Gurus is Artist, Author, and Poet Marc Marcel's brilliant animated web series. The show intelligently stabs at the hagiographic nature of philosophical and religious dogma, and examines these concepts with biting social commentary and razor sharp satire. By inserting some of history’s most revered thinkers into a rapidly changing sociopolitical landscape, it gives us the opportunity to reexamine some of the philosophies that these figures ardently proselytized.
Seeing these figures discuss everything from the over-priced merchandise that tends to follow spiritual and religious practices, to the surprisingly common idea that enlightenment can be attained through the abuse of psychedelic substances is extremely refreshing. It also manages to be intelligent without coming off as smug or jaded.
The characters themselves run the gamut from philosophers to scientists to psychonauts and spiritualists, young and old, past and present. The wide range of characters (whom I won’t speak too much on as I think it spoils a bit of the surprise when you finally see them) dramatically increases the potential and possibilities for where these individuals could end up. Once I saw Alan Watts pop up, I immediately wondered who we could see in the series next. On top of that, it is nice to see that these individuals are being paid homage by being a bit on the edgier side while still keeping the comedy and subject mature and respectful. It is this kind of social commentary that I think will do a great job of resonating with left-fielders. The show would fit snuggly into Adult Swim’s line-up and has the foundation to be a mainstay in today’s pop culture pantheon.
Marc has found an interesting niche to discuss and reevaluate poignant ideas and platitudes. What separates this show from other animated adult comedies is that it provides entertainment without relying purely on shock value and substance by placing the characters in viable situations relative to their area of expertise. Marc likes to say that much of his work is about nothing, however, it is here that the series manages to extract it’s own meaning. By being about nothing, it is about everything. It methodically riffs on the nature of reality, who can reach enlightenment (and how they can or should go about doing it), the ridiculousness of our current society, and the trippy uneasiness that accompanies participating in quotidian reality. By stepping back and refusing to take itself too seriously, it becomes a top notch parody and underrated gem.
Be sure to read this interview I did with Marc for more information.
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