Move over Harvey, there’s a new She-riff in town…
For those of you that weren’t sucking on your mother’s teat when Cows were eating cows, when Bush was v. Gore, and when cell-phones were considered a “Yuppie Device,” we finally breathed a sigh that the Y2K debacle just didn’t happen, and there wasn’t a new thing to worry about…
…Until there was.
From the grey matter of Michael Ouweleen and Erick Richter emerged a show from the depths of Legal HELL.
FUCK THE GOOD WIFE. FUCK ACE ATTORNEY. FUCK LAW & their sibling ORDER!
Oh, I said order and there shall be order in this court, for you are in the box.
If your number is called and it very well be, it is for this episode and you will be asked to testify.
Whereas, Harvey Birdman: Attorney General [adult swim] dealt with cases from Sebben & Sebben, oh, the very insolvent cases of our beloved toons of your, Ken’s daughter was just studying… how to maintain a sane life!
This is her story: Birdgirl [adult swim]
(music rises) DUH DUH.
If it would please the curt.
Getting out on the top floor in the high rise of Sebben & Sebben, we find Judy Ken Sebben. Burnt at both ends from another humdrum day of legal duties she’s had to deal with, her only solace is talking to the take-out guy on the phone about how her day is and how she’s more passionate about what lies for her after work.
Mind you, a nosey co-worker inviting her out for drinks with others isn’t helping as she replies in kind that she has other things going on and let’s just be honest with ourselves for one goddamned moment and say that even if COVID vanished at the bat of an eye, we’d still not be that desperate for hanging out with that guy.
Judy has a legitimate excuse though, as the late-night caws to her, transforming her into- Birdgirl! Hey, it’s a thankless gig and she happily considers it a form of volunteer work but one that pays in what she believes is the gratitude of the city’s citizens.
To say that Judy-cum-Birdgirl isn’t overzealous is an understatement. From crashing her office desk onto a would-be thief to saving a cat from a burning building to stopping a body dumper on the road from texting, managing to get him into an accident. Birdgirl’s intentions are in the right place, just in the wrong head.
On her way home, giddy from a ‘night on the town,’ Judy barely seems to notice the breaking news that her father, Phil Ken Sebben has died. Now, before we go any further, I had surmised that Stephen Colbert had time to voice him only because he was still truly breaking into the biz and prior to [adult swim] being a cultural juggernaut.
These days, Colbert’s got a way busier schedule and he’s not the star player in this narrative, so why not kill two birds with one stone by just killing one bird?
The only thing Judy notices that gives her pause on the way home was the cat she’d saved, atop the headline of Dear Daddy being Deadsies. She only has eyes for the fiery feline. I mean, the cat did start the fire playing with matches.
An impromptu board meeting is called at 3 AM and we learn from the news reports that Phil had a legacy, starting from a mom and pop law firm (Sebben Law and Saltwater Taffy) to the multinational titan (Sebben & Sebben) it is now. We also learn what their company does, which is shilling things that people don’t want, from radon to war ordinances to baseless arguments.
The one thing Phil is NOT known for though is having chosen a successor.
That next morning, before Judy can freak out about what shade of Gray she should don to the office to her newfound feline, work calls her to import.
You see, she’s provided with the information that her father is no more, which she doesn’t believe due to his penchant for shenanigans and attention. If an eyepatch-sniffing Dog with a Bucket Hat (John Doman) of his last meal (burnt mushrooms and box wine) wasn’t enough to Judy, his sebbered foot (had to) was.
Through a proxy Phil, a new head is named- Birdgirl!
This is equally upsetting for Judy on a few lengths. A.) He chose Birdgirl over his own daughter and B.)ecause this kind of puts a time out on Judy’s playtime.
I mean, in a conciliatory move, Phil did make Judy his majority shareholder… which is of much comfort to Birdgirl or little to Judy. This is no matter though, as a newly coronated Birdgirl has to make her entrance as Judy morosely makes her exit.
Hey, at least the city is cheerful as plumes of white smoke emanate from Sebben & Sebben tower.
Approaching on her new day in her new office, Birdgirl meets Gillian with a hard G (Kether Donohue)Joh, a person of much thought but few words. We also get to meet Mentok’s daughter, Meredith (Negin Farsad). As her one and only friend, she knows Judy and Birdgirl all the same. Though, she’s not the best with emotions, so she bought a card from the downstairs kiosk that reads “There’s no E in Dad” until she opens the reveal the bereavement card’s main message “Until there’s Dead.”
For this joke, I could give the episode high grades. One good joke could sell me, but I was still skeptical.
This doesn’t compute with Judy/Birdgirl so she goes for a literal mind switch and Judy almost has a moment of clarity, drunk off that high of being Birdgirl, until a gunshot rings and then it’s back to being action drunk and after a few thwarts of criminals inside of her board room (she was late for a meeting), she’s formally introduced to the members.
Rounding out her team with Meredith being promoted to General Manager is Charlie (Lorelei Ramirez), a white-streaked hair woman that is head of PR, Dog With A Bucket Hat (he literally is) who is head of security, Scot (with one T) who runs manufacturing and lastly, there is Brian O’Brien (Rob Delany) who runs Human Waste… with a product that will send Sebben & Sebben intro the stratosphere with his invention, the Calypsis.
Long story short, it’s basically taking the middle man out of the way we live. Farm to mouth to the toilet to the farm. It turns poop into fertilizer and the idea is pretty good for a one-stop-shop toilet that can turn your four-course meal into a shit hockey puck to send back to farmers. There is a rub though. The end product tastes like shit and that is a problem (unless that is your kink.)
He tries to get Birdgirl in the room, but she’s off kicking ass on the adjacent rooftop and it’s really not helping anyone, so Brian takes his product and leaves in a huff.
The thing is, Brian isn’t the only one who smells a bad deal as Charlie sees Birdgirl fucking up Sebben and Sebben’s stocks on account of her vigilantism and because their 401(k)’s are tied to that stock, it’s something she won’t put her foot down on but her muscled arm across upon, as she clotheslines Birdgirl. She’s primarily asking their newly appointed CEO to put that shit in her fucking pants (or in the office.)
Back in the Human Waste Labs, as Brian’s lab assistant attempts to calibrate the machine, he’s devoured by its robotic arms, causing it to increase in size. It, however, produces a delicious unexpected outcome: a shit puck that will grow itself into something that sprouts the sweetest tomato Brian’s ever tasted. Fruit isn’t the only fruit that’s sprouted.
In a clever and badass graphic of the Sebben and Sebben office on graph paper, we see the trajectory of Birdgirl wrecking house, literally from the top floor to the bottom, as it doubles as a visual representation of her tanking the share price of Sebben & Sebben (SBNX) shares in a 24-hour trend. The pure genius of this sequence cannot be overlooked.
Birdgirl emerges from her office with slices of flaming birthday cake, proceeding to project them at Gillian and Brian. Before Brian can sell his new and improved toilet, Birdgirl gives her stamp of approval in the form of a Post-It Note. I mean there’s no time for her mania to be bogged down by a boring sales pitch. It gets in, gets out, gets some for this working girl!
However, once Meredith proposes to Birdgirl to pump the breaks, small talk about her ‘leadership’ flourishes into big crime as the moment she drags her over to the masseuse/card purveyor, gunshots are heard and Birdgirl springs into action.
This causes Meredith to spring into action… to Charlie with how to deal with her. Charlie, however, won’t pick up on gestural cues, spilling the beans on Phil being Birdgirl’s father. Upon hearing this, the masseuse freaks the fuck out only so Meredith can ‘read him in’.
We now know his name is Paul of the Syracuse Pauls (Tony Hale) to which they designate him with a position of high honor, should his summoning maybe needed. The responsibility, however silly, does come with a pair of plastic Junior Pilot wings from Sebben Air!
At the new board meeting, Brian pitches his ads for the Calypsis 2.0 and shows the pre-orders for them, which have excelled anything Sebben & Sebben have ever done and this causes Dog to call a bow-wow (I know) with Meredith, as they are calling a proxy meeting.
While Birdgirl is on the road, doing her THANG, Meredith’s mind calls her in the way that a cell phone could be called. Yet even though she can accept or deny it, it is a Mindtaker, so she overrides it and sends Birdgirl to her apartment.
After waking up with a splash of water, Birdgirl is turned back to Judy for them to have an intimate one-on-one.
In a sequence that artistically looks creepily akin to a Family Circus strip, Judy confesses that ever since she was little, the only way she could garner her father’s attention was to do crazy and impulsive stuff as Birdgirl, as her father was crazy and impulsive. After a while being so besotted by his approval, the girl behind the mask took a back seat and that makes her sad. One of the cool things about this brief sequence is that on the tv screen itself, both Meredith and Birdgirl take on opposite ends as if fitting perfectly on the corners of your actual screen in their regular animated style.
Snapping back to reality, Judy realizes her dad was a dick… but whatever he did set her on the path of identity. Birdgirl tears up the card, but there’s no time for schmaltzy affirmations, as the board is meeting to depose Birdgirl and replace her with Brian as CEO is on the way.
With the aye’s having it, both Judy and Meredith bust in too little too late. With a newfound sense of dignity, Judy figures the only thing to do is to concede and congratulate that fucker.
Scot (with one T) beats her to the chase, apologizing for his rudeness, but Brian tells Scot to eat shit by becoming it. Judy sees the entire thing and takes refuge in the bathroom to psychically ring up Meredith, telling her all of the deets but is so rudely interrupted by Calypsis, kicking its ass and sending it on a rampage.
Through city destruction, knocking Brian off his porcelain ‘throne’ and Paul distracting him, Calypsis is down for the count… that is until makes the ultimate sacrifice?
He basically feeds himself into what he fed his life’s work into and it culminates in a black hole that only Charlie, Paul, and Meredith can save Birdgirl from. Welcome to your new team.
With Birdgirl holding a press conference, bequeathing the title of CEO to herself (Judy) the bond is solidified.
On the top floor from her desk, she dubs them the Birdteam!
With Meredith “the Mindtaker”, Paul “the Feels” and Charlie the “Strongarm” there is nowhere they can go but down.