Awards season is always full of your Glenn Closes and Meryl Streeps, but it still finds space to act as a coming-out party for a few rising stars every year, whether they’re complete newcomers to the Hollywood scene or simply new to a more mainstream spotlight. Keith and Kenny Lucas, collectively known as The Lucas Brothers, are fixtures of the stand-up comedy world but relatively new faces in film. This past year, the comedians creatively made the jump to more dramatic works with a story credit on the Fred Hampton biopic Judas and the Black Messiah. The film earned widespread critical acclaim including a Best Original Screenplay nomination from the WGA and the Academy Awards, plus a Best Picture nod at the latter, while Daniel Kaluuya won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Hampton.
Like Kumail Nanjiana and Emily Gordon’s success with The Big Sick before them, the two brothers are likely to find themselves introduced to a much wider audience than what the ever-overlooked comedy genre typically pulls. And as new fans dig into Keith and Kenny’s body of work, the one piece that most deserves stopping on is their short-lived animated show Lucas Bros. Moving Co.
Lucas Bros. Moving Co. is the first major project the two wrote, acting as co-creators, co-writers, and co-stars on the TV show. The series followed the brothers, here Keef and Kenny, hardly working as independent movers in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who spend more time smoking weed and falling into fantastical misadventures than actually moving furniture.
The series bounced around a bit, originally airing on Fox as part of a faceless block of animated content called Animation Domination High-Def, a clear wannabe competitor to Adult Swim. That project was scrapped after only a year and one six-episode season, with 11 more episodes of the show eventually airing on FXX. Part of the show’s lack of exposure comes from ADHD being largely marketed as a whole, with little promotion of individual programs, losing any name recognition when channel scrolling. While it’s other ADHD companions had varied degrees of success,Lucas Bros. was the clear standout, and while its last episode aired in 2015 its banner deserves to be hung amongst all the other gone-too-soon shows like Detroiters and Freaks and Geeks.
The show’s art style is a refreshingly simple, flat design with bright yet muted colors. It perfectly reflects the show’s humor style that sits comfortably between a classic Cartoon Network and Adult Swim show. While the subject matter can be adult, the jokes are more lighthearted and straightforward. The animated versions of the brothers are eternally chill juxtaposed against the often surreal conflicts. The purposely on-the-nose dialogue highlights the absurdity of the show as it prefers to accept and roll with each ridiculous left turn the plot makes rather than reacting bewildered by it like most others shows would. In terms of a spiritual companion, Lucas Bros. Movie Co. operates like a more mature Regular Show. Fans of Clone High and China, IL will find similar vibes here, with notes of South Park, Adventure Time, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force in each 10 minute episode.
The series is a true comfort show that could have continued had it been given a real chance. Older millennials will appreciate the show’s boundless love of the ‘90s, with every episode packed with references to childhood fascinations such as WWE wrestling, Michael Jordan, Mortal Kombat, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Family Matters, and more. Standout episodes feature such dumb yet clever storylines as a Back to the Future-style conundrum that finds the brothers in a race to patch a rift amongst their younger selves sparked by an Oasis vs Bone Thugs-n-Harmony debate after Eddie Murphy’s old beeper sends Keef and Kenny back in time. Then there’s the time they were kidnapped by Tia and Tamera Mowry’s secret third sister, still bitter after getting cut out of Sister Sister (formerly Sister Sister Sister). Though, like many sitcoms, the best episodes might be their two holiday editions, celebrating 420 and Willdependence Day, a Will Smith themed affair that answers the mystery of how two Aunt Vivs came to be on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. (Spoiler: it was aliens.)
The series was a simple pleasure. It was delightfully stupid, cool, and chill, and nother would-be fine addition to the adult animation genre. All episodes are currently streaming on Hulu for a perfect quick binge, post-award season aperitif.
Olivia Cathcart is a comedian and writer.