Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience (HBO Max) is an adaptation of former Sesame Street author Mo Willems’ best-selling image ebook with musical numbers added. Largely animated apart from a couple of moments of live-action, Mole Rat options the voice performing abilities of Jordan Fisher, Kate Miccuci, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ron Funches, Thomas Lennon, and – wow! – Carol Kane. 

Opening Shot: A energy chord is struck on an electrical guitar, and from the raised floor entrance of the bare mole colony’s burrow we journey down into the bottom, the place the community of chambers and tunnels all spill into an giant enviornment full with a stage. It’s time for the colony’s morning music, and the Mole-ing Stones are tuning up.

The Gist: Can you dig it?” The gathered crowd of bare mole rats are going nuts for the Stones, who sing a music about mole rat details. They’re a little bit bit mole, they’re a little bit bit rat. And they’re at all times, at all times bare. That’s only a truth. It’s a unifying precept. But there’s an issue on stage. Lead singer Grande (Yvette Nicole Brown) is right here, and guitarists Venti (Kevin Michael Richardson) and Tall (Kate Micucci) are, too. But the place’s Wilbur J. Mole Rat (Jordan Fisher)? Nobody is aware of, however they resolve to search out him earlier than the band’s subsequent efficiency. It’s what Grand-Mah (Carol Kane), the colony’s unique burrow digger and matriarch, would count on. 

The factor is, Wilbur isn’t misplaced. He’s simply taking a while to himself, mulling over what all of it means. Sure, the mole rat colony bursts with solidarity over their stance on nakedness. And sure, no mole rat has ever discovered the necessity to decorate with threads. But what in the event that they did? Wilbur wonders, “Can garments make the mole?” And in reply to his music, a brimmed hat floats down from a crack that’s shaped within the roof of Wilbur’s chamber. He tries it on. It appears to be like fairly good. And so Wilbur builds an outfit from the garments that sprinkle from the sky.

With Wilbur strutting round in his dandy new duds – inexperienced plaid pants and a crisp white costume shirt, accessorized by his crimson necktie with white polka dots and that natty purple pork pie cap, full with a feather – his bandmates within the Mole-ing Stones see a scandal on the horizon. “That’s inconceivable!” they sing about his sartorial resolution. “It’s unbelievable! It’s unfeasible. Inconceivable! Unachievable. Unadvisable. Unbelievable!” Wilbur doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. He’s even excited about opening a haberdashery within the colony’s central enterprise district. And in a dream sequence, an animated Wilber sings a Broadway-style music about “Hats & More,” accompanied by live-action dancers with prime hats, faucet footwear, and jazz fingers.

Clearly, Grand-Mah is the one mole on this colony who can put Wilbur straight. Clothes? On a mole? Come on, man. But when Grande, Tall, and Venti take their buddy earlier than the nice and mysterious chief, she’s not precisely what they anticipated, nor does she take the very fact of Wilbur’s clothed standing in fairly the best way they anticipated. 

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground on HBO
Photo: HBO

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? HBO Max additionally options a complete season of Naked Mole Rat creator Mo Willems’ Storytime Shorts! – Wilbur will get dressed for the primary time in episode 12 – and Willems was additionally behind The Off-Beats at Nickelodeon and Sheep within the Big City at Cartoon Network.   

Our Take: Naked Mole Rat by no means meets a unadorned pun it doesn’t like, and with the appreciable voice performing expertise on hand, the bits typically sing greater than the musical numbers, which vary from customary problem ballads with a Broadway aptitude to a psychedelic laborious rock Grand-Mah tribute that options bare mole rats decked out in David Bowie wigs and Bootsy Collins-style star-shaped sun shades. The in-joke of DNN – “Definitely Nude Network” – following all of the breaking information within the colony about garments falling from a crack within the sky and one mole being so daring as to put on them is a enjoyable one, too, significantly with the asides from “climate mole” Les Pants (Ron Funches). How precisely does this bare mole rat burrow have satellite tv for pc hookups and flat display TV’s, to not point out an amplified backline for the Mole-ing Stones’ efficiency? Please, don’t ask these sorts of questions. A pigeon driving a supply truck filled with doll’s garments dumped the load down a gap within the mole hill, and that’s simply how it’s. DNN reported it; it’s gotta be true. 

Sex and Skin: Obviously nothing, aside from roughly 1,000,000 gags about how bare the moles are. When the rumor of garments falling from the sky first hits, the colony’s information reporter initially declares it “Fake nudes.” 

Parting Shot: Back on the floor, the place a road signal reads “Caution, Plot Holes,” a live-action policeman is questioning a cartoon pigeon. “So let me get this straight. You had been driving a supply truck filled with doll garments for enjoyable when, out of nowhere, you noticed a duckling with a scorching canine crossing the street. So you swerved to keep away from it, which made you crash into this explicit ditch, and spilled a complete load of teeny, tiny garments into that gap over there?” 

Sleeper Star: The affirmation dance Venti and Tall do to have a good time how their band is “similar to this tunnel – we’re manufactured from rock!” will likely be successful with any youngsters wishing to impersonate its sequence of grunts and synchronized tail slaps. 

Most Pilot-y Line: “Grand-Mah does look nice,” Wilbur tells his bandmates. “Grand-Mah does look regal. Grand-Mah does look magnificent! But she’d look even higher in an off-the-cuff shirt and a few summer time slacks. After a sure age, slacks flatter.”

Our Call: STREAM IT, particularly if youngsters are conversant in Mo Willems’ image books. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience places laughs and music to its central message of accepting every of us for who we want to be.

Johnny Loftus is an unbiased author and editor residing at giant in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges

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