Son Of Zorn Pilot Review: "Return To Orange County"

The pilot episode of Son Of Zorn was surprisingly compelling. Not only was it suitably funny for a comedy show, but it also had a touch of drama. Essentially, the episode revolves around precisely what the promotions advertised: Zorn returns to Orange County after seven years to reconnect with his estranged wife and son, only to find that his wife is engaged to another man and his son doesn’t like him.

The animation in the pilot is fluid, but occasionally off-putting when combined with the live-action settings. This is most likely intentional, given the show’s plot, but I still found myself getting distracted by it at certain points. That being said, it is very well done for a television show’s budget, and I do want to see more of Zorn’s village of Zephyria. Judging from the opening scene, it does have modern technology, but later scenes suggest that the culture is deeply patriarchal. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Zorn is convinced that his boss is a man because his mind rejects the notion of a woman being his superior.

The creators have stated in interviews that Zorn will become more fleshed-out in later episodes, specifically emphasizing that the intention is not to have Zorn try to win his wife back, but to learn about the needs of others and actually showing empathy. Along with that, I do hope that we get more characterization for the rest of the main characters. So far, Zorn is fairly well-developed, being a pastiche of a He-Man type character, cluelessly trying to bond with his former family after a long absence.

Tim Meadows plays Linda’s fiance, Craig, a college professor in Psychology. I really want to see more of him because I think that the potential for humor is great in his interactions with Zorn, especially because Zorn has made no secret of wanting to kill him. Additionally, I want to see more of Edie’s past and current character. What possessed her to begin a romantic relationship with Zorn? When did she officially decide to move on? Seeing as she is currently the sole female main character, this is especially important. How did she get to Zephyria? Zorn's son, Alan, gets the lion's share of the attention in the pilot. Technically, he was named Alangulon, but he refuses to go by that moniker, and wearily rejects any attempts to bond with Zorn.

Overall, I believe that Son Of Zorn has the potential to be incredible, especially once everything has been established. I've noticed that after a sitcom introduces characters and formulas, it has more freedom to make jokes and have the characters interact without mystifying the viewers. For example, once the two pilot segments in Phineas And Ferb established the a, b, and c-plots, they were able to stretch out creatively, even completely abandoning the basic episode structure a few times and increasing the amount of time for jokes and character interactions.  

I also believe that the show does have a lot to say about toxic masculinity and the expectations of fatherhood. Zorn wants to reconnect with Alan, but only has the barest concept of how to connect with him. His ideas are mostly based on stereotypical father-son interactions. As for the toxic masculinity aspect, Zorn is not actively malicious, but attempts to solve everything with violence. When he gets angry at work, he smashes a desk with his sword and lies about who did it. When he sees Craig, he immediately wants to kill him in an attempt to win Edie back.

Did you watch the pilot for Son Of Zorn? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!
Son Of Zorn is currently airing on Fox. You can also find it online on Fox’s website or the app.

Zachary Krishef is an evil genius. Do not question his knowledge of Saturday Night Live trivia or the Harry Potter books.