Smiling Through It

Smiling Friends mixing joy with horror and weirdness in the best way

by Ridic Ferrand

This year, I’ve been streaming the Cartoon Network’s newest Adult Swim animated series, Smiling Friends. For the last decade, I have been watching online animations from the two creators, Zach Hadel and Michael Cusack, so finding out back in 2020 that they were getting a series was the greatest news to hear. 

In 2024, they have been releasing new episodes of season 2 — six so far, with even more to come as I write this. Smiling Friends follows animated creatures Pim (pink) and Charlie (yellow), two employees of a small business looking to buoy spirits — and each weird 10-minute episode deals with topics more grim than perky, from family dysfunction to horror.

The newest season has been even funnier since the first and does a great job mixing various animation styles — some very old school — and live-action footage. Some have even compared it to The Amazing World of Gumball but for adults. (Gumball is Cartoon Network’s series about a middle school attending blue anthropomorphic cat and his adopted goldfish brother.) 

The first two episodes of the newest Smiling Friends season have been the strongest, satirizing both the video game industry and the current political climate in America — the second episode addresses the unhygienic and unintelligent president of the United States, Jimble, played by Mike Bocchetti, as he runs for office. Sound familiar? If you appreciate animation, mixed mediums and raunchy adult comedy, I highly recommend Smiling Friends.

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