". The A.V. Club.
- Liu, Ed (April 26, 2009). "TELETOON Retro Announces May 2009 Programming Highlights".
- "G4 | G4TV Schedule | Games, Gear, Gadgets & Gigabytes". January 7, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-01-07.
- "Xavier: The Renegade Angel Season 1 & 2". 10 November 2009 – via Amazon.
- Lambert, David (9 July 2009). "Xavier: Renegade Angel - Seasons 1 & 2 of the Cartoon Network/adult swim Show Announced 2-DVD set coming out in the first half of November". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "Xavier: Renegade Angel - Seasons 1 and 2". DVD Talk.
- Loftus, Jamie. "The 25 Most Iconic Adult Swim Characters". Inverse.
- Carpenter, Max. "Revisiting 'Xavier: Renegade Angel,' a 21st Century Traumedy".
- "Tyler, the Creator Talks The Jellies, Black Cartoons, & Mermaids". 27 August 2018.
- Matos, Clinton (June 11, 2020). "Adult Swim resurrects Xavier: Renegade Angel for 2020 graduates".
- Schwarz, John (May 15, 2020). "Xavier: Renegade Angel Will Be Part Of Adult Swim's Class of 2020 Commencement Speaker Series". Bubbleblabber.