Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The puppet people from AMC's Ultra City Smiths are even weirder than its weird premise

The show is about a murder mystery starring repurposed baby dolls as the characters

Ultra City Smiths
Ultra City Smiths
Image: AMC

In May, we heard that AMC had picked up a surprising number of famous people for the voice cast of Ultra City Smiths, a stop-motion animated series created by Steve Conrad (Perpetual Grace) and Stoopid Buddy (every stop-motion animated TV show) about the investigation into the disappearance of a rich guy campaigning to become the mayor of a major city full of rampant corruption. (Oh, also, all of the characters are baby dolls repurposed as adults.) The cast includes Kurtwood Smith, Kristen Bell, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Alia Shawkat, Melissa Villaseñor, Jimmi Simpson, John C. Reilly, Jason Mantzoukas, Tim Heidecker, Tim Meadows, Debra Winger, Dax Shepard, Damon Herriman, Hana Mae Lee, Terry O’Quinn, Chris Conrad, Julian Barratt, Sunita Mani, and Luis Guzmán, with Tom Waits serving as the narrator. Basically, if you asked us if the show is a comedy, we would just awkwardly trail off and try to change the subject. It’s one of those TV shows.

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And that was before we saw what these baby doll characters are going to look like! Now that we have, holy shit, we’re not even convinced that this is a real TV show. It seems like a fake TV show that the characters would watch in a David Lynch movie, and to them it would be totally normal even though it’s very much not normal, tipping the audience off that there’s some weird shit going on. Have we dragged this out long enough? Are you sufficiently prepared for these characters? Either way, here they are:

Ultra City Smiths will premiere on the AMC+ streaming platform on July 22, and it will move to regular AMC at some point in the fall. Interestingly, this is actually a second swing at this kind of thing for Conrad, who previously created a failed pilot called Timms Valley that had this same basic premise and baby doll characters, but it starred Chris Pratt, Hank Azaria, Maria Bamford, and basically a whole different collection of other famous people. The IMDb page is like a glimpse into an alternate universe where Elizabeth Banks made a weird show about puppets instead of Kristen Bell, which makes this whole thing even more bizarre. Are we in the prime universe or the alternate universe?!