What a strange, strange show.
Bright, chaotic, and surprisingly funny, Wake Up Carlo seems like one of those kid’s shows that could make adults laugh. The show first starts in an idyllic, nature-filled island that feels like a feverish acid trip complete with a talking mountain, but this strange setting gets replaced with rectangular blocky buildings, an influencer-esque dictator, and unethical memory wiping of small joys common people have lost. Through every neon colored frame, Carlo and his friends go through familiar absurdities with the fast paced jibber-jabber, but it still keeps it PG enough that kids could enjoy. While some of the jabs might be too kooky for some viewers, Wake Up Carlo is a reminder for adults to remember childhood’s simplicities, while it pokes fun at the ever complex world we’ve created.
While it certainly has the colors and chaos of a children’s cartoon, and the humor certainly isn’t explicit, Wake Up Carlo feels more like an adult animation show. Part of it is the circle-eyed art style and animal-inspired character designs reminiscent of Adult Swim, but most of it is because of the humor. Where the over-the-top chaos might be crazy enough for children to laugh at, the contrast between Carlo and the rest of the world would only fully make sense for people who actually gone through the more mundane versions of what happens, like not being able to pay because of only having large paper bills, or refusing to join overly zealous players in a volleyball match. Wake Up Carlo is totally ridiculous, but it’s the sort of nonsense that adults need to indulge in, at least once in a while.