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Moral Orel is an American stop-motion animated television show, which originally aired on Adult Swim from December 13, 2005 to December 18, 2008. The show is rated TV-MA due to its strong sexual references and dark, satirical humor.
It has been described as "Davey and Goliath...meets South Park". Despite advertising for the show being stylistically similar to Davey and Goliath, Dino Stamatopoulos, the creator, has stated that it is less a direct parody of that and more a parody of 1950s and 1960s style sitcoms.
At the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, Stamatopoulos announced that the show would not be renewed for a fourth season. The final season was aired interspersed with repeats of the first two in an event named "44 Nights of Orel" hosted by Stamatopoulos and others since many of the episodes took place in parallel with events of past episodes. The event started on October 6, 2008, and ran until the series finale, which aired on December 18, 2008.
The program takes place in the fictional city of Moralton, in the fictional U.S. state "Statesota", which is made up of most of Kansas, western Missouri, north Oklahoma, and a portion of Arkansas. According to the globe shown in the opening credits, Moralton is in the exact center of the United States with the town's church (presumably) at the exact center of the country. The globe also has the United States as its own continent on its own hemisphere. The rest of the North American continent and South America are present, but on the other side of the globe.
The main character is Orel, a student at Alfred G Diorama Elementary School, who constantly tries to live by the show's description of the Protestant Christian moral code. Meanwhile, he interacts with townspeople whose behavior includes mocking homosexuals, teaching their children to close their minds to anything non-Christian, racism, disavowing rational scientific explanations of the universe's origins as fiction and heresy, distancing themselves from nature, dehumanizing non-Christian faiths, and mocking the Catholic Church.
Most episodes of the first season had a similar formula: Orel would hear a sermon in church on Sunday, then proceed to have some sort of misadventure based on his attempts to live by that lesson. However, later episodes began to depart from this tradition. The second season began to explore the backgrounds of several characters in Moralton and even incorporated much more serious ideas. In the second season finale "Nature", the show pushed the characters to a point so detrimental that it transformed the show entirely. The following season focused on the events leading up to "Nature" and some of the aftermath, as well.
Following the series premiere, The Best Christmas Ever, the Adult Swim message boards received numerous posts (later reproduced on promotional bumps) from viewers believing that the show was too ludicrous to be an actual program and that it was aired as a joke. Although The Best Christmas Ever aired first, it was produced to be the season finale. It aired out of order to coincide with the Christmas season.
Three episodes of the first season were held back because Cartoon Network's Standards & Practices found them to be too dark and explicitly sexually crude even for Adult Swim (one episode centered on Orel drinking alcohol in order to be more adult, the second centered on Orel and his new friend beating up two boys who are presumably homosexual, and the last was centered on Orel using his sperm to impregnate the women in town without having sex with them after being reprimanded for masturbating and letting his sperm go to waste, which, according to Moralton, was a sin). Two were approved for air in May 2006, with the last "banned" episode airing July 31, 2006.
 Main characters
Orel is the main character of the show. He is an 11 (later 12)-year-old boy whose quest is how to be moral and good, which drives most of the plots of the episodes. He collects religious action figures and makes short animated movies with them. In his attempts to remain moral, he listens to Reverend Putty's sermons very closely. Even though he's very attentive and always means well, Orel tends to misinterpret the minister's teachings, leading to chaos for both him and the town.
In addition to having an uncanny talent for interpreting religious doctrine literally and drastically changing his belief systems on a weekly basis, Orel possesses many other skills. He is a practiced necromancer, and he has considerable prowess in physical combat: he is able to defeat his own father in a fight. His sexual stamina is seemingly without limit, as he was able to forcibly impregnate a large portion of the town on very short order, with help from a pastry bag. Orel is also a natural businessman, having made large amounts of money selling his urine as an energy drink and (unknowingly) pimping out the women of Sinville to the sexually repressed men of Moralton.
One of the show's aspects was Orel's slow awakening to the flaws of the people around him, as well as expanding his personal belief system beyond the rigid fundamentalist Christian doctrine of the town. In "Praying", Orel defies his father's orders and uses Buddhist meditation to deal with his stress. In "Charity", Orel became a full-fledged drug addict. In "Orel's Movie Premiere", Orel uses rather harsh portrayals of the people around him in his home movies, most notably portraying his father as a sadistic, drunken snarling wolf (leading Dr. Potterswheel to ask Clay if he was molesting his son, to have Orel see him as such a monster).
After a disastrous sequence of events in the two-part season two finale "Nature", wherein Clay shoots Orel in the leg and denies fault for it (as Clay had been drunk at the time, and so did not remember it), Orel loses all respect for his father. This culminated in Orel not only telling his father for the first time that he hates him, but also him lying to Clay when Clay shows more concern over the pride he feels over Orel killing a bear, an act for which Orel denies responsibility. Later on, after "Nature", Orel is still cheerful towards the townspeople, but incredibly emotionally distant towards Clay. As a result of the shooting (and likely Dr. Potterswheel's incompetent job in healing the leg), Orel gets a permanent limp, which Dino Stamotopolus said would have been kept throughout the series had it continued (and is indeed shown in the show's final scene of an adult Orel).
In the series finale, Orel realizes the true nature of his father's relationship with Coach Stopframe, though the realization doesn't bother him much. A scene from adult Orel's life, seen at the end of the series finale, shows that he ultimately becomes a much better man than his father ever was, marrying his childhood sweetheart Christina Posabule and maintaining a loving, happy family with two kids and a puppy.
Orel is voiced by Carolyn Lawrence.
Clay is Orel's strict father who tries to keep his home in line with a 1950s style of living. This masks the fact that Clay is an abusive alcoholic who hates his job as mayor of Moralton, his marriage, his children, and his father. He is more often than not portrayed as the show's main villain.
As a child, Clay was the only child of his parents. Clay's mother was a religious zealot, who spoiled Clay rotten and instructed him in the various "lost commandments" of Moses. This created tension with Clay's father, who was outright neglected by his wife in favor of his son, to the point that he was forced to eat his son's leftovers. Clay's life collapsed however when he faked his own death as a prank on his mother, causing her to have a heart attack. Clay's father (who was not deeply religious) never forgave Clay for his part in his mother's death and emotionally shunned his son, ultimately telling him that he "wasn't worth it" as far as refusing to slap his son. This deeply affected Clay, causing him to seek out his father's abuse (in the form of his father slapping his son in the face in anger) as a means to gain any sort of emotional response. His love for his mother would develop into an Oedipus Complex many years later, shown in "Nesting."
When Clay was in his early twenties, he was shown to be a rather mild figure who wanted to spend his days studying the bible and drinking apple juice. While attending a wedding, Clay met Bloberta Hymentact. The two went on a date after the wedding, where Bloberta introduced Clay to liquor. Alcohol caused a massive switch in Clay's personality, turning him into a womanizer and drunken partier and ultimately caused Bloberta to punch him unconscious in order to keep him from flirting with other women. Afterwords, Bloberta lied to Clay, telling him that he passed out and that she looked after him while he was unconscious. She then pressed him to marry her, citing that he needs someone like her to "help" him. Clay agreed, but by this point the damage was done as Clay was now a full-blown alcoholic who spent most of his wedding flirting with other women, getting drunk, and ultimately getting arrested after the wedding for driving under the influence.
Clay largely hates his family, not remembering his children's names or caring when one of his children (Shapey) is briefly switched with another child. This is taken to an extreme in the episode Numb when he assumes Shapey and Block are an liquor induced hallucination. (He sees Shapey playing and then Block playing. He apprears confused, looks at his drink shrugs and continues walking.) He is rather misogynistic, and forces his wife Bloberta to cook and clean all day long, as he believes that that's all women should ever do, and because it sexually arouses him. He is close friends with Coach Danielle Stopframe, who secretly lusts after Clay. It has been shown that Stopframe is Clay's chief enabler as far as feeding his dependency on liquor and went as far as to seduce and impregnate Clay's wife Bloberta in order to be near him.
He'll often bring Orel into his study to discuss Orel's various misdeeds after dealing out "a good belting" to the boy. The lessons typically have little to do with the actual damage he caused, usually focusing on "the lesser of two evils". For example, when confronting Orel for raising the dead, Clay is more concerned with the fact that Orel created naked zombies (by removing their clothes prior to resurrecting them) than for actually creating zombies.
He also has a collection of firearms in his study, including a Heckler & Koch PSG1 sniper rifle and what is revealed in "Nature Pt.1" to be an extensive arsenal. During a mostly unsuccessful camping trip with Orel, a drunk Clay rants violently about how awful his life is and then accidentally shoots Orel but denies any responsibility. He would apparently sink even lower when, in "Honor", it's revealed that he's continued to blame Orel for the injury, telling anyone who asked that it had happened because his son was either clumsy or that he'd gotten in the way.
The end result is that while Clay tries to maintain that his life is perfectly happy, he's ultimately a pathetic, oafish, self-centered man who has no love for anyone other than himself. He blames the town for making Orel sensitive. He rants harshly about women and relationship. He tried to prove life is terrible by tring to get people to hit him but the town people walk away, he felt defeated on the attempt.
Clay often complains about his "dead-end job" and being "buried in paperwork". In the penultimate episode, it is revealed, to even Orel's surprise, that Clay is actually the Mayor of Moralton. On a document in his office his full name is shown to be Clayton Middleinitial Puppington.
In "Honor", Clay finally admits his feelings for Coach Stopframe, in front of his wife, his children and Orel. Stopframe, however, coldly rejects him. Clay leaves dejected. A picture of him and Bloberta both frowning is seen on the wall in the final scene, a stark contrast to Orel and Christina. (At the end of the series Clay ultimately pays the price of the mistakes he made which he'll never realize.)
He is voiced by Scott Adsit.
Bloberta (née Hymentact) is Orel's mother. The forgotten and shunned middle child of a family choir (forbidden from participating due to her mother's blatant favoritism for her older sister and younger brother and failure to stand up for herself), Bloberta manipulated Clay Puppington into marrying her, largely as a means to escape her family and to be accepted by her ring-flaunting friends. After her marriage to Clay, however, her life becomes worse than before. She is a strict, stereotypical housekeeper known for her obsessive-compulsive cleanliness (she once complained about her cleaning product containers being dirty); the episode "Help" reveals that Bloberta turned to cleaning as a replacement for her habit of drinking as a means of coping with her mother's disdain for her.
Bloberta and Clay have a very strained relationship, with Bloberta often shown to be emotionally distant towards Clay (although at times she acts somewhat nice to him by calling him "dear"). In "The Best Christmas Ever" they get in an argument that ends with Clay walking out on her on Christmas morning; the two eventually reunite, though only out of concern for what the other Moraltonians would think if they separated. The episode "Numb" reveals that Bloberta hasn't had a proper orgasm in years and has mutilated her genitals through the use of various power tools for masturbation. She even attempts to find a sexual partner while Clay leaves with Orel for their ill-fated hunting trip, only to be thwarted by the various men of Moralton having no interest in her whatsoever. (Which becomes like her rejection when she was home with her family.) When asked by Orel why she married Clay, she simply responds "Why not?" instead of giving an actual reason, only to break down crying upon leaving Orel's room.
During the first season, she comes across as a distant, disengaged parent. She mirrors her mother's favoritism in the way she treats her second son Shapey, (possibly her mother might have an affair with someone else resluting with her younger brother having red hair instead of brown.) who is the result of an extramarital affair Bloberta had had with Orel's bisexual gym teacher Coach Stopframe. Bloberta spoils Shapey rotten, largely as a means to silence his constant temper tantrums, and frequently orders Orel to let Shapey get his way even when Shapey's wishes put him or Orel at risk for injury. For not discipline Shapey makes her and Clay bad parents. However, after Clay finds out the truth about Shapey, Bloberta begins to turn away from her bastard son, ultimately not noticing for several months after he is accidentally switched with another child, Block Posabule.
While she can at times seem very uncaring toward Orel, she is never nearly as abusive to him as Clay. She also displays a somewhat maternal side to Orel, such as knitting campaign signs for him so he could help a mayoral candidate, or making him breakfast. She also shows a little concern for Orel when he is shot (though she never confronts Clay about the incident) and when he is absent while the family goes Christmas caroling in "Honor". Orel also has always held her in relative good regards throughout the show, believing Clay to be the primary reason for the family's dysfunction. (Unknow to Orel that Bloberta created this family's dysfunction.) Overall, Bloberta deeply regrets the mistake she made in marrying Clay, but does have love for Orel deep down in her heart.
In "Honor", she is none too pleased when Clay admits his love for Coach Stopframe. When Orel grows up, she is shown in a picture on the wall alongside Clay, both of them older and frowning, implying they are still unhappily married.
She is voiced by Britta Phillips.
Shapey Puppington, Orel's seven-year-old half-brother, is a misbehaving, spoiled, and emotionally stunted little boy who does nothing but yell, complain, and act out. His parents do nothing to stop this, preferring to let him have what he wants so he'll stay quiet (they don't want their neighbors thinking they're bad parents). It is first indicated in "The Best Christmas Ever" that he is an illegitimate child. His biological father is conclusively revealed in "Numb" to be Coach Stopframe, who had only formed a relationship with Bloberta to get closer to Clay.
In the season two episode "The Lord's Prayer", Shapey is accidentally switched with the oddly similar Block Posabule, the son of the Puppingtons' new neighbors. The main difference between the two is their hair color (Block is a redhead, while Shapey is blond) and head shape (Shapey's head is round while Block's is more thin); their behaviors are largely the same. For a while, the switch is noticed only by Orel and, as revealed later, by Block's sister Christina, though their attempts to notify their respective families are invariably ignored. In the episode "Numb", Bloberta finally figures out after going through a family album that Shapey is actually Block. When she goes to the Posabules' house to retrieve him, however, Mrs. Posabule returns Shapey but also abandons Block, forcing Bloberta to take them both. (Clay's obliviousness persists for a while longer; he chalks up the apparition of a second 'Shapey' in his house to his drink and shrugs the matter off.) At the end of the episode "Sacrifice", Shapey speaks calmly for the first time, telling Bloberta, "Mommy, when I'm thirsty, it feels how I feel when I'm alone."
In the ending scene of "Honor" it is indicated that they have both grown up into functional adults, with photographs showing that Shapey has become a police officer and Block a firefighter.
Shapey and Block are both voiced by Tigger Stamatopoulos, the daughter of the show's creator and executive producer Dino Stamatopoulos.
 Reverend Putty
Rod Putty is the minister for the local church and wears a very obvious toupee. He is a very lonely and bitter individual who is held in both high esteem and disdain by the citizens (case in point: his house is egged on Halloween). His disdain for God often finds its way into his sermons, and he has a coffee cup in his office stating "I hate my boss," though sometimes it says "...and then you die." His resentment stems from being a prematurely balding virgin. Putty has also displayed some racist tendencies, such as leading the segregation of the Figurellis and showing no interest in dating non-white women. The episode "Elemental Orel" implies that he was planning to use the money from the church collection plate to hire a prostitute. Eventually, he is approached for a lunch date by Stephanie, Moralton's resident punk-rocking piercing shop proprietor. Thinking he is about to get lucky, he is soon devastated to learn that she is his daughter, resulting from a spinster stealing his semen from a used tissue. He however comes around and accepts this relationship, offering some happiness for a change. After the events of "Presents for God", in which Orel introduces the reverend to a prostitute, apparently loses his virginity and starts smoking cigarettes. In "Alone", it is also revealed that he hosts his own radio show. Due to his cynicism, Putty is slightly more rational than the rest of the townspeople, though of course, this is only relative to the blind fanaticism of most Moralton residents. As the seasons have gone on, his character has evolved to a more laid-back and more accepting person, to the point he is accepting of his daughter's lifestyle and has been even been imparting fatherly advice and joking around with her. Unsurprisingly, he is the only one who notices that while Orel is a good person, and means well, the faulty advice he and the other adults of the town give him always leads to him taking it to a high extremes, creating havoc in the town. He is voiced by William Salyers.
Doughy Latchkey is Orel's best friend. He is very God-fearing and always tries to look out for Orel, though he usually just winds up following Orel's lead. He is very fearful and not very bright; as a result, he is often indecisive and consistently fails to stand up for himself when pressed (such as by letting Orel and Joe throw rocks at his dad's car). In Courtship, Doughy's home life was revealed. His parents are a red-headed (stereotypical) jock and a blonde (stereotypical) cheerleader, who appear quite young and may or may not be Doughy's biological parents (though they may be older than they act; they are revealed in "Closeface" to be contemporaries of the sex-shop proprietor, Stephanie, who is presumably not a high school student, as she operates and possibly owns a sex-toy store). Orel seems to be the only one who notices the difference between how his own parents treat him and how Doughy is treated by his parents. He points out that Doughy's parents never call him "son" or give him affection. His last name, "Latchkey," is a reference to the neglect Doughy suffers from his parents, who, being very affectionate toward each other, usually pay Doughy cash to get out of their hair, lock him outside the house and hide the key so they can have sex without their son around. He has never been seen without his beanie and has rapid mood swings from despondent to cheerful. In Trigger, it was revealed that he has a gift for marksmanship, evidently stemming from his belief that he and his actions don't matter. He tried to be part of Orel's family, only to be use to get Orel to shot better and Clay throws Doughy aside. Doughy feels like a loser ever since and in "Honor" he gets bullied in gym everyday. He is voiced by Scott Adsit.
 Episode guide
 DVD releases
Most original music for the show is created by musician Mark Rivers. A number of the songs heard throughout the show have been posted to the official Adult Swim download site.
Moral Orel has also featured music by other artists. The first season featured "Other People's Tongues" by the Dan Emery Mystery Band in Episode 105 - The Blessed Union.
The second season featured the songs "Saturday" by IO Perry in Episode 13 - Satan, "Head & Heart" by Tom Bell in Episode 20 - The Blessed Union, and "You" by Peter Blood in Episode 25 - Courtship.
The third season prominently featured music by The Mountain Goats including "No Children", "Old College Try", and "Love Love Love" in Episode 301 - Numb, Episode 307 - Help, and Episode 308 - Passing, respectively. The third season also featured the songs "Failsafe" by The Choir Practice in Episode 306 - Dumb, "Closeface" by Dino Stamotopolous in Episode 309 - Closeface, "Bottomless Pit" by Savoy in Episode 311 - Sacrifice, and "Valentine" by IO Perry in the series finale, Honor.
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